Congratulations to…

Madeleine Child for being among the awards in the Wallace Art competitions.

She received a Jury Award which means they liked it a lot but (unfortunately) there is no monetary value attached.

Title: Weird Region

Madeline Child, Weird Region

Madeline Child, Weird Region

Madeleine’s Statement:

This work is in 2 parts- a 3 min stop/start animation “Sloppy Craft’ and a group of ceramics  – a kind of still life version of the video which sits in front of the screen. It’s part of a small seismic shift in my work  – away from 35 years making ceramic objects, craftsmanship and towards finding a way of working which is more open- ended than resolved, more process than outcome, more raw than cooked. I’m less interested in Things, but still interested in Clay – what and how it is. This work has both, and contrasts them. Voulkos says, ‘Clay is just a big blob that moves when you move and you have to respond. It’s almost like thick paint”.  It’s also about timing and watching and shrinking and warping.

We had a residency at Rotorua..aka Weird Region which prompted the start of this work.  I wanted both the inherent funniness of mudplops, the ooze and surprise and delight of small explosions – (which is also what beginning throwing is), and then to get something of the  sulphurous colours and crystals , the unearthly landscape in the fired pieces. To keep both the comic clumsiness and some elegance… ugliness and beauty, and some acknowledgement that you never have complete control, the phenomena of accident and chance, the dynamics between intention and luck.

and to paraphrase Piet Hein Grook

“Everything’s either

concave or  -vex

so whatever you make

will be something

with sex.”

Great ‘Sunday Song’ by Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate from the Stroke Album – delightfully, aptly up and down   (appegio-y?) . Wordless and evocative of mucking about, seeing what happens, a certain blitheness. The enchantment of putting things to music, animating, like the dancing water of the Star Fountain that used to be in the Octagon when I was a kid.

A nod to Theo Schoon’s captivating mud plop works,  and also the amateur artists whose paintings I collect and offer a way of looking at how things are and when and why you don’t get things quite right, and how this can be more helpful than awe- inspiring works, often.

I like the things, the people, you stumble across that make you think, ‘Oh,  I didn’t know I was allowed to do/be  that’,  which offer permission to do something other.

My mother encouraged us to try to do something a little bit illegal every day. My father’s motto was “if a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing badly.”  I hope the work in some small way acknowledges their influence.

 Sloppy Craft wouldn’t have been possible or at least would have been very different without JaneenGreig as Cinematographer keeping me off the straight and narrow and help from Madpanic and sons for production. 


I always said Madeleine makes some of the best statements and here she is encapsulating the ‘sloppy craft’ movement that is a particular avenue of exploration in some major off-shore practices, maybe in part as reaction to the virtual and the synthetic that permeates other areas of the contemporary in clay (and other art practices) or possibly acknowledges the rise of the Etsy thing…. . We are going to see more of this, although maybe not a lot here in Enzed. Oddly enough, it takes great skill and experience, and a thorough understanding of the potentials of the medium to effectively work this way. Madeleine has that in spades. For more, look up the work of Arlene Shechet, Beverly Semmes, Nicole Cherubini, Kathy Butterly, Raphael de Villers…all about the act of making, now, and think back to work like that from George Ohr or Beatrice Wood, although this movement is far from any intellectual acknowledgement or re-working of clay’s histories. The California show with Wood’s work is still there at ACAG if you want to see.


Congratulations also to Jim Cooper, whose exhibition, following several months residency, is just opening at ARKI GALLERY in Taipei, Taiwan. Jim’s residency was the first one in a new facility in Hualien, on the East Coast of Taiwan, (about the equivalent to being in the Hawke’s Bay). Jim has worked through their very tropical humid summer towards this goal, pioneered the residency and helped develop the workshops there.  The facility is owned and managed by one of Taiwan’s largest companies – the TLDC – which, among other things, owns several media outlets which means Jim’s show is receiving some solid cover with articles in five newspapers and three TV stations so far and more to come. May it be wildly successful.  Just surviving a Taiwan summer and working through it deserves a


Finally…for all you collectors out there…here is a new auction house, London based, that I did not know anything about till very recently and courtesy of a friend…. All those very British potters…. Go to MAAK CONTEMPORARY CERAMICS, or

ROA Gallery – 5 Pall Mall – London SW1Y 4UY

For all enquires contact MarijkeVarrall-Jones at:



1 Comment

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One response to “Congratulations to…

  1. lynda

    Thank you Moyra for another great read.

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