2015 and I'm off to a great start

Posted by admin on January 29, 2015

Between the 6th and the 18th January, I spent 12 days of creative bliss at the USQ McGregor Summer School Bronze and Aluminium sculpture course. It was facilitated by Vlase Nikoleski, a wonderful tutor who was very generous with his wealth of knowledge and experience. I was fortunate to have been given a RADF quick response grant (thank you TRC and QLD Govt.) to cover the tuition costs and materials.

We started with making a wax model. I had started a beeswax (what we had at home) version of a Boyd's forest dragon before I left, but the beeswax was a bit more difficult to model than the proper brown modelling wax. As it was yellow, it was difficult to see the detail but it did smell nicer! Once the wax models were finished, the model was to be attached to a wax runner (where the molten bronze goes in) and wax risers (to let the hot gases escape). We then had to coat the whole contraption with shellac so the ceramic shell coating would stick. This stuff was similar to a thick glaze. There were 10 coats for this ceramic shell and each coat had to dry in between. This process is very laborious and as the coats and weight increase, very hard on your back. The last 5 coats have a refractory 'crumb' coat and a wire cage which helps it stay together. Once the ceramic shell coating is 1cm thick, it is now ready for the wax to be burnt out. While the moulds are in the burn-out kiln, the furnace is heating the bronze. As you see the wax drip from the bottom of the kiln, you can't help but think of all the hours spent modelling the wax has just been melted! This creates a very hot work environment, especially when you have to dress up in thick leather PPE gear. It is all very exciting, and while it is happening, you don't realise that you are literally dripping with sweat. Every time we did a pour, we had an audience as there is a lot of action and drama. Vlase is a brilliant tutor as while he warned us of the dangers, and what could go wrong, he also kept a calm and cool(!) headed approach to the process.

Me_casting_compressed.jpg Pouring the dragon. I am the one with the black visor.

So, after all that hard work of modelling and coating, the pour was the quick bit! Once the bronze had cooled down a little, it was placed in a bin of water. The following part of the process was probably the hardest: removing the very hard ceramic shell coat from the bronze. With a lot of belting with a hammer, cutting, scraping you have to be brutal but not damage the bronze. Once the shell is off, the risers and runners are cut off with an angle grinder and it is ready to be chased. This is usually done with a die grinder and a burr. At this stage you have to think about what you want the surface texture and colour to be like. I was quite happy with my dragons texture so after sandblasting him, he was ready for patina. Whilst heating with a gas flame, I sprayed him with a combination of iron and copper nitrate. This bought out the lovely green spots that the real life dragons display so beautifully.


There is something heavy and permanent about bronze that no other medium can compare.


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Kids are back at school, I'm back in the studio.

Posted by admin on February 5, 2014

The boys are now back at school, and now I can think more clearly without being disrupted or concerned that the boys are whiling away the hours playing x-box unsupervised.

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Dem bones

Posted by admin on January 8, 2014

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that! We have had a lovely festive season with friends and family, and I hope that you did too. 


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Strand Ephemera, Stockwellia trees and more...

Posted by gabi on November 6, 2013

What an fantastic experience the Strand Ephemera in Townsville was! I enjoyed being amongst sculptures large and small, which is quite liberating from the usual pots and vessels my profession usually gets lumped into.

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What a great weekend!

Posted by gabi on August 19, 2013

Four local potters including myself, participated in the OSCAS Open studios on the weekend. The numbers that came through the doors were well above my expectations.

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Open studio weekend coming soon!

Posted by gabi on July 31, 2013

There is lots to do in the next couple of weeks. On the 17-18th August, I will be part of a nation wide event with ceramics studios all over Australia opening their doors for the public.

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The Sarus Cranes are back

Posted by gabi on June 19, 2013

As I write this, I can hear the magnificent Sarus cranes making their distinctive sound as they fly overhead. It is hard to describe the sound they make, but it is beautiful and I look forward to them coming back to the Atherton Tablelands every year for their winter holiday.

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I have been very busy lately working towards a group exhibition with the YVA at the Tablelands Regional Gallery in June.

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Lots of new news!

Posted by gabi on April 10, 2013

The "500 PRINTS ON CLAY An inspiring collection of image transfer work" has finally been published and I now have a copy in my hot little hands!

More big news! I have been selected to exhibit at the Strand Ephemera outdoor sculpture show in Townsville later this year!

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Oh Moo!

Posted by gabi on March 13, 2013

On the weekend, one of our cows - Mushroom, charged and knocked me over. It was my own silly fault though...... 

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