Friday, 19 October 2012

Diploma of Ceramic Arts at Auckland Studio Potters

If any of you have a facebook account Auckland Studio Potters has added a facebook page for the promotion of the Diploma course as it has been taught at Auckland Studio Potters.  It is a fantastic course which most students enjoy spreading over four years (taking it at half speed).  It can be done in two years as a full time course.

On Sunday 4 November there will be a short presentation at ASP before the Guy Fawkes celebrations to let anyone interested know more about the course. 

Basically the course has four parts, one of which is the Studio module taught around the country where there are students.  The course is administered by Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin.  Auckland has had the largest number of distance students and has been able to offer a wonderful selection of tutors.

Art History is taught by distance using correspondence and the internet by a tutor in Dunedin, the first year covers general art history and the second year focuses on ceramic art history.  This gives the student a rich base to call upon for inspirations and encourages research as well as helping teaching critical writing.

Glaze Technology is taught using an Internet programme and with research projects and a lot of practical exercises.  It is a very full on and hugely informative course.  There is an exam at the end of the first year and a substantial research project at the end of the second year.  

Drawing is taught by correspondence and when possible ASP will bring in a tutor for a block course.

You can read about the course and see images on this blog but also visit the facebook page:  here's the link:

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Great Expectations - Diploma Students and Graduates 2012

The 2012 Great Expectations show opened on 6 October at the Estuary Arts Centre in Orewa.  It will run until 27 October.
There's a great range of work on display not just from the Diploma of Ceramic Arts (Otago) students and graduates but also from guest exhibitor, Peter Lange and a display of mugs made by students from the local high school, Orewa College.  Several of the Diploma students and Peter Lange spent time with the teenagers showing them various making and decorating techniques and the results are impressive.

Here is a selection of work from the show.

Fiona Lander

Helen Perrett
Margaret Bray
Marilyn Wheeler

Roy Burgoyne
Annie McIver
Kim Rochester
Petra Molloy
Mark Griffin
Elena Renker
Carol Stewart
Debbie Neill
Michelle McKinstry
Ann O'Sullivan
Peter Baas
Suzy Dunser
Ria Erasmus
Rebekah Hall

Mariska de Jaeger

Jacgui Brown

Monday, 13 August 2012

Chester Nealie at ASP

                                              CHESTER NEALIE’S A.S.P.DEMONSTRATION

Auckland Studio Potters was the place to be on Sunday 22nd July 2012. The weather was fairly rugged so a Chester Nealie demonstration (indoors)) was very welcome to the group who’d braved the elements.

The majority of people present were well positioned around Chester’s kick wheel, so it made for quite an intimate gathering. What was evident was Chester’s ease in a group situation, which made his explanation of technique and potting practice very easy to take in. 

His arsenal of tools was impressive and a few of the items laid out for use were...
A huge stainless steel knife, procured from the ASP kitchen drawers, a man-size gas powered flame thrower, 50mm in diameter, chopsticks and a shapely Westpac bank card.

There’s something about watching a potter throw a pot on a kick wheel, whether it’s the rhythm
of the pedal turning the wheel or the fact that the clay is rotating  slowly which in turn  makes it easier for a viewer to take in  the transformation from raw material into something tangible.
I can’t put my finger on it, but I think it makes learning a little easier and the business of potting more inviting than when the practice is shown on an electric wheel.

Chester talked of his day to day practice, admitting to finding throwing in the morning uncomfortable due to the temperature in the studio, so preferring to work on other tasks such as applying handles etc.  And getting his hands stuck into the clay later on in the day.

When the first pot was ready to be altered Chester cranked up the gas and ignited the vapour with one of those huge BBQ lighters.  Next came the whoosh of the blue flame and he was ready to cook.  After a few intense doses of heat, the flame was extinguished, leaving a steaming, shapely pot ready to be finished off with some tweaking, slicing and lugging.... 

Chester was quite honest about his approach to potting, admitting that he” doesn’t like to overwork a pot”.... but sometimes felt the urge to play with it and ultimately “bugger it up”.  I think all of us could identify with that confession, as we were all of different skill levels but the one common thread was the ability to play with and ultimately overwork our pots.
Once Chester’s pots were ready to work on he began faceting with the kitchen knife. Slicing, shaving and smoothing the base with a credit card. Finishing one vase with lugs, which were then pierced
with the chopstick.  (Check out the images.)

He talked of the pot as a blank canvas in need of working without over doing it, and that every touch, incision, addition made to it should have some kind of purpose or reason for being there. Otherwise it could appear contrived or unnecessary with the original vitality being lost in the process.

These demonstrations are so important for N.Z. pottery today, for us to see the creativity and passion still alive and evident in master potters of the type that Chester Nealie is one of.

To invite the public to see that we have a vital art form that is not ‘stuck in the 1970’s,’ but
in need of recognition and support from the business sector, galleries etc. Instead of purchasing
that $10.99 special for x5 bland, sterile, white (for example, but not always  the rule.) coffee mugs...
Spending a bit more on home grown, thrown and fired, highly individual studio made pieces.

Any person attending one of these demonstrations cannot help but be affected (in a positive way.) by the infectious passion, potters like Chester Nealie and others bring to our studio......
                                                    May the ‘Demo’s’ continue!!

By Guest Blogger: Mark Goody

Cleaning up the bottom with a section of credit card.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Clay - a good obsession

I stumbled upon this blog post today and it really resonated for me and I don't think I am alone:

This week is the beginning of Term 3 and lots of happy clay obsessives returned to ASP to resume 'work', classes are fuller and the energy is great.  The Thursday morning class enjoyed a happy Renton just back from his travels in France re-energised and re-inspired.  Which is lovely because it's inspiring for us too.  Looking forward to seeing the slide show with a pottery-centric view of where he's been (I know there'll be plenty of cars in there too, something to tolerate! -speaking for myself).

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Some glaze test pages to peruse

I'm not into glazes myself, I like the making, but apparently these are inspirational.  Courtesy of various members of the University of Tennessee.Brought to my attention by Musing with Mud blog.

Cone 10, 6 and Cone 04 glazes.

And a great Glaze Sharing site:

and another: