Friday, September 30, 2011
Kim Sacks Gallery link.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The month of October sees a wonderful Art in Clay Festival in Franschhoek with 6 galleries showing ceramics,as well as a pop-up shop, a ceramic craft market and a number of restaurants collaborating with the galleries serving food on wonderful ceramics. I am showing work at Ebony together with many other ceramic artists. This promises to be a very delightful festival!
Seventy-seven thousand years ago on a cold, wet and windy Western Cape winter’s day, a local potter was sheltering in her cave at Blombos on the south coast near Klein Kliphuis. She picked up a piece of clay-like ochre, and scratched on the surface an abstract rendering of the rain slashing down outside. This object survived and is the oldest known art work in the world!
Skilled potters are still creating objects out of clay, and this year there is to be a Ceramics Festival in Franschhoek: Art in Clay. From 1 to 30 October, local galleries will feature ceramics made by the cream of South African ceramic artists.
Special features include a Pottery Fair in the grounds of the beautiful Dutch Reformed Church on Saturday 29th October, and ‘pop-up’ Sunday lunches cooked by well-known Franschhoek chefs in the art galleries. These distinctive meals in inspiring surroundings are designed to showcase and promote the use of ceramic dinnerware made by Western Cape potters.
Throughout the month, the Cape Craft & Design Institute will show their Handmade Collection in the Gallery at Grande Provence, while the new Pierneef Art Gallery at La Motte wine estate will display an exhibition of historically significant pottery from the Rust-en-Vrede collection of CeramicsSA.
Other art galleries taking part are Artefact in Daniel Hugo Street, the Ceramics Gallery at 24 Dirkie Uys Street, Ebony in Huguenot Square, Grande Provence Art Gallery on Grande Provence estate, IS Art at Le Quartier Francais, and the La Motte Museum at La Motte wine estate.
Each gallery will show their own selection of ceramic artists, presenting different aspects of the art at each venue. This is a unique opportunity to appreciate South African ceramics – the affordable art works for lifelong, hands-on enjoyment.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I have been extremely involved with intense work recently - a major one-person show at Kim Sacks Gallery in Johannesburg opening 1st October. And then on the same day, an opening at Ebony Gallery in Franschhoek which is the start of the Art in Clay festival lasting all of October at six different galleries there. I have also just finished a huge commissioned panel for a private client.
But in my surfings of Facebook,(when I take a break!) I came across these images posted by Therese Diliberti who has put up an album called 'Dad's Clay Homes'. These are amazing structures reminiscent of some of the vernacular architecture found in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Inspiring and beautiful sculptures for residing in...
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Hennie Meyer and his students will be carrying out a clay explosion on Tuesday 13th at The Clay Museum, at Rust-en-Vrede,Wellington Road, Durbanville at 7 pm
In Hennie's words:
'This project was inspired by seeing American artist Steve Tobin explode clay at the 5th World Ceramic Biennale in Korea in 2009. He actually uses dynamite!
We inserted crackers into solid blocks of clay. The explosion creates a beautiful, almost perfectly round cavity and in the process opening up the clay. This process is mostly uncontrolled. The aim in the project was, apart from having fun and being part of this experience, to try and create some personal influence in the final piece. This process could be achieved by the shape of the clay and the personal mark making on the surface before the explosion or by creating some intervention after the explosion. In all my years of teaching this project was probably the one my students enjoyed most. The experience of the process was amazing.'
On display in the cube will be the results of the explosions by all the students and also some of Hennie's own. The pieces are all done in black clay and fired to cone 5.
There will also be a photo documentation of the process as well as a video documentation.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I have recently been posting comments about the struggle of the studio ceramist to survive in the modern world particularly in competition with inexpensive Chinese imports.
However, as Samuel Beckett writes in the voice of Pozzo in Waiting for Godot :
"The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops."
The Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale 2011 in Korea is the Olympics of Ceramics. There is a seriousness and reverence for ceramics in that culture which is quite extraordinary.
1875 artists from 71 countries submitted 3362 entries for selection of which only 160 entries were chosen. The selection panel constituted highly regarded academics and others from the ceramic world.
From Africa 9 entries were selected, 5 of which were from South Africa. I am thrilled to be one of the 5! This image is a set of beakers entitled African Spring which is my submission.
I am extremely happy to know that ceramics is alive and flourishing in some quarters and hope that their slogan 'All roads lead to ceramics' will permeate the consciousness of all consumers!
Check out the website for a magnificent programme of events and exhibitions.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
CONFLUENCE - a coming together, or gathering at one point - is the title of an exhibition currently on show at The Irma Stern Museum. Here Ian Garrett's absolutely superb handbuilt vessels come together with the mysterious paintings of Rae Hearn. It is such a pleasure to see the skill and attention to detail in Ian's pots and extremely refreshing when one sees so little of this kind of dedication to form, technique and surface treatment. The exhibition is on until the 24th September 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Yesterday I posted concerns re making ceramics in competition with cheap Chinese imports...then I came across this article in Truthout which sums it up - the Chinese invasion is across the board and across continents! It feels like a philosophical/economic war!!
Friday, September 2, 2011
'TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY - The value of making and purchasing studio ceramics in the 21st Century'
This is the title of a presentation I gave recently at the recent Western Cape Ceramics winter workshop.
I was reminded of the gist of my talk yesterday when I visited Mr.Price Homeware store where tableware manufactured in China is selling at such low prices, I think possibly even less than the cost of our clay and glaze and firing!
Where does this place the contemporary maker of handbuilt tableware? It is impossible to compete with this. And even though it might be said that the industrial and the hand manufactured are two totally different areas, at the end of the day, these utensils fulfill pretty much the same utilitarian function. The question of China's labour practices just does not come into mind when a customer is faced with such an inexpensive and relatively aesthetic choice.
Or is making tableware by hand becoming a completely anachronistic activity which can only be practised by those who have an alternative outside income? Any thoughts on this?