Culture Victoria

A week to remember

By Shepparton Art Museum Posted Under Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award

By Kirsten Coelho


It has been nearly four weeks since the opening of the Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award (ACA). It feels as though it was yesterday. Time has done a strange combination of speeding up and slowing down all at once.


Michal, Kirsten, Elise and Alex at the opening


It was an amazing week running up to the opening at the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) and one I will never forget. I would like to sincerely thank all the fantastic staff at SAM for all their support and encouragement and also the Sidney Myer Fund for their great generosity.


Installing the show was both scary and exciting. Work began by positioning the furniture that the pots would be placed on in the space.  Then slowly over the next few days, the pieces were put on the furniture and rearranged again and again until it felt right. It’s always a challenge for me to exhibit less work and I really wanted to ensure that I did not overcrowd with unnecessary pieces. I was fortunate enough to get guidance from SAM’s curator Elise Routledge, freelance curator Allison Holland and Mark Cain, SAM’s technician.


Bottle Cup and Funnel from SAM


It was really good to have a few days to install the work and I didn’t feel rushed into any decision. Bad pottery decisions (like life decisions) are always made at the last minute, often when you’re tired. You put something in the kiln thinking it will be fine and inevitably it isn’t!


The opening night was the night of nights. I was a bundle nerves but it was an evening full of warmth and friendship. It was wonderful having this experience with Michal and Alexandra and such a great week getting to know them both. I felt very fortunate also to have the support of friends and family who had made the trip to the opening, some of whom had travelled more than ten hours one way.


The breadth of this whole experience really hit home to me when I was at SAM with the staff, and Michal and Alexandra installing the works. Having the opportunity to develop and exhibit a new body of work with all the support from the brilliant staff has allowed me to think about how to exhibit my work in new ways - especially how space and light are as important as the work in trying to convey a certain idea or feeling.


Kirsten Coelho running a workshop. Photo by Amina Barolli


I will now go back into my studio with my head full of new insights and perspectives into my making process. Thank you to the staff at SAM, the Sidney Myer Fund for introducing me to these new possibilities.

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