Michal Fargo talks about installing her work 'Else' (2012) in the 2012 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award.
[Michal] The work I did for the Sidney Myer Award was an extension of my final exhibition from the Bezalel Academy.The idea was to create different surfaces in ceramics and find something interesting and diverse and, in some ways, I think, more authentic for ceramics.
[Michal] And I was really bored with mould-making and having all these smooth, clear surfaces. Well, I started sculpting in the sponge and then just dipping it and firing it. Afterwards, I started trying to do some other things like casting into sponge blocks, and that's how I got these coral-looking objects.
[Audience watches Michal sculpt]
[Michal] And then I just started having fun, looking for different textures and silhouettes for these objects. I had to vacuum a lot of kilns 'cause I had some crumbly kilns to unload - everything got distorted.
[Woman holds sponge block]
[Michal] But it was, you know, very slow at the beginning, but then when you get the hang of it, it starts to get less and less casualties on the way.
[Audience sitting in chairs]
[Michal] The main focus was dealing with surfaces and ceramics and creating something different.
[Michal dips ceramic object into bucket]
[Michal] It wasn't about copying nature or replacing it. It was also important to me to have really defined colours, really, like... to have them really vibrant.
[Display of Michal's ceramics]
[Michal] The award was crazy. Like, it was crazy getting it. Like, I couldn't believe it.
[Small knife slices a box open]
[Michal] Actually, the call that I got telling me about it just woke me up, like, half an hour after I should have been at my job. So... I thought I was dreaming.
[Michal unwraps a ceramic object]
[Michal] It's huge. And... financially-wise, also getting an exhibition, and getting here to Australia - something that would've never happened if I wasn't invited.
[Michal cradles a piece of artwork]
[Michal] It did change my life 'cause for the first time I had, like, the money to just work on a project, not be really stressed about rent and things like that.
[Michal in art museum]
[Michal] And it was nice to have, like, a beautiful venue like here - the Shepparton Art Gallery - to present it.
[Shepparton Art Museum]
[Michal] It's very exciting being in Australia. My parents, they're psyched. They're, like, really proud and really excited about it.
[Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award]
[Michal] All my friends and my friends from the Academy, they're, like... really, really proud of me and happy for me and they've been very, very supportive and helping me out with all the small details - and big details - of the things you need to do before you go off to one of these kind of shows. So... you need to thank them. Yeah, so, thanks.
[Michal] In terms of experience of, you know, exhibiting overseas and meeting different people, different curators, and different attitudes, to me, it's very insightful and I feel like I'm learning a lot on how it's done 'cause it's actually my first big exhibition outside of school.
[Display of Michal's artwork]
[Michal] And I feel like I really learned a lot and I'm feeling really, really lucky on having this opportunity. Yeah, learned a lot.