Portage News

This year there is a mixture of prizes for the Portage awards. Apart from the major award of $15,000 for the premier work and a further $6000 distributed amongst others as runners-up and a People’s Choice of $1000, there are two residencies for a one-month period each.

The first is to be an on-going residency opportunity in Denmark, as announced last year by the judge, Paul Scott, who has arranged this with a very fine facility, Guldagergaard about an hour and a half south from Copenhagen. I was there a few years ago and was impressed both with the facilities and the programme and also the line-up of artists who go there to work or teach. It’s one of Europe’s best ceramic centres.

The first one was given to Jim Cooper last year, who has not yet had opportunity to take up this residency as he is being given a special project. Jim will possibly be there next northern summer.

The winner of the award of the residency this year may well also be there next northern summer. They can do their own project or take on one of those at the centre, as I understand it. It’s an on-going addition to the award line-up in that it is planned that this residency will be awarded as long as the Portage keeps going. The awardee will need to make own arrangements to get to Denmark as fares are not a part of the award – just the residency prospect. But it is a superb opportunity.

The other award is a one-off arranged by this year’s judge, Amy Gogarty from Canada. She has organized for one ceramist to have a one-month term of residency at Medalta which, like many ceramic residential centres is situated in a former clay mining and ceramic factory area. It is in the town of Medicine Hat – south-east along the road from Calgary and not far from the USA border. Pioneered by Les Manning, whom some of you may remember as guest for the ’98 national convention in Wellington, it is a thriving place for resolution of projects and pushing one’s work along. Again, the residency is that and transport must be arranged by the recipient. But, like Denmark, bed and board and a space to work in some other location that offers great stimulation and knowledgeable, interested associates plus a good clay culture and history offers great potential.

Importantly –these awards are in no way tied to one another. That is the Premier Award winner does not automatically get a residency also. Each is independent and decided by the judge – Amy Gogarty this year. She will decide who, in her opinion, will receive most benefit or is most deserving of each of the awards independently of one another. I guess that may mean one person could sweep all before her, or him, but that’s pretty unlikely. But it may. Worth trying for if this is where you want to head!

So, don’t leave it any longer. And don’t place all eggs in one basket. And, think carefully about those artist’s statements – maybe see my article on Portage in the recent issue of Journal of Australian ceramics and what might be read from a statement. Or last year’s awards blog on those statements.

Entry closing date August 2nd and artists can find other information from Lopdell House’s website.

I understand the exhibition will take place, as the new galleries in Titirangi will not be ready before next year, at The Silos on the waterfront – a new exhibition space with interesting architecture and marvellous surrounds plus cafes and bars for later repair to and catch-up with visitors from out of town. ‘The Cloud’ worked splendidly for that last year so hopefully this venue will also serve well.




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3 responses to “Portage News

  1. I’ve just been in contact with the people at Medicine Hat about their industrial salt kiln which is still intact. With the West Auckland ones knocked down years ago, it will hopefully be featured in my updated Colonial Saltglaze book. Fingers Crossed! Just a matter of getting some good images of both the inside and out.

  2. Amy Gogarty

    Thanks so much for putting out the word about the residencies. For those not familiar with either the Medalta International Artist-in-Residence (MIAR) program in Canada or with Guldagergaard, please have a look at their excellent websites at for Medalta, and for Guldagergaard.

  3. As far as I know at this point, these two residencies (Guldagergaard and Medalta) are not on offer with Portage this year. But the Peter’s Valley Scholarship is and hopefully, next year there will be some more residencies on offer, via Portage, to add to mere money. A good residency is gold and enhances the rest of the career very often, so it’s a good idea to apply independently also.

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