Monday, 29 April 2013

Back To Bush

I decided to say Yes to everything and still get it all done.That's been my motto for the last few weeks, and it's been non-stop...and I think it'll be alright in the end. It's got to be! The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of bouncing from one thing to another, barely having time to sit and think before there was something else I had to do, somewhere else I'd arranged to go, or someone else I'd arranged to meet. In fact, the people have become more important - I can still continue to make pots at home, but some people and friends I may not see for a very long time, or even ever see again. You've got to, haven't you? When will I get this chance again?  I'm now quite nostalgic, and at times emotional, and sometimes can't sleep for the replay of the last 12 weeks which keeps rewinding through my mind.

Tomorrow is the last bush walk I'll have on this trip. I feel upset just thinking about it. I can't describe how significant these walks have been and how supportive, friendly and welcoming my friendly bunch of fellow bush walkers have been. Every week they said I was a typical Pom - no hat! ( I've been on walks most weeks with the 'Tuesday Group' .When I arrived at Sturt, I realised that the quality of my experience here would be as much about my experiences outside of the workshop as those within. Otherwise what's the point of coming all this way? It's been truly inspirational!

 Cedar Vale private retreat in a rainforest on the way to Kangaroo Valley

Grapefruit trees!

If I'm honest, I found the bush very claustrophobic to start with. It's there, everywhere you look,  few roads, space everywhere, but no space at the same time, except for bush.  That's all changed - now I love it, and just feel drawn towards the amazing structures, textures, bark, and power of the bush. It's even beautiful on a rainy day in the Kangaroo Valley.

 Scribble gum bark

I could fill this post with even more photos of bush, but maybe save that for another time. A little variety is perhaps what you want to see. I had a real treat a couple of weeks ago when a student's husband took me up in his 2-seater light aircraft. I did say I was going to say Yes. Amazing! A couple of things - I did wonder where my parachute was, didn't dare wriggle in my seat, wondered why a red light kept going on and off, and hoped we wouldn't go over the sea. It was fantastic, and with a pilot with 20 years flying experience,  I knew I was in safe hands. We flew low over Mittagong, Bowral, Moss Vale, Robertson (where they filmed 'Babe'), the breathtaking gorge and over to Wollongong by the coast. It took about 3/4 hour.


 Kangaroo Valley

Back in the workshop, it's been like getting ready for a show - an imminent deadline looming and in full flow. I started this residency with a plan, whilst trying to stay open-minded at the same time. The aim was to see what effect the local environment/landscape would have on my pots whilst living and working here. I couldn't have anticipated how influential the bush has been. I kept working right to the last minute as far as drying time would allow. Last pots out of kiln this weekend. That's it - no more. These are some of the latest. I'm thrilled with them - what I think are the best pots I've ever made.

I went to Jervis Bay down the south coast last weekend. I saw some kangaroos (hoorah!) in a garden on a recent visit to Sanctuary Point community hall where a local ceramics group had their weekly class. 


Talking of animals , good old Geoff saved me a funnel web spider he'd found in his tool box in the garage. In this jam jar, it looks similar to those I find in my bath at home. Out of the jam jar, it's a killer, one of the deadliest. (The Huntsman still gives me the creeps, even though it's supposed to be harmless).
Only 4 more days at Sturt. 7 more days in Australia. Gulp!


  1. We're going to miss you Rachel, Tuesdays just won't be the same.
    Enjoy your last few days Down Under and hope we'll see you again very soon.
    Geoff (the English one)

  2. It was grand,wasn't it! Till next time...