I’m aware that my recent posting of photos on facebook is a lame (lazy?) justification (excuse?) for not writing about the past couple of weekends and instead devoting this entire post to ceramics, but…
Yesterday I went to a ceramics art gallery in Newtown on assignment. I was to choose a featured artist, take photos of his or her work, and write an essay about him or her. Instead, I was inspired to write this review/personal essay, which I will hopefully find a way to incorporate into my final paper:
I was overall disappointed upon stepping into the 3-room, white-walled yet cluttered ceramics gallery on King Street in Newtown. The slicking of tires against wet pavement was my only soundtrack as I, the single gallery-goer on this particularly grey morning, stepped self-consciously in between both free-standing and wall-rimming displays. Within thirty minutes I decided I had seen it all and, feeling only mildly impressed, planned to focus my ceramics essay on Barbi Lock Lee’s playful, animal-embellished pots.
But as I expressed my interest in Barbi’s work to the older woman behind the desk on what I thought was my way out, everything changed. With the patience and quiet wisdom of a one-hundred-year-old guru, she guided me back through each display and allowed me to see the pots with new eyes. She paused at some, gently pressing her hands against uneven rims and palming over glossy, glazed surfaces of bowls. I was disarmingly hypnotized, paralyzed by vulnerability in her unearthly calm and inviting presence. Even more importantly, though, she awakened within me a sense of curiosity.
Soda firing! Smoke firing! Wood firing! I searched in her eyes desperately for more information on these absolutely enthralling new concepts, but to no avail. My insatiable desire to know all that I now knew I didn’t know grew as she explained away each piece’s history. She lifted a piece by an artist, last name Chareon and, while carefully turning it in her hands, described how he used molds, like those made from 1950’s wallpaper, to set his textured, pastel-colored mugs.
I had so briskly and ignorantly identified the minimalist designs in the gallery as “those that took much skill and dedication but are uninteresting both visually and structurally.” Now…Now I understood that Chester Nealie wood-fired that earthen jug for four entire days, preparing it for it’s intended return to the fireside in its final state as steamy soup mug-jug. What was once a brown, asymmetrical, chunky bowl now meant camping; nature; warmth.
I followed the woman around the gallery, touching what she touched, overloading my senses as I felt each pieces’ story. I didn’t want to leave but my ineducation left me grasping for questions until, at last, I said my goodbyes. I think a second visit is in order, only after I do a bit of research on glazing techniques. I will return to my guru’s side, where I expect I will experience new stories as sensationally mind-opening as today’s.
I will conclude with a few photos of my own ceramics creations. Credit to Google images for design ideas, of course.
So there you have it. Ceramic at the disco.
Upcoming: I may or may not have successfully secured a babysitting job with a family over yonder in Glebe. If anything, gumtree.com.au (like craigslist) has provided me with more than one opportunity to be paid for performing highly suggestive acts on creepy male strangers. Thanks dangermouse1, but no thanks.
I will SCUBA review this weekend in preparation for SB 2010 part dos the following weekend. SO PUMPED.
Also, Casey is coming for a bit to run in some big Sydney marathon.
Lastly, dinner with the Sernik fam on Monday night.