Ceramic Sculpture Artist

Sally Walk

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Still working

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 18, 2012 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (2)

Hi all,

Yesterday began, by meeting Mare at the front of Apita so I could walk with her to the studio as she did not know the way. We are in seperate apartment blocks, but they are not far from each other. She is working upstairs in the glass studio and I am a little envious as it is so warm in her studio with the glass furness being on. Anyway that was the last I saw of her for the day, as she is no doubt, going through the process of working the studio out and accessing materials.

As for me well I was hard at work again. Here is where I am up to.....

Anyway its back to the studio again, I plan to start a bigger sculpture today, so have to get my skates on if I plan to have it finished and dry in time for the next firing....aaahhhhh

I'll talk to you all soon

 

A successful day of work

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 15, 2012 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

To make up for no blogs the last few days, I'll do two today, although this one will be short and sweet.

I worked all day in the studio, so just wanted to update you on my progress. Here is a partially completed sculpture, that I am curently working on. I am actually starting to really enjoy working with this porcelain clay. And yes each and every one of the 162 little squares was individually attached. As you can imagine I was feeling a bit cross eyed by the end of the day. And there is still plenty more to do. Better get some sleep now.

Talk to you again soon

Let the sake flow

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 14, 2012 at 5:40 PM Comments comments (1)

Hi all,

Yes I know its been a few days since the last entry, sorry about that. Anyway I have been quite busy. My work is going well and I have started a new sculpture, that will be made up of a many pieces like the ones that you have seen. I have also put some work into the test firing. I was a bit worried about firing a kiln that I don't know, however there was no need, because as it turns out, that is my assistants job. Ito, collected my work, stacked the kiln and is in the process of firing it. How nice is that. We decided to fire straight to 1250 degrees, so I am keen to see how it goes, but I have to wait until Wednesday to open the kiln. I have 2 more firings scheduled for this residency and now its just time to get some work completed.

Last night I went to Kuwa's house for dinner. She is such a generous and welcoming person. Her home is small, by comparison to Australian standards, but still managed to fit 8 people to dinner. I took a bottle of Australian red wine, and a bottle of sake as a gift for Kuwa. I was told that she likes sake, so I thought I can take a bottle for her, however that is easier said than done, when you don't read Japanese. At the supermarket, I stood in front of what seemed like hundreds of different bottles of what I assumed was sake. I randomly picked one, and hoped for the best. As it turns out, it was a very nice bottle and she was happy.

Kuwa cooked tempura, along with a few other dishes for dinner, it was delicious and as the sake flowed it was hilarious. Who needs language, you just need sake to communicate.

At the back of this image is Kuwa and directly in front of her is her husband, to the right at the front is Ai, my assistant and all the rest are trainee's in the studio.

 

And as the sake flowed so did the chopstick games...of course. And then the, can you do this game

Anyway it was a wonderful evening with new friends and it ended with everyone deciding that they are all coming to my house in Australia for their graduation break up trip.

Thankfully I did not drink too much, so back to the studio for me today.

Bye for now

So cold

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 12, 2012 at 4:30 AM Comments comments (1)

So so so cold, its minus 4 degrees here at the moment. Its such a shame that it is so cold because I would really like to explore the area, but I really can't stay outside for very long. Luckily the studio and my little apartment are very warm.

Today I was working in the studio again and here is the progress.  

So my work is progressing well and today I also completed a range of test pieces for a firing on Saturday. I plan to bisque fire these straight to temperature (1260 degrees), which is a bit of risk when using porcelain, however it saves time, not having to fire the work twice. I plan to leave them unglazed as I also have some black clay and want to accentuate the beauty of the contrasting black and white clays. Fingers crossed that the clay survives it, otherwise I will have to rethink the whole process. And as I don't know this clay, it is highly likely to fail, so like I said, fingers crossed.

My new friends in the studio are so helpful, they always have their Japanese to English dictionary on them and it's being very well used at the moment. I was made a special powdered green tea today and had the whole tea ceremony process explained to me.

As I have mentioned before the big supermarket, Apita, is on my walk home from the studio. I visit most nights to get something for dinner. It is fast becoming one of my favourite places to explore. The diversity of food is quite amazing, I discovered quail eggs today, well at least that is what I think they were. It is just such an interesting place. The photo below is just one of 4 or 5 fish stands.

Talk to you all soon

Time for some sight seeing

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 10, 2012 at 4:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Firstly let me apologise for no entry yesterday. I worked solidly all day and then the trainees invited me to a welcome dinner. They are referred to as trainees but vary in age from the youngest who is 22 to the oldest who is 54. We went to a bbq style restaurant where we cooked a variety of meats over an open flame at the table. It was very tasty. After that they took me to a small bar for a few drinks.

So here is my work so far...

Today (Tuesday), however is a rest day and the studio is closed. Mr Hattori and Marika took me out sight seeing. Our first stop was the Nagoya Castle, a large castle constructed in 1612 in the centre of Japan to ward off attacks from the direction of Osaka. Unfortunatley in May 1945 during air raids on Nagoya in WW2, most of the buildings, the Hommaru Palace and one main tower were burned down destroying centuries of histroy. Restoration is now in progress to rebuild the entire complex using traditional methods and is going to take about 3 years to complete.

Yep that is me at Nagoya caste. Next we went to the largest shrine in the Nagoya area and I was intrigued by the process which began with purification of the hands using the ladels and the water in the pond pictured below, followed by walking to the shrine, tossing a coin, bowing twice, clapping twice, making a prayer and then bowing once. As it is new year, everyone comes to pray and there were hundreds of people today. It was a very interesting experience.                                                                          

It was at the shrine that I tasted a traditional snack in this area. It was a large crispy flat bread a bit like a prawn cracker to taste. Inside was a freshly fried egg, mayonnaise and some dried spices. It was an unusual taste, but very nice.

The afternoon was spent in the country a 40 minute drive from Nagoya at a place called Asuke-mura. We visited an old town, another shrine and walked along a beautiful river. It was here that I tried another snack food that I do not remember the name of, but is basically baked rice on a stick with a miso sauce. It was delicious.

   

Talk to you all tommorow

still working

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 8, 2012 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (2)

Hi all, not to much to report today as I was working non stop in the studio again. I have made some good progress. The photo below is what I was up to first thing this morning. Thankfully they had survived the night with no cracks.

      

I spent today carving designs into these and adding some texture. I will get some more photos tommorow.

On the walk to studio this morning I took a few photos. There were many young girls dressed in traditional Japanese costume. I am not sure what they were doing, but I asked one girl if I could take her photo. She looked so beautiful

  

And finally here is a photo of the Seto Ceramics and Glass Centre

  

And just for a bit of fun I asked how my name was written in Japanese and was shown and told that the characters meant cute. Then I asked about Amy (my daughter) and that was also easy enough and her hame meant beautiful. My son Jack, proved to be quite a difficult name to translate into Japanese. In fact it took 4 people a good 10 minutes of discussion. I am not even sure if everyone agreed. The photo below is the consultation process required to work it out. It seems that there are many different ways to write names.....but Jack is just Jack I think.       

 

An eventful day

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 6, 2012 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (2)

What an eventful day.....

it all began with a trip to the clay shop to select some porcelain for my sculptures. In Australia the choice of any one type of clay is usually 2 or three, so when I was presented with about 10 types of porcelain from which to choose, I was faced with quite a dilemma. Do I admit my lack of expertise or do I randomly choose one and keep my fingers crossed. I decided I was happy enough to be a bit vague and suggested that since I had not used any of the clays, perhaps they could suggest one that might be suitable for my type of work. All 4 of my escorts were very helpful and a decision was made. Off again, it seems that was just the first of 2 clay shops we were visiting, this time I picked a amazing black clay which I am very keen to try. So far, so good, that is until we were backing out into the street and straight into another car...ooops. The police were called and statements, and photographs taken and all members in the car were recorded on the police paperwork. Way to go....known to the police by day 3. An hour or so later we made it to the studio to begin work. As it was lunchtime, I was informed that everyone in the studio eats lunch together. Seemed ok to me, there is always time for lunch, so off to the sushi shop for takeaway and back to 6 trainee ceramic artists around the table and a large freshly brewed coffee. A very welcome sight after coming in from the freezing cold.

The afternoon was work, work, and more work as I am working to a very tight kiln firing schedule. My assistants are a wonderful help, especially with translation. Ai is a ceramic artist working in her fathers studio and she has spent a year working and travelling in Perth, so she is very easy to talk to and I am very thankful to have her around to help. When I had finished my work for the day, I walked home, apparently it takes 15minutes, that is of course if you are not lost. Yes lost in Japan in the dark. Anyway I only know one landmark and that is the big supermarket APITA. Thank goodness, because when I asked directions to Apita, I realised that I had walked about 10 minutes in the wrong direction. Suffice to say the trip took a little longer that 15 minutes. I finially found Apita and some groceries and one of the trainees from the studio, it seems he lives in the same apartment block. It was a quiet journey home as he speaks no English, but it was reassuring to walk home with someone. Anyway sushi for dinner (see photo below), I am sure I will get sick of it soon, but not yet. There are so many varieties and its pretty inexpensive. I also bought some bread, which is not quite the same as bread in Australia, actually it tastes a bit like a doughnut....so sweet.

I forgot to take my camera to the studio today, so no photos of my progress, but promise to get some tommorow.

Talk to you all soon.

Travelling....travelling....

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on January 5, 2012 at 6:30 AM Comments comments (1)

So the day finially arrived, January the 3rd, the day I leave for Japan. I had mixed emotions this time and I have been worried that 5 weeks might be too long to be away from family and friends. I was, however excited for the adventures that lay ahead. And those adventures did not take long to begin as shortly after arriving in the departure lounge at Melbourne airport,  I heard my name loudly over the speakers. My first thoughts were what was wrong and I hurried to report to the ground crew as directed. When there I was asked to present my boarding pass and then told my seat had been reassigned. I reluctently took the new bording pass, thinking it better still be a good seat....the words business class took a few seconds to sink in and before I had time to be excited I was already comfortable in my big seat and drinking Moet champagne. This was all before taking off. Anyway, a 4 course meal later, some more champagne and a chair that converts to a bed are all I needed for a very pleasant flight. Arriving in Korea to a chilly minus 8 degrees and patchy snow on the runway came as a bit of shock after leaving a balmy 30 something degrees in Melbourne. I had 3 hours in transit and then off the Nagoya airport in Japan. In no time I had arrived and passed through customs with no problems which always suprises me as my passport photo is a younger, skinnier and much blonder version of me. As I was coming through the arrivals gate, the first thing I see is a sign (about 1m in width) with my name in huge text. At least I knew where to go. It was here I was met by 4 members of the Seto Cultral Foundation. Mr Hattori Fumitak who is the director and head curator and the very friendly and very organised Marika. Marika has been my email contact and had answered all my questions about coming to Japan and it was nice to put a face to the name. My cases were taken and I was escorted to car for the one hour drive to Seto. Once in Seto we went out for coffee (thank goodness the Japanese drink coffee) and then to my apartment. First rule I must remember...

Take shoes off when going into a house, even if its your own!!

Once I got in, in my stinky travelling for 23 hours socks, I saw it was a great little place to live. Cosy and warm with everything I could possible need. From here, it was on to the local supermarket called APITA. Shopping should be interesting. I say that because of all the times I have travelled overseas I have been able to recognise some items....not in Japan. Oh I lie, I did recognise some mandarins. Anyway so its going to be a bit of pot luck on the shopping front and that makes for a bit of fun. Coming back from the supermarket bought snow. The real kind of snow, soft, fluffy litlle puffs of white just landing on your clothes. I was quite excited about it and my new Japanese friends saw a little glimpse of the mad person I am. Second rule I must remember....

You are a professional artist, act like it!

The day finsihed with a huge bowl of noodle soup and some laughs around the dinner table. I think I will enjoy my time with these very friendly people.

Today was a public holiday in Japan for the New Year so as we were not able to buy clay to begin work we went sight seeing. I was taken to 3 ceramics galleries in Seto. One was so huge it was bigger than the National Gallery of Victoria and was only dedicated to modern ceramics. We also visited an historical ceramics museum and a gallery and studio specialising in traditional blue and white glazes. I learnt the process and painted my own chopstick stand. When its fired, I will post a picture. Today finally saw me connected to the internet and my family. It was great to see and hear them, what on earth did we do before skype. Again thankyou to my hosts for fixing that problem. We went to a sushi restaurant for lunch and I was amused by the conveyer belt of dishes that wizzed passed the table. I think I ate about 6 varieties of seafood at that meal and it was all delicious. The day finished with a welcome dinner at a fried chicken restaruant, not that we ate any fried chicken. It was fun, we all had a few Japanese beers and I ate makerel in vinegar, quails eggs, squid, lotus root and fresh soya beans just to name a few things that are not fried chicken. It was a fun evening that finished with the director saying "tommorow you work". I think that is a fair request.

 

 

Final days before leaving

Posted by walksally@gmail.com on December 29, 2011 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Welcome to my blog. Follow my experiences as I participate in a ceramic art residency in Seto, JAPAN. It's the final days before I leave and yes I have chosen now to learn how to create a blog, so be patient with me as I fumble my way through this process. Packing has begun and I am having those feelings of ...oh my gosh why am I leaving my family for 5 weeks and travelling by myself to Japan in a time when Japan is dealing with radiation from the leaking nuclear power plant. Well I can't truly say, other than I am passionate about my art and don't often get the chance to completly focus my energy on my own creating. This trip to Japan offers 5 weeks of total focus on my own art, and a chance to enjoy being part of Japanese culture. So I say thankyou to the SETO International Ceramic and Glass Exchange Program for offering me this wonderful opportunity.