Thursday, December 12, 2013

Play off: 3D printers vs 3D Doodlers

Using new technology is never a simple "or" choice.

While hacking a 3D plastic printer to enable it to print clay, I was alerted to the WobbleWorks 3d Doodler project on Kickstart by Romano Formentin.

It seemed relevant, so I and 26,455 others promised over $2m to try to get the project off the ground.

On 25 March 2013 the project went live.

It finally arrived the day I flew out to exhibit in the Florence Biennale.

My daughter and I had a quick 10 minus play before it was back in the box, until I returned from Italy yesterday.

 As a fun way to explore the machine, I introduced it to the Wednesday afternoon and evening class pottery and sculpture class students, during the coffee and champagne break (it was our last 2013 class:)).

The following 1 minute  video shows one of them using it,  their  and my own first rough creation (seriously handicapped by jet lag and lack of sleep).

The experience was very similar to drawing on paper, but in space.

Some differences include:

- slowing the speed in which lines are draw on surfaces, in order to thicken and strengthen lines.

- pausing at the top, after drawing a vertical line, to allow the plastic to cool, firm up, and so not collapse.

- ability to "scratch" quick lines to build up a thin web of support for a point in space, from which to branch out from.

At this early stage I would suggest the makers change the two speed buttons, to a pressure pad, so that the speed of extruding can be more precisely controlled in a more natural manner.

One of my evening class students suggested drawing lines over a 3d form, and then pulling it off before joining or "welding" it with additional lines.

The comment was also made that it fosters a different way of seeing and thinking about creating objects, compared to modelling in clay.

Some had played with Google's SketchUp, a 3D modeling software,  and commented how it too affected how they saw and "rested" form in space.

It's early days with the Doodler, and it will be interesting to see and hear comments from the other classes this week, and their responses.

Already I am becoming excited when thinking about making one of my life-size heads in the material.

It reminds me of a recent  head sculpture I made with dry and wet paper clay wool rods.

Plus, it's seriously a HUGE lot more fun than the 3D printer, and just so simple to use.  No assembly, no software, no computer, just plug and play.


3D printer:  0
3D doodler: 1

My second doodle:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Florence's living artists (this week only) :)

30 November ·  · Taken at Fortezza da Basso, Firenze, Tuscany, Italy

The following are just some random pictures, the names of the 2013 Florence Biennale artists and links to those whom I have spoken with and exchanged details.  I'm updating this daily.

Aalto-Annala Marja-Liisa - Finland
Abessinova Elena - Norway

Agial Hanan - Libia
Ahmmed Ronni - Bangladesh
Aksit Zafer - Turkey
Alagirisamy, Geetha - Switzerland/Singapore , Sculptor and Ceramicist: Identity
Ali Celine - Romania
All Asya - Russia
Allori Laura (Lallycula) - Italy
Alves de Souza Costa Elisiana - Brazil
Andrade Elizabeth Almendra - Brazil
Antonelli Paola - Italy
Arakkal, Shibu India Photographer
Araujo Tati - Italy
Arianpour Sara - Iran
Ascencio Villanueva Victor Manuel (Vito) - Mexico
Baccaro Thomas - Brazil
Bagdasaryan, Dr. Svetlana Armenia/USA , Painting dancers, helped Carol setup
Bai Lingfei - China
Bakken Ase Pleym - Norway
Banfi Bianca - Italy
Barillaro Umberto - Italy
Barnhart, Carolynn Canada expressive oil painter
Barnhart, Gary Canada sculptor, minimism
Baroso, Cristian Italy Ceramic Sculptor
Baruch Eduardo - Armenia/Usa
Baumgarten Marizeth - Spain
Belka & Strelka - Flux Rus group - Russia
Bellesso Marzia - Italy
Belsito Olga - Italy
Benvenuto Maria Jose - Chile
Bermudez Denisse - Mexico
Berner Ghezzi Federica - Italy
Berrios Gabriela - Argentina
Bertina Maria Teresa - France
Besa Jacinta - Chile
Beyeler Brinkhaus Paula - Switzerland
Bianco Giovanna - Italy
Bizzarri Marco - Chile
Bolano Italo - Italy
Bombardieri Mariangela - Italy
Bonini Veronica - Italy
Borges Patricia - Brazil
Bravo Jorge Hernando - Argentina
Brull Ana - Argentina
Buttitta Antonio - Italy
Cabano Agnese - Italy
Cabell, Brigitte Germany Stone sculptor
Calli Vincenzo - Italy
Caluri Fiaba - Italy
Camiciotti Matteo - Italy
Capilla Fernandez Cristina - Spain
Caplain Nicole - France
Capone T. Truman - Usa
Cartagena Jose (Nacho) - Chile/Canada
Cason Floriana - Italy
Catino Tina - Italy
Celentano Cris - Brazil
Chen Chen - China
Chileeva Elena Fedorovna - Russia
Chiquesi Osvaldo Celso - Brazil
Chiti Angela - Italy
Christofi Stella - Cyprus
Chritch - Egypt
Ciotti Enrico (Creative Emotion) - Italy
Cirillo Nicola - Italy
Cocca Nino - France/Italy
Conde Cris - Brazil
Condito Teresa - Italy
Constantinidou Sozi - Cyprus
Cordero Rodriguez Oihana - Spain
Cordua Josefa - Chile
Cortes Caballero Norma - Mexico
Corvaglia Mauro - Italy
Cosler Anselm - Germany
Cuesta Recio David y Pablo (Dacuré) - Spain
Cusi Ines - Mexico
Da Ros Michelle - Italy
Daher Fabio - Brazil
Damian Oana - Romania
Darro José Manuel - Spain
Dassan Fernando - Brazil
De Boer Annie - France
De Willem / Cyem Inc Lloyd / Guillaume - Germany/Italy/France
Delemen Gul - Turkey
Delia Xhovalin - Italy
den Haene Adam Jean-Remy - Norway/Belgium
Dennis Julia - United Kingdom
Desaize Marie-Pierre - France
Diaz Barriga Guillermina - Mexico
Diaz Galvez Yoel - Mexico
Diaz Juan Antonio - Spain
Doua Halima (Doua) - Morocco
Duz Gianluca - Italy
Egual Tati - Brazil
Elorriaga Pilar - Chile
Eyzaguirre Filipa - Chile
Fedorova Anastasiia - Russia
Flierman Arjen - Netherlands
Florido Berrocal Aida Ines - Spain
Fluk Hanna - Argentina/Israel
Fontanelli Mauro - Italy
Francov Cristina - Mexico
Frei Miro - Switzerland
Galetskaya Adriana - Ukraine
Gamache Rosalie - Canada
Garcia Hernandez Ricardo - Spain
Garcia Martinez Heli - Spain
Gatignon, Hub Netherlands Bronze sculptor: tulips and egg symbols
Gerenstein Beatriz - Usa
Giannoni Giuseppe - Italy
Gil Merino Amalia - Germany
Ginailhac Laurence - France
Gini Chiara - Italy
Giraldo Giuseppe - Italy
Giulian, Boris Armenia/Usa Sculptor with meaning
Giusti Andrea - Italy
Glazunov Ivan - Russia
Glazunova Olya - Russia
Gogol Yuri - Argentina
Gomez Guzman Alberto - Spain
Goncalves de Andrade Mirtis - Brazil
Gonzalez Maruja - Mexico
Gould Giovanna - Liechtenstein
Govedarou Anastasia - Greece
Granifo Maria Luisa - Chile
Greco Giovanna - Italy
Haciraifoglu Anber - Turkey
Haiya Shounosuke - Japan
Hammarling Titti - Sweden
Hamzallari Alban (Alban Berberi) - Italy
Han Bo - China
Han Xiao - China
Hao Jiao - Italy
Hartman Carol - Usa
Haseler Reilly, Julie Australia Figurative sculptor
Hattem Dowa - Egypt
Hay Graham - Australia
He Wenjue - China
Headley Lyndsay - Usa
Hoffmann Cornelia (Nele) - Germany
Houtkamp Marianne - Netherlands
Hu Huiming - China
Huber Manuela - Switzerland
Huisman Wessel - Netherlands
Iannucci Luciano - Italy
Iki Nobuko - Japan
Ishida Katsu - Japan
Jabbour Margot - Brazil
Jakob Fabien - Switzerland
Jakupsson Barour - Faroe Islands
Jean Regina (Spika) - Mexico
Ji Chunlong - China
Jordao Ale - Brazil
Juarez Angel Ricardo - Argentina
Jungen Sarah Joy - Switzerland
Karacelik Hale - Turkey
Karam, Dori (Dorien)
Khan Alexandra - Switzerland
Kilfeather Des - United Kingdom/Ireland
Kleyn Hilda - Netherlands
Knoop Pathuis Johanna - Netherlands
Knudsen Cathrine - Norway
Koch Ada R. - Usa
Koenig, Anja Germany , Painter next door
Kouwenhoven, Loes Netherlands sculptor and painter-heavy but light work
La Chauviniere-Riant Chantal - France
Lamandais Laurence - France
Lambrechts Hilde - Canada
Lancaster CLJ - Usa
Landolfi Patrizio - Italy
Lanza Nicole - Brazil
Lara Regina - Brazil
Lefroy Capelle, Joanna WA, Australia , Painting conversations
Legno Gabriella - Italy
Lei Ziren - China
Leon Cruz Carlos Alberto - Perù
Leresteux Ala - Lithuania
Li Shuo - China
Li Xiaoxuan - China
Lima e Silva Sandra - Brazil
Lindahl Jeff - Sweden
Litieri Izabel - Brazil
Liu Nian - China
Llano Maria Lucia Cristina - Colombia
Lopez Delgado Raquel - Spain
Lopez Lopez Adria - Spain
Loudovikos Kostas - Greece
Lovari Sara - Italy
Lu Jun & Wang Erjan - China
LV Shanchuan - China
Lv Yiren - China
M. Samaniego Paul Alex - Italy/Philippine
Mac Dowell de Queiros Mattoso Maite (Maite Mattoso) - Brazil
Mancinelli Pierpaolo - Italy
Manrique Martinez Fernando - Colombia
Marchesini Federico - Italy
Marchi Erika - Italy
Marin Anne Marie - Switzerland
Mariscotti Osvaldo - Usa
Marquez Tolentino Gabriela (Tolentino) - Mexico
Marraoni Donatella (Le Aly di Lia) - Italy
Martinet Marie Madeleine - France
Martinez Delgado Juan Javier - Spain
Martinez July - Mexico
Matta Alessandro - Italy
Mazzonetto Roberto - Italy
Mazzoni Alessandro - Switzerland
Megall Rafael - Usa/Armenia
Megia Fernandez Cristina - Spain
Meier-Roessler Inga - Germany
Meireles Fernanda - Brazil
Meng XinYu - China
Micallef Luciano - Malta
Milanova Iva - Germany
Miller Sherrill - Usa
Moein Ansari Mona - Iran
Molugova Nadezhda - Russia
Moncarz Norberto - Argentina
Morelli di Popolo, Emilio Italy painter
Morelli Fiamma - Italy
Moschi Antonietta - Italy
Murthy Sangeeta K - India
Musso Anne France (Anne Le Sergent) - France
Nankivell Maryann - Australia
Napoletano Giorgia - Italy
Navarro Romero Javier - Spain
Novian, Mina Iran/USA Romantic painter
O'Connor Akiyama Danielle - Canada
Okuyama Atsuko (Haruna) - Japan
Orejas Diez Carmina - Spain
Orlandini, Laura Italy Expressive figure painter
Ortega Braza Alvaro y Gonzalez Bustos Manuel - Spain
Pachioli Mario - Italy
Palombo, Giuseppe Italy Liquid Bronze Sculptor
Panella Silvana - Brazil
Paseri Marco - Italy
Pattova Edita - Czech Republic
Pazzaglia Carlo - Italy
Pellegrin Romero Jose - Mexico
Perez Pierre - France
Petronio Ebe - Italy
Petrova Ganna (Anna) Ukraine Artist – monumentalist, restorer, journalist
Pierini Jonathan - Italy
Pinar Castellano Mariana - Spain
Pintore Maria Aurora - Italy
Plowright, Terrance NSW, Australia , Sculptor
Poesini, Stefania Italy Ceramic Sculptor
Polit, Alegria Ecuador Painter
Porisse Julien - United Kingdom
Porisse Liam - United Kingdom
Portillo Roberto Octavio (Georgge) - Mexico
Potocki-Winiarski Caroline - France
Potocnjak Ante - Croatia
Predoi Bianca - Romania
Proietto Carlo Giuseppe - Italy
Punzo Alvarez Cecilia - Spain
Qian Zhongping - China
Rachel Celia - Brazil
Ragal Chaigneau Constanza (Conty Ragal) - Chile
Rangel, Bernard South Yemen/UK/Brazil/UK . Painting Tribal art
Raskina Lora - Netherlands
Reber Anna - Switzerland
Regli, Gedeon Switzerland Sculptor in stone mason firm
Ricciardi Giuseppina - Italy
Righi Fabio - Italy
Rivera Villamizar Federico Antonio - Colombia
Rodriguez Andrea - Chile
Roggi Andrea - Italy
Romanelli Donatella - Italy
Romanelli Monia - Italy
Rondeau Laure - France
Roshchupkina Yana - Russia
Rostovtseva Pasha - Russia
Rowling, Carol WA, Australia . Painter/sculptor: abstract
Rozema Reina - Netherlands
Russano Rina - Italy
Sabri Kambiz - Iran
Sadana Surekha - India
Samarghitean Nicoleta (Nico C. Samar) - Italy
Sanchez, Rocio Mexico Sculptor: plasma cut s.steel
Santos Godoy Rafael - Spain
Savanelli Gabriele - Italy
Savvaidi Evi - Greece
Scamanga Stelio - France
Scarsi Giancarlo - Italy
Schaapman Henny - Netherlands
Schwarzhaupt Dominique - Chile
Sequoyah Aono - Japan/Usa
Shamma Sara - Siria
Shati, Amin United Kingdom / Iraq Mixed media Babylon painter
Shpilberg Anica - Usa
Silk Alexis - Usa
Sinha Ragini - India
Sisto Leonora - Mexico
Smallenbroek Jennie - Netherlands
Sole Costa's Team - Italy
Spicer Isabelle - France
Spitaletta Lombardi Antonio - Italy
Steele Helen - Ireland
Steins Bisschop, Fransje Netherlands Flora painter
Subasi Naciye - Turkey
Sun Yan - China
Talbot-Kelly Sam - Usa
Tardonato Giorgio - Italy
Terroux Michel (Terruscito) - Canada
Tharrani Thota - India
Thomas Lyndel - Australia
Thompson Patricia - Brazil
Thorsby Anne Kristine - Norway
Timokhina Inna - Russia/Usa
Tirado Carlos J - Usa
Toccafondi, Giovanni Italy photographer
Tonino Mario - Italy
Tornese Rosario - Italy
Traynor Magie - Scotland (United Kingdom)/Singapore
Tunç Gökte - Turkey
Turemen Mediha Didem - Turkey
Ucer Kaya - Turkey
Uda Kikuko - Japan
Urena Ramos Aristides - Panama
Urquijo Estefania Valls (Evu) - Guatemala
Vallone Vincenzo - Italy
van den Hoogen, Mieke Netherlands Ceramics fired with wood, flowers and covered in tinfoil.
Vardar Emel - Turkey
Vazquez Lorena - Mexico
Ventrella Kira Kamamalu - Usa
Vicuna Macarena (Macavi) - Chile
Viglietti, Monica Italy Ceramic sculptor and family Ceramiche Viglietti Studio maiolicata (realistic sea animal sculptures)
Villa Gianni - Italy
Villarino Isidora - Chile
Villarreal Constanza - Argentina/Italy
Vivaldi Marite - Spain
Wachter Tirado Laura - Spain
Wang Fei - China
Wang Jieyin - China
Wang Tan - China
Wang Yifan - China
Wang Zhenguang - China
Wang Zijia - China
Wei Qingji - China
Weissenberger Emmerich - Austria
Whaley Davyd - Usa
Wilhelm, Lauren WA, Australia . Figurative painter.
Wong Lucille - Mexico
Wu Willow - Taiwan
Xia Niansheng - China
Xiong Bin - China
Xu, Gengliang China , Painter: mass of bodies/humanity
Xue Song - China
Yalim Umut - Turkey
Yan Laichao - China
Yang Yahui - China
Yang Yong Zhi - China
Yin Wantao - China
Zabaleta Maricarmen (Zabeliz) - Mexico
Zafir Genrich (Henry Betzalel) - Israel / Usa
Zecchini Alberto - Italy
Zhao Qiong - China
Zhao Xiaohai - China
Zhao Yuqiang - China
Zherebilo Vasiliy - Russia
Zhi Jiang - China
Zhu Jiejun - China
Zhu Yamei - China -

Friday, December 6, 2013

Coals to Newcastle, Art to Firenze

Dead on arrival? Work being shoot by Italian photographer.

Coals to Newcastle, Art to Firenze

Taking contemporary art to Florence, reminded me of the British idiom (C 1538), carrying "Coals to Newcastle," a town that annually exported 15,000 tonnes.

On reflection, on two fronts, I'm mad:

Firstly, Italy, and particularly Florence / Firenze is credited as the birthplace of Renaissance art.  

How can a first generation artist like myself complete against generations of skilled artists going back to 1300 's? 

Skills and knowledge have been passed down, polished and refined for over 700 years.  

Compare that to my haphazard and disjointed 40 years of learning about and making art.

Secondly, contemporary art runs a distant last, way, way behind art in Firenze.  

People go to Firenze to look at museums, of which there are almost as many... well... um....Google Maps tells me there are 13,847!  

Each of these Museum has curators, historians, administrators, gift shop staff, maintenance  staff, cleaners, security staff, publicists, and so on.   

Then they employ graphic designers, web masters, architects, printers, and so on.  

So the whole of Firenze's working population has a vested interest in attracting people from the world to come and look at, and talk about, write and photograph, THE PAST.

Once everyone leaves Firenze, they may feel like they are experts about art, but really, it's only approximately the period 1300 to 1800.

Which makes them totally unprepared for contemporary art. 

While the Florence Biennale has been running for nearly 20 years, it is only this year that The City administration has acknowledged its contribution and provided some support.  Up until now it has been living artists from around the world, like myself who have bankrolled this event.  


... back to the coals theme.

In 1927 conversional wisdom regarding Newcastle was overturned. 

Rivals to a US businessman, Timothy Dexter, persuaded him to send a ship of coal to Newcastle.

Luckily for him, just as he arrived the coal makers went on strike,  and he made a fortune.

Since then, the Russians have sold 70,000 tonnes of coal to the Newcastle aluminium smelting plant, as the mines have declined.

It's like the Scots selling half a million pizzas per annum to Italy each year.

So there's hope for myself and 300 other artists exhibiting there this week?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Are great artists - just jet lagged performing artists?

I started this blog posting nearly a month ago, but need the time to let my thoughts settle:

Are great artists -  just jet lagged performing artists?

I'm afraid to count how many air flights I have made to teach, speak and exhibit.

So I'll count.

On my website I counted over 30 trips to speak at interstate and overseas conferences, symposia and workshops.  Fortunately most of the 16 interstate and overseas exhibition openings I attended also were also at the same time.

The start of all this thinking and counting, was coming down with a flu after my last trip.

My illness was the side product of an intense month of pre-trip making, family events, nerves,  jet lag at both ends, and the usual stress of constantly performing at a high level, in a strange environment in front of strangers.

Anyway, I begun to question why I keep putting myself through this experience.

To be honest with myself, there is ego reasons for accepting invitations to demonstrate or speak in front of a lot of people, and my peers.

That others value me and my ideas, keeps me motivated through the long hours alone in my studio.

Yes, that others see value, is important when I (and every other artist I talk to) have moments of self doubt.

This self realisation motivates me to deliberately support and encourage those artists around me.

Aside form the financial rewards, which are necessary, there are more significant, artistic reasons for my travels.

These trips do provide an important foil to my solitary studio practice:  More than six months between trips endures "cabin fever".

"A change is as good as a rest".

A time to reflect on my art, out of the studio.

To see how other artists live their lives, or run their studios.

The happy studio accident in a strange studio and with strange tools and materials.  I often bring back these to invigorate or extend my studio work here in Western Australia.

One strange aspect bubbled up into my thoughts:  Demonstrating how I make my sculptures in front of others, contains aspects of "performing arts".

This may be an unexplored aspect of the visual arts practice - for those of us who do it.

Does this public act of art making affect how and what I make in the studio before and after it?

Hard to say - although I'm a little different to most in the ceramics community, in that I may spend a day or more before my workshops or demonstration preparing and drying clay (paper clay).  Is this also a warm up?  Not really in that I don't always demonstrate the techniques I use, but, the physical work certainly helps getting over jet lag and mentally prepares me.

There is aspects of deep meditating on how and why I make art, by "lifting the studio wall" vail.  Anticipating questions or reactions to what I do, makes me think more about the whole process.

Other questions come to mind: is "performing artists", just an extension of what travelling artists/teachers like myself do?  These are stylised private rituals, made public in the teaching studio, theatre or conference hall.  Some are common to all clay workers, others are uniquely mine.

I sometimes ask myself, should I reveal a particularly personal technique: questioning if I should have separate public and private studio lives.  Yet, our work gives away so much anyway.  We both reveal and conceal ourselves in our art.  So I think, "bugger it, I'll share it". (1)

Doubt creeps in when thinking about why people invite me to speak and demonstrate.  Do they invite me because of my art, or because they have hear about my demonstrations/teaching? Often audience members seem to equate demonstrators as being "good" or "great" artists.  So is there a similar confusion in their mind, to mine, between art and performance?

But in the end, it doesn't really matter.

As long as I have the opportunity for paid travel, the gift of a change of space, reflective time,  happy studio accidents, and of course to meet with new and old friends.

The latter is happily an increasing occurrence, as I finally meet good people I have only know via the web and email.

These are other artists, sometimes also performing visual artists.

All with one universal common trait (apart from being artistic :)), which is an open and generous nature.

Obviously disorganised groups with problems,  and stuck in their ways  aren't looking or new ideas, techniques and ways of thinking. Whereas I will be invited by groups and people who are organised, looking outwards, and eager to learn.

Water finds its own level, and I find kindred spirits.

However, like sports teams, art groups (and artists) have a cycle between good times, bad times, and back to good times.  So, it's not surprising I have had conversations over many years with different artists and their groups, before all the planets line up and we finally get to meet.

Finally getting on a plane to fly to meet and spend time with these people is just such a buzz!

Just a pity about the flu.

(1) Australian colloquial term to express anger

Modified image source:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Will 3D printing become a Dodo?

Computer Art went the way of the Dodo. Will 3D printed Art follow? 

The best view in Perth and iced coffee (with ice cream of course), used by the author to untangle the 3D puzzle.

According to Grant D. Taylor in The Machine that Made Science Art: The troubled History of Computer Art 1963-1989 (2004 UWA PhD Philosophy Thesis), computer art quickly became marginalised.  Digital art, its younger nephew, was able to upstage it and has go on to become hip and trending with the art crowd. And still is, sort of.

What's this got to do with 3D ceramic printing?

I'm not exactly sure, but bear with me while I untangle my thinking...

In ceramics, over the last few 40,000 years we've seen it all before.

Take the wheel. Despite small pockets of resistant fighters, studio neo-throwers (neo-romantic throwers?), most ceramic factories completely mechanised the manufacturing of table wear, decades ago.  Human throwers in ceramic factories went the way of the Dodo.  Extinct. Gone to meet their maker. Passed on.  

I remember in the early 1990's visiting the old Australian Fine China factory in Subiaco, and watching a machine cut, compress and spin a lump of clay into a dinner plate, automatically pop it off and quickly begun again.

But even this machine was not fast enough to escape the inevitabile economic rationalisation of the Australian Ceramics industry, once tariff barriers protecting it had been removed.  Cheaper imports, often just as good, were bought by predominately indifferent Australian consumers.  Consequently, in 2006, Australian Fine China relocated its Perth factory to South East Asia in order to remain price competitive.

A small pocket of studio potters in Australia still predominately use the wheel.  But, despite their long hours hunched over their wheels,  few survive completely, depending upon this machine for their sole source of income.  Dig far enough and you'll find another job, sideline, supportive spouse, arts adminstration or teaching job subsiding their studio practice.  Not much different really, to 99 percent of any paintbrush waving fine artist.

Yet the wheel is addictive, is a great party trick, and still pulls the crowds at the local craft fair.

Could the hand on the wheel just be a prolonged physical stroke, or a machine induced meditation.  Perhaps its like driving a farm tractor in ever diminishing squares (a mechanical mandala?)  for 12 hours a day?  For both one must be mentally and physically balanced and able to comfortable hold a position for a prolonged period, with subtle adjustments and corrections?  'Bit like watching a 3D printer create another useless piece of plastic? Round and round, back and forward goes the printer head extruding plastic, or clay. Strangely hypnotic!

But, I digress.

I have just spent a day a week, over the last year at Perth TAFE as an Artist in Resident, hacking a 3D printer so that it would print paper clay.  Read a little about my incremental progress here.

Then a further 6 weeks course learning software to design the objects to be printed.

Since then I've been researching attitudes to computers and art.


Because I was getting a bit of flack from studio potters online and locally.  There seems to be a bit of resistance - it's not really art, is it?

So when else in the past has the arts been critical of new technology, like, recently?

But it's pretty boring research, reading Grant D. Taylor's art theory thesis on computer art.  So I have been tempting myself with iced coffee (with ice cream, of course) and the best 8am view in Perth, a couple of times each week, if I'll just spend two hours in one place reading and writing notes on Computer Art.

And it looks like there might just be something useful in Taylor's writings:  Computer arts have faced the same criticisms I am hearing about 3D printing, which may explain the art crowd's mixed reception:

Taylor sees hostility towards computer art also coming from a

romantic fear that a computerised surrogate had replaced the artist … undermined some of the keystones of modern Western art, such as notions of artistic “genius” and “creativity.” (pIV)

By using technology as the underlying logic, these histories fail to acknowledge the importance of cultural and ideological contexts in the emergence of computer art.” (P6)

Also, because computer art was an international phenomenon, it could not derive any cultural legitimacy from a national art history.  Apart from having no national heritage, there was no centralised location or organising body that could devise a coherent corpus of belief (in contrast to the myriad of other twentieth century art movements that achieved this).  Subsequently, in the early stages, there was no formal attempt by the practitioners to organise themselves socially and politicially around a key idea” (p7)

All good stuff.

(The last bit also sounds a bit like the challenge the paper clay crowd are currently wrestling with.)

And I've only got to page 7...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Counting sheep woke me up

Adding another thought to the tangle...

This is what kept me awake tonight.

Over the last decade my website has grown from a simple depository of records of sculptures, articles on paper clay and paper sculpture, and a record of gatherings in numerous countries of paper clay pioneers.

This has slowly grown to over 160 pages, 1200 images and probably over 100,000 words.

The studio website (and other websites) has also slowly grown to over 60 pages and 400 images of art, exhibitions, media releases and catalogues.

Like a gardener in a "digital garden" I spend a little bit of time now and then, just a few minutes, each day or week, on it.

But these few minutes now and then, have compounded up over a decade to a huge amount of time.

It is a quiet and reflective activity.

No-one disturbs, or comments as I wander about doing this, checking, trimming, adding, and updating.

The annual online visitor numbers are staggering: 100,000 website visitors (or 1.1 million hits),

21,000 viewers of the videos, and about

10,000 blog page views.

Website visitors come from 149 countries, with only 11,000 coming from within Australia.

I didn't actively foster this, it has just slowly occurred over time, as I posted online the information that people requested.

These visitors are like "digital ghosts", walking through my digital garden looking for and at whatever interested them, and generally leaving me alone.

Over time this meant the letter, emails and phone calls for information, came less and less.

I had more and more time to myself, to make my work, and get on with my life.

This all changed radically with social media.

I tried to do what I had done on the website.

To find out how each operates, their strengths and weaknesses, I provided information I thought people wanted.

As I floating between the different social media, I begun to meet the "digital ghosts".

 Some are existing friends, peers, my large extended family, current and past students, but also lots and lots of strangers from my website.

My social media visitors have been much more demanding of me, “poking”, “liking”, “friends requests” repeated questions and commenting.

The structure is more dynamic, fragmented, and now also becoming frustratingly time consuming.

I receive the same questions repeatedly, but now via the different channels.

It's also more obvious when I put something up on social media, as everything is dated.

Whenever I add and change things, someone is always “liking” or commenting or questioning what I'm doing!

Writing this has clarified my thinking, stilling my mental loop.

Decision: Time to change how I do things.

Back to sleep.

Monday, May 20, 2013

If I'm not an Artist, what am I?

Are you like me?

Think the definition "Artist" or "Craft person"

 too limiting a description of what you do?

Apart from creating/making stuff,

do you do a whole lot more?

CCUK came up with a mouthful of a label,

but despite this,

fits better than most labels.

So for now, I'm a "portfolio working maker"!

Avoid all the academic speech and skip to page  12 in their report at

See if they have anything in common with you.

These people "work", play and study across a mix of paid and unpaid, recreational and professional activities in art, craft, science, tech, business, management, medical, educators, researchers,  social workers, writers, performers, directors.....

When I start looking around me, not only are many of my peers, but many of my studio students are living, or starting to live this kind of life...

Is this a trend?

(image source:

Friday, February 1, 2013

looking for Some One?

A discussion evolved during today's studio class about sculptures combining male and female figures, from this we discussed the history of the ideas of love and attraction.  

Because of the general interest, and due to an uneven knowledge within classes, I refer you to good old wikipedia for a less "pop" explanation of early ideas of love (for an explanation of Ancient Greek ideas of philiaerosagapestorge, and xenia,see

It reminded me of the Greek mythology about physical attraction, which I summarised in class:

In Symposium (c. 385–380 BC), Plato has a dinner guest explain how primal people had doubled human bodies, with faces and limbs turned outward, and were so strong they challenged the Gods. There were 3 sexes, i.e. all male, all female and male-female.  To weaken them, and double the number of worshipers, Zeus sliced them in half, creating creatures always seeking their other half.  Ever since then, we're been chasing our other half.  (for more detail, read or The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology, Edited by Roger D. Woodard p.225 )

These old ideas influenced in some way a whole range of contemporary psychology and philosophy thought.  

When making art, it's always good to write down, than later do a little research on ideas, or issues that come to mind as you are making.     It often gives you a little more objective view of your work.  Then, research historical and contemporary images relating to this

Image found using Google Images. 


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