Recently I was browsing the workroom shelves for a pair of mugs to fill a gap in one of the gallery displays, when I noticed these two handsome goblets, each marked ‘dfa’ in a medallion on the front. “Aha, I don’t have any work out yet by Diogenes Farri,” I said to myself. I went to update the database and found that I had catalogued them as mystery items in 2007. They had been finds from a second-hand shop in Yass and, at that time, I hadn’t recognised the mark. It was nice to find evidence that I have learnt something over the last few years!
Diogenes Farri is a 3rd generation potter born in Valpariso, Chile. He trained at the Fine Art School, Vina del Mar, then taught industrial design at the University of Chile before leaving the political uncertainties of his country for Australia in 1971 . From 1973-1996, he taught at the National Art School, Sydney. For six months in 1999, he took up an artist in residency position in Chichibu, Japan. When he set up his blog in 2005, he had just returned to Chile to implement a design workshop at the University of Valparaiso. I am not sure if he is still there now, as the blog hasn’t been updated for some time.
He works in both small and large scale forms, as well as making murals and two-dimensional panels. For some works he uses the Pre-Columbian technique of applying painted designs on colour slip or engobe, then burnishing the surface using a fine polishing stone in several iterations, to lend it a sheen and seal the clay.
I love the pictures I have seen of these burnished forms. We only have one piece in this style in muted colours, still packed away in the container. The cats and I went out there today to try and find it. Unfortunately, the box it is in has been stacked out of sequence. I am sure it is in the container somewhere but will have to look for it another time.