December 2007 - A years farewell
It's been a pretty busy year. I've been very fortunate and given opportnities to work with some pretty amazing people, travel and be invited to participate in 3 international exhibitions. The first for the year came via Carole Epp. Carole and I know one another from the Ceramic Department at the ANU and exhibited together in Smoke Free Zone, (held in association with the international conference Gundaroo Woodfire 2005).
During this same period a group of us had got to know one another and found we were strongly committed to ceramics and moving into the area of craft and research. We all came from various parts of Australia and Canada. Carole curated the exhibition Convergence: A north south discourse and it was accepted as part of the 2007 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA), 41st Annual Conference Old Currents/New Blends: A Distillation of Art and Geography, in Louisville, Kentucky. This amazing group of artists and friends are Carole Epp, Lia Tajcnar, Maiju Altpere-Woodhead, Anna Gianakis, Mel Robson, Sarah Rice, Jo Searle, and Emilka Radlinska.
Having the exhibition accepted as part of the NCECA conference was pretty exciting. Then came the opportunity to travel to the conference with the ANU to help out on the trade fair booth. I was also able to give an artists presentation at the International Slide Series.
» Images Convergence: A north south discourse
» NCECA website
Next came Darwin. As Communications Manager at Craft Australia I attended a three day meeting in Darwin at the time of the 24th National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award opening. The inaugural Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair and the Darwin Festival were also on and I attended exhibitions openings and made numerous gallery visits. It was my first time to the NT and I really loved the energy of the place. It's on my wish list to return to stay awhile and do a research project.
During this time I was working on was a proposal for the international craft conference, New Craft-Future Voices to be held in Dundee in July. It looked like an amazing conference to be part of with one of it's aims to bring together craft practitioners and academics to develop a new vision for the 21st Century. The conference arose from a major AHRC grant and "sought to capture the diversity of activities within the crafts and take stock of its fast changing cultural and creative role'.
Maiju Altpere-Woodhead, Anna Gianakis, Anita McIntyre and I, started the process by meeting as a group every three to four weeks. We would get together at a café and chat over coffee or a glass of wine – or more often than not, both. Over the weeks we talked concepts and ideas, our backgrounds, and our materials and processes. What emerged was the framework for the exhibition proposal. The selection process was rigorous and highly competitive. A web-based procedure of ‘visible reviewing’ was adopted with a panel of international referees reviewing the submissions. The time between our first get together to consider submitting a proposal and our receiving notification of acceptance was about 8 months.
It was a tremendous amount of work and part of the learning experience was the language and research protocols. The former came as a bit of a surprise as we all thought, English being the common language, it would be easy.
The pressure of the workload had caught up with me, and although it was my intent to attend the conference, it was not possible. Our dear friend Emilka Radlinska, who is currently based at the Wasps Artist's Studios in Glasgow, attended on our behalf. Aussies, Rina Bernabei, senior lecturer in Industrial Design at the Univery of New South Wales, Sydney and Ben Richardson of Ridgeline Pottery in Tasmania also participated in the conference.
» NAVA blog
» New Craft Future Voices website
Work from the Dreams of home series, 2007 has been selected for the 2008 Sidney Myer Fund International Ceramic Award. Judged by Ah Xian this has been an exciting high to end the year.
I have also been working on some great projects at Craft Australia. On the horizon is a new website for Craft Australia; new developments to the Research Centre and, in 2009, the conference Selling Yarns: Innovation for Sustainability which will build on the 2006 Selling Yarns conference held in Darwin.
A glass of champers with you all - to celebrate the passing of 2007 and a toast to the New Year.