Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Kick Start!

Robin Best

So I thought to myself, if your really serious about doing this clay thing again, well your gonna need to do some research, some listening, some learning?
I thought if I approach this turnabout the same way I created,
Ouch Flower then I could do no wrong?
So some time ago I became a member of Craft Victoria and last week I attended this event.

Talk About Craft: International Focus

'For a chance to network with key ceramic identities and listen to Robin and Kris discuss how to market your ceramic practice and gain representation within an international arena'. 

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Best attended the South Australian School of Art, Australia to attain her Diploma Design Ceramics in 1976. Best continued her studies at the University of South Australia, Australia and received her Graduate Diploma Visual Arts in 1993.
After her studies, Best went on to develop her work in Jingdezhen, China which resulted in work included in the 2013 exhibition “New Blue and White” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
She is noted for delicately painted narratives and patterns on translucent, porcelain vessel forms.

Robin Best

Kris Coad

Kris Coad

Kris Coad is a ceramic artist living and working in Melbourne, Australia. She has been a practicing ceramicist for over 20 years, dividing her time between her studio and being an educator at RMIT University Melbourne Australia and Hong Kong.
Kris produces ceramic works for exhibition, pieces for commission, and a translucent porcelain bespoke tableware range for selected retail.
In 2002 Kris was awarded a Masters of Fine Art by Research RMIT. During the same year she was the only Australian honoured at the Sydney Myer Fund International Ceramic Award Shepparton Art Gallery.
Kris has exhibited in over 80 exhibitions internationally

Kris Coad
Both create such beautiful work and I could of listened to them talking about there ceramic practise for hours but I din't learn anything new about gaining international recognition that I didn't already know?
These ladies are doing it 'old school', the way that my 20 something self found too inhibiting then. 
Getting a portfolio together and working with galleries who weren't interested in new up and coming in the 90's?
Working with agents to source projects and act as go between for galleries?
There was no mention of social media and collaboration?
There was talk about working with stylists, that's about it?

Granted the art pottery audience is very different from the standard insta-community but it's a great platform for self promotion and sharing!

What was the best bit about the night was meeting
Christopher Plumridge a renown Australian potter who's name I remember in circulation when I was at Uni,
His work is divine! A potter's Potter!

Chris Plumridge

Chris Plumridge
I hope to meet with Chris again and view his studio some time :)

If your on insta check out Sheppartons Art Gallery insta feed for more clay goodness!

Next up is some pottery classes, at the Slow Clay Centre in Melbourne!

Prue Venables
I'll be creating porcelain jewellery with another renown Australian potter, Prue Venables.
You can imagine my excitment!!!!

There alot of porcelain clay making workshops around....but for me it's important to learn from someone with a bit of pottery street cred!
I could rant about that alot, but that's for another post :)

 If you have got this far in the post, thankyou for reading!
I hope you'll join me on this new journey!

Prue Venables 

Prue Venables

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Some explaining to do!

Fablefolk bangles

So now that I have lured you to read this post with a pretty picture of the work of FableFolk.

I know I've got some explaining to do!
Where have I been? I had such big plans for this blog!

Well I have been seduced by the evil temptress that is Instagram, I'm there alot and so pleased that alot of you are there too!! #suckedintoo

I now speak in #hashtags ....that my students find highly annoying and I find highly amusing! :0

I divert!
A series of incidences from December 2013 to now, has forced me too reconsider my actions, my goals and what I want from this creative life?

Here's the deal!

I need a change from the pace of Ouch Flower, I needed more time to do the things I love and best of all, more time to be a better parent!
So I have put my shops on hold, I'm taking a break from tassel making and macramé knotting!
I'm making a return back to pottery as I want to create in porcelain again!

The tassels have been a real joy to me but my claim on my work has been shaky. 
The advent of social media and pinterest has encouraged others to recreate what they see, with no consideration of the maker they are copying etc.
Now to see something and create for personal satisfaction is OK with me, knock yourself out! 
but to peddle the wares on social media as your own, well I struggled with that greatly.
So the decision to share my ideas, processes and knowledge is the best answer I can come up with? ...cause the battle to hold onto my design is not worth it? 
I can't control the foibles of others?
So to share what I do with you, is in the hope you'll share my knowledge with others, in an open and authentic way!

So look forward to some tassel and macramé DIY this year!

Lastly we at chez Ouch have been blessed with the knowledge that three will become four! #ouchbaby
I thought that my run was done and was making peace with that when the morning sickness train well and truly arrived!
It's been a shock, a blessing, a joy and slightly annoying but I'm up for more stretch marks!

So I leave you with another pretty picture and hope to be back soon!


Ouch Flower/Rock Garden

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Tassel Dreamers heading off to Supergraph!

Ohhh it is so hot!

Here's me thinking, holidays I can make, make, make to my hearts content!
This heatwave has hit Melbourne right between the eye's!
I have managed a few things :)

These Tassel Dreamers are heading to Supergraph, an art fair here in Melbourne, in February.
Supergraph is a Graphic Art/ Illustration fair but these beauties not being paper goods are going to be in the Supergraph shop for a bit of difference!
The Dreamers have been described as having a graphic quality to them, which I'm rather pleased about.

Cool change tomorrow, looking forward to that! :)


Friday, 10 January 2014

What Craft Means To Me?

The following post is personal to me.

I have been thinking about this word, for a long time!
What it means to me, what it mean't 20 years ago, what it means now?
So what is Craft?
I do not have a definitive answer but I have some ideas I wish to share and hope that if your able you'll share your thoughts with me too.

Craft to me is the the title of my degree.
Bachelor of Arts-Craft Honours.
...20 years ago. 
(arrrgh...screams into the mirror)

I made a decision, to pursue my hearts desire, clay!
High school clay works

My first experience with clay was in year seven and that was it.

Don't really remember why and I don't think I thought too much about it at the time.
Looking back it could of been I the stressful time of final exams, pressure of being at school, might of made me think that, studying a degree with essays and exams was not my idea of fun!
I wanted freedom, independence, out!

First year fun
Don't get me wrong I wasn't afraid of hard work and received a fairly decent exam score, my best subjects were Biology and Human Development......not Art. (surprise!)

But I persued what was going to make me happy.

Four years of study, everyday of that spent on the wheel, learning, perfecting and quite frankly with a dog headdedness to succeed.

I was pleased with the success I had achieved and walked away with an understanding that I had earned the respect of my lecturers.
I'd done my apprenticeship.
In my degree I learnt to persist when all else failed (whole kiln loads gone), what good pottery was, what good technique was and what it meant to practise, improve and work!

First Year

Second/Third Year

Honours Year

Then CRAFT was?
Those who made in Clay
(Mud-chuckers, who walked around in old clothes with hand print wipes on our backsides from cleaning our hands on our clothes) 

Those who worked in Metal (metal-mafia, wore black alot,aloof)
Those who worked in Glass (mysterious,usually women,quiet)

Then and only if you'd qualified in your chosen field.

Could you call yourself a Potter, Silversmith/Jeweller or Glass Artist.

Third year studio

So with a solid reputation and a consistent body of work and strong aesthetic could you approach galleries to sell your work.
There was no etsy, or any online shops, or an online buy handmade community?
There was no blogging, no instagram, no FB, no twitter.
You had your local markets but they were dead.

Graduate Exhibition.

In fact everything that is now available would of been frowned upon by my staunch purist Clay lecturers....even plaster cast (slip cast) pottery was a dirty word! 

No West German pottery there!
The only retro pottery we were introduced to was Bitossi.

Now the word 'craft' has many sides!
There are the crafty types, crafters, those who crafternoon, creatives, those who like a bit of DIY craft, those who make crafty books, Designer, Makers, Etsy seller, Artists and Designer Makers!

This is not a bad thing, just an observation.
You don't need a qualifiaction, apprenticeship to make and sell in this new era......that's fine :)

BUT, yes BUT.... here's my humble opinion, 
You do need craftmanship.

Craftsmanship to me is knowing your material, 
Understanding it's capabilities strengths/weaknesses.
Taking it into new directions, being sympathetic to it but challenging it too.
Accepting mistakes and finding joy in the process.
And above all, unique to you.

Thank you for reading this post.


Please excuse the quality of the pictures, taking pics of pics is difficult and it was the nineties! :)

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Happy Holidays

 We had a great Christmas! Hope you did too!

It's was Ouch Boy's first real Christmas, so alot of what we did was for him! Thomas train track around the tree, Thomas tree decorations and lots of shiny lights!

For me it's always about the table setting!
Arabia and iittala featured strongly! :)

He was a happy chappy!

Every year,
my Dad, Brother and I have a sunflower growing race!
Let's just say that my Brother might have won?
Final decision after the plant hormone testing?
Also my brother is taking credit for his wife's planting too?

...we should wait till mine to get some growth under their belt before we cast the final vote?

Armstrong variety
 So the big news is the single tassels have gone into retirement!

I figured I wouldn't get other artistic opportunities happening if I didn't make way for that?
I impulsively made the decision and sold out, some time later!
I may have 'shot myself in the foot' so to speak but it feels right and so far no regrets?
So as lovely as they are and fun to make, it's goodbye to the single tassel!
Am I crazy?
Or do you get what I'm tryng to do?

 Either way, see you in the new year!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013



I adore this bangle!

I'm so lucky to have chanced upon it! (thankyou etsy)

I will wear it everyday, like my other bangles.
It will in time lose it's shiny surface and be replaced with bumps and scratches...but it will be loved and cherished.

If I was asked to choose a piece of jewellery that best represents me at this time in my life then this is certainly it!

I hope your Xmas prep is going well and you are well too xx

Vintage, silver, Denmark, Hans Hansen, circa 1960.

Monday, 2 December 2013


Just wanted to share a few moments at chez Ouch. Just small things really but my heart melted just the same.
Ouch boy decided that he would swim.
He has been going to lessons for two terms...... loving it!
On friday last week he told Mr Ouch that he would swim today, and he did!
A half pool length, no arm floaties, no noodle  (long, thin foam floatie)just elegant arms and kicking legs.
I like that he decided he would do it, then did it!

When asked by me if he'd like to be a baby again?
He said no......I asked why he liked being a big boy?
"Cos big boys learn to do new things"!
I can't disagree with that!
and lastly, his orientation for big school is coming up this week.
His response to this reminder was
"I promise to try, not to be scared".

Oh my heart, my heart....