Sunday, October 6, 2013

PRINT AND CLAY SYMPOSIUM, ANU, Canberra September 2013

If you subscribe to my blog and read it regularly, then you'll know my posts are infrequent and usually pretty long.  I hope you enjoy them, your comments are always welcome.

I never paused to consider what a symposium is, until I'd been to one.  One definition says it is a drinking session after a feast.  Well in that sense, I have been to multiple symposia in my happy youth. Note the flash use of the plural to show that I actually listened once or twice in Latin class. Ignore the fact I did Latin tells a lot about my age.
The meaning more true to my interpretation is that it is a gathering of like minded people with a shared interest, presenting papers and hosting in-depth discussions on related topics.  That's closer to my experience recently at ANU Ceramics Studio's Print and Clay Symposium.
I heard about it on the ANU Ceramics Studio Facebook page and booked in like a shot.
Head of Workshop Greg Daly hosted the event with support from Joanne Searle and we were treated to talks and demonstrations by Janet deBoos, Anita McIntyre, Petra Svoboda, Kevin Petrie (UK), Stephen Dixon (UK) and Suzanne Wolfe (USA).
A lot but not all of the emphasis covered on-glaze decoration ie the use of china paint or decals, and production of decals.
Suzanne Wolfe
I like Suzanne's Work in particular, it is quirky and fun, vintage and cool - all the things I like, but mostly - it is very well done, plus, she's an unfazable, generous, humorous person who loves to share the enthusiasm and techniques.  Actually I think I just described all the demonstrators at ANU for the Symposium. These images are a selection from the exhibition of work generated throughout the symposium.

Each presenter had a volunteer 'assistant' on hand to pass the tools or materials, or wash screens as needed, they worked hard and were upbeat and fun.  Anita McIntyre demo'd her reverse inlay technique, showed how she achieves her eclectic freestyle surfaces using a range of ways of working, from slip on plaster methods to silkscreened maps.  If you click on her name above (that is why it is a different colour) it will take you to her handsome website which explains her profound interest in the Australian landscape and areas such as the Brindabella ranges and North West Kimberley's, areas which which affect her in a spiritual manner, and this shows in her work.  She combines
paper porcelain, monoprint, drawing, screen prints, terra sigillata to wonderful effect.  You wouldn't normally group those techniques together, porcelain and terra sigillata - really?  She manages to use the hot orangey ochres from her terra sig to convey the colour and light of the australian landscape. The screenprinting is used to attain the fine detail found in historical old maps.  Here she is, assistant beside her, laying slab after slab of soft porcelain clay down onto a prepared layer of porcelain slip on a plaster slab, to pick up all the printing and inlay she's previously worked into the porcelain layer. It is a palette I
love.  Images of Anita in action at ANU by Elaine Bradley, Images of Works by Anita McIntyre at Beaver Galleries courtesy of Beaver Galleries, Canberra   

Land Fish Anita McIntyre @ Beaver Galleries
Land Fish Anita McIntyre @ Beaver Galleries
Moths, Anita McIntyre @ Beaver Galleries
Pods, Anita McIntyre @ Beaver Galleries
Settled, Anita McIntyre @ Beaver Galleries
Weereewa vessel No.1, Anita McIntyre @ Beaver Galleries

Kevin Petrie was such a bonus to have on board at the Symposium.  He has written two books on image transfer, onto glass and onto ceramics and unsurprisingly he is Professor of Glass and Ceramics at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland (UK). His path is interesting, he studied Illustration  at the University of Westminster and Ceramics and Glass MA at the Royal College of Art. He holds a PhD from the Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol. His focus is new approaches to the application of imagery to ceramics and glass. His artwork has focused on landscape and recently explores how direct drawing can be translated into lasting forms. A marriage of one's key interests - how fulfilling is that?  He showed us methods of non solvent based materials for onglaze decal printing.  I'd guess most of us who work or dabble in printing on clay rarely get into a real printing facilitity but we had access to the ANU print workshop where he made a series of decals, getting the audience to take turns and later applying the resultant work.  It must be tiresome to be made spell out and display the labels of the buckets of materials and the suppliers websites, but he handled it all with a smile.  I have both his books, but I found a nice little PDF link of a talk he has given on image transfer to glass which may inspire you.   

I'll try to tell you more next week.
Now I am popping over to the Mud Colony of clay bloggers to see what they've been up to.  Once more I blog and realise I haven't said anything about what I have been making. I'll do a quick extra post on that in a few mins.


  1. Fabulous blog post Elaine...a lovely time spent with you surrounded by all that talent...
    FYI the two tiles on the left of the second and third pics are those that I created using tiles supplied by the school images supplied by the tutors in particular Stephen Dixon (UK) and of course fired by Greg Daly using his magic fingers...collaboration at its best

  2. Looks like a fantastic event. I'll follow up on Suzanne, I really like her work too. It is such a treat to be surrounded by ceramicists and talk the talk for a few days. Thanks for your posts.

  3. Great wrap-up Elaine, you covered it very well. It was great to meet you and a very enjoyable weekend organized by the guys at ANU! Thanks, Clarissa Regan

  4. I like your blog, Elaine. You have some interesting ideas about decoration and mix some stimulating images from ceramics and all sorts of other places.