Did you know, on the 4th level of the V&A, is room after room filled with ceramics! The Ceramic Galleries has rooms 136 to 146 showcase ceramics in a timeline from contemporary to 2500 BC. I had to visit twice. There was so much to take in and I needed more time to truly soak in the beauty of this vast collection. A map is included in the photos below.
Standouts for me included:
the large cup by Robin Levien in the middle of room 140 in the 2000 and below period. I equated this object to the Chair. In my extensive travels around the world, one thing I did note was how often the ‘chair’ was featured prominently. To be fair, we do tend to visit design and craft spaces so this would explain it. I just love how the V&A has placed a ceramic cup in a prominent space to remind us form, function and beauty does exist in all created objects.
The teaching space in the Timothy Sainsbury Gallery. I love how they displayed the processes that go behind making say a ceramic cup. Often viewers don’t know how much labour, time and energy goes into making a piece and then you are beholden to the kiln gods (the firings can quite literally make or break the outcome).
Yellow dish from Asia room – as you know I love yellow. I couldn’t pass on this gorgeous yellow glaze made for the Chinese imperial court.
The café Gamble Room is the ultimate luxe experience for affordable casual lunches/teas. I also sat in the garden room to admire the courtyard and people watching on a hot Summer’s day.
Rows upon rows of glass cabinets filled to the brim. I could have stayed all day…
Dish from Asian & Eastern roomCoffee set by Keith MurrayFoyer stairwell with ceramic vesselFoyer stairwell with ceramic tilesCeramic wall work in foyerRoom upon room filled with ceramics!
From mid-June to early October, I was lucky to travel to Austria, Germany, The Hague and Netherlands, Belgium, London and Edinburgh. I worked in Austria as a Support Officer for the Australian National University’s Criminology Department who had 23 students visiting Vienna for an immersive Summer unit. Criminology Convenor Dr Adam Masters led the course which was taught for the first time and proved to be a success. Of course, in our down time we visited many museums, galleries and parks to enjoy Vienna’s art and culture.
I have written several travel stories on my work blog which is Gallery of Small Things – a gallery I run in Canberra. I’ve been operating the gallery for more than 6 years now and love my job. It’s been a balance to manage my arts practice with the gallery and I must admit the past three years has meant my practice has been put on hold while I kept my business alive during the pandemic.
I thought for this blog, I would focus mainly on ceramics I saw during our travels. I’m going to start at the end of the trip as the highlight for me was an unexpected exhibition held in Bath, UK. Who would have thought a little town would be hosting a major retrospective of one of my ‘in awe’ muses – Lucie Rie!
Holburne Museum is a hidden gem nestled in Sydney Park. It houses an extensive private collection (more than 4000 objects, pictures & books). Lucie’s exhibition was on one floor + a little room housing test pieces. The main room had decades of her work which were curated beautifully among the regal furniture, fine art and decorative arts from the collection of Sir William Holburne.
I was emotionally overwhelmed by seeing her works in person. It’s one thing to see it in a book but to be so close to the objects and have the room to myself (apart from the staff minding the space) was an incredibly defining moment for me. I knew that as soon as got home to Australia – I needed to focus on making again. I’m delighted to say that since we’ve been home, I’ve been working on a top secret project which will be announced (cross fingers) in February 2024! Please enjoy the following photos.
Top Row: Holburne House, Tall foot, manganese drip, inlaid, Made at 88! Middle Row (first photo): fashionable Viennese earthenware Bottom Row (far right): Porcelain, iron oxide & sgraffito Main bottom image: Coffee culture, Lucie loved to entertain with homemade cake & coffee
I’m excited to announce that my Pollen earrings are now stocked at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery shop. This gallery is located on the fringes of Great Western Sydney. Think Windsor, Richmond and a bit further afield the Blue Mountains. It’s a great driving holiday if you are thinking of a little getaway that takes you through some fabulous places with history, cider and of course art galleries! I wrote a story about our driving itinerary which can be read here. The pollen range comes in stud or drop as well as sterling sliver or rose plated gold meaning you can positively bloom day and night, Anne x
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
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
Well its been a jam-packed week as Adam and I have managed to squeeze so many sights in during our first part of our Chicago stay and then 3 days in Michigan for a beautiful wedding.
We are now back in Chicago for 3 more days and fly to New York this Friday. But back to the beginning. I’ve decided I want to get a job in Chicago! We’ve heard so much about this city but had no idea just how exciting and diverse the place is and it makes Melbourne and Sydney look like the younger sisters. The city sky line is an architect’s dream and we were told to do a boat tour and being me I did my research to find that the Chicago Architect Foundation are the official sponsors of Chicago’s First Lady. We worked out that the best time was 5.30pm as the night before we watched the skyline and the lights started coming on @ 6-6.30pm and we thought we get a mix of late afternoon/evening skies for our picturesque photos. I think we took more than 100 photos as at every turn the tour guide would highlight the significance of a building, the location or architect/s involved. PS – if you click on the photos they will come up larger.
Evening boat tour Chicago_1
Evening boat tour – Chicago_2
Before the boat ride we managed to pound the pavement for 2 days non-stop and visit Millennium Park, the Magnificent Mile, the Water Towers, MCA (we’ve got tickets to see the David Bowie costume exhibition touring from the V&A and can’t wait for that!), the Rookery (a stunning art deco building designed by Lloyd Wright) as well as the Robie House located in Chicago’s outer suburbs. A contemporary home built on a prairie and costing $60,000 back in 1910 (equivalent of $3.4 million today) – the cost included the house, land and furnishings – so actually a bargain at the time! While we were there we went to the local University and it was like Hogwarts on steroids!! We couldn’t believe the size/design of the buildings and ornate landscaping in the University of Chicago. Obviously a prestigious university for those with money and connections. I wonder if they have ceramics or international relations here? We stayed at the Longman & Eagle Inn located in Logan Square – basically a trendy part of town consisting of way too many hipsters! Beards, bicycle and boutique beers are the staples for these indie style guys.
Anne on Magnificent Mile
Okay, we did heaps more but I won’t go into everything as we have a wedding to indulge in! Adam and I hired a car and headed north to Arcadia, Michigan – approx. a 5hr drive which ended up being close to 7hrs as we got a little confused heading out of Chicago and onto the main highway. We were thrown by being on the RHS with a LH steering wheel and then trying to figure out the signage and exits. I think I managed to blurt out a few swear words (not at Adam) but at some of the drivers and eventually we got the swing of the road and the rule is you must stay in the far RH lane if you travel slower than everyone else. No one adhered to the speed limits of 70 miles and we saw many people pulled over by the police. We found our way to Holland which turned out to be the prettiest town with beautiful shops and a Swiss cafe (surprise! surprise!) for a late lunch. By the time we got to Arcadia, the sun had well and truly set and temperatures had plummeted. With only a light jacket, bare pin legs and sandals we stood out as the “Australian’s” everyone had heard about! We wolfed down dinner with the Danes who we just pipped us at the post and then went to the bonfire next to Lake Michigan. Okay, now this is meant to be a lake but I’m talking sand dunes, reeds and washed up tree logs and a howl from the lake that made it sound and feel more like being at the beach on a stormy evening! Absolutely mind-boggling. We headed back to the house, found our room – hot pink bedspread that Adam adored 😉 and creaking springy mattress with one pillow to share…ain’t love grand.
Watervale Inn, Arcadia, initially a logging town in 1917
Inside Watervale Inn where the reception was held
The wedding – we have a magazine in Australia called ‘Frankie‘ and its one of my favourite style/design icons. I had a feeling Amanda and Paul’s wedding would be ‘Frankie’ style with lots of hand-made touches – flowers in glass bottles hanging off the aisle chairs, Turkish lanterns in various sizes, a flower arch, ceramic potted succulents on the tables and the list goes on. So, this is where I’ll end as the last two photos are pretty special and a special start to their journey and the rest of our trip.
Amanda’s beaded dress, her hair and glowing smile says it all – stunning!
Lower Herring Lake and a stunning sunset for the couple
This is name of one of my favourite songs and yet it’s all about a breakup between lovers. I love the lyrics and Nelly’s sweet sounds.
So, how does that relate to my exhibition? Two weeks ago, we bumped out of Strathnairn. It was very quick. In less than 2 hrs we all packed up our artworks, labelled the ones that had sold, put a thank you pack with each sold piece and before I knew it I was heading to my friends place to help her with her Kickstarter project.
It’s the strangest feeling when an exhibition comes to an end. Hence the song resonates with that mixed feeling of relief and a tinge of sadness.
You’ve spent months creating, making and stressing about the works and hoping all goes well on opening night. I think we (as in the artists) all dream the night before ‘did I stick that bowl down…will it fall off the wall…should I have made more?’ – quite silly thoughts but artists are constantly assessing, reassessing and wondering how will their works be received? And yet, none of that worry was really needed. We did really well and I thought I’d put up our reviews that appeared in The Canberra Times and The Sydney Morning Herald along with my interview with ABC Radio 666.
We’ve had an amazing couple of weeks with our publicity and I’m so grateful to have a community of journalists/photographers/bloggers who support us as best as they can. So, thank you to all those involved and supporting visual artists practice as professionals in the field they love most.
Well, we thought a few people might come out on our exhibition opening night but with rain forecast and a chilly afternoon we were a bit worried! But luckily, the skies were blue, the afternoon was only slightly chilly and more than 250 people came to our opening night! I think Linda’s mulled wine, the warm fireplaces and of course fabulous ceramic works for sale were enough for guests to make a little side trip to the country.
We think we hit at least 250 attending the night – people had to park in the paddocks as there were no car spaces left!
Richard, Brian and Paul
Strathnairn Arts is a quaint homestead located on the fringes of Canberra’s suburbs. On one side is a horse training facility, vineyards and olive groves and on the other side of the road is suburbia. Most people don’t realise that 15 minutes outside of the city’s center is this wonderful place which showcases the visual arts in it’s two galleries, a shop and cafe. On Sundays in Winter you can purchase wood-fire pizzas and look out into the garden filled with lemon trees, orchids and gum trees (and the occasional horse wandering along the footpath!).
Anyway, we had a great night and speeches went down really well with Strathnairn Arts Board President Alaine King welcoming visitors, ceramic artist and lecturer Joanne Searle formally opening the event on behalf of Anita McIntyre and myself speaking on behalf of the exhibition group. I think the mulled wine settled my nerves. It was great to be able to thank everyone and raise the Claybodies profile – a group of ceramic artists meeting monthly to form networks, exchange ideas and techniques and participate in exhibitions in Canberra.
From left to right: Joanne Searle opening our exhibition. Liz Crowe, Melinda Brouwer, Linda Davy, Monika Leone, Anne Masters, Jo Victoria and Erin Kocaj. Pam Crossley in Melbourne but will be at Strathnairn Sunday 29 June as part of ‘Meet the makers’.
We initiated a ‘Meet the makers’ program so artists would be at Strathnairn on the weekends to meet the public and explain the processes involved. Some of us took our work in and made so it was very hands on for children and adults to watch us in action.
Anne in action at ‘Meet the makers’
It’s our last weekend exhibition this Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June. Hopefully you can come out and meet some of the makers Erin and Pam and check out the works by members of Claybodies.
Photos courtesy of Strathnairn Arts, Canberra Potters Society and artist