David and I have at last safely received the Jeff Mincham piece that we bought from Mossgreen Auctions in July. It is dated c. 2006 and, at 76 cm high, is one of our largest pieces. (Only our Ian Sprague bullet form is taller, with a height of 110 cm.) With a bit of a stretch, our new Jeff Mincham fits into our “Pale and Interesting” theme for this season with its cream, tan and pale viridian colours and our main issue at the moment is to find the best place to display it. With a very narrow profile, it is probably best set against a wall but it also needs to be seen in the round. Moving it from one place to another will keep us happily engaged over the weekend when not entertaining visitors.
Our seventh season in Bemboka will open on Friday 2 October with “Pale and Interesting”, an exhibition using works from our collection to continue our exploration of glazes and decorative techniques with an emphasis on understated chromatic content. We have planned it as an antithesis to last season’s exhibition, “the Bold and the Beautiful”, although we have retained some works like Chantelle Del Rue’s snake vessel from 1993 that seem to work equally well in the new context.
We have some wonderful recent work by John Dermer, Shannon Garson, Debra Boyd Goggin, Kim Angh Nguyen, Kaye Pemberton, Tanya Roland, Joanna Searle and Steve Williams as well as older pieces by Les Blakebrough, Malcom Cooke, Sylvia Halpern, Peter Harris, Reg Preston, Paul Wynn and many more, including a number of works by mystery potters whose work we hope visitors may help us to identify during the year.
The combination of pieces in different shades of white, grey and pastel colours is working well and my main task now, when not out in the garden, is to write up the labels. A signature Jeff Mincham piece in shades of pale green that we bought recently is still with the courier and will hopefully arrive in time to take its place for the opening.
Illustrated above: Ian Rowe, Lidded jar; Les Blakebrough, Carafe; Unknown, Lidded jar; Zak’s Pottery, Lidded bowl; Hilary Barta, Vase; Sylvia Halpern, Two vases.
Our Season 6 exhibition, held from October 2014 to June 2015, was entitled “The Bold and the Beautiful” and featured colour in action through glazes, on-glazes, lustres, tinted clays and underglazes. This was probably our best exhibition yet. As well as featuring work from our collection and focusing our buying priorities on the Bold and Beautiful theme, we bought colourful new pieces from Janette Loughery and Dawn Oakford. One wall was devoted to black and white and we retained our Australiana cabinet just inside the door.
It was a wonderful year in the garden with plenty of spring rain and we hardly had to water, even in the summer months. We held a small musical event to open the season – not a River Music Fair this year because new neighbours were building a house on the block next door! In November, our son was married and we had a big family wedding on the property.
In terms of business, we noticed a significant reduction in the number of visitors to the gallery compared to past years. Some wonderful people came, including many repeat visitors, but most of our sales during the year were pieces that we had listed in our online shop. We are on our winter break now and I’ve started to list and pack away the Bold and Beautiful pieces in preparation for the new exhibition. We will let you know more about this in a few week’s time.
I’ve just updated the SSL certificate on my website. It may take 24 hours to work on the latest Firefox web browser but should be working as usual on other browsers. Stop press: it is working on Firefox now.
Mystery potter #26: FRM turns out to be Frits Jan Massée.
In response to the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal, Vipoo Srivalasa has organised a fundraising project called Clay For NEPAL to raise funds for the Nepalese people affected. All proceeds will be donated to OXFAM Australia: Nepal Earthquake Relief Appeal. The project has two parts that open on Friday 15 May at 6am. The first is an online auction and the second a buy it now store. More information can be found on the project website www.clayfornepal.com.
Mystery Potter #54 turns out to be Estelle Boak, a member of the Perth Studio Potters group.
I’ve been aware for some time that I needed to upgrade the Australian Pottery at Bemboka website to make it more usable on mobile phones. This week I moved the main website pages to a simple set of new templates using Bootstrap, a free open source HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive websites. The big task still waiting to be done is to upgrade the online shop. The developers at Oscommerce are working on a new release of the software that incorporates Bootstrap and I will implement this when there is a stable version. In the meantime, I’m hoping that users have not yet completely abandoned their desktop machines!