The Narrative Knot was an exhibition that was held at Manly Art Gallery, New South Wales, by the Australian Ceramics Association, in December 2011.
I think I’d like to tell you the story of how i came to make the work for this show, how thinking and making can take you on a journey. I received a letter in January i think, that i was accepted into the show. I was pretty excited, mainly because not alot of oppurtunities arise to show off narrative ceramics! So, as i always do in January, i started to think, about the year ahead, about the shapes i wanted to make and spend time with and develop, and the pictures i wanted to draw. I fill about one sketchbook a year, which could be abit slow, but they are like a diary to me, full of research, ideas, thoughts, and lots of drawing.
After thinking about issues i wanted to draw about i came up with 2. One was the development and division of land and water that the Murray river in Victoria and NSW is under review or discussion about. I am obviously interested in how we divide land/ space and what that means metaphorically to our selves as people but the second issue seemed to me quite important globally. That is the debate in Australia around immigration. My father is a German migrant who also came to Australia by boat, fortunatly not a vulnerable vessel like some recent migrants, but i think Australia as a country has a huge population of migrants and I’m not sure the debate or thoughts or thinking is quite as humane and understanding as i would like. So I chose this issue to centre my work on for 2011.
I worked almost full time in the studio and i researched and drew alot. School Easter holidays came, Mum took the boys off my hands and i actually felt like just playing in the studio, mucking around with the shapes i’d made, and i came up with my little monopoly house as a handle on the side of these shapes. I was pretty happy about that! I also drew alot of cliffs in this year, using them visually, as walls keep things out, so does the edge of the land, so do our prejiduces and fears. Drawing on the shapes was so satisfying and i am really happy with the results. Something different happens to the shapes when i draw on them and the lidded vessels were interesting, almost like i was drawing inside out.
The top two peices (in the first photo) are from the exhibition in Tathra, Narek Galleries and the last photo is the work for The Narrative Knot. When they came out of the kiln, the shapes were perfect, the drawing lines nice and sharp and the feel of the pots was almost ominous, moody. i was very happy.
Sometimes things take a while to work out, sometimes stories take a while to come together and it’s not always easy to get your drawings to work as well on a pot as they do in your sketch book, but this time, it worked!