Tuesday, 14 August 2012

CCD work as part of the ArtStart year

As part of my year with Australia Councils ArtStart Grant I included my CCD work as part of my arts career development.
(For those unfamiliar with it : CCD = Cultural & Community Development...aka...community arts)

I've been running community arts projects since 2006.

The first 3 were with the Salvation Army in Sydney's Surry Hills, 2 with disadvantaged people and one for women in crisis.

End of June I completed one in the inner-Sydney suburb of Glebe for older women with issues of isolation and disadvantage and have 3 for this financial year. 2 again in Glebe and one in Rozelle. I know, very ambitious!!

The first Glebe one is called the P-plate Project: pots for people, pets & plants and held in the lovely Glebe Community Garden. The Rozelle project is delivered for Aftercare Mental Health Service in the glorious grounds at Rozelle Hospital.  Must say, this year's projects are by far in the prettiest settings I've ever worked in!

This photo is of the Glebe Community Garden where the P-plate group meets. We have a collaborative project with the community gardeners to make little pots for the seedlings which will be sold at the first Glebe Local Makers Market to be held 2nd Sept. which is my 2nd project in Glebe this year.

The people from Aftercare are a little shy and prefered not to have a photo taken but I will get photos of their work when it's ready for their exhibition day on 17th Oct.

I mostly enjoy this type of work - I like the mix of creativity and social responsiblity and I grow to really like most of the people involved as well. I have only had difficulty with a couple of managers 'over-managing' and strangling the fun out of being there. In the last project 2 women really wanted the project and what it offered but gossiped and gossiped and gossiped about people so much, that the group thinned out from 20-23 regulars down to 5.

 I have left those 2 in charge of that craft group now and moved onto the 2 ceramic craft groups and the organisation of the community makers market......yes, I am always busy!!

Recognising that not everyone wants to be a potter in these kinds of groups is essential and that people enjoy 'just playing' with clay. The person teahing at Aftercare before me was a 'potter' and so taught traditional technique and I am told by both staff and participants that some of the processes were quite tedious.

I teach clay as  'community engagement', which is to say that I aim to get fast results with easy-to do hand building techniques (basically, treat clay exactly like bread dough!) so we all get fast results and congratulate ourselves on our clevernes!!!  My  group participants respond very well and it does make me happy too see them achieveing and happy with their work - this is the all important win-win scenario that I aim for in my CCD work - I guess it's why I like doing them so much.

If curious about the projects go to:    https://www.facebook.com/pages/P-plate-Project/

or   https://www.facebook.com/pages/COWBelles-Community-Craft/

To left is the flyer for the communiy makers market day coming up.

If the weather is kind then will be another lovely day in the beautiful Glebe Community Gareden!!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Building a wood firing raku kiln workshop.

 Went to the wood firing raku kiln building workshop by Stefan Jakob organised for 4-5th Aug. by Ceramic Study Group.

Must tell you, was not overly fond of the building part on Saturday... something to do with wrestling tin snips!! But, you gotta love the old Aussie boys who bought along the power tools, nothing like an angle grinder with a cutting head to make short work of all the cutting!!

Did though LOVE the firing day on Sunday - there really is something quite mesmerising about fire isn't there? 

The line of firing kilns looked fabulous. Flames from the kiln fire mouths and plumes of smoke from the chimneys, the sound of crackling wood and that distinctive fire smell.

My first little pots were a bit underfired and I didn't leave them in the sawdust long enough for a good reduction but my second firing of a single pot worked exactly as it should - glossy colourful glaze and rich, black crackling.

 Can't wait to do another firing but thinking will go camping for a weekend and take a load of bisqued work and the kiln with me - wood firing a kiln in suburban Sydney is always an 'adventure' with the neighbours.

Mind you a weekend away for ANY reason is always good but with the new 'toy' it will be LOTS of fun!!!