Australian Ceramics Triennale 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

New year | new look

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

A driving getaway to unwind …. lower Blue Mountains

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.

Perth – sandstone, sunsets and very laid back

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…

Arthouse – one of many sandstone buildings in Fremantle, Perth

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.

Architecture from different decades and well preserved
Architecture from different decades and well preserved

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.

Queens Garden, Perth
Queens Garden, Perth








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.

Pampering on my tootsies!

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.

City Farm Cafe, Perth
City Farm Cafe, Perth

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