Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ghost on the wheel

I regularly receive comments about pottery classes and the Ghost movie

(and today Peter Bell on ABC radio 720 has just put petrol on that fire)

Why are my Perth Pottery and Sculpture classes are “Ghost Free”.

Over the years I have learnt to turn off my mobile whenever Ghost is on the TV, due to a surprising number of calls from young, and not so young, drunk males who think a bit of clay and a wheel will solve their relationship problems.

I’m not a wowser, and have many couples as past and current students, plus a few students have had babies after starting the classes, even an engagement and at least a couple of weddings.

What is forgotten is that the ghost scene happened in a private home.

When the ghost play came to Perth, I received calls from theatres wanting potters wheels, actor tutoring in throw and at least one interviewer wanting to run the ghost angle in an article about my classes.

I did try and get an other potters studio to run Friday night pottery date night class (as happens in only ONE studio in the whole of the US), but they declined.

So I ended up modify a ghostbuster poster to show a banned ghost making a pot :) and placed it on the class webpage.

Ultimately I put the interests of my current and happy students ahead of prospect misguided new students.  Would you like someone making out or having sex to you while you're trying to relax and made something beautiful? 

What do you all think?

PS. If you want to hire a wheel and take it home (with my blessings)  The Potters Market rents out wheels at very reasonable rates, and stocks plenty of clay, near Fremantle: Map and contact details below.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

WA artists' response overwhelmingly

WA artists' response has been overwhelmingly*.

 So encouraging, that I have to share.

It's keeping me going ...

Thank you so much!

Your verbatim comments so far* with identifying detail removed:

thanks Graham, what a great idea. So typical of you to be thinking broadly about, and offering, support for WA artists. Good on you, and all the best for the exhibition.

Hi Graham
What a generous initiative and best of luck to you.
Here is my website address. Feel free to use it on a flute. Thanks for the opportunity.

This sounds like a fun project and I look forward to seeing the video.

Hi Graham!
Congrats on the opportunity to show at the Venice Biennale!
My website is:
Good luck with it all.

Great Idea Graham and thanks for spreading me around ! My website details are;

Hi Graham
What a generous initiative and best of luck to you.
Here is my website address. Feel free to use it on a flute. Thanks for the opportunity.

Thank you for creating this brilliant opportunity, and for supporting all artist. All the best! Can't wait to see the final piece Xx

Hi there,
Would love to be a part of your Italian project.
Instagram account is @
Thank you!

This sounds like a fun project and I look forward to seeing the video.

Hi Graham, can you please send info re Venice Biennale. My website is....  I know I'm a few days late in getting this to you but didn't get a copy of Artists Chronicle till just now.
Many thanks,

Hi Graham, sounds amazing . Congratulations on getting this far , and what a thoughtful and generous project on your part. I certainly understand where you are coming from and feel the same way .
Not sure if you remember I had the underwater mermaids dive trail at SXS, met you there
I'd be very grateful if you include my web site address thankyou. Kind regards Olivia

Hi Graham here is my website address and instagram acc
Good luck with your exciting project it sounds fabulous. Looking forward to hearing back from you soon.
Kind regards Lyn

Thanks for making this opportunity happen.
Facebook page: 


Hi Graham, this is such a cool idea, love it! Will be following the progress of the project. All the best.

Lucy or Sue may already have been in touch but if not would you please put our website for …............ on a flute as follows:

Hi Graham,
Just read about your flute project for the Venice Biennale in the Artsource artLines#1 mail out and would like to be part of the project.
I am looking forward to your confirmation.
Thank you for the opportunity and best wishes for this venture.
Kind regards,

Re: Creative Flute Lottery
Hello Graham,
Here are my details:
All the best, Elisa

Sounds like a brilliant concept Graham. Great interaction with the public and important people. We appreciate your collaboration and help. Beautiful work man.
If selected my web address is:

Congratulations graham, love this concept. It sounds so much like you. I remember you did a wheel with all the WA artists on fling cards and I found my name, thanks for promoting us all. Let's hope I can get to the Biennale. Cheers,

Hi Graham, look forward to seeing the work come together for the Venice Biennale.
My links are as follows
Thank you and happy creating!!

Hi Graham,
I just saw your listing in the Artsource Newsletter for your Venice Biennale project, such an interesting idea!
My website is or Instagram: if you are still looking for artists to contribute.
All the best with the work!

Hi, keen for a flute, can you put my web address on,

I really would like the opportunity to be on a flute. I'm currently updating my website but it should be all done in a few weeks. Below are my details for printing. THANKYOU

Hi Graham,
My website is
Thank-you for the opportunity.

Hi Graham. Good luck in Venice. We were there in 2015 and had an amazing time. My web address is

I'm a botanical artist working in Gidgegannup, West Australia, about an hour out of Perth, we live on 100 acres of mostly bushland, which is great for inspiration! My website is

I would love my details to be on a flute. I love the element of chance you have created and wish you all the best with the venture

for your flutes Graham:

Brilliant idea! All the best installing them!
Instagram :

xxxx is where I'm at
I'm just up the road form you in north perth :-)
This is a great project!

Would love to be included in the Venice project.

Perth-based Visual Artist, Early Childhood Educator, and Imagination Consultant. My speciality is recycled 

Hey Graham. Venice Biennale project Great idea.

i just caught Sohan Hayes on the fly and he said the idea was great. He's hectic so will forget within seconds... so here's a link on his behalf

G'day from WA
Contemporary Artist

I'd love to have my name and web address on a flute. Good luck and congratulations with such an awesome project.

Thanks for the opportunity to submit my website for your project. Great idea. Thanks for supporting WA artists.

Hi Graham
What a fantastic idea - love to be included. My website is:-
ps are you a relative of David Hay - a glass artist?. I had an exhibition with him at Gunyulgup Galleries in the south west a few years back.

Potter/ceramic artist working for 23 years in WA
I have already replied to this once very early on but no response - am I just being impatient, sorry if that's the case!

Thanks Graham. Great project.. all the best!

Please add me to your artists from Western Australia.
Kind regards, Susan S

Thanks Graham . Very interesting project and good luck for your continued success. Your big heartedness is much appreciated.

for Creative Flute Lottery Venice Biennale.

Hi Graham,
I am a West Australian early career artist. Facebook link:
Great concept - love to be part of it.

Hello Graham,
I'd love to be a part of your Venice Biennale artwork - as an "emerging" artist, recently graduated it would be a thrill to be part of Venice, even in a small way!
My website:
Thank you and best wishes for a successful exhibition.

(for the Venice Biennale project. Thanks, such a fabulous initiative and opportunity!)

Hi Graham,

This sounds like such an interesting project, id love to be involved. Below are my details, i can't wait to see images.
Good luck with everything.
Kind regards,

What fun Graham - love working with other artists as you know. Please include my details for your flute installation....

hi graham, did a class with you at FAC a year or two ago. still have done nothing with what you taught but the knowledge, the possibilities are waiting patiently.

Hi Graham. Can you add my website to your list for the flutes? This is an interesting experiment!
Thank you- and I hope it all goes well.
Best wishes,

Please add my contact details to the work for the Venice Biennale
Sarah E
Visual Artist
instagram -
web address -

website is:
love its randomness..

Creative Flute Lottery submission-
sounds like a fun project!

Venice is an amazing place. Once you look past the swarms of people - and the often mediocre headliners - there is much to be found and enjoyed. 
The two big group shows and pavilions can be quite exhausting and frustrating. We found the fringe countries out in the city more appealing rather than what was in the 'garden'. We particularly enjoyed Estonia, Greece, Iraq, Cyprus, Scotland and quite a few others. Some countries totally mis-read the event and essentially use it like a trade fair for their economies (?).
'Personal Structures' - is that the show Graham will be in? - was great last time around and we really enjoyed it. Bembo is typically good and we saw good shows at Fortuny and Prada (and others) that weren't country specific.
The food is fairly simple but we really fell for grilled Octopus and Polenta.
It's almost impossible to walk from place to place given the maze and mass of people. The Vaparetto is really easy to use once you get your head around it and will make life a lot easier.
Hope that helps and good luck with it all.

p.s. I've posted the call to Artperth.

I am a West Australyan Ceramic figurative usculptor and mixed media painter. My Facebook page is . Please include me in your wonderful fantastic idea and thank you for supporting Western Austrsluan Art. What a great idea Graham you are an amazing ambassador for the arts in WA xxio. Nadine

What a wonderful idea!

Hi Graham
This is such a great idea. I would love it if I could be included.
I'm an emerging artist is Perth and am having such a blast meeting new people.
My contact details are
Rachel W
Thanks so much
Best regards

Hello Graham
I read your notice regarding the Venice Biennale in the Artsource newsletter. I thought it sounded interesting and. a generous proposition, which in turn prompted me to spend some enjoyable time at your website.
I thought I would submit my web details as I like the idea of random possibilities and sending links out into the world. Best of luck with your project. I look forward to seeing the end result sometime, and although I would like to see it in the flesh, in reality it may be online.
My website is

Dear Graham
I have just sent an email in error while still editing it, apologies.
The website contained is incorrect and should read
Sorry for the inconvenience.
Kind regards

Hi Graham, I picked up Artist's Chronicle today and saw your article, hope you can squeeze me in if you can. Thanks for being a generous artist.
All the best for the Venice Biennale.

Hi Graham,
Wonderful idea and sounds like a big project, if you have a spare cone for my details, that would be wonderful, i am contemporary jeweller from Witchcliffe , near Margaret River and also work in the Margaret River Artisanstore , a collaborative project we have been running foir 2 years now. my personal website is
Good luck with all!
Cheers Andrea

I think the Champagne flute is a great idea and as you say puts WA Artist's on the world map.

Hi Graham, This sounds like a fabulous idea! I have put both our names as we are both WA artists and this is our website. When is your installation happening? Steve and I are hoping to be in Venice in May. Good luck with it all.

HI Graham, Happy New Year. 
I just read your article in the Artist's Chronicle about your entry in the 2017 Venice Biennale.
I'd love to be included please.
Here is my facebook artist address...
Would you like me to share your quest with my networks?
Looking forward to hearign form you. Good luck

I was referred by a friend. 

Hi Graham 
I would like to be included in your Venice Biennale project. My website address is 
Many thanks for your generous gesture to provide this opportunity for WA artists. Good luck with the event.
Kind Regards Susan

*Emails received in response to http://www.grahamhay.com.au/2017veniceopportunity.html so far (20 Jan-6 Fed 2017, and still coming in). I now have about 1,000 artists web or social media addresses and a dozen are still coming in each day, so please be patient until  we check for errors in web and social media addresses sent and reply.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eat the children / communicating by clay telegram

Like many, I woke up very early this morning wrestling with a problem.

In my case, I'm struggling with the details of an artwork I'm trying to create.

I have this idea of creating an artwork, that in it's consumption, becomes a bridge between the arts community here in Perth, Western Australia, the most remote city on a continent in the world, and those attending peak art event half way around the world.

But I have my own creative twist:

The artwork enables each members of the audience at the art event to be given the contact details for a corresponding creative person in Western Australian.  This is a multiples to multiples connection.

Over the last 25 years I have been mapping the Western Australian Artist community.  This is not just the names read regularly in the daily newspaper's art pages, but members of the wider local arts and crafts community.  Having given arts and crafts workshops with many members of this community and it's numerous small groups, I know many of them well. They have paid me to learn about and make art in a workshop or class, and so indirectly they funded my occupation as an artist, put food and drink on my table.

I wish to connect these people directly to approximately three thousand people who will be attending the opening of the exhibition I'm in, on the other side of the world.

As a committed "clayalotic" since childhood, it seems only natural to use the humble material of clay as the vehicle to make this communication happen.  So I propose to make individual ceramic porcelain vessels which will be used to make a huge sculpture.  At the exhibition opening night the sculpture will be progressively dismantled into these individual ceramic porcelain vessels, which will be filled with wine and given to each of the audience members to drink from, and keep.

The audience members will be free to keep these porcelain vessels, take them to other exhibition openings that night, to take them home, and perhaps to use them again elsewhere, or at the least to take it home as a keepsake of the evening.

There is a worm in this story:  Each individual ceramic porcelain vessel will have on it contact details for individual Western Australian artists or crafts people who have helped or supported me during the last 25 years.  They may be a professional or recreational artist, an art educator, or administrator.

This project then becomes both a mantra of thanks to the many who have helped me, but also an open invitation to create communication between individual people involved in the arts in two different places on earth.  A clay bridge.

I hope that at least who have taken home the thousands of individual ceramic porcelain vessels, will be tempted to use the details on their vessel, to contact the other person.  Even if it is to say "hi" I got this at an exhibition.  Perhaps to ask how their details got on the vessel?  Or do they make art?  Where do they live? and so on...

In these days of billions of flickering images, a small physical object may become the vehicle for building personal contact, through a share interest in looking at and making art.

The viewer considers about were the art came from, how it was made.  The Western Australian gets to hear about the art world, on the other side of the world.  Clay pen pals?

Even if only one or two of these connects leads on to an on going conversation and relationship, my work will have been done.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Why do I sculpt in paper?

A  4 tonne sculpture in the foyer of the High Court of Australia in Canberra, Australia
While I am know for my ceramic paper clay sculptures in the ceramic and arts community, I also work in creating up to 3 tonne compressed paper sculptures.
The dry paper sculpturing came out of my frustration with drawing units at university.

As a sculptor/potter I found very frustrating (as many of my clay peers did) with being limited to a flat, unresponsive 2D plane. 
 Plus a health dose of antidisestablishmentarianism, which grew out of my experiences with an authoritarian father (a product of his time, and probably the only way for him to survive with 5 sons), being rather headstrong myself, and having just finished worked for a political lobby group. 
 Plus, as a very poor mature age arts student (we couldn’t afford a car for a decade), the piles of paper donated to me by fellow students to make into paper clay, offered a free material to sculpt, if only I could find a way to make it solid. 
 I begun to cut it into circles on a pottery banding wheel, then bolting it together into lumps, while at the same time came up with the idea of bolting them together into a paper tower. 
 After that, and over the next decade I slowly developed ways to compress it and carve it afterwards   (Gallery and explanations here).

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Engagement with Arts and wider community

Bored with watching TV and after a couple of beers, I'm in no condition to do some more serious paperwork.

Those who know me, know that I collect names and numbers (I also fastidiously document my idea development and making process, but more on that on another day).

The "arts world" collects data on artists in order to rank, or categories them.  Data collected includes auction house sales and prices, Museum collections and exhibitions, number of exhibitions, media stories, etc etc.

As most of the top local galleries here have closed, now I (and many other artists here) have to collect and archive my own records, so we have no one else documenting our work, exhibition catalogues, reviews, sales data and so on.

Anyway, I digress...

Resent I was shocked to discover that 40,000 people had viewed one of my Youtube videos since I had uploaded it 5 years ago.  I had made the video so I could finally stop demonstrating this technique at every workshop (by then every clay manufacturer in Australia makes all their clays into paper clay). The video was there just in case someone occasionally asked me how to do it.

These videos, plus images on social media and my website saved my bacon once when I permanently lost my laptop en route to giving artist talks and workshops overseas.

So... I originally started this blog today with the intention of taking a stocktake of my other online digital profile.

To keep it simple I've collect the results for only the last month (no paid advertising)

Sessions: 2,021
Users: 1,566  
Page views: 12,037
Ave. pages per session 5.96 pages
Avg. session duration: 02:07 minutes
Trend: hasn't changed much over the last 5-6 years.

30 pageviews,
21 new likes,
1365 reached,
1008 engaged with post
Trend: no idea
65 plays  
372 loads
1 new like
Trend: no idea
2,735 minutes watched,
ave duration 1:46 minutes ,
5 new likes,
6 new shares,
13 new subscribers
Trend: no idea

impressions: 13,080 impressions, 9,210 viewers
Repins: 60 saves,  30 clicks through to website
number of time most popular image pinned? 2000+
Trend: no idea

Instagram (all time, not month):            
59 posts,  
160 following   
Trend: no idea

Tweets: 7  
 Tweet impressions: 1,582  
Profile visits: 88
Mentions:1   Followers: 167
Trend: no idea

120 images viewed
Trend: no idea

This blog:             
Pageviews: 447
Trend: no idea

Ok, so that's the numbers, but what do they mean?

What's happened for you on these different social media?

Your comments are welcomed.

I may come back and add more, after a few sleeps....

Postscript:  I read somewhere that "likes" are like nodding to someone as you walk down the street,.  Walking through this city I probably would actually see a hundred faces within a very small period of time.  Would I remember them, or anything about them a day later?  Probably not.

I also find myself nodding sometimes to people I thought I knew (often realising afterwards that I didn't) , often in neighbourhoods I feel more at home, or small towns.

I was asked at a workshop this week by participant if they could take a selfie with me.  They asked if this happened a lot.  Without thinking I said that not very often in Australia.  For a shy person like myself, it's nice to slip along in my own world.  Prior to large events I find myself spending more time alone, almost to "charge my psychic batteries" so I can become a "temporary extrovert".  It's certainly become easier to speak publicly on something I know a lot about.  But it's taken two decades to become comfortable speaking in public on my area of expertise.  

The real advantage of the digital revolution is that introverts like myself can present our work without having to physical face people.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How did you start?

A vase made in 1989, that gained my entry into ECU. 
Its been a busy week for self reflection: Or at least to think about how others see me:

On Sunday my hands were filmed, as well as various other hands making or doing things, for a demo advertisement. Nearly a dozen people crowded in the studio for 2 seconds of final film. Long story.

Today I was interviewed, for online content to assist arts students and emerging artists.  I took the time to try and write out my answers beforehand, to clarify my thinking.

Question 1: What started your passion for art?

I grew up on a farm playing creatively with my 5 siblings and occasional visits from numerous cousin, in the creeks, small forests, hay shed, workshop and a rambling 23 room homestead.  At school art was the only subject that allowed a similar playful experimentation.  This became more important at high school, and the art department became a sanction during a traumatic time in boarding school.  To my knowledge I was the only person to take art as a first and second option in lower high school (never sure if my parents were aware this happened!).

However, in the last few years at school, I got the clear message that you can’t make a living from art, so did not take it in my final year.  However I did return to art after that, training as an art specialist at Teachers Collage, and at one stage lived across the road from the ceramic studio, with after hours access.  When I arrived in WA I continued to make and draw, attending community ceramics classes at Applecross and Perth Modern.

It was not until 1990, while travelling through US and Europe that I meet clay artists who survived full time from their making.  This inspiring me to make the decision to become a ceramic artist in late 1991, regardless of getting into a tertiary course (which I eventually did).

What started your own passion for art?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Artist Report Card

My First Critic

I was searching for some bad poetry I had written a long time ago, and came across digital copies of my old school reports:

I was amused to read how some of my teachers had (perhaps too accurately) described me perfectly:

Though I would share, in the hope that it would both be insightful, and inspired you to do the same.

When I was 13:

Art Teacher:                    
 A capable + conscientious worker who has settled down very well.

Form Teacher:                  
Doing very well.  
Very alert student.  
Methodical in his own way.  
Has a great deal of ability.  Keep it up.

The next year...

Art Teacher:                    
A first class effort.  
Graham has made excellent progress in this subject.

New Form Teacher:        
Generally, quiet satisfactory work.


Art Teacher:                    
Graham continues to work well in art.  
A law unto himself at times.

... need I say more?


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