Ceramic Sculpture Artist

Sally Walk



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Bollywood NIght

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 8, 2013 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (5196)

Well, with just about everything glazed and preparations underway for a paper kiln firing the following day we were beginning to wind down. Only two days left in fascinating India and now I have finished my presentation to the group I was relaxed. I have been finishing a small sculpture based on a curled up dry leaf that I found a week ago. It is the most amazing form, but also represents the delicate nature of beauty and how easily it can be destroyed. It is nothing like I would ever usually create, but somehow India has given me a new perspective on life and I feel the harshness of the spikes in my current work are being challenged. I have been sketching so many new ideas and thank India for this burst of inspiration. We shall see where it takes me, however, I do feel that the next chapter in my work is about to begin.

One of the Indian artists was heading back to the city, so I got a lift in to see a bit of the real India. It is a fascinating place and I love the craziness of it all. So much life, so many colours and such great food. I discovered lamb biryani and now its my mission to learn how to cook this well. Have I mentioned that I love Indian food. It was a day I will never forget.

When I returned it was time to prepare for the Bollywood night. All the girls came to my room and Madhur and Joystna (2 of the Indian artist's) had the task of dressing all the girls in saris. I watched carefully as each was dressed, I was determined to learn how to do this. I think I have it worked out now, but I have not tried to do it by myself yet. The next photo is a little blurred but it shows the fun we had getting dressed. In reality I think it was a blur, as there was so much fabric flying around that room.


Anyway here is the finished result.


It was a wonderful night, with many guests invited. I wish I could do it all again. Especially the crazy Bollywood dancing. Thanks to all of the artists for a wonderful forum and I will see you all again in China in 2014.

So that is it from me. In the morning I is my last day. I watched as Mutlu from Turkey frantically tried to finish the paper kiln. She was amazing, and she completed and fired it. She is a very determined person and I envy her. As for me it was a really sad day. There was something special about India and I was apprehensive to leave. I will return, that is a promise.

So this is the last blog from the Indian forum, but I will post a few more to show the influence on my art work. Bye for now.

still working in the studio

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 5, 2013 at 4:35 AM Comments comments (27)

This day was still a day in the studio. Many artists working on the final stages of their work. The kilns were unpacked and glazing had begun for the wood fired kiln which was due to be loaded later in the day. The gas kiln was also reloaded for a glaze firing.

Of coures over the last few days each of the artists has presented their paper to the group, with some students attending some days. Each artist had a paper published for the forum, the topic being 'inspiration' or 'those who inspired me". It is fascinating to hear about what inspires others and to see recent work and exhibitions.

getting ready for the presentations.


time to explore

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 5, 2013 at 4:00 AM Comments comments (617)

After staying up all night in shifts to fire the kilns, they were cooling now. This of course means another day to explore. This time we went to Vadodara to check out a studio supporting emerging ceramic artists, followed by a trip to the Baroda University. Like the fate of all ceramic courses, it had been incorporated into the sculpture degree. We visit the sculpture faculty to see a group of students working in clay trying to recreate indian artifacts.



Then we visited to ceramics faculty. All I can say is wow!! Aparently this was opened in the early 80's at the same time I started my ceramics degree at Monash University in Melbourne. In my first year I was given my own space, my own electric wheel and all the facilities and equipment  I could possibly need at my disposal. At the same time in India, students were using kick wheels and working in an evironment that seemed so old. It does not seem fair.


Above is the actual ceramics studio at Baroda University.

After this visit we were invited to the home of Jyotsna Bhatt for morning tea. Jyotsna is a wonderful human being. She is a pioneering ceramic artist in India and I very much enjoyed her company. It was very nice of her to have us all in her home.

We were then treated to seeing a very large mural by a famous Indian artist P.R. Daroz. The mural was 4 stories high and quite amazing...so much work.  see below


We did not have a chance at all to do any shopping except to visit a sari shop. The reason for this is quite fun. We had decided, well many of the girls of the group decided that we wanted a Bollywood night. A chance to dress up in Sari's and have a bit of fun. So we all piled into a shop and choose our sari's. It was wonderful fun and so confusing with all the amazing fabrics to choose from. I will show some more photos of the Bollywood night soon.

Our last stop on this day was to visit the home of Mr Agrewal who is funding the forum. And what a home. I was very large and very beautiful with the most amazing collection of art. It was like walking thorugh a contemporary art gallery. 


When we got home we were all keen to have a go of our sari's. So so so funny, as we had no idea how to put them on. Mutlu (from Turkey) came to my room as she assured me she knew how to put on a sari. Of course she had no idea, unless I was supposed to have no fabric from the back. We laughed for so long, my tummy muscles hurt.  It was not a good look. We packed them away until someone who knew what they were doing was able to help.  


Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 5, 2013 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (153)

Well we were all still working at this stage. Much of the first group of work has been bisque fired, which means we are all are now focused on glazing. It is always a interesting time, with limited kiln space and so much work to fit in. Everyone hovers around the kiln hoping to encourage those stacking to include their work. My work is particularly annoying to get it with its unusual shapes and delicate spikes. So much so that everyone refused to touch them, and I was called when it was time to load them in. In my usual casual fashion, I broke a spike upon putting them in...damn it. A quick sanding and re glazing and well who would know. Don't tell anyone!  Disaster is the nature of ceramics, its a delicate material and we have all had to deal with mishap. In fact ceramic artists are very strong people and accept that at some point disaster will strike. So be it.


Vinod Daroz (above) a prominent artist from India checks out the kiln. Bisque firing is ready to go.


The happy artists who have their work glazed and safely in the kiln. At the other end of the studio there is another team of artists who are loading a larger kiln for another bisque firing. Its quite amazing how much work a group of artists can produce in such a short time. We could not help but rub it in to the other team that we finished first. We really did not take into consideration that they had twice as much to load.


loading the large bisque firing.

On this day we wer treated to a wonderful suprise. Peter who is a much loved member of our association had decided not to come to India as a 2 week residency was not enough for the type of work he does. However at lunch today Peter and his wife turned up..yes in India. He had not told anyone he was coming. It was a wonderful suprise and of course another chance for a group photo.


A day out

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on December 31, 2012 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (141)

Madhur had organised for us to have a day out whilst the kilns were cooling. We boarded a very funny small, tall bus lined with red fabric at 6.30am. We had a long drive through the crazy traffic of India, but the sights and sounds were so interesting. 3 hours later we arrived at an ancient step well. I wish I could remember what it was called. It was an heavily carved and decorated sqaure building that stepped down a number of levels to allow  access to the water. It was an amazing beautiful place.


After this was another couple of hours drive to visit a sun temple. The Sun Temple, Modhera, at Modhera in Gujarat, is a temple dedicated to the Hindu Sun-God, Surya. It was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of the Solanki dynasty. Again this was an overload for the sences and so beautiful.

It was a long journey home, but also a chance to gossip and have a rest. We stopped in Vadodara for dinner at a restaurant. Again I'd like to say where exactly but my memory fails me. That is of course the problem of writing a blog after the event. Anyway it was an amazing meal. A huge plate with seven or eight small bowls arranged in a semi cirle on the plate. Within 5-10 minutes a small army of waiters had filled each of these bowls with delicious spicy varieties of vegetables, as well as an array of different flat breads, drinks (water and buttermilk) and even a sweet. Later rice was served. It was amazing, I wish I knew more as I would love to learn to cook this type of food. My mouth is watering just thinking of it...yummy!

We arrived home late and we were all very happy to get to bed. What a busy and amazing day of adventures. I enjoyed it so much.

exhibition opening

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on December 20, 2012 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (27)

Today was another day in the studio, then later in the evening we were having the opening of our exhibition 'Tatva'

here are some images of the other artists hard at work



Late afternoon we prepared ourselves for the exhibition opening and  then all piled into cars and off to the Red Earth Gallery in Vadodara. The opening was a great success. Even though all the work was our small work as we had to carry it in our luggage to India.



exhibtion and alcohol

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on December 20, 2012 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (181)

Did you know that the state of Gujarat is a dry state, yes really.. no alcohol. Not without a permit that is. So today I went with Indian artists Vineet and Madhur to help set up the exhibition and get some alcohol. Seems like that should be a simple process. Well the setting up of the exhibition was fine, dragging plynths and arranging everyone's art work was the easy part. Getting alcohol, on the other hand is a little more complicated. Firstly we had to get copies of passports and tickets made, then an application filled out and  then off to a small office to get a permit. The office was just a large counter and a cabinet full of alcohol behind. Two or three men were processing applications, and the whole process required further copies of my passpport, a range of stamps and a signature. It took quite some time, but as I was an international traveller I was able to get twice as much alcohol as my Indian friends. It was very interesting.

setting up the exhibition above

It was a long day and we arrived back at the art centre pretty late. Everyone was already around the fire having a few drinks before dinner. Something we did as a group every night., which was really nice. Dinner was always served quite late for what I am used to, but by the end of my trip I quite liked the late meal. The food was amazing, I love Indian food and I was never dissapointed. Often after dinner we kicked up our heals and did a bit of dancing, I laughed so much that my tummy muscles hurt. I will reall y miss these evenings.


Indian princess for a night

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on December 17, 2012 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (178)

This was one of the highlights of the whole trip. Our patron, Mr Rakesh Agrewal invited us to a dinner at the palace. This was held in the gardens and only the photos can explain the atmosphere. It was like a dream.

day 4 - carving

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on December 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (18)

Much of day 4 and the previous day were spent carving intricate designs into the terrocotta slip. This is a slow process, but effective.

3 final art works


day 2 and 3 - working working

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on December 17, 2012 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (22)

2 weeks is really not enough time for ceramic work, so days 2 and 3 were really full on in the studio. Everyone of the 24 invited artists were focused on completing their work. It is always interesting at one of these residencies as you are not familiar with the clay or the equipment and you do have to accept that it may never be your best work. As for me, I quite liked the white stoneware clay I was using. I began some slab built sculptures that were familiar to me. It is a bit tricky to start new work, even though my senses were overloaded with new sights and sounds that I know will find their way in to my work at some point. The studio was huge, and Madhur had organised a very well set up work space.