Its been a long and wonderful learning experience in Ceramics at TAFE Far North Queensland, 2014 will be my graduating year in the Visual Arts Diploma!!
One of my units involved Slip Cast Ceramics, creating the plaster mold and designing a range of tableware was on my mind. Having a few ideas and concepts that I had been playing with over last Christmas I began casting some found objects that were reminiscent of childhood memories, that would later provide me with skills to develop concepts in serving ware produced from marika ceramics.
As with most work I create, family is such a strong influence in most of my creations. Growing up in a family of six sisters and one brother with active social European parents, there were many occasions to celebrate, gather and share stories with wonderful home cooked food, creating functional tableware was a natural progression to honour these memories.
Always striking to me were the cut glass and crystal faceted tableware that were manufactured largely from the 1960’s and 1970’s . Some brought over with migrating Europeans wrapped safely in towels and clothing in suitcases that would find them on the shores of a new land, Australia
My parents arrived in 1961, Hungarian and Slovenian/Italian heritage, packed into the suitcases : hope and bare belongings with their one year old daughter, my sister.
The language was foreign, the culture strange to most Australians but the food was always abundant, cooked together as families learning traditional dishes in kitchens all over suburbs of Melbourne..
Wafting scents of apple strudel, baked sweet breads and plum jam stewing in hot pots from open summer windows, fresh vegetables from organic gardens and produce from farmers roasting or stewing in winter months, cheese from goats and wine that flowed into Czechoslovakian crystal glassware, late night Poker games with occasional bouts of singing folk songs from the homeland and laughter that echoed in the suburban landscape.
Friends and families would arrive with plates of specialty cooked family recipes that were displayed lovingly on serving ware, far from being wealthy, on these occasions we ate like kings and queens. This led me to recreate the tableware of the eclectic pieces of serving ware and develop colours that were reminiscent of the 1970’s ceramic ware that my twin sister and I had.
Creating these pieces, i would sit the mouths open on top of each other when I bisque fired the bowls, this would give me the idea to evolve the pieces into sculptural form. I also did a reverse model of the original cast that i will use as a feature for future pieces. Working on the molds and casting one after the other I was flooded with childhood memories, and slowly it evolved into “Totem”, each component representing a family member.
I developed a glaze that I spray painted onto the surface, ensuring i would get a smooth, liquid surface. “Totem” became my daily ritual and learning applications for future work would evolve. Researching artists that used CAD design to create complex figures and most recently saturating You Tube on 3D printing ceramics. I could see how ceramics would evolve into future applications via 3D printing, alas for me, I enjoy becoming tactile with clay, allowing developing work to evolve through my hands.
I used Walkers stain Intense Sky Blue at 1% with a studio created clear glaze. After conducting a few test colour pieces I wanted to create that 70’s baby blue breakfast bowl i had with bunny decals, discovering the colour would be too intense on a large project I decided to soften the tone as I wanted “Totem” to exude a silence, an “Om” moment. Traditional totems and meanings for cultures was imperative to give that ethereal quality I was attempting to portray for this piece.
I used a local wrought iron artist @ Elephantus Cairns to create a simple foundation for the components to sit safely on. It was a great moment to see the piece come to life once components were together. I deceided one more component for the top to hide the bolt that was holding the pieces into place on the threaded pole.
Busily creating two pieces for top component, one spare, just in case.!!! Cairns Regional Gallery offers an end of year exhibition for selected works in the Loft Gallery,”Totem” was selected as part of this inaugural show for emerging artists in Far North Queensland.
On November 22nd “Verge” was officially opened to a well receiving audience. Interest of my bowls to sell on consignment was hinted to me, another avenue for me to pursue with the concepts I have locked away to advance and produce as an emerging artist.
I love the ethereal qualities oft totem structures, I have completed a unit in architectural studies through my studies in Diploma and enjoyed creating porcelain slip cast “light pods” 2012 which was exhibited in this very gallery!! its a sign! I will continue sculptural work in ceramics, and explore obtaining a welding certificate at TAFE 2015 😉