From Oct to Dec 2020, a small selection of my sparrows will be on show at CraftACT: Design + Craft Centre in Canberra, Australia.
In 2015, I investigated the disappearance of sparrows in my hometown Canberra. Five years on and after the bushfires raged across Australia and the Sapphire Coast in New South Wales, I felt compelled to revisit this series. Sitting in my studio, I refined the patterns and pierced more holes to emphasize the fragility of birdlife consumed at a rate unseen before. Now, more than ever, we need to care for our wildlife. This poem is for them.
shape the clay / small bird form
make the mould / a nest for the body
pour two slips / create one whole
slow the drying process / Nana’s hankie shelters the bird
pencil on design / bring it to life with marking
pierce with care / patterns reveals you
two firings / fully formed now
sanding and polishing, completed / light and fragile sparrow
I’m pleased to announce that my first exhibition in 2020 is at The Corner Store Gallery (TCSG) located in Orange, New South Wales, Australia. I am one of 10 artists in this special show as well as 14 artists in another show as part of a gallery swap. The owner Anne Masters of Gallery of Small Things (GOST) has collaborated with Madeline Young, Owner of TCSG to swap their selected artists so that Orange comes to Canberra and Canberra goes to Orange! It’s a unique concept which both owners were keen to provide their artists with a chance to exhibit beyond the country and the city and also experience a different space. As GOST is less than 6 meters square and TCSG is about 32 meters square it means artists have the opportunity to make small works (under A3 and under $500) for GOST and small to large works for TCSG. So, if you are looking for some new artworks to give your home or favourite space that special touch visit the exhibition at GOST. This will also take you the TCSG too.
I’m participating again in the Open Studios as part of Design Canberra Festival 2019. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and love meeting new and familiar faces as they see my studio and arts practice slowly grow. I’ve also been a bit busy with a gallery that I run so visitors will have an extra bonus of seeing Canberra’s (possibly Australia’s) smallest gallery – GOST. We have a beautiful garden that surrounds the studio/gallery. I’ll have new porcelain decorations in time for Christmas, along with my new colours in the pollen jewellery range, my popular birds and little dishes. So, pop on in as I’ll be open 11am to 4pm Saturday 9 November 19 along with many other studios on the Northside of Canberra.
I have created a new series of dishes for an exhibition called HOLD. This group exhibition features 18 artists as part of a ceramic survey and coinciding with Design Festival Canberra. The Festival runs for 3 weeks in November 2019 and I’m thrilled to be a part of an exciting program that showcases talented artists from Canberra. My dishes were created as we near Summer. As a child growing up, we travelled in the Holden Kingswood more than 9hrs to visit grandparents and relatives in Newcastle. No seatbelts, hot seats, but always looking forward to long days on the beach, sand dunes to climb and hanging out at the local pool across from my Pop and Nana’s place in Lambton. The dishes represent Sky, Sea and Sand. They can be held in the palm of your hand. They are the perfect size for a biscuit, teabag, condiments or simply to enjoy the smooth recessed patterns or slightly gritty surfaces of the raku clay. HOLD is open from 1 November and continues till 24 November 2019.
From 2-5 May, the 15th Australian Ceramics Triennale was held in Hobart, Australia. Julie Pennington, Tania Vrancic and myself stayed at the cute Hobart Art House about 10-15 minutes walking distance to the Princess Wharf One where the conference was held. More than 700 delegates attended the event breaking a new record which was fantastic news for the organising committee. The conference was jam packed with presentations, a few demonstrators and many ceramics exhibitions in and around Hobart in beautiful galleries and spaces. I wrote copious notes, took way too many photos and am still processing all the information provided through out the conference. I highly recommend newcomers to the ceramics scene put this conference on their wish list to do in 2022. Click on Galleries (under their name in black text) to go direct to their websites. Also, same for Pollen Tea Room. Best Anne
When all good things come to an end. As much as I loved my AM PM Ceramics website, the reality of monthly fees & annual charges by an e-commerce USA host meant I could no longer afford it. Sigh! After much thinking, I decided to consolidate so I could focus on my practice & plans. I have revamped my Anne Masters Ceramics blog, so some entries are pretty old but a new look means new beginnings.
My ceramic practice This is the first time I haven’t planned an exhibition for 2019! It’s surreal as I had three group exhibitions in 2018 & seem to thrive on doing too much! I have one body of work in mind as a result of travelling on trains in Europe. So watch this space when that comes to fruition! To support my practice as an artist, I own & operate a gallery which has kept me busy and focused on supporting and mentoring artists. I love my job and look forward to balancing the gallery and my own practice.
Travel blog I also love telling a story! I love travel, photography, architecture and visiting galleries in Australia and overseas just to list a few. So, whenever you think of travelling and need some tips, advice on what to see and do, then pop on over to my travel blog to getaway in style! My instagram @annemastersceramics also features my travel in short snippets in case you aren’t a fan of bloggers and blogs.
Travel to inspire making new works There are travel plans ahead – a trip to Hobart for the Australian Ceramics Triennale in May – which no doubt will reinvigorate what I would like to make. I’m also hoping, Adam and I go to Spain and Portugal in mid-June to mid-July, pending our work commitments. This photo is by Fritha Quinn who’s instagram is rich with colour, travel and her family. The tiles behind her are classic of what I’ll be drooling over in a few months!
So, welcome to the new website and I look forward to hearing from you, Anne x
As an artist & gallery operator, it’s rare to have a weekend off. So for our 10th wedding anniversary, I decided a driving holiday was a good way to celebrate. I read an magazine article where the writer travels the Old Bells Line of Road in the Hawkesbury region. I didn’t know this part of the lower blue mountains existed let alone it’s gems. While she provided lots of historical spots to visit, my husband and I were more keen on architecture, breweries and gardens. We did a blend of hers and our own driving trip, and with travel less than 3hrs from Canberra to Windsor, we found it a breeze.
Once you get off the highway to head to Windsor, the changes in scenery and housing becomes more relaxing as we pass by small to large properties from pastel coloured weatherboard to sweeping driveways with wraparound verandas and cast iron lacework. Windsor has Australia’s oldest pub, the Macquarie Arms Hotel, and my other half was keen to sit and have a drink. We felt we were in an episode of the ABC’s TV show Jack Irishas two old timers enthusiastically regaled their tales to all in listening distance!
From here we found The Doctors house, retaining its pretty colonial Terrace architecture style from 1819. A short walk along the river has a paddle steamer on show at the Bridge & retracing your steps back towards Deerubbin Park makes this all very slow paced but for good reasons.
We head to our B&B The Willows in Kurrajong via Richmond where an avenue of plane trees provide a grand entrance to this quaint town. More on this later. We head to the hills winding in & out up the valley & once we leave the main road, discover properties tucked away in the bushes far from city life. Purple wisteria falls from an original shed as we drive down the cream gravel to our B&B. It’s everything I imagined. Wide open veranda, sweeping lawns, a few lambs & quiet apart from a song or two from local birdlife. Janet greets us like we’ve known each other for years, she shows our private entrance to the house, two rooms & discreetly leaves before you’ve put down your bags. We melt into the cushioned chairs on the verandah & don’t move till we head out for dinner. We begin to unwind.
We book into Lochiel House, as recommended by the article and one of three places that host Bruce recommends in the local vicinity. We are greeted with an enthusiastic waitress Lucy who makes our night. She’s chatty and knows when to give us our space. We eat three courses – all of which we enjoy – as everything is sourced locally and made fresh. My dessert is the best pistachio and lemon cake ever! A new menu is due to come out mid October … we are tempted to go back.
After a sleep in on Sunday, we head off to The Blue Mountains botanical gardens at Mt Tomah. We fail to find the Bells Point lookout as written in the article along with a few other sights…we begin to wonder if they exist.
Luckily, we spy the Hillbilly Cider brewery sign and a sharp right (traffic on the long weekend a bit crazy) means a little gravel screeching in Bilpin. As Adam is driving, I get to taste the vintage cider and instantly sigh. It’s like champagne but much softer. Me being Miss Practical thinks we will only buy two bottles. Adam says why buy two when you can buy a box! Which we do but on our return home as we don’t want to jiggle the cider on our road trip.
Off to the gardens and the car park is nearly full. It’s the long weekend and we luck in with a spot. Coats, scarves and brolly are needed as it’s unpredictable in this cooler part of the lower mountains. Upon entering and heading to the lookout we suddenly realise this is a huge garden … at least two hours of meandering it’s many paths, different variety of gardens and endless insta moments at every turn. The gardens are simply stunning and we’ve hit the right time to see spring flowers in bloom. Give it a few weeks and we think it would be just as spectacular as so many buds were yet to bloom.
We are now starving. I had spied a cafe earlier & it turns out to be a very popular place that’s been hammered by its weekend visitors. We are told it’s a long wait for food but happy with our cider/ beer to keep us company. It’s worth the wait & we enjoy Kingfish & Sirloin on the deck covered in Cherry Blossoms. Time to hit the road, collect our cider, purchase dinner from the local deli who’s owner is chatty & friendly & head back to our retreat. We settle in for an afternoon of reading watching the sunset and a roaring fireplace as the temps drop quickly. Sleep comes easily.
A quiet morning to rest & later lunch in the town of Richmond. It’s a public holiday so not much is open but Adam spies a record shop and off he disappears into the network of little rooms themed for its style – rock, metal, country. Several bought records later, we then find some takeaway food and sit in the local park overlooking the cricket ground. Families, couples, friends enjoying the extra day off and the brief summer warmth of what’s to come. We check out some of the older buildings that have been faithfully restored. The School of Arts is my fave….well I do run a gallery!
We wake to another warm Spring day and bid farewell to our lovely hosts. Off to Oberon for our last activity before heading home to Canberra. I read about Mayfield Garden in another magazine and knew instantly we had to visit. Again, another cool climate location where the weather can change so this time it was sunscreen, hats and water. A quick bite to eat in the cafe and then off to explore the largest privately owned garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Grand. Is all we can say. Everything from the obelik to the grotto means a serious love of European gardens to turn a bare dirt landscape into a lush, blooming oasis for all to enjoy. We plan to come back late Spring as so much had yet to bloom.
Time to head home & reminisce our four day getaway. It’s amazing how an extra two days can give you that chance to fully unwind. So, if you can, stretch your next weekend for that perfect getaway.
Well it’s now been nine days later after opening night on Friday 3 July 2015 and I’m still on a high as our group exhibition Protean by 19 members from Claybodies Ceramics Group has been a huge success.
So many wonderful people braved 5 degrees and Canberra’s coldest night to date to support our opening. We were all in a state of shock as you could barely move.
But, the excitement and buzzing in the room was fantastic and everyone later said it felt like good vibes and happy people! We think more than 200 visitors attended and stayed till closing.
Sales kept our artists busy and catalogues flew out the door. Well at $8 for a beautifully designed book, we are not surprised!
Our group worked really hard to bring this exhibition to fruition as early as August last year. Meetings were held monthly and hotted up from February this year as it became apparent we had a lot of work to coordinate and delegate. Works were discussed with our Curator, Mark Van Veen, former CMAG curator and he provide guidance on selecting 1-3 works each and teaching us the essence of contemplating fewer objects rather than en mass. He also helped with sizing of plinths as we had to make our own plinths. This is rare as most galleries supply them but Nishi Gallery don’t have storage room.
So, my husband Adam spent many weekends and week nights custom making 17 plinths. Our garage became a mountain of boxes until a group of women descended with paint rollers in hand! It was such a great day as rollers went swishing and the boxes started to resemble art gallery plinths.
We also engaged a photographer, artist statement workshop and designer to pull together a stunning catalogue to showcase our works. All of this was purely funded by the artists. No financial assistance was received by local or state government. You wouldn’t want to know how much it cost…but we all truly believe in our practice and that ceramics is a truly wonderful art form that deserves prominence.
So, what work do I have this time? I’ve created a new body of work based on the domestic sparrow. Here is my artist statement in the catalogue:
Dull and brown, flittering in shadows, domestic Poor little sparrow you are invisible But I can change that Porcelain and light, patterns piercing you Delicate, white and now seen
A few photos from the exhibition which runs till 19 July 2015. Get in quick as works are selling fast! Also check out The Canberra Times and Sydney Morning Herald for a wonderful arts review by Kerry Anne Cousins.
Well, it’s 5.18pm on a balmy winter’s night in Perth. While Canberra drops to -5 in temps, Perth remains in double figures till evening closes in. It’s been so relaxing and I don’t think I’ve ever visited a city where everyone seems so chilled and laid back. Well, Portland, Oregon was the closest and admittedly I’ve spotted a fair share of hipsters, bicycles, beards, barista’s and ‘forage’ dining places that Perth is not far behind becoming the next ‘cool capital’ to visit (after Canberra of course!).
“$$$ Forget New York, Tokyo or London – the highest population of self made millionaires in the world per capita hail from Perth”.
Mmm…what we have discovered that drinking or eating here is really expensive. It is a town of boom or bust and its economy clearly props the wealthy. I’ve been lucky and managed to find a few cute and affordable places for lunch but dinner proves to be very expensive. So what do I recommend? Moore & Moore located in Fremantle is housed in a historic building and a fave for Notre Dame uni students. Food is fresh and the homemade lemonade refreshing. Source Foods located on crn of Brisbane and Beaufort Street serves the best coffee and none of this little glass business! It’s a proper size Alice cup that seems never ending. Adam’s fave is The Royal and when he first came here, as part of his contract, he ate there 11 nights running!! I limited it to two nights as I like variety…
So, what have I done while Adam was working…I’ve been pounding the pavement as I always do when I visit a new city. Perth is pretty much flat with a few hills. They have free transport in the city and luckily our apartment is on the fringe so I can get on and off whenever. So, sandstone. The city is built on sand. You can see it creeping through pavers, the garden beds and at building sites. Most of the older/heritage architecture are built from sandstone and in immaculate condition.
Even the art deco style buildings look like they have just been painted. I can’t get over how clean the city is and all the public gardens are manicured within a inch of perfection.
Sun. Sunrise and Sunsets – this city sure knows how to put on a show. We’ve seen some stunning weather and who needs TV when you can look out the window and soak up the colours of orange/pinks/golds. While we’ve had a few showers, they come and go and the sun keeps the winter feel at bay.
Shopping – oh! my! I’ve managed to do a little shopping – 3 tops (Morgan & Morgan, Method), a pair of earrings, a set of hair clips , three gifts (Beau Est Mien in Northbridge, Ware, Mt Lawley) and resisting the urge to keep on spending. It’s only been four days and I’ve been very conservative. Well, maybe not. I totally indulged yesterday and had a few treatments at Djurra Day Spa. I’ve never treated myself to something like this.
I felt the need as I’ve been working flat out since Boxing Day and have had two weekends off. It was crazy but all for good causes – an up and coming exhibition I’ll be in (3 July 15 opening at Nishi Gallery, Canberra) and my newest venture – an online shop showcasing my porcelain earrings. I’m very excited as this will be launched 14 July on Bastille Day. Why Bastille Day? Because my earrings are chic and I’d like think my range is as fashionable as the women are in France.
It’s now Wednesday 10 June and I have a slight hangover. We caught up with friends the night before and enjoyed a drop or two..or three…I worked with Naomi in the AFP and we realised its been nearly five years since we’ve seen each other. In the meantime she studied law, got married and moved to perth. So lots to catch up on. I took it easy yesterday as the walking is taking its toll on my little toe. I spent the day working on my marketing plan, content for the website and liasing back and forth on emails.
It was hard work as I sat in the gardens of City Farm Cafe eating Chickpea, roasted carrot and zucchini dill salad and later a guilt free (my phrase for gluten free) coconut, pistachio lime cake! Our final night (well my last night as Adam goes back to Perth in a week’s time to continue his work) was an all out meal at Lallah Rookah – a semi-fine dining restaurant/bar in the business district where the meals were just divine.
So, if you are thinking of visiting Perth, I highly recommend it and if you get the chance go to Vasse Felix in the Margaret River as they have the best cabernet’s. Cheers, Anne
Hello everyone, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve been busy since Boxing Day making new work for an up and coming exhibition. So, please save the date and if you would like an invite please send me an email request. Thanks, Anne