Monday, March 22, 2010

Pass it on

Narda McMahon and Andrea Vinkovic share clay tips

Exciting things have been happening with Clay Feet group of late. Sheryl Chant and Alyson Hayes are off exploring new frontiers of their own and we wish them great success in all they take on. I will, I hope, be reporting here on their ventures. Their input to the group will be missed. Recently new members Pauline Mann and Narda McMahon have been welcomed on board. Pauline is a skillful thrower, comes from a long stint at Whiteman Park pottery group, has been involved quietly and actively with Ceramics Arts Association of WA (CAAWA) and the study group for years. Narda's solo show of handbuilt life forms beyond ordinary perception, 'whether they exist in the sea, in the soil or under our own skin' took place at Heathcote last year making a big impression on many Perth clay folk and collectors.

I had brought in some Riso screens and members who had not previously screened with underglaze got stuck into screening images on clay and then working into them. Gill Treichel offered her screening ink made stain and honey with some glycerine. Andrea took one screened soft clay tile and slung it across the table to stretch the clay distorting the printed image and actually imbuing the image with more interest and meaning.

Here Narda working on a silkscreened impressed tile... with Veronica McGrath opposite inventively handforming a screened, stretched form in which she placed one of her trademark human heads - like a human emerging from a chrysalis.
Narda McMahon and Veronica McGrath

WE share a love of working in ceramics though each of us has a distinct style of our own. Expressing and sharing that passion is what sets us on fire. Usually, we work in our own studios, communicating in flurries of emails, meeting monthly to arrange events. Several of us gathered this weekend for a collaborative exercise to work beside each other and share our knowledge. Rather than 'show and tell' it was 'Show and Share', planning to make one of our own basic pieces in clay then let it go and 'pass the parcel' for another member to put their mark and style on the work - if they fancied doing so. This created a generous and liberating dynamic where an artist who might not be a wheel worker, could access a thrown piece and alter or decorate it to their desire.

Andrea Vinkovic demonstrated her technique of thickening up some casting slip with a pinch of Epsom Salts and trailing it from a plastic piping bag across clay to form linear or scribbly textures. In multiple layers, where the previous trailing has firmed up, it is possible to build up a dense but open surface of trailed lines. She trailed slip over small vase Pauline had thrown, this is visible in foreground of first photo
There was a gleeful shout from Jillian Archibald (above) as she trailed scribbly patterns loosely over one of her thrown joined forms, while leatherhard. Who knows where this will lead if some glaze is applied, where it will pool and deepen in colour.

Below is one of my thrown enclosed double walled 'nest' forms which I covered with slip, I would never have thought to do that ... it is about 25cm in diameter. Now I want to apply laser decal text and imagery over it when fired to see what happens to the surface.

Veronica McGrath and Andrea Vinkovic

Andrea Vinkovic and Pauline Mann

I will add more pix later ... but Belinda and Sascha ... maybe next time you'll be there. I hope.