December 2011

by Patsy Hely, President

H.G. Nelson will be the guest speaker at the opening of the Association’s biennial member’s exhibition The Narrative Knot on Friday 2 December, and that will be a nicely humorous note with which to see out the end of the year. The opening will be at 6pm at Manly Art Gallery and Museum and it will be great to see the work of members and to catch up with and thank the curator, Adelaide’s Gerry Wedd, for the really good job he has done.

Also opening at the same time will be the PROmotion exhibition, curated by local artist Dee Taylor-Graham, showcasing the work of emerging artists. Planned as part of the celebration of the Journal of Australian Ceramics 50th anniversary, PROmotion will also feature work from the Gallery’s ceramic collection and – importantly – material looking back over 50 years of the Journal of Australian Ceramics. Two expertly curated shows with one opening, new work to look at and think about, drinks with friends and colleagues, a balmy summer evening by the sea: can’t wait!

And, then to usher in 2012, we will be back at Manly Art Gallery for the Journal’s 50th anniversary celebration on Sunday 22 January from 5.30 – 7.30pm. I hope as many members as possible can join the current Editor Vicki Grima, the Committee, and me for drinks and refreshments to celebrate this significant milestone. 

The guest speaker at the event will be Grace Cochrane whose experience in the craft and design field, and whose familiarity with Australian ceramics, makes her well placed to recognize the achievement that 50 years of continuous publication presents. Grace’s past experience as curator of Decorative Arts at the Powerhouse Museum, and since as a widely published writer on craft and design and independent curator, gives her a unique international perspective on writing and publishing in the area. 

The formal proceedings will include also a presentation to past editors and short talks in praise of the Journal by myself and by the current editor Vicki Grima. Dee Taylor-Graham will give a brief personal perspective on the 50th anniversary PROmotion show and last but by no means least, I will be presenting the inaugural Trudie Alfred Bequest Ceramic Scholarships – five awards of $4000 – to the 2012 recipients. The scholarship committee, Vicki Grima, Prue Venables, Ray Cavill and I met via Skype last week and arrived at unanimous agreement about the recipients. We will shortly be writing to each applicant but our aim is to keep the names of those successful under wraps until the 50th event. 

Members should receive their invitation to the celebration sometime in early December and again, hope to see lots of you there. We realize it may be difficult for interstate members to attend but if you are in Sydney over January, we’d love you to come along. The invitation will request an RSVP as we need this for catering purposes.

So the 50th anniversary can be celebrated with a broader audience and in particular with interstate members, a further celebration event is planned to take place during the 2012 Australian Ceramics Triennale in Adelaide. Details of this will go out closer to the date and we hope those who can’t make it to Sydney will have the chance to clink glasses at the Conference. 

On a less happy note, most members will have heard the news that Craft Australia, the peak body for craft and design in Australia, is being ‘defunded’ by the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. This is very unexpected news and, I think, for members of the ceramics community, a real blow. On behalf of the Association, the Committee and I have written to the VAB’s Kon Gouriotis, the Minister for the Arts Simon Crean, and the Shadow Minister for the Arts, George Brandis expressing our strong opposition to this decision and our dismay at the absence of any consultation with the sector. I urge members who support the Association’s position to also write to this group, and to sign the petition on Craft Australia’s website:

This has been a good year for TACA. Our membership numbers are strong and interest in our field – as attested by the number of exhibition openings, the growing number of significant ceramic awards, and the number of publications on ceramics released internationally recently – is likewise solid. 

In this final newsletter for 2011 I would like to thank the Association and Journal office for all of the work they do on behalf of members to keep both TACA and the Journal in good working order. Ashley and Elisa do a splendid job of keeping everything ticking over on a day to day basis. TACA Executive Officer and JAC Editor Vicki Grima does a Herculean job in not only juggling the requirements of both roles but in being a great ambassador and advocate for Australian ceramics. Thanks as well to all Committee members for their work and ideas over the last 12 months.

Next year there are a number of events on the agenda, the JAC 50th anniversary celebrations at Manly and in Adelaide, the Australian Ceramics Triennale in Adelaide and the member’s exhibition, The Vase Show, planned to take place there. And, we hope to see our new look website released early in the New Year and plans for digitizing the Journal are under consideration.

Author: Australian Ceramics

In 1956, The Potters Society of Australia was formed to encourage and foster the development, appreciation and recognition of potters and pottery. It was the first ceramics organisation in Australia. In 2006, our name was changed to The Australian Ceramics Association to more fully reflect the scope of practice of the members. We are a national, not-for-profit organisation representing the interests of practising potters and ceramicists, students of ceramics and all those interested in Australian ceramics. We actively support and promote quality, specialist ceramics education nationally. T: 1300 720 124

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