On this, that, and the other…

Good news from Europe in that the Guldagergaard International Research Center in Skaelskor, Denmark is so impressed with the work done by Jim Cooper, who has been in residence there, that it’s included in an exhibition that has travelled to Milan, Italy for showing at the Officine Saffi Gallery – certainly one of Italy’s most prominent private galleries that includes ceramics. It’s a group show and includes other international artists, Malene Hartmann Rasmussen (Dk), Sergei Isupov (Russia), Sten Lykke Madsen (Dk), Stephen Bowers, (Aus), Kadri Parnaments (Estonia ), Mara Superior (USA) and Lileng Wong (Malaysia). The exhibition runs June 22nd to July 14th. All artists made to a theme of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Jim’s work will return to Denmark for permanent display in the extensive grounds at Guldagergaard.

There is also talk of a show of Jim’s work in London but as yet there are no details.

Auckland presently seems to be being entirely dug up everywhere one travels – and it’s best not to if it can be avoided. It’s not just residential building going on everywhere but many streets are having large tracts of bitumen excavated for laying lines, presumably internet connected and goes under rubric of CRL excavations. Some artefacts are being dug up…mainly shards including the inevitable Willow Pattern pieces, plus ceramic and glass containers for things like Worcerstershire sauce, beer or wated – often partially damaged. Some are intact including a grey, hand-thrown stoneware ginger beer bottle stamped with the name ‘Fowler’ and thought to be made in the 1840s by an Irish immigrant potter, Enoch Fowler, who arrived Auckland in 1836. Fowler would have been one of the many immigrant tradesmen trained, in the UK and Ireland, in industrial ceramics and who came here for work at a time when it proved difficult back ‘home’. A number of the early potteries making bricks and pipes employed throwers to extend their range of wares beyond field drainage and chimneys. Another of these immigrant throwers was William Speers who worked at Gardner Brothers in New Lynn in the 1920s and who taught Briar Gardner how to throw. The legacy is not long compared with what can be found in Asia, Middle East or Europe but it’s very typical of colonial times in countries like Africa and Australia and is interesting for all that.


I brought back from this year’s NCECA some catalogues from the various artist’s and ceramist’s residency situations in the USA. Some are for a bunch of arts and/or crafts while others are ceramics only. In or near a national park there is very possibly a school of crafts waiting for you to enter, stay for a while and learn some new skills in your passionate pursuit. Some offer specific skills taught by a specialist in the field. Others allow you to simply go and work out what it is you want to do, to further develop your work. Some are former hippy colonies turned around, so that upkeep can be maintained. Some are grandly endowed, newly built places attached to some larger institution. Some have received contemporary architecture awards, others have been there for more than 100 years. Some are very famous, others you’ll never have heard of. I’ve finished this list with some similar places but not in USA… Enrolments already rolled out for this northern summer but you need time to get their newest information, prepare, save up and enrol for next year. I have left the brochures with the office at ASP, so go see if interested.

The residencies are listed below…. I have detailed the first on the list but many of the others in USA offer something along those lines. Some will take you in to a class simply by your paying the fee (fees are for tuition and more for accommodation…food extra) and agreeing that you are of the standard requested. Some offer a place to develop and exhibit own work rather than tuition and entry is by the proposal you submit and the background you bring. Some offer scholarships in various categories so that tuition, or possibly accommodation, is free. These are highly competitive.

Anderson Ranch… nestled among the Rocky Mountains of Colorado… extensive programme including ceramics, photography and new media, painting and drawing, printmaking, digital fabrication, woodturning, sculpture and critical dialogue! In ceramics you can join travelling workshops for a week in Mexico or Jamaica, or do courses on – figurative ceramic sculpture, mould-making, jars/lids and spouts, making and glazing, urban porcelain, the narrative vessel, wood/salt/soda firing, earthenware surface decoration, The Karatsu Tradition and more…

Then there are…

Arrowmont… Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Near Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Offers 27 different courses in clay alone….

Haystack Mountain…. Deer Isle, Maine

Mudflat Studio, Somerville, Massacheusetts

Office for the Arts, Harvard, Ceramics Program, Allston, Mass.

Penland School of Crafts, North Carolina.

Peters Valley… Delaware Water Gap National Park

Red Lodge Clay Center, Red Lodge, Montana.

Watershed center for the ceramic arts. Newcastle, Maine.

Archie Bray, Montana. Very competitive for entry.

Off-shore there is…

CRETA in Rome, Italy and

Guldagergaard Ceramic Research Centre, Skaelskor, Denmark

International Ceramics Studio, Keckskemet, Hungary.

Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan. Excellent facilities. Competitive entry by proposal and CV.

EKWC (European Ceramic Work Centre) Holland. This is the most challenging to get into as standards are very high for admission. Entry by proposal. It’s also by far the most expensive. They have been cross-pollinating artists from a variety of arenas for many years now. Great facilities.

There are even more than this when you look. However many of the rest are simply small businesses that offer a place to work and a place to sleep for which you pay a fee, but nothing more. Some have requirements as to work (in that you cannot simply use the place as a tourist centre) although many are located near good tourist areas (such as Nice in the south of France). There is an international Association of Artists Residencies which sends occasional news about these. The standards vary considerably, and research, so that you get what you seek, is necessary.


GULGONG Ceramics Festival.

Will be April 15-21 next year. I will again be taking a group across for which I must apply for funding. Again there will be a joint project that allows for individual expressive involvement. I’d like to finalise the team so please, those who have had conversations with me earlier on this or have written about their interest in the event, please be in touch to confirm that interest is still there and I’ll try to sort a team from this. However, even if you have not been in touch and now have interest, please signal and, I’ll do my best. Emphasis will be on making a team that works together and who is prepared to muck in doing what’s necessary for a good outcome.


Those who went last year will recall that one of the demonstrators was Norway’s Torbjorn Kvasbo who was working with extruded clay pipes. Well, one of the sculptures he made with these assembled pipes has just won the Grand Prize in the Korean International Ceramics Biennale and a massive amount of K/wons which translates to something around 60,000NZ$! Well done! He won the Faenza competition in about ’99 also and has just completed installing sculpture in another new ceramics museum in Central China quite apart from being about Europe’s most awarded teacher in ceramics..

Torbjorn has been here as Fletcher judge back in 1998 and took Master-classes at that time and I am in conversations with him to come again next year for a residency and further Masterclasses of a different nature.

Cross fingers he won’t be too busy!


I am putting together a small show about early women, I think to be called, ‘Leading Ladies’, for Te Uru gallery at Portage time later this year. It seems we have had numerous retrospectives, surveys and suchlike on those late 20thC and after men, several of whom have been labelled ‘pioneer’, that Te Uru thought it high time the pioneer female studio potters from early 20thC should be featured. (Of course the industrially trained men, imported with skills intact, from Europe, were even earlier…) Some surprising facts and events and pots are turning up so watch this space!




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2 responses to “On this, that, and the other…

  1. Ev

    I’m hugely excited to hear that there will be a NZ Women Potter exhibition at Te Uru.

  2. jane mcculla

    Hi Moira Thanks again for your blog, really enjoy reading your perspective on the clay scene both here and on international level. Interested in your call out for the Gulgong event next April and would like to express my interest in attending as part of a kiwi contingent. I attended once before and had an amazing time. Really pleased it is continuing after Janet’s passing. Please let me know if you need any further info about me or my ceramic profile. I have studied and completed a 1st Class BAHons Degree in Fine & Applied Art. A bit of background: I have met you and been to your house a couple of times during the Portage Awards event and have had my work both selected and awarded at Portage as well as solo exhibitions both here in Christchurch and London,UK and Ireland. Ihave experience collaborating with mixed media artists at Collaborationz an international event in Northland. I also have facilitated and directed work on public art projects both here and N Ireland. I hope this finds you well and look forward to hearing from you if you consider me a suitable candidate for the Gulgong team next April.

    All the very best


    On 8/06/2017 18:09, “Cone Ten and descending…” wrote:

    > user posted: “Good news from Europe in that the Guldagergaard > International Research Center in Skaelskor, Denmark is so impressed with > the work done by Jim Cooper, who has been in residence there, that it’s > included in an exhibition that has travelled to Milan, Italy f” >

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