Nearly forty years ago I moved from Melbourne to an old farm in Beeac to try the self sufficient lifestyle. This was the first of five properties that I have called home in this district and being a keen renovator and gardener I have enjoyed taking on the new challenges they have presented.
Eleven years ago I took on what has probably been my greatest challenge when I purchased a very sweet 125 year old cottage on three acres in Warncoort which needed a lot of tender loving care. I have enjoyed every minute of renovating the cottage, developing a garden and a studio to work in. Its garden has beautiful old oak trees and a date palm that have given me the basis to start my garden.
Training as an art teacher introduced me to a wide range of mediums including spinning, weaving, printmaking, painting and ceramics. My garden and the animals I am surrounded by, both domestic and wild, have become the main inspiration for my art work. I still paint, usually in oils and try to manage a few drawings, lino prints and etchings from time to time. Clay, however, has become my passion since I started creating garden ornaments to decorate my garden thirty odd years ago. I continue to make and sell my work at markets and various retail outlets around the district.
I use earthenware and raku clay to create hand-built, sculpted birdbaths and animal styled planters. I also enjoy experimenting with man-made and natural found objects to create surface textures in my pieces. There is something so satisfying about using clay! I think the tactile, earthy and forgiving nature of the clay is the attraction, and it is inclined to dictate the way in which a piece evolves. I love its 3-dimensional quality and have recently been exploring a range of techniques to create images on the surfaces of my work using screen printing techniques.
It has taken me four years after a major health scare to decide to have a change of lifestyle. I have taken the year off from my teaching role of thirty three years at Trinity College Colac teaching Art and Visual Communication to run pottery classes from home. This has also given me the time to return to a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
Many of my students have had minimal experience with clay and it is so gratifying to watch them become more confident with each project they attempt. Teaching just one medium also challenged me to learn more and explore many areas of making and decorating that I have not used in my own work so that I can pass on new skills to others. I have loved meeting many lovely new people who have joined my classes and look forward to seeing what the future brings.