Friday, 7 October 2016

Our job as artists ...

our job as artists is simply to create,
to do the best we can,
to honour and keep what we feel is true to our style
and let the rest go. 

It is the task of others,
to desire their lives be filled with art
and in between is the dance, 
that all of us can enjoy.

- s u z i - 

Many thanks to Xanga Connelly for her comment on my previous post Off to a new home, that prompted me to write this. I wanted to share it here, in a fresh post, as a way of highlighting the joy in the mystery of what it is that we do.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

off to a new home

Three of my paintings are off to a new home ...

Two are a small pair of oils on canvas Summer Daze I & II 30 x 30cm, part of my 1000 words for Summer series. 

Painted in late summer of 2011, several years before my Summer Sketchbook, in these works I was attempting to capture the ambience, the chaos, the heat of a Summers Day. Both 
were part of the PCA exhibition on Avalon Market Day 2011 and those who visited my studio in Avalon village may remember them hanging on the walls at my Studio Open in 2012.

The third, a larger oil painting 600 x 900cm, is from earlier years, back in 2008 when I was learning to paint. 

I'm still learning, but back then, after studying drawing and painting in Avalon with Sally Horton in 2006/7, doing a lot of still life and en plein air, I started out alone in 2008 sketching in cafes, using newspaper photographs as reference for learning to paint people. 

This painting was inspired by a photograph by Chris Crerar in The Weekend Australian 1-2 March 2008 in an article by Noel Pearson titled Agendas of AddictionIt was hard to find photos of groups of people not looking at the camera and having travelled to the outback, learning to drive in Wilcania, the image and article struck me.

What struck me more though, was three years later, the same photograph was used by the same newspaper in another article in the Weekend Australian on 19-20 Feb 2011 Destroyed in Alice by Nicholas Rothwell, which prompted such a response it made the ABC news. 

I wondered why one of Australia's leading newspapers simply republished the image rather than sending out a photo journalist. One article was about people living in Cape York and the other Alice Springs. If they really felt it was such a terrible situation, couldn't they afford more effort? Were they really interested in seeing things change? What was their duty of care to these people in the photograph? Then again, did anyone else notice, or was it just me, because I'd taken the time to paint this painting.

I didn't write to the newspaper, I simply kept the articles and kept on painting. In time, I came to see the figures in my painting as people in a gallery transforming it's essence from tradgedy to beauty, from sorrow to joy, from helplessness to helpfulness, at least that's how it was for me. 

What's really special is this painting is off to be enjoyed by someone who works in association with Aboriginal art, getting indigenous artists work hung on people's walls. They didn't know the story behind the scene, they simply liked the painting. 

So it is that ...
sometimes it's not we as artists who paint a painting, create an artwork, but the artwork itself that takes us on a journey, brings us stories, experiences, tales to tell, so much so that the artwork changes us as well. 
Now these paintings are moving on and the weather is warming up, I'm inspired to get my paints out. It's nice to think that 8 years later, what I did then still resonates. I can only hope things have changed and improved for the people in the photograph too.

Thanks, as always for popping by, 


Monday, 19 September 2016


Here are a few photos of the Little Things exhibition at Saint Cloche, Paddington, Sydney and a collage of nocturnal shots taken by my daughter Sophia.  

I found out at the awards ceremony that my little ceramic "Freedom House" sold and as Marnie Ross, the curator said, it's lovely to think it's off to be enjoyed by someone else. 

It has been a sweet exhibition to be part of, many thanks to everyone involved.


Saturday, 3 September 2016

Little Things Art Prize 2016

I am delighted to share the news that "Freedom House" has been selected as a finalist in the Little Things Art Prize on now at Saint Cloche gallery in Paddington, Sydney.  

first heard about Little Things Art Prize this time last year from Sydney artist Xanga Connelly. She wondered if I might have an artwork to enter, so I looked up the terms and conditions but nothing I’d done seemed to quite fit. Little Things has been created by Marnie Ross with the support of Woollahra Council, it's an exhibition for small things and it has very specific size requirements. 

"Freedom House" (rear view)

This year the organisers decided to add a category Little Ceramics and having started studying ceramics this time last year, I decided to enter one of my latest works. At 2.5cm (w) x 2.5cm (d) x 4.5cm (h) my sagger fired "Freedom House" fitted perfectly.  

clay houses covered in sawdust 

As you may know from reading my posts about the What a home means to you and Saltwater exhibitions, I am attracted to entering exhibitions that align with what I am creating, the themes appearing intuitively in my work. 

Not only did the size of my tiny house fit, but the call out really appealed:
“Artists are invited to submit creative expressions of the ‘Little Things’ that make them happy or feel grateful. The science of Positive Psychology emphasises the benefits such focusing of our attention contributes to our health and happiness.  As well as inspiring community creative engagement, the resulting exhibition will be a celebration of the artwork displayed and a shared positive experience." 
- Little Things 2016 -

Created in the quiet moments, in the space between, “Freedom House” is part of a village of houses I created by sagger firing hand built clay that had been burnished with stone. It's a technique I learnt this year from Walter Auer at NSI Ceramics aka Brookvale TAFE.

saggers are fired in a gas kiln

After drying, I placed the houses in sawdust collected from woodturning my Three Wooden Bowls. During the firing, the sawdust turns into charcoal which is fused into the clay. 

It's an unpredicatable method of firing, one that brings it's own suprises each time upon opening the kiln. On this occasion, the clay turned mat black on the front and back and shiny where I had burnished it. 

This photo shows some topiary trees I've also made as part of this series. 

charcoal is fired into the clay

The final entry requirement was to "write a sentence or two about how your work relates to the theme Little Things and the concept of positive psychology". Here's what I wrote: 
"All of us make a home for ourselves, but it's the little things that bring us happiness. The doors we open and close, the windows we look out of and the freedom we give ourselves to fly and discover the world". 
- suzi poland -

Freedom House is for sale as part of the exhibition at Saint Cloche gallery which runs from 31st August - 18th September 2016, alternatively you can contact Marnie Ross directly. 

I found out at the awards ceremony that my little ceramic has SOLD. Many thanks to all the other artists and everyone involved for making this a wonderful show, more photos are on my next post.  

Monday, 8 August 2016

The sweetest of days.

Sometimes the day ends,
in the softest, 
gentlest of ways, 

as if to say ...

"You've done your best 
and that's enough,
rest now my sweet one, 
for the dawn will bring with it,
a new day, 
a new something to love
and pour your heart into."

I know quietly in my heart,
I have earned my rest today,
I did find my love
and yes tomorrow,
I hope to do it all again.


I hope you did too,
or if it's morning,
that you are going to live life to the full. 

- suzi poland 2016 -

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

the journey continues for my ceramic heart ...

The journey continues for my little ceramic heart, the one with it's own little home ...

It's one of a series of slip cast/hand built hearts which I combined with textiles and poetry and simply titled "Home is where the heart is". 

Selected as one of ten artworks from the "What a home means to you" exhibition back in June at Warringah Creative Space which was hosted by Link Housing, it's now off to the 2016 Affordable Housing Conference on this week in Sydney.

If you'd like to read the POEM, it is in this post.

Do you have an artwork that's gone on a journey? I'd love to hear about it if you do.

Thanks, as always for stopping by and reading.


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A sweet sunset and some peaceful thoughts on July's full moon ...

A sweet sunset I spotted on my way home from ceramics this evening. It was an even prettier pink before I could stop to photograph but just as the sun's light faded, the moon rose above the clouds. The sea was as calm as could be and in the distance a sailing boat was gliding under motor up the coast. 

It really was a special scene and I feel so lucky at times like these. When they happen, I try to stop and soak in the beauty, the peace and tranquility, savouring it, storing it, deep into my bones. For I know later, this gratitude will be there, ready when I need it.

With all the recent troubles in the world, I hope this brings a moment of bliss. By all means, share this post and your moments of peace, of beauty, of deep gratitude with me, with your friends, with the world, for I do believe that some of us need to be shown. 

Not all of us grew up in quiet, comfortable, fun loving homes with childhoods free to roam. Recently I've had some nightmares, health scares, finding myself in scary places, even sharks nibbling at my toes! Yes, like Pi in his little boat, Lol Yikes! No seriously, I woke up so pleased it was a dream, but for so many, these fears and worse are everyday real. 

It takes courage to call yourself an artist, to put your unrequested work out there into the world, to spend time outside the mob and all that's going on, but art can change lives, attitudes, directions and dreams.  It can heal the real, the memories and fears that plague us, the patterns of behaviour that make us repeat it all over again. 

Each of us, no matter how creative we are, can do one thing each day. Sing a song, write a love letter, light a candle, meditate, be aware. Notice one small thing in your day and celebrate it. 

Please do this and then, please share, because in doing so you/we ... 

"become the change you want to see in the world!"

Many thanks as always for stopping by and visiting. I hope this post finds you happy and well.


Friday, 24 June 2016

bowl #3 and some holiday reading ...

bowl #3 - camphor wood

It's been a huge learning term and now it's time to play so I'm mixing up mediums, playing with paint, clay and wood, throwing in textiles as well where I can. 

free hand machine sewing/drawing and visible mending/hand embroidery

I turned the inside of bowl #3 (above) this morning and it still needs sanding so I am exploring how it feels to use my lino tools to create a textured edge. If it doesn't work out to make a plaster mold in next terms slip cast ceramics, I'll simply refine it back on the lathe.

bowl #2 - jacaranda wood

Who knew six months ago, this time a year ago, I'd even know what I just said! Yep, it's been a huge learning curve and I am so grateful to so many on this journey I'm taking back into 3D.

learning beads and coves, then mixing them with linen and lines 

I'm also craving inspiration now that my skill level has improved and whilst I love seeing what others are sharing online, on Instagram and Pinterest and now Periscope, I couldn't resist borrowing some books from my local library.  

my first wooden bowl - camphor wood

After many years creating, I've come to know what makes me happy, what rings my bells, now to keep playing, dreaming and inviting it to appear in front of me.


dreaming in doodles and painting bowls in my sketchbook

Thanks for coming with me on this next step of the adventure, I'll let you know when I add more to my Etsy shop and as always, many thanks for stopping by and reading!


Friday, 3 June 2016

Exhibition "What a home means to you"

One of my ceramic hearts is part of the exhibition "What a home means to you". Hosted by Link Housing, a not for profit community housing provider who creates stable places for people to call home, there was something about the theme that jumped right off the page and into my suitcase of creativity. I knew exactly what to enter as if it called to the piece directly.

On receiving the application and filling in the fields, I came to the part of writing a description. Often I find this part difficult, but as Heart to Home is a seasonal theme I've visited each autumn for some years now, it seemed far easier. As I wrote the words flowed and soon I realised I was writing poetry. Here is what I submitted:

A house is not a home
until it’s lived in, 
imbued with the love of the liver, 
the giver of the heart to the home.

Some people live without a house 
and still find a home, 
but for each of us, 
the only true home is in our hearts.

When we fill our lives with love 
it shows, 
in the windows to our souls, 
which we open to the world. 

- suzi poland -

Arriving on submission day, it soon became clear that it would be hard for my white ceramic heart to be seen on the white plinths. I am still new at exhibiting 3D, art that doesn't hang on walls, but in all my experience of entering exhibitions, I know there's always last minute changes, something unexpected, so I quickly saw this as an opportunity to mix my ceramics with textiles and cut out a section of woollen rug I had in my car, something I'd bought at Vinnies (the op/ charity/thrift shop), something that suited the theme perfectly.

The contrast of hard and soft, preparation and desperation, permanence and impermanence, planned versus found and the comforts of home as a place to rest on were not lost on me as I thought of people who, without the efforts of others, might otherwise be living on the street. It was too late to change my description, add another stanza to my poem, but the poetry resonated within and it was lovely to embrace the serendipity, the opportunity, to do something I've wanted to do and allow my fusing of musings, mixing of mediums to be seen.

For a while now I've given up entering exhibitions, competitions and focussed on doing the work, getting busy creating, following themes and learning new things. I've lost interest in turning up annually to giant group shows, based on regionality, medium or fundraising for fortunate people. Instead, I am tuning in to the emotional effects of my art, the responses it evokes and the concepts it contains and this show seemed to fit perfectly. It's the first time Link Housing has hosted an art exhibition as a way to raise awareness for what they do and with 30 artists work on show, it's one they hope to continue. 

On for only four days 2nd-5th June 10-4pm (Sun until 2pm) at Warringah Creative Space Abbot Rd, Nth Curl Curl, Sydney. If you are local, I'd love you to pop along, there are a variety of works in different styles and mediums several of which, like mine, are for sale.

For more information about Link Housing, the exhibition and their work in community housing please visit their website For those of you interested in my ceramics, I've started a second Instagram account @suzi_ceramics in addition to my main account @suzipoland. I've also begun listing my ceramics on my Etsy Shop.

If you would like to read about how I created this artwork, please pop over and read my post "Sliding into slipcast".

Thanks for stopping by.


NEWS UPDATE! My ceramic heart has been selected by Link Housing as one of ten artworks to be exhibited at the Affordable Housing Conference in Sydney July 28-29th 2016. For more about this exhibition please click here

Sunday, 20 March 2016

March Cyber Cleanse ... like to join me?

It's the Equinox already, I haven't blogged since January. What's going on?! 

I can't say, but as I change, the way I create changes. This year, as I create more in collective settings, my ability to connect online is changing. All of us probably spend more time online than we'd like to, but I love it because of all the people it has enabled me to meet.

My blogging days are still with me, what's changing is my need to tell stories, to join the dots. My Instagram, Twitter, Facebook accounts all allow me to be seen, to post regularly in an instant what I do, but nowhere lets me share "my way" quite like my blog. 

If this was Instagram, there'd be a little notice saying "your post is too long". If it were Twitter, it would have freaked out long ago. If it were Facebook it would hardly be shown. What's going on? Are you still writing blogs, posting? How are you being seen? 

Each March I have done a Cyber Cleanse. I take a moment to switch off, unsubscribe, unfollow. It's a big move I know and not the easiest thing to do, but it's a really good way to grow. It's like standing back, walking away from a painting that's not working. What happens next is the best bit!

First up I gain the lightness of loosing the weight of unwanted baggage. Then I gain the time and space to go out and discover. Not long after that, I start to miss my favourite things, those things that pull at my heart strings. I can see the gems in the chaos.

It's like rearranging my cyber wardrobe or tidying up my studio. Having emptied my in-drawers, I fill them up with new clothes, new colours. Not new as in completely new, but new as in what fits me now, what season it is in my life, where I'm at creatively, what I'm interested in, which of course includes some of my favourite old things. So it is, that before long, with the clarity of space, I've signed back up to follow, subscribe, reconnected with the best, the most appropriate, the snuggest fit that helps me look good and feel great, Liking things all over again! 

There's no such thing as an internet Op Shop but if there was, I'd happily give my old disguarded links to others as they might be just what they need.

What concerns me though is upsetting the creatives behind these creations. I shouldn't really worry because it helps them to have active followers not dormant ones like I've been, but I'm mindful of how they might feel when I sign off, the message it might send and I don't want them to give up.

So instead of simply disappearing without a trace, this year, my Year of Tranquility, I've decided to give the algorithms a run for their money and come up with a few simple words to post in the reason why I've left box.   

I'm doing a March Equinox Cyber Cleanse, an annual ritual as the seasons change. It's been lovely to spend time with you, but for the next little while I need the space to create.  
If your work still resonates with what I do, directions I feel drawn to pursue, I may resubscribe in due course, in the meantime, please continue your beautiful work inspiring others to pursue their dreams.   
Many thanks and creative blessings. 💛

Maybe the creators will read, maybe they won't, maybe the will understand and like it, maybe they won't, but I feel better for letting them know. Too much of what we do online is done silently at a distance and can be hard to understand. 

If you are still reading, maybe reading this will have you signing off from my blog, I don't know, I hope not! What I do know though, is none of us needs to sign up for any more than we can take on, what makes us happy. Having the courage to say "Thanks, but No Thanks" knowing what's not for us is a huge step. Doing it annually, has made it easier. I hope by sharing this, it makes it easier for you to simplify, streamline, block out, settle in and embrace your own creative ways sooner.

If you are still here, THANK YOU! it means a lot. I've been so busy with my ceramics, wood turning, painting and sketching, I haven't had a chance to blog, to tell the stories behind my work, but I will as soon as they and I are ready. 

Until then Happy March Equinox! Hope you are happy, well and busy creating.


Monday, 4 January 2016

My WOTY for 2016 is ...

Starting out gently a few years ago with Dance before moving on to Enough, last year I toyed with Play but settled on Enchantment as I joined many other creative people I know who choose a Word Of The Year, otherwise know as a WOTY.

I'd happily have Enchantment again, as you can see here, it's been a wonderful word to encourage me to explore new fields of creativity as my world opened up. Whilst I still need to venture into a few unexplored fields of creativity, I also want to play along and find a new WOTY for 2016. 

So, as the year ended, I began wondering, seeking, listening quietly to my intuition for what my WOTY might be.

Initially the colour Turquoise appeared. I'm not sure if anyone has ever had a colour as a WOTY so please let me know if you have. It still remains a lovely idea and a sensuous link back to Enchantment so if I end up using this colour in every artwork, it's sure to be a delightful year! 

Soon after came Abundance which is a great word for receiving, complimenting and consolidating my WOTY of Enough and would inspire me to get more of my art out into the marketplace.

The other word that kept appearing was Freedom, to travel, to try, to continue to explore the depths and width of my creativity. But Freedom suggests a holding back, a constraint, a limitation and if I hold that thought it doesn't serve me. You see, I am already as free as I let myself be.

Then, sitting quietly, the word

T  R  A   Q  U  I  L   T  Y 

came and sat with me. 

Happy, calm, kind, peaceful, gentle, playful, curious, connected, contented, joyful, delightful, poetic, imagined, inspired, insightful and whimsical are all words that have resonated this year as I've tried to find out what it is that I do, what I want to create, but as a WOTY Tranquility has a grace to it that I like.

It's not so much an action as a state of being

If I use my WOTY like a compass, with Tranquility as true North, maybe it will not only show me when and how far I am off course, but also what I need to do to get back there. As David Wythe says:

"defining how far away we are from what we want is half way home ...

... defining what we haven't got shows us what we want"

source: David Whyte

Like many other people, I find it hard to follow my heart and simply do what I love. 

Maybe if I can be in a state of flow, of grace and gratitude, peace and Tranquility expressing the way I am, happily simply being, then the rest will come naturally. 

It will be interesting to see, but as I venture further on, I sense it will be a very useful word for defining success in the next leg of my journey. 

What do you think? Would you like to join me? If so, I'm setting up a quiet little facebook group for us to share

 A Year of Tranquility all you have to do to join is click here.

Wishing you a wonderful year.