Today is the first day of our third season. We have picked up our new card from the printers, placed the sign up on the highway and put out the open signs. The spring garden is full of potential, with the azaleas in the front bed in full bloom.
In our first season we told stories from the collection. In our second we featured the work of individual potters. This season the foyer display is dedicated to woodfired works and the main gallery to porcelain, lustres and crystalline glazes.
In an essay written for the Australian Woodfire Survey 2005, Owen Rye says:
The contemporary fashion in Australia is for glittery objects with multiple lustres or brightly colored glaze, or more recently for a more sanitary ware style, where stark white predominates. To the woodfirer’s eye this work is one dimensional and easily read. See it once and you have seen all there is to see, in contrast to the gradually revealed character of a complex and subtle woodfired work which only reveals its true character over a period of time and contemplation (Owen Rye, Australian woodfire survey 2005).
We are hoping that the exhibition will allow interested visitors to test this assertion as they move from the foyer to the gallery and back again. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are still learning to appreciate the woodfire aesthetic and our collection leans towards the more subtle and refined end of the spectrum. During the year, we plan to seek out some more challenging pieces.
We have also filled one wall of the main gallery with forms used to prepare and drink hot beverages – teapots, coffee pots, cups, saucers, milk jugs and sugar bowls – and the centre space this season is devoted to the display of platters and shallow bowls.
There is a strong crossover between these displays and the dialectic foreshadowed on the verandah by a John Payne crystalline glaze teapot on one side of the entrance and a Zak Chalmers woodfired pitcher on the other. In the main gallery, a salt-glazed teapot by John Dermer, a creamer and sugar bowl by Gwyn Hanssen Pigott and a platter by Judy Boydell could equally well be displayed with the other woodfired works in the foyer.
Looking for a title for the exhibition, we decided to call it ‘Body | Form | Surface’ as a way of encompassing all the themes.
We have a surprise in the garden that I will write about separately when the lawn has greened up a bit more and I can get some good photos.