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.

:)Suzi

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!

:)Suzi 

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 www.linkhousing.com.au. 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.

:)suzi

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.

:)suzi 



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.

:)Suzi


Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 My Year of Enchantment

For the past few years I've joined in with other creative people I know who choose a Word Of The Year, otherwise referred to as a WOTY. Starting out in 2013 with Dance, in 2014 I chose Enough and in 2015 after toying with Play, I settled on Enchantment. It was a wonderful word and encouraged me to explore new fields of creativity as my world opened up. 

Beginning with a World Blog Hop, I finished the sixth year of my 1000 words for Summer project with a Summer Sketchbook and Sketching in Thread. Over the summer I also and took a short Acting Essentials course at NIDA before starting my 100 Artworks and signing up for the Conscious Booksmith and Doings of a Doodle ecourses.




As well as celebrating a Year of Coffeeosophy, I found a little Kindness in my coffee. I went People Sketching with the Sydney Urban Sketchers and participated in The Custodian Project with Alfalky and a dozen other artists from across the globe. I spent the winter doodling and sketching boats, dreaming up a Wishing Tree, completing the fourth year of my Winter Series of blog posts and beginning my Adventures into Printmaking.




Throughout the year, I participated in a second Postcard Project with an online group of artist I met in an art ecourse, initiated a secret Travelling Project with another group and had 12 Creative Lunches online with two other art buddies. By mid-year I was Sliding into Slip Cast Ceramics spending two days a week making hearts, bowls and later boats out of clay. Towards the end of the year I collated my Moon and By the Sea body of works and took part in Making Art a Practice ecourse with Cat Bennett.

 

 


Finally, I reworked my Blog as I prepared for three end of year Exhibitions, including Keeping Company: Saltwater at Manly Gallery, Warringah Printmakers Annual Show as well the Ceramics Student Exhibition at NSI Brookvale which resulted in a few exciting sales. After they were over, I went Travelling Sketching up the coast and finally got around to reading War of Art and Big Magic. Wow what a year!

As well as consolidating, exploring, learning and connecting, I let go of a place and a people, a time and a season as frames for my work and connected more conceptually with why I make art, what makes it enchanting and began creating art which is more universal.


 


Probably the only thing I wish never happened was Saying GoodBye Slowly to our gorgeous dog Toby. Apart from that, it's truly been a Year of Enchantment and whilst I have a sense I need to explore a few more fields of creativity I've never had a chance to wander in, I also want to play along and find a new WOTY for 2016. So, as the years roll from this one to the next, I've been wondering, seeking, listening to my intuition.



Thank you for being here, joining in and supporting me on my journey this year, I am so appreciative. Please continue on to read the next post about my WOTY for 2016 and a special way you can join in.

:)Suzi




Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Sliding into Slip Cast ceramics




In the middle of this year, after saying goodbye slowly, life and time seemed to opened and through a series of chance encounters, I found myself at the Ceramics Triennale meeting Agneiszka Berger seeing her whimsical works. One evening, the ANU ceramics students put on a fun public art installation inviting us to paint in slip.


painting in slip at the Ceramics Triennale

I have played in paper clay creating small installations like my "Wish Bowl" and have used it at the Day Retreats and even to visualize paintings, but it's been a long time since I took classes and put clay through a kiln. So on my return, I contacted the Ceramics Department at NSI still affectionally known by it's previous name Brookvale Tafe.

I’d been to an end of year student exhibition some years ago to see Diane Oliver’s poetic works and I thought there might be a short course I could take. The college offers several courses that extend over a number of years, but it’s also possible to take classes by the term on different techniques. Within days I dived in and was fully submerged in plaster learning a method of making ceramics out of molds, also known as Slip Cast.

Seeing how this technique creates multiples of similar forms, I sensed my Hearts might be an ideal project to explore. Being small and many, hearts would also allow me to learn a lot in a short time about ceramics. So, with assistance from the very helpful staff, I made three moulds of different shapes and sizes.



creating two part plaster molds 

 

filling the plaster molds with liquid clay known as "slip"


As some of you may know, Hearts have become an ongoing symbol in my work, not intentionally, but intuitively. I find them an easy metaphor for illustrating both the inner and outer worlds and each year from Valentines Day to Mother’s Day I focus on my “Heart to Home” season of art.

Through this approach, I have created a series of illustrations in a variety of mediums which I loosely call "The Journey of Little Big Heart". Hearts are also an integral part of my "Coffeeosophy" series of sketches which I am currently working on in printmaking. There’s something about hearts that traverses dimensions and I’ve really enjoyed exploring in clay and allowing iterations to take me in different directions.


 

  

modelling the cast hearts, carving and hand-building 


Joining and then not joining the two halves of the molds, closing the holes, painting and carving, I began to play and created a variety of stories in clay. It was fun to see what worked, learning the steps of putting them through the kilns, adding colours and glaze as I went along. I am sure there are faster ways to create, but sitting each night pottering away has been a complete delight. It's also been a huge learning curve!



hearts waiting to be fired in the kiln


So far I have made over 100 hearts. Initially I dreamt of making 1000, like Sadako and the 1000 paper cranes, creating a Wishing/Love Tree or leaving a trail of hearts for others to find like I did for Free Art Friday. Like Hailey Batholomew's Finding Love, I find things like that quite enchanting.


 

 

allowing hearts to gather loosely into series clockwise from top left: 
"sweet hearts", "heart village", "hobby hearts" and "open hearts"


Then again, maybe it's nice to simply embrace the moment. Seize the opportunity life has given me to make, to learn new techniques and to meet and work for two days in-person with some amazingly creative people. The classes are arranged so that students of different levels are often working alongside each other. It's been a wonderful opportunity and I want to thank many of the more experienced students for opening my eyes to what's possible.


mixing up a batch of slip to take home!


I've also made a slip cast copy of my mother's Gripstand mixing bowl and in the next term of Slab Forming, I created a vase and some boats from my Dreaming series. I also played with ideas from my paper art, but I’ll save those for other posts. Ceramics certainly is a slow art, which is why I haven’t shared much until now, but it’s an art that easily slips into your heart ... and into your shoes!!!



If you would like to see my hearts for yourself, come along to the Student Exhibition open 10-4pm Wednesday 25th November until Friday 4th December, it's always a great show. If you'd like to see more of what students create, you can visit the college's website, facebook page or the student's facebook page.

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed reading.

:)Suzi