In recent months my work focus has been on my arts practice, pursuing new directions with public art opportunities and the Animating Spaces project in Yeppoon with Artslink Qld. Now that these projects are over I have been able to turn my focus to Stamp Your Feet, a small online business that has been a side project to my ceramics for a few years now.
Under the name Stamp Your Feet, I create a range of baby footprint artworks, taking clay impression of baby's feet, decorating, firing and then framing the footprints to create a lasting keepsake. This month I have decided to diversify to start doing fur baby's and I am now offering paw prints for people wanting to make a special keepsake of their beloved pet.So far it has been really popular and so I thought I would share a few of the paw prints I have done.
The official launch of Stamp Your Paws will be this Sunday 10th August at the Yeppoon Show grounds for the 'Four Paws" organisation's launch event. In support of the fantastic work that this organisation does on the Capricorn Coast I have also decided to give $5 from the sale of every set of paw prints I make on Sunday to Four Paws.
Bring your dog along to this VERY dog friendly event and join in the fun from 10am-2pm.
Check out the Stamp Your Feet websi
I always find myself in an interesting headspace after a project like 'Through The Porthole' is over. It's one of satisfaction, relief, excitement and enthusiasm for the next project to come. Above all though I am grateful for the opportunity to create and have people enjoy and appreciate my work.
Through The Porthole has been an extra special project to be involved in, collaborating with over 50 artists, photographers and volunteers and working for five months to bring the art trail to life in Yeppoon's CBD.
As a project coordinator it has been invaluable working with skilled teams from Artslink Queensland and Keppel Coast Arts and I hope to work on further projects with these organisations in the future.
For now though its time to catch my breath, take a few days off and then get back into the studio and start working on some new ideas and directions I have planned for my ceramics in the upcoming months.
Please check out the full gallery of works from Through The Porthole on my website.
Birds of Keppel Bay
'Through The Porthole' would not nearly have been the success that it has been without the collaborations that have taken place between the local artists that live on the Capricorn Coast. I have received hundreds of images from local photographers, willing to have artists and student use their content as inspiration for the ceramic works that have been made.
Here's a few bird images from around Keppel Bay. Not all of these have been made into ceramic artworks but there are some you will recognise at the exhibition tomorrow.
Developing a Concept in Ceramic
With Animating Spaces Yeppoon and 'Through the Porthole' event only a matter of days away I thought I would let you in on a little secret…Sometimes 'Art Don't Work'.
Yes, that's right and all artists can relate to this, taking a project from an idea through to installation does not always run according to plan. In fact, there sometimes isn't even a plan at all - This is what makes an artist an artist. You start, you run into hurdles, your try something else and repeat this until it does work!
This particular artwork is the perfect example. It was one of the first works that I made for 'Through The Porthole' in early 2014 and finally, five months later I have just this morning unloaded a success from the kiln. The progression shows perfectly the stages that clay goes through, things that work, things that don't and of course the things that are sometimes out of one's control like cracking in the firing process.
But oh how good it feels when you open the kiln to find the work that finally worked like I did this morning!
In late 2013 I attended the Queensland Regional Art Awards opening at the State Library in Brisbane. The day was an exciting program of varied events, with the presentation of the awards, curators floor talk and a forum. It was a fantastic day, but the highlight for me was to be something unexpected.
During the forum, one of the panellists, a female indigenous artist from Hervey Bay raised a question; Where are Australia's indigenous artists represented publicly? The question was met with an embarrassing silence. A silence that to me was motivation to work towards a collaboration with an indigenous artist. Motivation to learn from and gain appreciation and understanding of our country's traditional custodians' artistic culture.
Amazingly, it would only be a matter of months before the opportunity to be involved in Animating Spaces would present itself and lead to a public art project that would allow just this. I'd known Kim Warcon for many years on a social level, mostly for his work as a healer and Bowen Therapist. He is a well respected person in the community and in recent years has been emerging as an artist of many talents. Kim was introduced to his art through his story as an indigenous man and began painting for his own healing in art circles over 15 years ago. Since then he has produced and sold many artworks throughout Australia and held various exhibitions.
Kim took no encouragement in accepting my idea of involving him in 'Through The Porthole', and from our first meeting to discuss ideas it has been an absolute pleasure to work together on the artworks, facilitating the workshops with local high schools and finally create the displays for the Animating Spaces event. Kim has made some amazing artworks and I cannot wait for the public to be able to enjoy them as part of the art trail.
For me I have a gained knowledge of his styles, symbolism and techniques, and cultural influences in his art. I have also had the pleasure of introducing Kim to a completely new medium, teaching him techniques for working with clay. I'm hoping that 'Through The Porthole' is the first of many projects that Kim and I can collaborate on, and I feel honoured to have had Kim involved.
Read the news article on Kim Warcon here
Find Kim Warcon's 'Oonga-Lara Arts' page here
Finding The Perfect Materials For A Permanent Outdoor Art Installation
As a ceramic artist one's works are generally limited to that of a permanent nature, taking the natural product clay, using it to create, and then firing your creation into a solid and permanent state. The ceramic artworks for 'Through The Porthole' have been fired to 1300˚C, at which point they are turned to stone and therefor won't be changing much for the next couple of thousand years at least! For this reason it was very important to find a material for the porthole frames that would look good long term when used to display the ceramic artworks. The material would also have to be suitable for permanent outdoor installation as a foreshore art trail with little or no maintenance…quite an ask of any material!
After many discussions with local metal worker Gary Palmer at GP Metalworks it was decided to go with plasma cut, mirror finish stainless steel 'porthole styled' frames. This was perfect advice from Gary I couldn't have been happier to see the finished products when I picked them up last week. It was an exciting drive home to see if I had managed to match up the variable shrinkage of the clay artworks with the final dimensions and screw holes of the porthole frames…
With the seed planted for 'Through The Porthole' to culminate as an'Art Trail' it was time to take it to the people and as predicted the concept was met with an encouraging response from all key community stakeholders on the Capricorn Coast. It was time to gather the artists. I decided to engage a second key artist on the project and invited local indigenous artist Kim Warcon to work alongside myself to make a series of ceramic works. As an artist who primarily paints in acrylic Kim was most excited to explore the possibilities of clay and his traditional styles would broaden the diversity of works and create further opportunity for workshops.
With artists in place we needed content for the works and what better place to look than to local photography groups. An article in the local paper calling out for suitable images from photographers received a huge response, with the first photographer to respond offering access to his 3000+ images…we weren't going to have a problem here either! At this point graphic artist Clare Botfield joined the team to edit the images into suitable formats for transferring onto clay by artists on the project.
The project team was together; one coordinator, two key artists, a graphic designer, a rapidly growing group of photographers, art students from two local high schools and more to come…
Conception of 'Through The Porthole'
Animating Spaces Yeppoon began in mid 2013 with Keppel Coast Arts president Leanne Smith presenting a proposal to Artslink Queensland for an ocean focused theme - " I do love to live beside the sea side'. As with all good art projects this idea developed as time progressed, and by the time we were notified in late 2013 that we had been successful in receiving the Animating Spaces funding the theme had evolved to what was now 'Changing Tides'. Excitement built amongst the Capricorn Coast arts community and when Artslink Coordinator Kerryanne Farrer and filmmaker Harvey Hayes arrived for the strategy and training weekend in late February 2014 things were ready to roll. I felt privileged to be involved in a project with such high quality Queensland artists and professional arts coordinators.
As an ocean loving artist, been given the opportunity to coordinate a public art project in my home town and with a coastal theme was most exciting. After many discussions with my partner Clare Botfield over our morning coffee, 'Through The Porthole' is what evolved. The idea of an 'art trail' with a series of artworks showcasing the pristine beauty of Keppel Bay's coastline in porthole-like vistas seemed perfect on so many levels. The project could involve many local artists, community workshops with students creating their own works and culminate in a permanent outdoor installation as an art trial, potentially becoming a significant cultural tourism icon for the Capricorn Coast.
…And so the planning began.