Culture Victoria

Back at the wheel

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

By Kirsten Coelho


So here I am one month after the opening evaluating the pieces that were in the exhibition, thinking what could have been better or different - it can always be better. (That’s what propels me forward) Did the works match up to the original idea?  I am always trying to learn to be more adaptable. On one hand I want to have a sense of what I want the visual outcome to be but on the other hand, learning to let the unexpected be part of the outcome plays a large role. It can be challenging at times. You can only have a slight sense of how something will be before it comes out of the final firing. The results can be good or bad, or completely unexpected.


Throwing on the wheel


There were so many layers this project. There was the concept and the visual realisation of that original idea and then there was the day to day making of the pots. Sitting at the potter’s wheel throwing pots, your mind drifting through all the different considerations. Wondering if a pot is too thick, too thin or too high. Is the neck of the pot long enough, the shoulder round enough? Is the pot in proportion? Then there’s the glazing, which can often take longer than the making and finally there is the exciting, yet nerve-wracking, firing of the pots.


All these processes have uncontrollable elements to them so while you can think your ideas are fully formed, the outcomes are usually different to what was originally in your mind. In a way it has to be like that because you have never seen it before - it was just an idea.


Close up of throwing


Now I am back at the wheel starting the process again, beginning with smaller objects - cups and bowls, then building up to larger jars and open forms. Ideas for new shapes form in my mind and it is only through repetitive making, days sitting at the wheel, that these creations begin to take hold with any amount of assuredness.


I'm starting on a new body of work, thinking of developing some larger scale works, possibly for exhibition next year. It feels good to have time to experiment and consider new ideas.


Lovely days back in the studio listening to the radio and sitting at the wheel.

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