Over the Ditch

Four of our best have been toiling away at Sturt in country NSW. Chris Weaver, Cheryl Lucas, Richard Parker and John Parker, as core members of the group who journeyed to central China in 2006 to make work for the Australasian Museum of Ceramics in Fuping – not far from Xian, travelled across The Ditch to meet with some of the Australian colleagues from that adventure. (Others from NZ for that trip were Mark Mitchell and myself).

Chris Weaver trying to work with Richard Parker’s pots in front

Chris Weaver trying to work with Richard Parker’s pots in front

Chris’s work…strainers….

Chris’s work…strainers….

Sturt is a long-established ceramics centre (once under the Directorship of our own Cam Hegan) where the Oz wood-firing penchant can have full reign. They have been there for three weeks now working alongside the Aussies, making, chopping wood, exchanging inter-ceramic dialogues, very possibly partying a little and generally preparing for the firing. All seemed to go particularly well and that large climbing kiln was stacked and, via a heroic, combined, cross-cultural effort, fired.

John P working with Isaac the Aussie looking on

John P working with Isaac the Aussie looking on

 John’s work

John’s work

Aussie Owen Rye (supremo wood firer) persuading John Parker he really does like brown.

Aussie Owen Rye (supremo wood firer) persuading John Parker he really does like brown.

Cleaning out the kiln….. with flash

Cleaning out the kiln….. with flash

lighting up

lighting up

While the kiln cools, John sent me some images that I can share plus a number of small video clips of a little action here and there. (Leon Narby doesn’t have heaps to worry about).  As soon as I have them I shall post images of the exhibition that is to be mounted of the results of this third follow-up to the Chinese mission.

Stacking

Stacking

Stacking

Stacking

Perhaps the most worthy-of-speculation part of this venture is the potential in the results. That mark of the fire….  John Parker’s sharply profiled, pristinely glazed, precisely arranged, linear works marked with ash and flame! Quelle horreur! For that matter, images of John, (Mister Electric for the 25+ years I’ve known him) toiling far into the night throwing logs into the business end of a long climbing kiln, is food for conjecture. Richard has wood-fired before but not, as far as I know, with his hand-built, hand-cut, quatrefoil-topped vase forms (as spotted in the images), usually completed with T’ang-style surfaces but which cannot survive Cone 13, so maybe reactively slipped? And Chris still has, as far as I know, a small wood kiln in his Hokitika backyard but that was for playtime, not the consummately inventive, articulated tableware he is so well-known for. As for Cheryl, I am sure I recall tales of wood-firing in the immediate post-student period, but these days, surface is as important as form within the fluidity of her inventive expression. She is as much a printmaker/painter as she is a maker/potter. So, we anticipate with interest.

The kiln at 1100

The kiln at 1100

Side stoking

Side stoking

Richard Parker clearing a blockage… Michael Keighery giving advice

Richard Parker clearing a blockage… Michael Keighery giving advice

Richard dealing with it…

Richard dealing with it…

Keighery’s patented kransky cooker

Keighery’s patented kransky cooker

Today (Thursday….4am  nearly at Cone 13…

Today (Thursday….4am nearly at Cone 13…

All possess an inimitable way of putting things together which identifies their work as clearly as any signature of authorship. Their characteristic works with familiar contours and   recognisable surfaces will have the latter element affected by ash and flame. How will this alter meaning I wonder? Meaning is different from intention. Intention is for makers to articulate. Makers are not in control of meaning – which is bestowed by others; constructed after the event of making by interpretation. This contextualises objects in relation to social, philosophical or historical attitudes and may even be reinterpreted over time. What might evidence by such a radical change of surface?

So, they unpack the kiln on Thursday (tomorrow) and set up the exhibition which will open at 11am on Sunday in Sturt Gallery. We’ll await the images with breath bated! Right now they are possibly sleeping or most probably partying on!

WATCH THIS SPACE

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Over the Ditch

  1. Oh dear, I had hoped to see the unloaded treasures!!!, Ill be waiting in anticipation…

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