HYPERCLAY: A review by Altair Roelants

HYPERCLAY – A review by Altair Roelants

Object’s national touring exhibition, HYPERCLAY: Contemporary Ceramics (Sydney, 8 October 2011 – 8 January 2012), is a postmodern take on the ceramics show, in both content and display.

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The Whole Man – The Life and Work of Peter Rushforth By Jan Howlin

The Whole Man – The Life and Work of Peter Rushforth by Jan Howlin

Peter Rushforth emerges from Le Var, the rustic Blue Mountains house where he and his wife Bobby have lived for more than 30 years, and approaches with an open hand and a warm, gentle greeting.

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The Inlaid Landscape

Works by Sony Manning | by Inga Walton

In nearly thirty years as a discreet but resonant figure in Australian ceramics, Sony Manning has become justly renowned and widely admired for her distinctive and meticulous work with clay inlay. Manning’s elegant and immediately recognisable vessels have a beautiful continuity to them. Using a combination of layers, with both inlaid slips and plastic clays, she applies metallic oxides for pigment. Manning strives to expand the technical parameters of her practice while maintaining her abiding fascination for the colours and contours of the rural landscape.

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Which Kiln is Best?

Woodrow Kilns – [Promotion]

Perhaps the question should be qualified by asking “Best at what?”
We could ask “Which gives the best firing results, which has the best efficiency or which is the best and easiest to use?” The argument could also extend to include “Which offers the best service life, the best safety or the best (lowest) repair cost?”

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Capturing an Image

Technical | Stoneware Glazes

Greg Daly develops a stoneware palette

Daly_Source_image.jpgIt can be quite easy. Taking a stoneware base recipe, in this case Bernard Leach’s Cone 8 recipe, I will make alterations to develop two distinct glaze palettes. The seascape image (see below) will form the basis for both surfaces and colours.

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On the Roundness of Things

Phil Elson offers some thoughts on tea and early memories

I am writing about teapots. I make many more bowls than I do teapots, however there is something about teapots; something that evokes early memories, the very earliest memories. Mothers and teapots, they seemed to go together. Mothers, and friends around for cups of tea; and that shape – that round teapot shape – always there, always about the place. I remember it; remember its roundness – white with blue drawings and a stain from the tip of the spout down to the base. It is in my sea of memories; permanently, it seems. And now I make teapots; not white with blue drawings, and, hopefully, devoid of brown stains. This is what pots can do for us; take us to places that otherwise may be inaccessible – places that remind us of the roundness of life.

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Total Immersion

Greg Crowe on his McKnight Residency at the Northern Clay Center| Greg Crowe

[ technical: artists in residence ]

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For three months, from July to August 2008, I undertook a McKnight Artists Residency for Ceramic Artists, awarded by the Northern Clay Centre (NCC), Minneapolis, MN, US. I was also supported in this residency by a Mid-Career Fellowship from the WA Department for Culture and the Arts. I originally became aware of the NCC in 2002 when participating in the Upper St Croix Valley Studio Tour, Minnesota. I was invited to participate by Jeff Oestreich, and was based at his studio, about an hour’s drive north of Minneapolis. Whilst there I visited the NCC a couple of times and was very impressed with the facilities and the very professional promotion of all aspects of ceramics.

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Technical Focus: Wood-firing. Down with Wood Ash

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Steve Harrison describes taking home a ‘perfect system’ Bourry box kiln

Firing a Bourry box down-draught kiln can be quiet, calm and civilised. Most of the time is spent sitting and watching the firebox work. When larger pieces of hardwood are used, a single stoke of wood can last up to one hour. I like this kind of firing; it makes for a very laid-back firing experience, but of course it isn’t for everyone.

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The Role of the Heart in Making Pots

author: gary healey | photographer: terence bogue

gary-healey_nb.jpgLike many people, I read lots of ceramic and art magazines. This helps in deciding whether the next crazy idea you have come up may be worth pursuing, or whether what you have just made is likely to find a market, but I often wonder whether I am in another business. There are lots of learned articles about the meaning behind what someone is doing or making. Detailed narratives are produced on objects which, to me, have little intrinsic value as forms; constructs are used which I have never seen; and wading through source material referenced in footnotes makes me giddy!


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Walter Auer Manifesto Animale

author: marilyn walters | photographer: richard weinstein

A defining link between the processes of making and the aesthetic power generated by these processes is immediately obvious and arresting in the body of work entitled Manifesto Animale by Walter Auer, exhibited at Mura Clay Gallery, Newtown in July, 2007. Of these processes, firing is of paramount importance. Through a rigorous firing method, discarded soft toys soaked in clay slips, are transformed into quite confronting symbols of vulnerability and pathos. Sealed within metal drums, lids weighted down to ensure no oxygen enters or smoke escapes, the pieces undergo a petrifying process similar to that produced in smoke firing. It can take four to five such firings, to temperatures ranging from 999 – 1060°C, for the artist to achieve the desired result. Terracotta terra sigillata, copper oxide and copper carbonate increase the physical strength of the works, but the surfaces achieved through this punishing firing sequence appear as fragile and as delicate as newspaper ash.


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The Point of Interest: Function and the Art of Pottery

The work of Ian Jones

author: ian jones | photographer: stuart hay

ian-jones-02-jug.jpgIt’s thirty three years since I first started studying pottery, and I am intrigued to find myself still as interested in making functional pottery as I was in 1974. Functional work doesn’t seem particularly sexy in this world of post-modern ceramics so for the last few years, whilst exploring my fascination with casseroles and teapots, baking dishes and coffee cups, I have had time to think about what it is that has sustained me making these pieces for so long.

I keep coming back to a question which has some personal meaning for me: Where is the art of pottery to be found?

In these times of university-based ceramic training, it seems that ceramics is commonly viewed through the eye of related arts. If the decorated surface works in terms of painting, then it is successful art. If the form works in sculptural terms, again it is art. If the ceramic object makes a statement on the war in Iraq, or comments on the human condition, or is witty or cutting about modern times, it is art.


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