Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Journal and Us

Right then,
Hello everyone - and hello readers*
* I need a name for you all - just like Philip Adams calls his listeners Gladdys (apparently way back when he started - year dot - he believed himself to have only one listener, her name being Gladys - can any of you RN listeners confirm - or refute this rumour?)

So, according to an (all down hill from here) email I sent out to our exhibitors last week - one of the challenges that I now face as curator is to (loosely) locate them all within the narrative (meandering stream) that is the history of The JAC, the Manly Collection and more broadly, the Australian ceramics community.

As they've been blogging away, I've been trolling through the journals looking for bits and pieces that I think might, in some way relate to their work – be it visually, technically or philosophically (for example).

Truth be told, my trolling thus far has been a bit hit and miss. Guided by the deeply entrenched habits of academia, my first port of call was the university databases (Design and Applied Arts Index being a favourite). There are so many journals (50 years worth in fact!) so I figured that I would have to be logical, systematic, rigorous... Keywords in the search engine and away you go. right?

Well yes, in theory - but I don't actually know what I'm looking for - an image, a thought, a feeling - try searching them smarty pants. Too many hours spent looking at a screen and too little to show for it. A(nother ) late night earlier this week, a cup of tea and a random issue plucked from the pile beside my bed. I've written about this before, I should have known better - the joy of print, the random bits of gold you find on the way to the article recommended by the search engine.

The issue I picked up (Pottery in Australia, Volume 17, Number 2) has Ian Currie on the cover, Caption says: Ian Currie throwing big pots at the National Ceramics Conference. Photo: University of Sydney.

It immediately struck me how fitting the image was / is to some of our blogging discussions thus far. It reminded of a comment that Owen made about mastery / control over the medium. And Jo's questions about newspaper. And Charmain's comments that without the how the 'why' isn't much good to anyone (so there dee - stick your whys in your pipe and smoke em!)

I'm making myself late for class - so will post this as a to be continued.
Onward and upward (quite literally - my class is for forklift operation)



  1. Dee, the one thing in my job as editor, that is on my mind a lot lately, is the underestimation of the time needed to become proficient at the skills of making, and to become proficient at understanding why we do what we do. It also often takes skill and time to be able to express it in words. Some never get there, and that's why they make things. They express themselves through their art. I have found in my six years as editor that some people don't want to contribute their stories and as frustrating as that is, that is how it is. Back to fitting the jigsaw together. Cheers, Vicki

  2. Absolutely, Vicki. One thing that stood out for me from the recent 'Wood Fire Tasmania' event was how important writing is for some artists. This might sound silly and a little naive but writing about my own work is still a fairly new challenge.
    After spending those few days in Tas under the wing of people like Jack Troy and Owen Rye, I realised how much writing is part of their expression. They were both constantly quoting poetry or phrases from their favourite stories, or referring to articles they had written.
    Its definitely influenced the way I view how I need/want to develop as an artist, and that's by being able to put it all down on paper. I don't think it's an absolutely crucial quality in an artist, but it definitely helps.

  3. I drive a fork lift at work too! Cool: Funisn't it! Although I'm not quite proficient in the required rally driving skilled to get down to the back of the block with out getting bogged!
    I love reading the words of others. But not usually the stuff written about art! I must confess to only buying mags for the pictures. But I love poetry and prose! And word play.
    I had to write something about myself for an article about my teapots some years ago! Have you found that yet in the archives. (July 2008) I'm not sure its quite poetry though!

  4. "Good evening Gladdies and Poddies", a greeting by Phillip Adams on his little wireless radio program. He does only have one listener: Gladys. And then there are the Poddies (podcasters) who may (or may not) download and listen at alternative times (he may be referring to you here, Dee).

    What I meant about ‘how’ being important (and not more important than 'why’, but maybe kinda equal) is along the lines of: it’s good to be able to read the notes and play the instrument before trying to make music. There are exceptions, there are always exceptions, but if what is being made doesn’t survive the being-made process, than what would I use to describe the ‘why’?

    Apologies too for the ‘anonymous’ comment, I’ve been struck down by the blogging curse again.

    Charmain Hearder