Sunday, April 27, 2008

Studio Update

The last month before I left Australia was just mad as we tried to get organized for the trip and I also attempted to finish off my next artists book. I did not manage to make that much progress with the book, but I have at least made the porcelain pages. After I saw the test tiles, I decided to use the Imperial Porcelain . I prefer the slightly off-white colour of the clay for these particular images and the translucency is excellent.

I’ve also decided to fire the decals quite high (1100deg C) as the sepia colouring at this temperature is closer to my original digital images. I took a quick shot of some of them for you to see. It was so good to be working with clay again – I felt productive and competent, although it certainly is more physically demanding than some other work I do.


As some of you probably know, the flight from Australia to the UK can involve spending between 20- 26 hours in the air! Avoiding jetlag and just general exhaustion has been a major concern for me in planning the trip. This is especially important, not just because it might take me longer than most to recover, but because jetlag specifically affects the same area of the brain as is a problem in cfs, stuffing up circadian rhythms, sleep cycles etc.

The route we decided on was Brisbane to Tokyo, stay 2 nights and then Tokyo to London. I have to confess I was absolutely over the moon when I found out we’d be stopping in Japan. I have wanted to go there for years and in particular I wanted to see some Jomon pottery.

Jomon pottery is prehistoric Japanese functional ware and represents the birth of pottery in Asia. The first pieces date back to 10,000 BC but Jomon ware continues on for about 9,000 years and not surprisingly goes through various stages of development, becoming quite baroque in the middle stages before refining into simpler designs again. As well as cooking pots, religious pieces in the form of “dogu” (figures) and masks were made.

My very favourite types are the so-called “flame pots” and I was thrilled to see that the Tokyo National Museum had on display the very one I’ve admired for so long. Back when I was studying ceramics, I did an assignment on Jomon ware and I was amazed to find that I recognized almost all the pots and figures on display at the Museum of Archeology. To see these works of art dating from before history was recorded, made me feel incredibly lucky.

Jomon "Flame" pot

Jomon Dogu figure

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Setting up the ceramics workshop

It mightn't look like much but you've no idea how happy it makes me to be able to report that today the electricians came and installed my kiln. It has been stored away at my m-i-l's since the middle of 2003 when I moved to Melbourne.
While they were here I had them install the hanging light (full spectrum tubes) and the hanging power point too. With the doors open, the daylight in the space is wonderful on a sunny day, and now the light will be good on overcast days too. It will also be good when I'm working on week-ends and feel like I need a little more privacy from the neighbours.

I don't know what the problem is with me and studio's with views? I just can't seem to luck onto a picturesque space....and this isn't the worst of it - over to the right are the bins! Still, I'm not complaining - I think the very fact that I finally feel up to establishing a proper space for ceramics again is a very good sign.