Cassius or not it's still the greatest
Alison Alder reports of the
clay revival in town.
Working with clay holds a fascination for
a lot of people. Museums around the world are full of examples of pottery,
from the Venus of Willendorf to Pompeiian figurines to Peruvian pots.
Traditionally Aboriginal people did not use fired earthenware but in
a contemporary context there are many fine examples of pottery like
the Hermannsberg potters, Tiwi pottery or the large vessels made by
Colonial Australia brought with it traditions of large ceramic manufacturers
and workshops began, and are still operating, like the Bendigo Pottery
in Victoria. It may be something primal, to get our hands back into
the earth, or a return to childhood and the joy of playing in mud, but
there is something about pottery that makes it one of the most popular
Tennant Creek is currently having a resurgence of people enjoying the
pleasures of working with clay. In April and May, Steve Anderson from
Batchelor College in Alice Springs held pottery workshops at Julalikari
Council's Pink Palace, Anyinginyi Congress and the Crafts Council. Steve
taught some basic wheelwork "no, it is still too wobbly, try again!"
and importantly taught people how to load and fire a kiln.
Using a wheel seems to be quite an art and takes many hours of practise
before a would-be potter can achieve something to be pleased with, although
according to one trainee potter from the Crafts Council, "it's
not what you end up with, it's how it feels."
Hopefully in the near future we will see some excellent pots and happy
potters selling their work at the Crafts Council markets or on exhibit
somewhere, maybe the new Tennant Creek Art Gallery.
A whole new Barkly regional style may develop. Keep on potting!