On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August, more than 140 ceramic studios around Australia will open for the fourth annual Australian Ceramics Open Studios.
I’m opening my studio and I.CANNOT.WAIT to meet you all! I’m also SUPER excited to say that Vicki Grima is joining me in the studio to host two workshops and to present an artist talk!
In ceramic circles the world over, Vicki Grima needs no introduction, and I can see her cringe as I say this…but, she’s kind of a big deal. 😉
Vicki Grima is first and foremost an inspiring ceramic artist, and in addition to being an exceptional table tennis player, she’s also the Executive Officer of The Australian Ceramics Association (TACA), the Editor of the Journal of Australian Ceramics (JAC), and the initiator and Director of The Australian Ceramics Open Studios (ACOS)!
Vicki’s a mover and shaker, a human dynamo, a creative tour de force… I like to call her the BIG CHEESE, and the Australian ceramic community are simply quite blessed to have her as their champion. I caught up with Vicki on Friday morning as she was waiting to board a plane for Hobart to meet with the planning team for the 2018 Australian Ceramics Triennale in Tasmania … I was still in my pyjamas.
CA: Thanks so much for squeezing this chat in Vicki! Tell us, what’s a typical day like at the headquarters of Australian Ceramics?
VG: After walking my dog, a typical working day starts with a quick coffee from the local café (in one of my many handmade cups), then I settle in to dealing with many and varied emails and phone calls about everything from submitting articles, advertising, memberships and subscriptions, upcoming exhibitions, legal matters, insurance, taking payments, answering a plethora of enquiries and solving problems.
I’m lucky to work in a creative space with many other artists at Square One Studios in Alexandria, so there’s always someone interesting nearby for a chat. I also relish the times when people visit the office. I always have time for a cuppa! After work I sometimes drop by an opening of a local ceramics exhibition. Once home, evenings often involve some work on our website, our weekly newsletter or social media posts. There’s no doubt … I live ceramics!
(I can’t resist, I have to show you Vicki’s dog, not just because I’m mental about dogs, but because Bingo looks like a 1970’s rock star!)
We’re all gearing up for the Australian Ceramics Open Studios, what is the ACOS exactly?
ACOS is a national event for Australian studio potters, ceramic artists and community groups in which they open their ceramics studios on one weekend in August.
How did it come about?
Driving back across the Hay plain after the 2012 Australian Ceramics Triennale in Adelaide, we were trying to come up with an event in which TACA members could put their liability insurance to good use, to sell their work and thereby spread the love and knowledge of handmade ceramics with the whole community. One weekend, nationwide seemed a perfectly simple idea!
What’s the best thing about the ACOS?
Every year we do a survey with our ACOS participants and overwhelmingly the best thing is the diversity of people who visit, from their next-door neighbour who had no idea potters still existed, let alone lived and worked in their street, to people who travel interstate to visit a favourite ceramicist. The potters also love feeling part of the larger national ceramics community and the enforced tidying of the studio as they prepare for the event. Studio visitors love getting their hands into the clay, watching a demo then buying a special piece to take home.We have 19 studios opening for ACOS in my stomping ground on the far north coast of NSW, and we’re excited you’re part of it! What can visitors expect from your workshop on Saturday 20 August?
Everyone will have a go at making two simple pinch pots using contrasting clay bodies – tuning in to the feel of the clay between their fingers and thumb and the spiralling action as they move their hands around the emerging bowl form. We’ll then play with impressed textures and additions to the bowl to create unique personal containers they can use (after firing) for food, flowers or whatever takes their fancy!
You’ll be visiting studios on Sunday 20 August. What are you looking forward to?
I love seeing people in their handmade studio spaces. Each is so unique and shows something of the processes they go through in making their ceramic work. It’s as if the whole person is there in right front of you – the person, their work, their space, their soul. I feel privileged to be welcomed in.
Say hi to everyone in Tassie for us Vicki, and thank you for joining us in the cyber studio!
The morning session of Vicki’s workshop, ‘Pinch Me!’ has SOLD OUT! Fear not mud slinger, there are a few places remaining in the 2-4pm session. Don’t miss out, book your spot here! Seriously. Do it right now.
You can also catch Vicki’s floor talk, ‘Hello! This is Australian Ceramics!’ at 1pm on Saturday 20 August in my studio. It’s FREE, and there’s no booking required.
And don’t forget you can decorate a handmade plate with me and be part of ‘The Fantastic Flying Saucer Project’ from 10am-4pm Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August! There’s just sooooo much good stuff for us to do together. Click here for all the workshop and artist talk details!
Tune in for next week’s blog post when we get dirty with the ceramic artists and studio potters taking part in the Australian Ceramics Open Studios in my backyard on the ‘North Coast Mud Trail’!