Meeting other kindred spirits cannot be underestimated as their feedback was a motivation to continue. Making pottery and creating art allows me to express myself. I was in the studio doing some mud slinging. In between my thoughts were wandering to a place where I could rid myself of the inner demons.
How to source clay and its attributes. Without too much fuss it formed a platter shape, and then I rolled the edges back to form handles.
I left with my tail between my legs and got a job as a cutter in a factory making clothes for Kmart. Other ladies were weaving traditional baskets and some were demonstrating dyeing techniques. It was a lucky day for me when it was suggested we make the old pergola down the back into a studio.
The feeling of freedom as I moulded the clay into a form that I had control of was my inspiration. The works are shaped in clay by the artist then a fibreglass mould is taken to be filled with resin to produce an art piece that is like no other. I didn’t know then that I would design textiles, mosaics, ceramics, landscaping, do street art and even have paintings on display in public! I became a little stressed and was overthinking everything, so I decided it was time to start a new project. It was the bonnet and mudguards of a 1949 Sunbeam Talbot. A year passed and my passionate pleas to move on were regarded with consternation. Somehow we moulded the clay, with curiously shaped implements, into recognisable objects. Fashion Design suited me fine.
Then it’s used a lot as a euphemism for class in 19th-century British newspapers and as a euphemism for race in 19th century U.S. newspapers. I just think it’s really important to remember how much institutionalized government-sanctioned language is weighed down with racism. I called in the troops and we started to paint graffiti. This involved scrapping the clay from the block with a butter knife and making patterns with it in the mould. It’s just this huge reduction. On the way home my imagination was ignited with all sorts of ideas for a car bonnet creation in my own backyard. She drafted up little frocks for my sister and I. The Social Distance Scale is, I think, in many ways, the most influential and formidable use of this term. Learning about drying our pots, firing and one day I will learn about the glazes. To my amazement, I went on to survive the first year.
The first week we sat down to an industrial machine and sewed spirals and zigzags. Today’s lesson encompassed working with moulds. No more eating dinner on our laps in the lounge room because Mum was in an art phase. We covered the use of moulds, made pinch pots, coil pots and slab boxes.
In March, when the world was stocking up on supplies as stay-at-home orders went into place, doctoral student Lily Scherlis started to take stock of the new vocabulary of the pandemic. The worst thing for and artist is not negative reviews but to be ignored. After meeting our teacher and the other students we set off on our journey of clay transformation.
We joined them together, added legs, made holes, squished and squashed.
This grounding in Fashion Design set me up for a lifetime of being a creative. I thought to myself, this must be how they weed out the non-enthusiasts. I produced startling pieces that were probably inspired by laistrygonians or cyclops. People have used “social distancing” to talk about how people behave in men’s bathrooms around urinals.
I had a hunch there would be stuff with redlining and the racialized history of housing in the second half of the 20th century. The skill of the makers is undeniable but with nothing to compare it to I can only say it was not to my taste. The universe conspired in my favour and it was suggested I do a course with Sunshine Coast Community College.
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