art

Adventures in Ceramics


This semester I took my final university unit for my degree. I had expected to graduate at the end of last year, but realised at the last minute that I had one extra introductory elective unit to complete. I'd never done ceramics during my degree so I thought it was probably my last opportunity to give it a go and it was quite fun (with a healthy amount of frustration and failures). I thought I'd share some photos of work I completed. Most of my work is hand built or slip cast (there was no potters wheel instruction in this unit unfortunately). I really enjoyed the glazing process and played with mixing underglazes and stoneware glazes and my friend Holly and bought an underglaze pencil off eBay which gave a really fun naive hand-drawn effect on the ceramic.

Hand formed ceramic beads.


Hand formed ceramic beads.

Slip cast Lucky Buddha beer bottles. Unfortunately the plaster mould I made wasn't great so I didn't get to cast a whole bottle - just the fronts.


Slip cast Lucky Buddha beer bottles. Unfortunately the plaster mould I made wasn't great so I didn't get to cast a whole bottle - just the fronts.

I filled all of my little planter vessels with succulents I collected from along my street (I didn't steal them from people's gardens - just where they were growing in abundance alongside the road) and topped them with colourful aquarium stones.


I filled all of my little planter vessels with succulents I collected from along my street (I didn't steal them from people's gardens - just where they were growing in abundance alongside the road) and topped them with colourful aquarium stones.

My collection of 'failure' vessels. I don't hate them, but they just didn't turn out the way they were supposed to.



My collection of 'failure' vessels. I don't hate them, but they just didn't turn out the way they were supposed to.

I made lots of faceted gem stone brooches. I'm thinking of giving some of them away as Christmas gifts.


I made lots of faceted gem stone brooches. I'm thinking of giving some of them away as Christmas gifts.

I made a cheeky pair of penis shaped vases for my friend Jaine. I had to get my lovely gay male classmate to help me to form them because the first few I made looked demented.


I made a cheeky pair of penis shaped vases for my friend Jaine. I had to get my lovely gay male classmate to help me to form them because the first few I made looked demented.

Little nesting cat bowls.


Little nesting cat bowls.

I had a lot of fun in this subject and I do hope I get to play with clay again sometime.

The Nook | Volume 1

DSC03931

As I've mentioned a few times recently (I'm really excited about my nook obviously!), I have my own little space at uni now where I can sit all day and make things in (relative) privacy and stick things all over the walls. I share the space with a couple of other people but each of our spaces is pretty private and we don't have to interact with one another if we don't want to. I thought I'd share some pictures of what it looks like right now - it doesn't have much in it yet as I'm still starting out and developing my major project, but I'm really enjoying having a dedicated spot to sit and make things. The only problem is that as soon as I sit down, the time flies by. The fact that the sun still doesn't set until 8pm is a bit deceptive - but that will change pretty soon and Tasmania's 4pm Winter sunsets will be normal again.

DSC03932
DSC03933
DSC03934

The subject I'm doing is called Studio Project A and it's part 1 of a 2 part unit that runs until the end of the year, wherein you develop and create a self set project. There are several assessable items in the unit and a class for 3 hours once a week, but the majority of it is self directed making. I'm based generally in the area of mixed media, but thankfully I don't have to choose a 'major' (painting, drawing, ceramics, etc) because it would be so difficult to choose just one medium.

DSC03930

Hopefully I'll get to share some of the work I do in this space and the messes made. I've started working with some ideas about my childhood and it's kind of nice to unearth some of those memories.

Art School | Summer School Exhibition

DSC03026

I thought I'd share some photos from the Tasmanian Creative Arts Summer School exhibition that I participated in. There was such a great variety of art exhibited. I'm kind of thinking of sticking around at uni for just one more Summer school, they're so fun.

DSC03030
DSC02992
DSC02990
DSC02989
Here is my work set up. I collected a couple of hundred shopping lists while working at my old supermarket job and was happy to finally have a use for them. They took me more than an hour to put up, but C thankfully helped me to take them down. I had a little plinth where I sat my zines and I sold most of them and gave a couple away. I loved the work to the left of mine, a guy from my class called Maximilian - it's hard to believe that they're relief prints with such a huge scale.

Below is some of my classmates' work.

DSC02997
xxx

Here are some photos from around the exhibition.

DSC03025
sss
DSC03023
sdfsd
DSC03019
DSC03032
DSC03010
These cute little brooches and earrings were made by my friend Holly.

I'm looking forward to semester starting and getting immersed in creative materials again.

Prints | Woodcuts

DSC02969

Over the past two weeks I've been doing a Summer school unit at my art school. I've been really looking forward to going back to uni to finish my degree - next semester I'll be going three days a week for three hours. Summer school units are great because you can do one whole university unit in two weeks, intensively. Two Summers ago I took a book making unit which I loved (posted about here and here). This Summer I took a subject called 'The New Woodcut'. Our teacher, printmaking artist David Marsden, was a lot of fun and I got a lot out of the unit. I had taken one of his printmaking units in 2012 and this subject was similar but more focused. I didn't really come up with a theme for my work until the end of the first week but had fun playing around in the meantime. Our student contribution for the subject was $100* which I thought was a bit steep at first, but it covered access to the laser cutter in the architecture building which would usually cost at least $100 per hour to use (one of my boards took 76 minutes to cut alone!).

E
B

I decided I wanted to make a zine and for it to have a supermarket theme, based around the hundreds of shopping lists I had collected while working at my old job. I wrote 2 dozen haikus based on my experiences working there (I used to write down notes when interesting things happened). I illustrated some of the shopping lists in Photoshop and then printed them out and transferred the images to my MDF blocks and carved them by hand. I found that my carving got a lot better as the class went on - initially I would try to make really big, deep cuts, which ended up being quite messy and imprecise and would slip. I watched a video of American artist Thomas Shahan's process and noticed his really lovely, light, shallow cuts and the way that he holds his tools with two hands - his left low down on the tool to direct it and the right hand high on the tool pushing up and down.

DSC02957
D
C

I used the laser to cut a couple of images and the text for the zine - however because they were so intensely detailed, it was very difficult to ink them without ink getting on parts of the boards I didn't want inked. The interference from the ink ended up being something I kind of liked in the end - giving it a smudgey, DIY, ziney style.

I was so happy to make another zine - it has been 4 years since I last made one! I made this one pretty quickly and I'm pretty happy with it but I'm going to keep trying to develop it a bit more before I put them online to sell. If you'd like to buy a copy (should only be a couple of bucks), leave me your email address in a comment and when they're finished I'll let you know :)

A
+ I used a sewing machine in the textiles studio to sew some colourful binding.

F
+ Some extra prints that didn't end up in the zine.

DSC02974
DSC02959
DSC02958
+ My work set up for marking. Right at the end I decided to try making a tea towel, which I really liked the idea of, but I think I'd probably screen print if I made some more in the future.

dd
+ These two photos were taken by Linda Riseley.

At the end of the subject we had our work marked and today we had our exhibition with all of the other Summer school units. My uni has some pretty awesome summer school units like furniture making, jewellery, metalwork, painting, textiles, drawing and theatre - which anyone can take (uni students have the fees deferred, but anyone can sign up and pay the course fees). I'll do another post with some pictures of the exhibition.

*NB. For those wondering, the $100 is a consumables fee for materials we use during the course. The actual course fees are something like $500 - $800, but in Australia, most people defer their university education fees and eventually pay them off incrementally (something like 4% of your earnings to begin with) once you start earning over $51,000 dollars a year (which for most people I know, including my mum, they still haven't had to start paying theirs off yet, or pay a very small amount each year with their tax). And of course, if you pass away, your debt is cancelled and doesn't get passed on to anyone. This system means that finances should never be a deterrent for anyone seeking out an education in Australia. I know that without this system, it's very likely I might not have been able to go to university.

Little Gifts

DSC02595

This year I decided to put more effort into choosing some Christmas/Summer solstice gifts for my nieces and nephews. We usually don't have much money to buy and post gifts, but lately I've felt like I really want to make more of an effort and plan ahead and also make at least part of my gifts. When I was a kid my Aunts and Uncles always sent me sweet little gifts and I thought it would be nice to send my nieces and nephews something at least every now and then, especially because I don't get to see them very often and I want to stay connected with them and know what they're into.

DSC02560
DSC02561

I decorated these two little sketchbooks as part of little bundles of gifts for C's nephew and my niece. Both of them are great little artists so their presents were mostly art supplies. The other nieces and nephews who aren't as into art were much more difficult to buy for! I know when I was a kid art supplies were ALWAYS my favourite presents. Other little gifts for my nieces and nephews included Roald Dahl books, new pencil cases and stationery, fabric pens, a fancy new lunch box, a dream catcher and I re-gifted a couple of great books. I had so much fun putting their gifts together and I set a little budget for myself so I didn't go crazy buying things.

DSC02562

My sister has recently started drawing. She started reading some great art books (like 'An Illustrated Life' by Danny Gregory) and I think they gave her the confidence to give things ago. Her drawings are great and her ability is getting better and better and I'm so proud of her because it's so hard to persevere with creative pursuits when you don't have a huge amount of confidence or practice. I was looking for fun art books for her and I saw the book '642 Things To Draw' in a bookshop and while I really liked the idea, I couldn't justify paying almost $30 for a book of blank pages with some prompts. So I thought I'd buy a nice hardcover journal, decorate the cover and make up my own prompts and write them in it for her. I filled the entire book with prompts from the top of my head (although I did ask C and my friend Tess for some suggestions towards the end). Earlier in the year I went through a long period of feeling totally lacking in creative ideas, so it was really nice to be able to think up over 100 different ideas of things to draw without having to Google for ideas. I think I'll have to make a book for myself and attempt some of the drawing prompts too.

Here are some of the ideas I filled the pages with:
DSC02565
DSC02566
DSC02569