Our current exhibition features a number of interesting pairs. Shown here: two Lyrebird Ridge Pottery plates; two vessels from Maryke Henderson’s Red River Gum series; two bottles with crystalline glazes by John Stroomer; and two plates with cane handles from Phillip McConnell’s The Pottri.
Our eighth season in Bemboka will open on Friday 30 September with a new exhibition called “Fifty Shades of Brown”.
Brown is a warm colour ranging in tone from beige, straw and light tan through copper and bronze to deep, rich siennas and umbers. The exhibition draws on these tones with works that are raw-glazed (some woodfired), or coloured with slips, understains and glazes. Many are from the 1960s and 1970s but we have also bought new pieces for the exhibition, including recent work by Robert Barron, Owen Rye and Julie Shepherd.
Each season we think that the new exhibition is the best so far and this is no exception. We have been living with it for several weeks now and it has been giving us much pleasure. The labels are almost done, the new cards have been printed and our next major task before the new exhibiton opens will be to work on our spring garden so that it will be neat and tidy on 30 September.
Illustrated above: Helen Gulliver, Decanter; Noel Blue, Floor Jug.
Our Season 7 exhibition, held from October 2015 to June 2016, was entitled “Pale and interesting” and continued our exploration of glazes and decorative techniques, with an emphasis on pastels and lighter shades. We really enjoyed putting this exhibition together and living with it during the year. Amongst new works we bought for the exhibition were salt-glazed vases by John Dermer, bowls by Shannon Garson and Marina Pribaz and a handsome installation piece called “Pilgrimage” by Kim Anh Nguyen (illustrated). A number of visitors made their way down our gravel road to see the exhibition and we had a steady flow of sales through our online shop.
We opened the season as one of three gardens hosting a progressive lunch for the Bemboka Garden Club. Blessed with another year of wonderful rain, our garden thrived and David and I grew fit mowing the lawns in tandem with our push mowers. In March we welcolmed our first grandson, Thomas James, into the world. Now on our winter break, I am about to begin the task of packing up the current exhibition. Visitors are till welcome by appointment and we will let you know more about what we are planning for Season 8 in a few week’s time.
I came across the work of Western Australian ceramic artist Jenny Dawson this week while browsing through Ceramics in Western Australia, 1970-1999, a video published by Edith Cowan University in 1999. It turned out that we had a coffee set of hers in our own collection. Here it is, unwrapped and displayed on our gallery counter.
Christmas greetings to all our friends and visitors to our gallery and online shop. We are just three months into our seventh season and really enjoying living with our current “Pale and Interesting” exhibition. In the weeks leading up to Christmas most of our sales have been through the Internet but we are looking forward to a steady flow of visitors during January. We will be closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day morning but open during the rest of the holiday period. Don’t hesitate to call ahead if you need to come outside our regular opening hours.
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 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!