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Posted by admin on October 10, 2011

1st November... Now the pressure is off, I feel tired!I suppose that's why a lot of artists have a break from their artwork after an exhibition. I however, will be designing and making more pieces for my jewellery range, especially for the 'hardtofind' website. The Yungaburra Information Centre has asked for quality locally made 'memento' gifts, so I have to think of something that doesn't slip into that murky area of kitschy souvenirs! I also want to make smaller versions of my functional pods for the Cairns Regional Gallery, and the gift shop at the Cooktown Botanic Gardens. Trying to make a living from ceramics is not easy, as one has to be inventive as to not try to compete with all the cheap imports from overseas. I also have to get all my tax stuff done, but I am so not motivated to do that!I just want to disappear into the studio!

Today, I will be making more of those tea cups and some more jewellery to supply Kick Arts in Cairns. I also want to make some moulds of the smaller pods for outlets such as I mentioned in an earlier blog. This afternoon I will be teaching the kids in Finn's class drawing lessons. I get a great response from the kids, considering there are no art classes in Primary School in QLD. I am trying to get them to observe and 'see' what they are drawing. They all love it. Today we will learn about the proportions of the face. Most kids (and adults!) tend to draw the eyes up on top of the face, when the eyes are really half way down the face.

Nov, 20th...  I am still focusing on getting things made for the Christmas sales. I have another bisque in the kiln, and I will polish and glaze today, ready for a high fire tomorrow. I will stay with my 'retail products' until after Chrissy when I anticipate a drop in sales. Then I look forward to spending time on my art/sculptural work in the new year. I am also considering doing clay sculpture workshops, and art lessons for kids. I just need the dunny to be installed before that happens! (The studio is too far from the house). I have started sculpting a little curled up platypus so I can make a mould to slip cast little mementoes for the Info centre. I enjoy watching Antiques roadshow on the telly, as I feel I am continuing the porcelain sculpture tradition which was so prevalent in 19th century. I would love to think my pieces would be still in existence and of value in one hundred years time!

After a weekend of socialising and working on our little farm, I haven't been in the studio. This morning I have quite a few hardtofind orders to fulfil and post off. I have to finish a couple of personalised cups for a friend, as well as a few garden cuffs, so I can fill the kiln and fire it asap as I have to fire the little Christmas decorations the preps have made at Yungaburra Primary school. The kids do love the tactile nature of clay- it has a natural smell and malleability that no synthetic substitute can match. The preps will get their decorations by Thursday so they can paint them in all pretty colours and take them home to hang on their Christmas tree!

At 4am, after a little altercation with a night tiger, I have put on a high fire so I can take some more cups down to Kickarts on Tuesday. Those cups have been popular! The kiln is not as full as I would like, but as I am going down to Cairns tomorrow anyway, I thought I had better put on a firing so I had something to take. It is quite tricky to juggle demand and cost effective firings. Luckily my little electric kiln is very efficient since we put on the electric controller, and it has drastically reduced energy consumption. The controller saves evergy by consistently ramping up the power without me having to manually control it. It automatically goes up overnight, and thus makes the firing a lot shorter. It was an expensive outlay at the time, but I think it would paid itself off in energy savings by now.

Last week I made a second mould for my little tea cups as the demand for them has suddenly increased! I have a love/hate relationship with mould making. I hate making them - trying to work out undercuts, trying to get the mould square and level, and if there is the smallest of gaps, the plaster leaks everywhere and makes a disasterous mess! All keeping in mind that plaster should be kept well away from clay as bits of plaster stuck in clay can blow up in the kiln. But I love the fact that I can make reproducible cups time after time. Now that I have two moulds, I can double the production of the little cups. I might finally have enough to display some in my studio as they have always sold out not long after making them.

I am having a much needed holiday from the studio over the Christmas/New Year break. My mind is not so lucky though, as I'm thinking about what I will do over the next 6 months. The hardtofind orders have dried up as expected, so it now gives me time to work on my art work, and this year I would like to focus more on my Lightscapes. I also need to tidy up the studio, make more earring pins, make more pods to fill the display area and order more casting slip powder. I have to order at least a ton of materials to make it worth while to freight it up here, so I have to very careful about what I order! It is always a bit of a gamble as if I order a lot of something and it turns out to be a flop, then it ends up being a very expensive mistake. I think I had better start on that list today....


Posted by Julia on
There is nothing better than a close encounter to give you insight into their behaviour and nature. I look forward to seeing the results in your sculpture.
Posted by Richard on
Go Gabi go .... deadlines are a great incentive.
The finished T.Roo is looking great (picture on the rainforest blog post). I am impressed with the palm nut. I recall not so long ago seeing such an item washed up on the beach albeit so much smaller than you macro version.
Posted by hedy on
Hi Gabi, it was very nice to meet you the other day in KickArts and I am very glad to read that you are busy making more stock for us. I am looking forward to seeing all your fresh products. Could you please bring a teacup in just for me to see? Happy firing! Best wishes, Hedy
Posted by Gabi on
Hi Hedy! This morning I will open the kiln to see if my tea cups and cuffs have made it unscathed. It is always an apprehensive moment before opening a kiln. Anything is possible, from disaster to delight! When trying new glazes, forms and clay bodies like I do, it is often more disaster than delight. I sometimes wonder it would be a easier to be a production potter that has tried and true glazes that one can depend upon. However, it does make those pieces that do make it all the more special!
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