Friday, December 31, 2010

The Sketchbook Project

The Package I received in the post.

Here's an interesting exhibition I'm involved in later this year. The Sketchbook project is open to everyone (although the due date is over for 2011). Every artist who enters gets a sketchbook to fill in, with a selected topic. I chose 'In Flight' for this year. And I'm filling it with sketches of a recent trip to Europe. I meant to sketch while I was over there (but like most trips), by the end of a busy day touring I was too tired to sketch anything. So I'm sketching from some of the 1000's of photos I took. The exhibition will be touring America.

PS. It's due on the 15th January and I only just started sketching today... well at least I'm on holidays! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010


Oops, I've been neglecting my blog! But I have been getting creative and very productive since my last blog, I promise! See, here's a few mugs I threw:

And some handles I pulled, waiting to be attached:

And this was my first attempt in many years of pulling the handle on the mug:

^ Not bad, hey? Might need a bit more practice. Pulling handles isn't my favourite thing in world!

Below is my trusty kiln. It's seen better days, but still works fine. I really need a bigger kiln though.

Well, that's it for now. Sorry, I know it's not much of an update.

I guess I should add, I really love living in the Riverland. I've only been here for a couple of months, but already feel quite at home. I love the people, the scenery, the bird life, the peacefulness, the food, the festivals, the markets and the people! The people get a double mention, because they're so lovely! So many beautiful people have come into my life since moving up here. I feel very blessed! I'm going to be introducing children to clay in 4 schools in the coming weeks. I'm helping set up the Loxton lights for Christmas. I can't wait to see the display once it's up! It is definitely a great time to visit and I'd love to see you! :)
I'll try and update this more regularly.

For anyone in the know - I've just started the Christmas biscuit cook-off! ;)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Potter's Marathon

Every year around this time production in the studio takes a step up in preparation for the Christmas rush. Most years I've had a space in the JamFactory ceramic studio, where there is a buzz of activity going on. There's a atmosphere of motivation and excitement!

However this year I'm working from my own studio in a small rural town, where the closest potter that I know is about 220km away! I love having my own space, but it's also really nice to know that you're not alone and that others are gearing up for the busiest time of year too.

So on Friday a few of us potters from South Australia had a Bowlathon. We threw bowls (or anything really) in our own studios for 8 hours and kept a tally of what we had made. We communicated throughout the day on Facebook. Others also commented and cheered us on a bit. It was a lot of fun! I'd definitely like to do it again and I hope more potters will get involved!

It wasn't a competition (we were going for PB's). Here's some photos from the day from different studios:

Angela Walford
Threw: 32 pieces
(Platters and large bowls)

Alison Arnold

Threw: 70 pieces
(small bowls, noodle bowls, oil burners and lids)

Threw: 146 pieces
(laksa bowls, breakfast bowls, medium bowls, small bowls and tiny bowls)

This was the half way mark. I had thrown 74, so that was quite consistent!

I started running out of ware boards and space, so I used Jane Burbidge's trick of stacking the pieces once they were firm enough to keep their shape.

There's me, with all the work at the end of a very long, but fun day!

I think we were all running out of space and Alison ran out of clay! As I was wrapping up all the bowls it dawned on me that now I have to trim them all! So far I'm half way through, but I should finish them tomorrow!

Thank you Alison and Angela for joining in and everyone else for your comments and encouragement! Looking forward to the next time!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bowl-A-Thon Confirmed

Ok, this is it! The pottery event of the year (for many)! And it's happening in YOUR studio!

The official Bowl-A-Thon 2010
Friday 15th October
Motors start running at 9am (Pottery wheel motors)
An hour for lunch
Finish at 6pm

You need to take a photo at the end and count the final tally, then send it to me.
I'll post the results on here, and the Facebook Bowl-A-Thon page.

If you have Facebook you can join here.
Otherwise, just message me.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Hello all you potters out there! I've decided we need to do a bowl-a-thon in preparation for the Christmas rush! How many bowls can you thrown (or coil, slab build, pinch - whatever your chosen method is) in a day (8 hours)? Just for a bit of fun and also to get some stock ready! It would be nice if there were a few of us doing it on the same day and we could post up our results and photos - wherever you are in the world! If you want to join in: comment here or message me. We need to decide a date soon! Happy potting everyone!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mexican Bean Chicken recipe

Another recipe! If I'm not careful, I'll have to change the theme of this blog. This is another really tasty meal and so easy! Just combine all the ingredients and put it in the oven! I found it in a MasterChef mini magazine that was in the Sunday Mail a while ago. I've changed it a bit - the original recipe has coriander and lime.

Mexican Bean Chicken
(serves 4)

600g Chicken breast fillets (sliced into cubes)
400g can four-bean mix, drained
1 Onion (thinly sliced)
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red capsicum, sliced
35g packet taco seasoning
2 tbs tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed

1. Preheat oven to 180c. cut 2 x 70cm sheets of alfoil.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Spoon mixture down the middle of one of the foil sheets, leaving 10cm at either end. Place the second sheet of foil on top and gently mould around the mixture. Fold in the sides to create a sealed parcel. Place on an oven tray and bake for between 45 mins to 1 hour until chicken is cooked through.
4. Stand parcel for 5 minutes, then carefully open to allow steam to escape.

* I serve this with rice and corn on the cob! Yum!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chicken and Chorizo Hotpot recipe!

This is a little bit off topic, but I really love cooking. Pottery and cooking seems to go hand-in-hand and it seems that most potters also share this love. So I thought I would start posting some nice recipes when I come across them.

A couple of weeks ago a friend invited us over for dinner. She had cooked a pasta bake using an Italian Sausages called a Chorizo. I’ve often seen them in the deli section of the supermarket, but had never tried them before and had no idea how tasty they are! So the next time I saw them, I bought a couple. They’ve just sat in my fridge ever since. Tonight I was trying to think what to make and saw them there. So I Googled a recipe, which turned out really nice and was SO easy! I thought I would share it with you (I’ve changed it a bit from the original):

Chicken and Chorizo Hotpot

(Serves 4)


1 Chicken Breast Fillet (cut into cubes)

2 Chorizo (cut into 1 cm slices)

3 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 medium onion (sliced thinly)

1 red capsicum (sliced)

410g can crushed tomatoes

¼ cup white wine

2 Tbs tomato paste

Salt and pepper

3 tbs Olive Oil

All Purpose Seasoning (to taste)


Pre-heat oven to 200C.

Use a baking dish that will comfortably hold all the ingredients. Add chicken pieces, sausage, garlic, onion, capsicum, tomato and white wine, tomato paste, season with salt, pepper and All Purpose Seasoning, toss to mix. Drizzle over the olive oil. Cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

* I mixed it half way through cooking, because it was getting quite brown on top.

* I served it with pasta (cooked separately).

I love recipes where you just combine all the ingredients and then let it cook! So quick and easy. Hope you enjoy it too!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Bad Weather and Landfill Dilemma

A windy day!

Well, now that we're into Spring, winter has finally hit! Might have something to do with the Adelaide show starting yesterday (it rains every year without fail). The thunderstorm yesterday was awesome. Today the wind has been so strong that Lake Bonnie actually had waves. Ok, not big enough to surf or anything, but still!

Hmm, I wonder what would have happened if I had turned our porch light on?

With all this bad weather, I really haven't felt like working in the studio much, so I've spent most of the time unpacking boxes. I've been rather overwhelmed discovering how much ceramics I've accumulated over 9 years! I'm sure I can't be the only potter in this situation... I seem to have a habit of boxing things up, thinking I'll deal with them later. I don't think a lot of the work has seen the light of day in maybe 5 or 6 years. While most of them are 'usable', they are quite hideous! I've been left with a bit of a dilemma as to what to do with everything.

Some of the pieces are fine, but have a small fault - making them unsaleable. Some have sentimental value, because they are the first pieces I made. Some are exhibition pieces that didn't sell. Some are just really, really bad, but were experiments/tests. Others I thought were good at the time, but now that I've had more training and experience I realise 'no, they're bad'...

This is just one box I unpacked the other day! Most of this stuff was from 2002/3. All made at TAFE while I was learning to wheel throw. Most of my pieces back then were in stoneware. It was more about practicing the technique of throwing and also glazing.

This piece was made while studying in Cairns in 2004. My husband just asked 'What would you use that for?' - Every potter's favourite question! But no, seriously - what would you use that for???

And this set of four bowl. Made in Sydney in 2002. My very first set! I remember it was so daunting when the lecturer set this project. I was the first in the class to make four that looked slightly similar and was rather proud of these things! And now... ?

And then we come to this jug. Also made while studying in Sydney in 2002. My very first jug. Hmmm...

What to do?
This is the dilemma I've been having:
- I was contemplating having a big smashing session! Greek style. I'm sure my husband would be quite happy to get involved in that! But I'm concerned about just adding to landfill.

- I could give some to friends and family. And I'm sure I will. But not the hideous pieces. I already cringe too often when I notice an old piece that I gave someone years back. I sometimes ask if I could replace it for them, only to discover that it is now their favourite mug/ plate/ vase.

- I could donate most of it to the Goodwill (second-hand shop). But that's not a good career move, to donate hideous pieces that are going to be out there - somewhere, lurking. Plus, if you are selling pieces in designer shops and then customers also see your work in the second hand shop, that's not a good look either.

- I could box them up and deal with them later. No! That's not an option this time. I've decided I'm going to deal with things and not put them off.

- I kind of ran out of ideas. However, my friend Angela gave a great suggestion - make a sulpture out of all the sentimental pieces and save a couple for the cat (hmm, don't have one) and the rest bin. I like that idea! While I was in China I saw a really cool wall made out of hundreds of different pottery pieces. If I had my own property, I could build an interesting garden wall, or something!?

Pottery wall at Son Bao, Jingdezhen

But I'm renting!
So... where does that leave me and all these pots? I so wish I could finish this blog entry with a solution, but I'm just going to have to leave it hanging there!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tree Change

Lake Bonnie, Barmera

After a Sea Change last year, to a small town on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula, and then a short stint back in the city of Adelaide, we have moved again! This time to a small, peaceful and rather pretty town called Barmera, in South Australia's Riverland. I've been here for two weeks so far and I absolutely love it!

I finally have my very own pottery studio! It's completely separate from the house - made of brick and has two windows (with a nice view of the garden). The power supply to the shed was perfect and it took the electrician 10 minutes to have it ready for me to plug my kiln in. Everything has just been too easy. I'm so happy with my new space. It certainly beats working from the Verandah and taking over the house!

My new studio!

After a huge weekend of cleaning and sorting, it's almost ready. I'll post some photos once it's done!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Elements Opening

Oh dear! It's already been a week since the opening of Elements and I haven't posted anything yet! Sorry, life's been really crazy lately!

The three artists

Elements is an exhibition by three artists; Humna Mustafa, Nick Graalman and myself. Humna came up with the concept and approached Nick and myself to get involved. We have been working on the show for about 5 months. Humna painted her closest friends with henna (body art) and capture it on camera, Nick has been filming constantly and I've been making ceramic pieces as a collaboration with Humna. The whole process has been about intertwining our crafts and making pieces that could never have been made on our own - with each artist bringing their own unique skills.

Diya Studios on opening night

The opening was last Saturday in Diya Studios as part of the SALA festival (South Australian Living Artist). Humna and her husband Mustafa transformed more than half of their home into a gallery space and shop! I have to start by saying a big thank you to both of them, especially Mustafa who has been so supportive of this show. The house has been set up with a ceramics exhibition space in the first room (work by Humna and me)...

The main room has Humna's photographs and also a screen where Nick shows his time lapse video. The video was shown a few times on the opening night and will be shown throughout the open days and the closing night.

The opening was such a great night! We had so much fun celebrating all the hard work we put into the show. It was wonderful that so many people turned up. Here's some photos from the night:

Opening speech from Annette Tripodi (Operations and Program Manager, WOMADelaide)

During the opening speech

Bollywood Dancers

Everyone got up and danced

After the speeches

Thank you everyone who made it on the night and to the helpers - you guys are wonderful!

Some of the helpers doing a great job!

The gorgeous girls taking sales.

The retail shop (some of Humna's and my work)

Retail shop.

We set up a retail shop in one of the side rooms. You can purchase all sorts of pieces by Humna, ceramics by me and even a DVD of Nick's video that is in the show.

All the photos used in this blog were provided by Tanti Lovell. Thanks Tanti for capturing the night on camera for us!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Clay Day

My demo

A few weekends ago I had a really nice afternoon hanging out with Humna and some of her closest friends. We had a beautiful lunch, followed by some fun with clay. I gave a quick demo and then everyone had a go. Mandi Whitten captured the day on camera. I thought I would share some of her photos with you...

Guiding Sarah

Love that smile (the joy of pottery)!


We've all made one of these at some stage!

Humna's creation.


Pinch pot

Lots of pinch pots!

The other task for the day was to make as many of these pinch pots as possible for the opening night of Elements. You will have to come along to find out their significance!