MORE NEWS AND UPDATES

Update on Ross Michell-Anyon from the Wanganui Chronicle newspaper… with thanks to Raewyn. Ross is, apparently, improving every day – but it will be late September or early October before Ross goes home. Currently in the acquired brain injury rehabilitation centre in Porirua following a 12-metre fall on April 21, Ross’ wife, Bobbi, said the recovery would be slow but was under way. “He’s definitely making progress. He is staying awake longer but his condition still fluctuates a lot and he finds activity tiring”. Bobbi added that Ross was now able to feed himself and has been eating from his own pots.”He wasn’t able to swallow until probably several days ago, but he had Weetbix and milk and coffee for breakfast. When he can consume enough food to sustain his body, then the feeding tube will be removed.” “He’s very much still in an internal world. He doesn’t know where he is, he doesn’t know what’s happened.” But he is talking. “They’re fully formed words, but they don’t join together. We talk for a long time about all sorts of unusual things. He says to me sometimes, ‘Now what is the time, darling?’ He sort of thinks that he needs to be doing something but he can’t remember what.” He was able to laugh and smile. “The sense of humour is definitely there.” Bobbi said she would return home to Whanganui shortly but continue to visit her Ross at weekends. “It’s really early days, but from where he was, in a coma, until now is really good progress. He needs to just get on with getting better- and he’s got great support here.” So, clearly this is to be a long haul for Ross. Cards and notes to c/o 90 Mortimer Terrace, Brooklyn, Wellington.

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New Ceramics Magazine from Australia – called YARROBIL – yes I know, and neither do I. But the editorial says they are looking for contributions – intelligent, lively and accomplished, devoid of jargon but would be happy about irreverence or wittiness plus engaging and daring. They include the scholarly particularly if original and based on primary research although wish to avoid the artist writing about their work claiming a strong philosophical influence by a particular philosopher and you look at the work and it’s simply not happening… (right-on!). Reviews are welcome if clever, funny, irreverent and/or witty… so say the joint editors Neil and Bernadette Mansfield and with those aims they are not a lot different from any of the other ceramic magazines and journals currently available. I’m sure the editors of the NZ Potters variously labeled publications in their motley incarnations would not disagree. Anyway, just received my first copy and I have to say it’s a really propitious start. Almost square format, first-rate contemporary design of generous proportions with plenty of well managed white space, good production values with weighty matte paper and superb reproduction of images with a useful over-gloss – that adds depth. Additionally, it has almost 80 pages, few adverts and those all full-page so none of those ever smaller boxes within boxes, although there are a couple of ‘articles’ that are read more like infomercials. Content is almost exclusively Australian, at least for this first issue. But then, the first issue, (which I still have) of Ceramics Art and Perception was also largely Aussie. But that soon changed, and probably so will this. Before I go on, did you catch the names of the editors? Yes, this is a dynastic venture with not only Neil and Bernadette but also Josh, Charlie, Max and Siobhan of the Mansfield clan listed as on staff. Only the Creative Director sports another surname (Melissa Kallas)but maybe she was one and changed when she got married? I don’t know. Anyway, the entrepreneurial spirit of Janet clearly lives on. So too, it would appear, does her penchant for the effects of wood-firing and the Anglo-oriental philosophy, as work in this genre, and, one way or another, some close relatives, makes up much of the content of this initial issue. Further on content – they have pretty much nailed it as to their stated aims. The writing is varied in style from the poetic, to the analytical, to the meditative, to the joyously domestic, to ‘ficto-critical’, to the ruminative, and every word of it is worth reading. There is the tale of a family’s response to a work where the maker’s name is not mentioned, notes on journeying to Japan but about influences and observances not travelogue, engaging circumlocutions on what functional might actually mean if it’s not tableware, ponderings upon the intimacies of a change in country- and therefore materials- on work, a little on direct physical interaction with a massive quantity of clay and the process of surrendering, mentions of history, archaeology and entropy, information on celadon glaze and a lyrical series of apprehensions around some sculpture and more, much more. All pieces are short, amounting to about maybe an A4 page at most, if A4 pages were part of the picture here, to barely more than a couple of paras with an image. It’s lively, salient and I think the word is crisp. Furthermore it costs just $20 a copy. I shall get more as it’s different to my most favorite ceramic journal, the Studio Potter out of the USA. It’s not the read that the American bi-annual is but then, it costs less. They are chalk and cheese really and both highly recommended. Subscriptions can be obtained from editor@yarrowbil.com, or www.yarrobil.com or write to Mansfield Ceramics, 269 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, Sydney 2010, NSW, Australia. Jane Sawyer in Melbourne (WCC and Director of Slow Clay) is co-ordinating a specifically targeted appeal on behalf of the World Crafts Council – Australian Branch. Almost one year ago I visited Nepal for the first time. On the advice of a wise friend I took a “Go-Pack” in case there was an earthquake. What’s a Go-Pack, I asked. Well, apparently it’s what all the NGO’s require their employees and volunteers to carry in earthquake zones. It’s basically a survival day-pack with emergency supplies to keep going for a few days: space blanket, first aid kit, muesli bars, water and purifier, solar radio, torch, that sort of thing. Not the usual contents of my travel bag for a holiday! It seemed like overkill – should I really worry so much? I was laughed at by plenty, including my nearest and dearest, for being too paranoid. But I took my Go-Pack, had the most wonderful holiday, begrudgingly shared the muesli bars with my skeptical partner on the last day and quietly thanked my unknown angel that luckily we didn’t have cause to unpack the Go-Pack. On one year, almost to the day, and I have been given cause to wonder if the Go-Pack would have helped us at all if we had been in the tragic earthquake on 25 April. If we had been inside any of the beautiful heritage buildings that we visited – which are now in ruins, crumbled like dry biscuits – a little Go-Pack would probably have been useless. But seeing the survivors struggling in the following days to remain dignified and patient whilst joining queues for food and water, perhaps it would have helped until the Australian Government helicoptered me out of there. But the local Nepalis can’t fly away. It is their home and damaged as it is, they must stay and rebuild. They are spiritually strong, determined and compassionate people but they have a long journey ahead, probably years, to rebuild not just their physical buildings but their lives. And the government is disorganised and corrupt. This disaster has claimed over 7000 people and countless whole villages and towns in one of the poorest countries in the world. How can we best help?  Not just now but ongoing and consistently into the future. Do we send donations to a big aid organisation? Yes, obviously we do. But what if we know people on the ground are not getting aid? What if we have connections to those communities and know individuals? Let me describe one such connection to one of the communities most damaged, the heritage town of Bhaktapur and its neighbouring village Thimi. I was taken there a year ago by World Craft Council vice president, and a local Nepali, Pushar Man Shakya, to meet the local pottery cooperative members and to visit studios. I visited many potters, saw their wonderful crafts, their sublime skills and heard their stories. It was a privilege to have an insight from a local and I have maintained my connections to some of the potters over the past year. Both Bhaktapur and Thimi are traditional pottery towns and Bhaktapur is listed as a World Heritage Site due to its ancient temples, woodcarvings and ceramic sculptures. Many of the traditional potters live in four story con-joined ‘terrace’ houses surrounding large courtyards. Yes, four story buildings in an earthquake zone built with no steel frames or concrete, just soft hand-made bricks and ancient hand carved wood. This unique architecture has developed around the needs of the potters: the traditional kilns are fired with straw and ash and would simply blow away and be a fire-hazzard if any wind got into those courtyards so the tall brick buildings are actually protecting the kilns whilst also providing a warm and sunny place to dry the pots and work in co-operative ways, sharing the firing and clay-mixing jobs. It is a peculiar architecture and, as far as I know, unique to the potters. It provides a practical and inspiring solution for a cooperative community that has been built naturally over time according to the unique needs of generations of potters. And the pottery produced is equally inspiring. With no electricity (yes, despite having the best hydropower in the world, we were told that the government rations electricity to their own people due to archaic financial deals that were made with India in the 1970’s!) the potters work completely off-grid, using home-made wheels powered by hand and finished by a highly-skilled hand-paddling method. These sublimely-skilled potters make wheel-thrown and hand-built vessels and sculptures from local earthenware clay. These vessels are low-fired in straw and ash kilns, and sold to the locals for curd-setting, water-coolers, alcohol (Rakishi) fermenting vessels, general storage vessels, roof tiles and decorative architectural sculptures. With no chance of tourists supporting the pottery industry (the pots don’t travel well), the potters have a hard enough life without losing their homes and studios. And that’s where we/you come in. The impressive Australian craft organisation Seven Women has started an Emergency Earthquake Relief Fund. More specifically, the ceramics community has a global reach and there are now many ways that we can assist Nepal in the recovery. Potters helping potters. Already, there was the Clay for Nepal on 15-17 May, where ceramicists generously donated their works for an online auction, the proceeds of which went to Oxfam Australia Nepal Earthquake Fund. It was a great opportunity to help Nepal while acquiring a beautiful art work. Oxfam are a credible organisation that deserves support, but there’s also the potential for donations that go to potters directly. We have created a safe way to get our donations direct to the traditional potters through the World Craft Council – Australia. If you can help with this project directly, please join us. The World Craft Council – Australia will work closely with the Federation of Handicraft Associations Nepal, who will then distribute the money to the potters to help re-build so that they can maintain their strong links to their ceramic history. The vice-president of the World Craft Council, Pushkar Man Shakya, who is on the ground in Nepal will help advise the Federation of Handicraft Associations Nepal and ensure 100% of our funds reach the potters. We are very grateful to Mr Shakya and the Federation. We are fundraising here on potters networks to send money directly to the particular pottery towns that have been badly damaged with the aim to help the potters rebuild their houses and studios and return to work making their wares. WCCA knows direct action can help enormously and so they have created a direct pathway for long term help for potters and have even identified the families most in need already. It is not inconceivable that this could make a big difference to the future continuation of these potters’ pottery heritage – with your help. In NZ we do not have a branch of the WCC any longer, so it is up to us to support Australia’s work in this area. Easy – bank to bank online. Please donate if you can: Account title: World Crafts Council Australia Inc Bank: Commonwealth Bank Australia Branch: BSB 063-111 Account number: 1086-1862 Be sure to label your transfer with the word ‘Nepal. Email at support@wccaustralia.org.au if you have any questions or if you would like to help out with organising future fund-raising activities. If you want to be updated about the Nepal situation or a future emergency affecting craftspersons, you can also send your details here. http://wccaustralia.org.au Thanks from Jane Sawyer  

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Up the Golden Staircase

Right up in this instance, for on the top floor of Te Uru Gallery is 5×5: New Conversations with Clay. It’s a re-view of a show done back in 1980 at Denis Cohn’s gallery in Durham Street West that has since been espoused as the start of a new wave in the great sea of ceramics. And it probably was. But it was no swashing, crashing, clamorous breaker, more of a rolling upsurge that began half-way through the ‘70s.

All five of those who exhibited at Cohn’s gallery: Bronwynne Cornish, Warren Tippett, John Parker, Denis O’Connor and Peter Hawkesby, had been working away from the orthodoxy of the Anglo-oriental ethos for some time finding it restrictive of large areas of ceramic history and dismissive of what happened outside its domain. Cornish could be considered ‘first’ as she was never ‘in’. She visited the west coast of the USA in 1973 and exposure to what was happening there by Bay Area artists opened her frames of reference for work.

Another ‘first’, due to never having fully ventured down the Anglo-oriental highway, was Peter Hawkesby who during a rural apprenticeship realised that his route lay elsewhere and after return to Auckland found Denis O’Connor and Waiheke Island. O’Connor, in the spirit of the times found the economics of reduced functional ware supportive but read a variety of publications outside of what was commonly available. In 1978 the pair left for a three month stint in California, determined to see for themselves what of the ceramic ferment, that radicalised traditional approaches there in the late ‘50s, was still in evidence.

John Parker returned in 1977 from four years in London and study at Royal College, where the industrial was taught alongside the hand-made. There he formed the parameters for his own expression and returned with enhanced recognition for the possibilities available to ceramic practices.

Warren Tippett was the only one without first-hand off-shore experience and as heir apparent (or a leading contender) to the Anglo-oriental/Castle/Brickell mantle his inclusion induced most surprise. However he had already made giant leaps into new aesthetic territory. Along with urbanisation of his hitherto rural practice and lifestyle, he held exhibitions of exuberant surface where he pushed the Anglo-oriental as far as it could go and followed by turning everything on its head by dropping temperature, switching to earthenware and oxidation, and abandoning obvious function.

As part of this exhibition, there was one piece each from that initial five. Unfortunately only two of the pieces were from the original exhibition – Parker’s and O’Connor’s. The others were a recent revival or something produced in the years between. Hawkesby’s ‘Blunted Devil Cups’ were close to what I recall being in and to images from the time. Cornish’s undated exhibit seemed furthest away while Tippett’s was from a couple of years later than 5×5 and consists the cubes that he continued in one form or another for many years. It shows his new approach to clays, firings and colour in contrast to the muted tones of the Anglo-oriental. This made an engaging adjunct to the main event and a useful point of comparison.

The Originals and Tippett’s cubes in the background.

The Originals and Tippett’s cubes in the background.

John Parker, ‘Cone Penetration’ 1980.

John Parker, ‘Cone Penetration’ 1980.

Denis O’Connor, ‘Architectural Ceramic’ 1980

Denis O’Connor, ‘Architectural Ceramic’ 1980

Peter Hawkesby,’ Blunted devil cups’, 1998/9

Peter Hawkesby,’ Blunted devil cups’, 1998/9

Bronwynne Cornish, ‘Giant Spotted Ventifact’, date unknown.

Bronwynne Cornish, ‘Giant Spotted Ventifact’, date unknown.

The original exhibition has since acquired a level of canonisation as New Zealand’s first excursion by clay in to a white cube milieu. It was most probably the first group show by only ceramists in that context although some of the five had shown individually with Cohn previously, (which opened in 1978) and would afterward.  Other galleries that regularly or occasionally showed ceramics were Helen Hitchins (opened ’49) and Peter McLeavy in Wellington (’68), and New Vision (’57), Peter Webb (’57) and Barry Lett (’65) in Auckland. There were other makers working in clay in the late 1970s, who disregarded any adherence to the doctrines of the Anglo-oriental such as Leo King with his reductive and modernist work, Barbara Hockenhull with her organic handbags, Ted Dutch who screen-printed on then impressed computer parts into the clay and Rick Rudd and Howard Williams both recently in from England and exhibiting low-fired work; but all showed in a ceramic context. A number of others were experimenting with the ‘new’, commercially sourced, ceramic stains imported from Germany and England and their fresh what-you-see is what-you-get, long way from Leach, colour range. The times, they were already a-changin’. But the five at Cohn’s gallery proclaimed a new manifesto by which clay might enunciate a more complex field and by showing together made a presence in the fine arts world as was manifested in a small flurry of positive reviews in respected publications. No one called it that, but ceramic post modernism had arrived! Sadly the attention soon lapsed and ceramic expression was once again left to develop unassisted by any further scrutiny from fine arts for some years. About thirty.

This new iteration, called Five by Five, New Conversations with Clay is the result of an invitation by Te Uru Contemporary Gallery to one of the five, John Parker, to curate a new version in current terms. There has been interest in clay by fine arts over the past ten years off-shore and for a lesser length of time in New Zealand. This could be due to a reaction against the processed, slick, Jeff Koons/Damien Hirst movement for jobbing art out to production teams, or envisaging that the concept-driven had little elsewhere to go, or simply a renewed engagement with process and materiality. Or all of these and more. Time will tell, but with major contemporary artists such as Sterling Ruby, Huma Bhaba, Shio Kusaka and Rachel Harrison including it, not to mention Rebecca Warren and Grayson Perry making it a major part of their oeuvres, it clearly has allure. Clay was unprotected territory, as photography was in the early 1980s — something no one cared about, and thus available. Reportedly it is now almost as ubiquitous in New York and London galleries as sculpture and painting. Ceramics is now so prevalent that it’s become a gateway material for other processes, like weaving and embroidery.

So John Parker was charged with finding a new five. Not an easy task for anyone but particularly when the politics of the situation are recognised, as John would have. Show artists who have worked with clay and kept a foot in both camps? Look for new artists? From what sort of background? What about established ceramic artists who now find ready acceptance in public or fine art galleries? What about fine arts trained who also show with ceramists? What about fine arts trained who still are too wary, or concerned of their gallery’s reaction, to show in anything but a fine arts milieu? Should it be a return to vessels, our legacy, or sculptural approaches as the first show had been? All very interesting and John chose a mixture – those he feels have something to say about clay ‘now’. His choices were, Kate Fitzharris, Tessa Laird, Kate Newby, Suji Park and Louise Rive. All girls.

Of the original five Bronwynne Cornish is the one with the least concern for technique, holding few expectations on outcomes and accepting what evolves from the kiln with interest and pleasure. It’s a true gift; one that not many possess. Kate Newby seems her most likely successor with her collection of 25 stones. Roughly formed, casually glazed, even broken, they present the same unconcern for neatness and ‘finish’ as does Bronwynne’s work. Not Bronwynne’s experienced fingers though. Puzzling to ceramics practitioners, they more resemble glaze tests done on those odd bits of clay that end up at bench edge and studio floor to dry out there, given a quick swipe into the glaze bucket and fired. Many in ceramics would then have chucked some of those buckets of glaze as they had little to offer other than sealing a part of the ‘stone’ with a thin tight gloss. The title was good, ‘I feel like a truck on a wet highway’, how skiddingly true. It was very possible to imagine some of them skipping across a sheet of water.

Kate Newby, ‘I feel like a truck on a wet highway’.

Kate Newby, ‘I feel like a truck on a wet highway’.

I found the door furniture more engaging. Designed with replacing the knobs and handles on the gallery doors in mind the engaging work and plan was foiled by the fact that Te Uru doesn’t do handles, or even doors for that matter.

Kate Newby, ’Advil’.

Kate Newby, ’Advil’.

Most successful was ‘Big Huge Sky’, a line of freely squeezed, rolled and pierced columns of clay that most resembled a strange musical instrument hanging in a harmoniously colour co-ordinated sweep and ending at the natural light gallery windows with which Te Uru is blessed. The sound was engaging as one tentatively ran fingers along but few could enjoy as the ‘Please do not touch’ notice was, necessarily, prominently inhibiting.

Kate Newby, ‘Big Huge Sky’.

Kate Newby, ‘Big Huge Sky’.

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detail

detail

detail

Kate Fitzharris continued with the unfired work she first showed here at Objectspace, her now familiar small figures quietly watching from their domesticated and found surrounds, sheltered by blue vases and jugs that held cut hydrangeas which ranged from fresh to dry to dead and formed a fragile and transient still(ed) life.

Kate Fitzharris, unfired clay, found materials,  watercolour, pencil.

Kate Fitzharris, unfired clay, found materials, watercolour, pencil.

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Kate Fitzharris, unfired clay, found materials, watercolour, pencil.

Like Fitzharris, Louise Rive has been around the clay world for a while. So long in fact that one can forget that she trained in painting at Elam. With her figurative pieces in clay and acrylic painted surfaces Rive combines both journeys, as she explains, ‘as expressionist and exaggerated’ in manner. Rive showed the work that won the recent Portage Awards and other works similar in mien and scale.

Two figures.

Two figures.

detail, Mother and Child

detail, Mother and Child

Suji Park has also been making in clay for a few years. I first came across her small figures in Dunedin. Like Rive’s they were acrylic painted, but rather than expressionist and exaggerated, were fine, gentle and somehow Asian without anything obvious telling one this was so and carried a soft quality that was perhaps underpinned by skilled painting and delicate, unexpected coloration. Her newer work – the broken shattered pieces – that were her entry for the Dowse’s ‘Slip Cast’ was a puzzle as it negated, for me, much that went before. Still, some artists move on from the tried and true very regularly. The current forms are hanging, elongated vessels. In ceramic terms they are close to amphorae but Park has demonstrated, perhaps deliberately, that she eschews ceramics’ mores and possibly intended another fate for the forms. So be it for, as amphorae, the surfaces are uneven, lumpen and grainy and the thin, shiny, polyurethane coating exaggerates these qualities. The suspended forms taper downward and end in a deftly modelled head, some with open mouth as if in a scream. They are works that seem to be on their way to something else by way of a resolve of intent.

Suji Park, group of works, 2015.

Suji Park, group of works, 2015.

Suji Park, Two works 2015-06-03

Suji Park, Two works 2015-06-03

detail

detail

Tessa Laird is perhaps the most experienced of the recent adherents to a clay expression as she has been making books, and piles of books, and rainbows of books for some years. These recorded her reading towards a higher degree and thus used clay’s mimetic properties in a different way, and with a very apparent increasing skill set. Now she moves those book piles again and the gently, humorously annexed and titled stacks appear to sprout something of their contents and become aligned with Mexican folk ceramics – the sort that appear as Day-of-the-Dead forms – clunky, colourful, exuberantly modelled, adorned with small animals, figures, symbols and candles. They sit in an interesting intervening space amidst an odd mix of traditions and between skill-based and idea-based, art. This is where much of the contemporary craft art sits today. Just like Grayson Perry. Welcome to the club, Tessa.

Tessa Laird, Group.

Tessa Laird, Group.

 ‘Mumbo Jumbo’.

‘Mumbo Jumbo’.

’ Prisoner of Love’

’ Prisoner of Love’

detail

detail

So, has John Parker produced a new canon? Possibly not, but time will tell. As Peter Ireland has said, ‘Canon construction is far from being an innocent exercise’[1], and goes on to cite taste and fashion, artistic and academic reputations, auction house promotion and collector investment as potential influencers in scrutiny of what’s at stake and whose interests are being served by such a construct? However, what Parker has done is find a bunch of artists who ‘ explore the lateral uses of clay in this wider, multidisciplinary context’. He has found a clay artist with a conventional ceramic background who works with the medium unfired, so not even making it ceramic. Others with fine arts backgrounds with slipped then low-fired, or low fired and glazed or acrylic painted or polyurethane finished, work. This wouldn’t have been remotely possible a few years ago. I don’t see his cited lines drawn between technical expertise and ideas but a merge and adaptations between these extremes of what I read as a continuum. It’s a pic’n mix world these days and artists use whatever seems appropriate at the time and reserve the right to switch next week.

However viewed from the bigger world out (or up) there what we produce is a small sampling of what is available in clay expression in the broader global context. No one here is yet working with ready-mades and that is widely seen elsewhere – re-fired, sliced and cut, broken and rearranged, to make social points or political statements, altered surfaces, annulment of surfaces to reveal – what was earlier unthinkable. With our discovery of Crown Lynn as collectable, this seems to hold loaded potential and is a road not yet travelled. The figurative features more these days but not on the scale or with the expression one might see elsewhere. Scale itself is seldom ventured towards here, except with artists freshly returned from the USA, and few approach installations, interventions, appropriation and recycling, neither are there concerted attempts at performance or adding video as can often be observed off-shore. We remain largely vessel-based. The narrowness of expression here can be firmly laid at the door of education. Or lack of it. Without higher education, where not only what a knowledgeable, broadly educated teacher can instil but the ferment experienced in discussion over morning coffee in the student common-room or some rub-off from a completely other discipline in chance encounter all feed into the personal and resident artists embedded in our midst could bring in further widening of our horizons rather than the travelling guru opportunistic demo/workshop that seems to be more the norm. Perhaps the fact that there are currently 18 students taking ceramics at Elam, as a sort of introductory course, will produce something of that in time for some will surely stay with the sticky, seductive stuff at least as part of their practice, if fine art attitudes remain as they are for a sufficient length of time, this time. Other institutions are also offering ceramics as an option. May the next manifestation of 5×5 be with us in less than 35 more years and even more engaging.

[1] Readore: http://eyecontactsite.com/2015/05/campbells-kingdom#ixzz3c2r4wBvr

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What’s New….

Good news on Ross… who has walked a few steps unaided at the acute brain injury unit in Porirua, where he is rehabilitating a month after suffering head injuries in a 12m fall on April 21st.

His wife, Bobbi, said he is now conscious a lot more of the time after being in the rehab unit for a week and that staff were “thrilled” with his progress. He walked unaided for the first time on Tuesday, but the effort left him exhausted.   “We were trying to get him into this wheelchair contraption to move him, but he refused to get into it. He wanted to walk, so he just stood up. About four of us were around him, but he simply stepped off down the hall. He didn’t go too far, but it was a huge moment in his recovery.”

Bobbi said it was too early to say what the long-term prognosis for her husband was. She was due to meet specialists for an update on his condition. “But what the specialists are saying is that Ross is making the most amazing progress. It was a matter of his brain sort of re-joining itself. “He’s talking a lot more and coming up with complex sentences, even if they’re not yet making a lot of sense. But the point is he’s trying,” she said.

She said some words he had used were coming out “very clearly. One of them is ‘Chronicle’ and the others are ‘wastewater treatment’.”

At this stage, she said, her husband’s diet was still largely liquid. “I know he’d dearly love to get into a big steak, but he’s not ready for that just yet,” she said. “In light of the fall he had, the doctors say it’s a miracle he survived. Initially, they didn’t think he was going to make it.”

Bobbi said the support from family, friends and the community had been overwhelming.

Adapted from Wanganui Chronicle, thanks to Raewyn

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Two New Magazines…

Maybe one reflection in the increasing interest in ceramics across the art spectrum is the advent of new magazines on the subject of ceramics claiming some focus on the critical article. One from Australia and one from Romania. Both in English however.

We have not had new magazines in our field for a very long time. Rather we have had attrition with some good ones disappearing without trace. Some good ones are hanging in however, the best seems to me to be Studio Potter from USA. Expensive but lots and lots of reading.

I await my first copy of these two new ones and will report in full very soon afterwards.

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NEWS AND UPDATES

The Australian auction and on-line sale of donated studio ceramics towards the OXFAM Nepal Earthquake Appeal completed over the weekend and raised AUD$40,000. Fantastic achievement by Vipoo Srivilasa and his associates. It was a huge effort and Vipoo was sending half-hourly updates by the end of Sunday. He’lll be taking a wee nap now I expect. Thanks to all from here who responded.

However the energy goes on. Jane Sawyer in Melbourne (WCC and Director of Slow Clay) is co-ordinating a more specifically targeted appeal on behalf of the World Crafts Council – Australian Branch.

They are fundraising to send money directly to the particular pottery towns that have been badly damaged with the aim to help the potters rebuild their houses and studios and return to work making their beautiful wares. WCCA knows direct action can help enormously and so they have created a direct pathway for long term help for potters and have even identified the families most in need already. It is not inconceivable that this might make a big difference to the future continuation of these potters’ beautiful pottery heritage – with your help. In NZ we do not have a branch of the WCC any more so it behoves us to support Australia’s work in this area. Easy – bank to bank online. Please donate if you can:

Account title: World Crafts Council Australia Inc
Bank: Commonwealth Bank Australia
Branch: BSB 063-111
Account number: 1086-1862
Be sure to label your transfer with the word ‘Nepal.

Email at support@wccaustralia.org.au if you have any questions or if you would like to help out with organising future fund-raising activities. If you want to be updated about the Nepal situation or a future emergency affecting craftspersons, you can also send your details here.
http://wccaustralia.org.au

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Update on Ross Michell-Anyon from the Wanganui Chronicle newspaper… with thanks to Raewyn.

Bobbi Mitchell-Anyon is looking forward to seeing her husband – Wanganui artist Ross Mitchell-Anyon – return to his “gorgeous self” after his 12-metre fall on April 21.

Mrs Mitchell-Anyon has been at her husband’s bedside at Wellington Hospital for the past month and told the Chronicle that he would now be moved to the acquired brain injury rehabilitation centre in Porirua.

“Ross is now at the ’emergent conscious’ stage and he has been smiling at me today which always makes me feel good,” she said.

“The rehabilitation will be a long road and they will gradually start to stimulate him into full consciousness – the process is estimated to take about nine months but I am confident he will make a full recovery.

“It is a wonderful facility and they have great expertise and a very high success rate.”

“I am being very well cared for, too, and Ross’ two sons who live in Wellington have been fantastic – and so have the rest of the family.”

Mrs Mitchell-Anyon said she read newspapers and the cards people have sent to her husband.

“The support from people has been fantastic and so heartening to me. I really enjoy reading the messages to Ross and I look forward to the time when he can respond as well.”

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So, clearly this is going to be a long haul for Ross. Cards and notes to c/o 90 Mortimer Terrace, Brooklyn, Wellington.

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Reminder

This extra reminder came from Vipoo Srivilasa.  It’s a most worthy cause and there are some interesting works on offer in the auction and in the sale. He cannot cope with all that is offered as loading etc is taking all his time but it happens in a few days and we can all help by trying for the biggest audience possible for this worthy event. So please, get behind this and send to everyone possible so that all his great efforts and energy has a useful reward to help Nepal. Many thanks from me.

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I am organising a fund-raising project called Clay For NEPAL to raise funds for the Nepalese people affected. All proceeds will be donated to OXFAM Australia: Nepal Earthquake Relief Appeal.

The project has two parts, open and close at the same time.

1: An online AUCTION: submit your bids on unique ceramics art by well-known ceramicists from around the world.

2: A BUY NOW STORE, offering more affordable items for immediate purchase at a set price.

OPENS  Friday 15 May at 6am AEST
CLOSES  Sunday 17 May at 9pm AEST
visit www.ClayForNepal.com and follow the link

It is a great opportunity to acquire great works by renowned artists. See a list of artists who donated their work below.

I would also greatly appreciate it if you could help us promote the project and direct people to our website www.clayfornepal.com.

Thank you very much  for your support,

Vipoo

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NEWS AND MISCELLANY, more ODDS ‘N ENDS

News from Richard Stratton over there in Denmark, at Guldagergaard, on the residency he won via the Portage Awards.

….life is very busy here at the moment. Many comings and goings. Paul Scott is in residence , working on a show for The Castle here. He is first, then is Justin Novak’s (my American fellow-Resident with whom I share accommodation) is coming up shortly .

Nina Hole is making one of her kiln/sculptures and is almost finished, it is going to fired by the end of the week.

Fred Olsen also popped in and helped me drink some good Danish beer. He, years ago, built a fabulous cross-draft wood kiln that is used by visiting potters a lot. It is a very large, good looking kiln that has produced some beautiful results.

As you can guess the network machine here is in high gear. It’s a great opportunity to meet all these people first hand, such a rare occasion in New Zealand.

Well, my own work has taken a dramatic shift , gone is the colour, the print, and the press moulded additions, 

I’m doing just monochromatic colour and carved forms. Its basis of influence is taken from my abode, the black and white flint nodules that litter the ground all around here and with the added mix of Vorticism for good measure. Wait and see!”

And we’ll do just that with great interest. This sounds like just what a good residency opportunity provides – good facilities, time away to really work on the work and opportunities to meet a cross-section of interesting artists and visiting professionals. Here are some of Richard’s images plus some of mine from previous visits…

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The Olsen Kiln

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The Olsen kiln

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Richard’s room

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Paul Scott work

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Justin Novak work

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The terribly famous Alfred University now offers glaze formulation online.

Open to students around the world. Everyone is welcome, especially undergraduate students from other schools who can take the course for transferable credit. That will not apply to we down here.
Taking place twice this summer. May 18-June 26 and June 29-August 7 2015
http://art.alfred.edu/academics/glaze-formulation.cfm
or…
https://www.facebook.com/events/1382436415415613/1382790282046893/

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 Whanganui potter, Ross Mitchell-Anyon, who has been in hospital following a 12metre fall from a ladder, on April 21st, is ‘condition unchanged’ in Wellington Hospital.

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 Sunday May 3rd was a memorial event for Peter Stichbury at the ASP in Onehunga. Diane and their three daughters were present as were some grandchildren and well over 100 from the ceramic community, so there was crowded standing room only at the back. It was a fine occasion with memorable talks from a variety of presenters and suitably rounded out with a performance by The Porcelaines.

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The Portage Ceramic Trust Museum was opened last Saturday, 2nd May.   Called Te Toi Uku it is situated in Ambrico Place, New Lynn, near where the Crown Lynn factory was sited and a kiln has been preserved. It is home to an extensive collection of Crown Lynn ware and memorabilia. Crown Lynn grew during World War ll when no crockery could be imported. The company produced thousands of mugs and plates for the military and tableware for domestic use. Crown Lynn closed in 1989 blaming the combined effects of lost import protection, as well as trade union resistance to changes in working conditions and continuing losses.

Much of the current collection was made by the late Richard Quinn who was dismayed at the prospect of what was left of Crown Lynn, being buried by bulldozers under new building destined for the site. Beginning with swaps for beer with various workers from the site, after the doors closed and over 13 years, he went in many times and rescued moulds, shards, whole pieces, written records and recipes and bits of machinery. In the later years he dug over the site by night to source his ‘treasures’ carrying them back to his home in bundles on his back very often, as he did not own a car. To this is added a collection of ceramic-making and clay processing machinery held by the former Waitakere City Council.

Among the thousands of items in the Crown Lynn collection are the swans, in all shapes and sizes, the crockery the company designed and made for Bellamy’s restaurant in Parliament, its famous railway cups and saucers, and a limited edition collector’s mug made to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

It’s not open for public viewing at this stage but can be for research by appointment while much of what has been preserved is catalogued and can be accessed online via nzmuseums.co.nz or portageceramicstrust.org.nz

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 The Nepal Earthquake.
Aussie ceramists Vipoo Srivilasa and Adriana Christianson have organised an online ceramic AUCTION and a BUY NOW STORE to raise funds for the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal.

http://www.clayfornepal.com

Both events OPEN on Friday 15 May at 6am AEST
Both events CLOSE on Sunday 17 May at 9pm AEST
All funds collected, less any event expenses (only eBay and Paypal fees), will be donated to Oxfam, Nepal Earthquake Relief Appeal.

DONATIONS:
‘We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown from artists around the world. However, we CANNOT ACCEPT ANY MORE DONATIONS of ceramic work. At the moment, the help we need most is in promoting the project and trying to get it out to the world in every way we can. If you could help us to promote the project, that would be fantastic. Please share our website’  www.clayfornepal.com.

you can contact us via email
AUCTION: vipoo@vipoo.com
BUY NOW STORE: mail@adrianachristianson.com.au

Thank you very much for your support.

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NEWS AND MISCELLANY, ODDS ‘N ENDS

Whanganui potter Ross Mitchell-Anyon has been in hospital following a 12metre fall from a ladder, on April 21st, while bringing the sprinkler system, in one of his heritage buildings in Whanganui, up to scratch . As you might imagine, the situation was serious. Ross was taken from Whanganui Hospital to Wellington Hospital the next day as he needed more specialised care and a ventilator. He is still there although moved now from ICU to a Neurological ward as he is now breathing unassisted.

Bobbi, his wife says ‘It’s going to be a long journey but he’s on the mend’. She continues, “He’s out of danger. He keeps trying to wake up and opening his eyes, but it’s extremely tiring and he goes back to sleep” She said he was going in and out of consciousness. “It’s a very exhausting time and he needs all his rest, which is so unlike him”.

However I have permission to post this now so that a wider range of the ceramic community can know the good news. He will soon be able to see cards etc so if you wish to post something to him please send it to the following address from which Bobbi will collect and read to him.

90 Mortimer Terrace, Brooklyn, 6021 Wellington. No flowers please – hospital rules.

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Those who know the Frank Lloyd Gallery in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, Los Angeles will regret that it has just closed its doors there. Originally bought from Garth Clark when he moved to New York it was in La Brea Avenue near Melrose in West Hollywood but soon, under Frank Lloyd, moved to Bergamot Station, a walled in gathering of galleries and cafes and a museum – about 25 businesses in all, in Santa Monica. Not easy to get to without a car (little is in LA) but some of our more intrepid managed it. It was a gallery that, while not fully specialising in ceramics did show them regularly along with sculpture, paintings, prints and drawings. Frank Lloyd regularly wrote an interesting blog on his interviews and ruminations and occasionally produced high quality publications on his artists. There were usually Voulkos and Mason works in the stock room (he, like may galleries in USA also did re-sales of pre-owned works) as well as Ken Price, Adrian Saxe and Gustavo Perez and it was there I saw my first pieces from the Canadian, George Jeanclos and his poignant and powerful narrative works, often contemplations on death and dying, eliciting the fragility of life and made in undecorated, extremely thin, grey terra-cotta. I recall their effect on me still.

Lloyd has moved his base to Pasadena – even harder to get to but for the determined it can be found at, 131 North San Gabriel Boulevard, Pasadena, Ca91107. However it’s necessary to email or telephone because the exhibitions programme is largely dispensed with as he now works full-time on being the representative for the estates of Peter Voulkos and Craig Kauffmann. After being around the LA art scene for twenty years he’s pulling back.

However if you do get that far be sure to visit The Norton Simon Art Museum which is a privately endowed art museum that is strong on Impressionist paintings and early to mid-20th C work in particular, but plenty of other works including drawings by modern masters and in the very lovely grounds is a great selection of mostly mid-20thC sculpture including a number of works in clay by John Mason. However these are primarily sculpture rather than ceramics if you get my meaning.

That’s not to say there is no clay in LA. Not as rich in ceramics as New York is currently but LA galleries represent some of America’s hottest – Arlene Schechet and Kathy Butterly at Shoshanna Wayne and at Edward Cella is Adam Silverman and Brad Miller while L.A.Louver shows Richard Deacon’s ceramic works alongside his other sculpture. AMOCA (American Museum of Ceramic Art) will soon mount a 300 piece collection exhibition. Out in eastern suburban Pomona, AMOCA holds classes, gives lectures and generally acts as a social centre around ceramics. It’s not unlike any Society here except much bigger and with a lively exhibition programme – usually several at the same time – and a large collection of ceramics – American mostly, and strong on 50s/60s, but some international.

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London has long had a design week and a fashion festival and now it turns a spotlight on potters, glass blowers, textile artists, metalsmiths and an assortment of other artists and artisans during London Craft Week, May 6 to 10.

Craft exhibitions are to be held at luxury department stores including Fortnum and Mason, Fenwicks and Selfridges and at institutions such as The British Library.

The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Crafts Council is partnering for the exhibition, “What is Luxury?”, and the Council will present the headline event, Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. Collect is now in its 12th year and is currently held in the Saachi Gallery on The King’s Road in Chelsea. It showcases contemporary craft and object art from galleries across the world and is currently considered the most prestigious event for object art in Europe.

Among some of the non-traditional offerings for this year’s Craft Week is that attendees will have opportunity to visit the studio of designer and tattoo artist, Mo Coppoletta and another artisan, Vacheron Constantin will offer watchmaking demonstrations.

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The London Craft Week falls hard on the heels of the Ceramic Art London event at The Royal College of Art. This is a unique showcase for 80 contemporary studio ceramists from well-known and established makers through to newly emerging graduates from Royal College and artists from Europe, Japan and Korea. There is also an integrated series of talks, lectures, films and demonstrations to enhance understanding and enjoyment of studio ceramics. This includes lectures by theorists, Martina Margetts who considers how and why the language of ceramics in Britain has spread its influence around the world with a focus on contemporary practice. And Kyra Cane talking about the different ways potters and ceramicists use drawing to support and develop their work. Then talks by artists, Richard Slee, Kate Malone, Jean Nicolas Gerard, Sasha Wardell and Gareth Mason to mention just some and the films are by Goldmark Gallery that made the great one on Takeshi Yasuda that he showed us last year. This time they are on Korean traditional potter Lee Kang Hyo and Frenchman, Jean Nicolas Gerard.

As we know some folk who are attending these events we’ll await, with pleasurable anticipation, some news or report from this.

Then, on top of all that, next month, throughout the UK is Craft and Design Month with events across the country.

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All that interest has helped to propel the craft sector and its army of applied artists and small manufacturers into a position of some economic influence. Figures compiled last year by the Crafts Council showed there were 11,620 craft businesses in the UK, with 43,000 employees. Most startling of all, once the economic contribution of craft professionals working in non-craft industries was added, the overall value of craft skills to the British economy each year was £3.4bn. That’s a lot of corn dollies…..

“Craft”, it appears, is the new food, following the trend for artisan, hand-crafted food. The buzz term in brewing nowadays is not ‘real ale’, but ‘craft beer’.

Annie Warburton, the UK Crafts Council’s creative programme director, said: “At one level our lives are increasingly virtual. The return to making and working with our hands is in part a reaction to that. There’s also an increased awareness of provenance. People are aware of the ethics of where things come from and how they are produced. Then there is the sense of wellbeing that comes with making things yourself.” Hope some of that positivity rubs off here…

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Finally, now that Top Gear has bitten the dust and petrol heads with posh accents will no longer grace our screens, there is the enormously exciting news that the BBC has turned to pottery as its new competitive reality programme! There have been highly rated programmes on sewing and allotment gardens, others on best amateur hair stylist and a-cappella singing groups and the Great British Bake-off final apparently hit the top viewing spot. So the BBC has turned to pottery and will hold a competition series that pits learner throwers against one another. Looking for ‘Britain’s best budding potter’, there will be a six part series featuring 10 contestants and called The Great British Pottery Throw and we shall see, before our very eyes, ‘budding artists transform a lump of clay to glazed pottery’. Judges include Keith Brymer and Kate Malone.

Watch for it on a programme coming to you…

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Finally, a quote from Garth Clark….

Authoring a book is an exhausting, frustrating, hair-pulling and insanity inducing undertaking.

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