Monday, 20 May 2013

Back To Blighty

It's weird being back.

I feel neither Here nor There. In fact, I think I'd prefer to be There.

Flight OZ521 from Seoul, Korea, to Heathrow landed on May 9 at 18.40. I on the other hand, did not (metaphorically speaking). I'm here in body but definitely not in spirit. It's not so much that I'm not glad to be back, but more a case of I'm sad about what I've left behind. One of the first things I did was order a CD of Australian birds in the bush to make me feel at home.

The journey home was smooth and comfortable. I can definitely recommend flying with Asiana Airlines for longhaul flights. Not having been to Korea before, the stopover in Seoul was fascinating. So glad Kim Jong Un (leader of NDKR) decided not to nuke it!


A fantastic idea to have cultural shops in the airport supported by the Department of Korean Culture. Whilst waiting for a flight, tourists can have a go at painting, mother of pearl lacquer work, and other crafts.


 I've been into my workshop a couple of times, and ended up just staring into space and daydreaming. Even a walk in the Peak District yesterday on the third sunny day of the year didn't do the trick.


It is beautiful I have to admit, but very neat and tidy, isn't it? As if it's just had a grade 2 haircut.

'It's life, Jim, but not as we know it!'

.....I think it's going to take a while to settle back in.

Friday, 3 May 2013


Remember I said I was saying Yes to everything? Well, I think I overdid it this week! With great regret, I had to say No to a few things. This past week has been very stressful, and I've really struggled to think straight. 'Packing' was far more complicated than I thought and took a lot longer than I thought too. And I'm not referring to my suitcase. I've made a lot of work, a lot of pots...a lot of large heavy pots...a lot of large heavy pots to transport to the other side of the world...a lot of large heavy pots to transport to the other side of the world which cost the earth to send, more to the point! It seems a ridiculous thing to have done but I just got carried away. What was I thinking of?? A bit of a learning curve - decisions what to leave here, what to sell, what to take home...airfreight/seafreight...amidst tearful goodbyes...think I'm emotionally worn out! Anyway, I got there in the end. Was I glad to get rid of that box!

The last few days have been absolutely glorious; the leaves of non-natives trees so rich and colourful. They stand out like gems in contrast to the powerful native bush.

Sturt Gardens
Sturt Pottery today

Last week both Adam Rish and I did a slide talk presentation to Friends of Sturt and visitors. It was a lovely evening (the highest attendance to such a talk) set in a friendly intimate atmosphere - Adam talked about his exhibition, and I about my work and residency. Always apprehensive before a talk, but I quite enjoy it once I get going. The following day I went to Sydney to see Alex Standen's exhibition at the Sabbia Gallery ( Alex is also resident at Sturt and it was great to see her work displayed so well, after watching her develop her work at Sturt over the last few weeks. She's one to keep an eye on! 

We then went to visit the NSW art gallery (, host to the Archibald portrait exhibition. Refreshing to see artworks from another culture. Irresistibly drawn to the aborigine totems.

Australian landscape painter, Fred Williams

Back at the ranch, the Woodies are in full swing, totally dedicated to their year long course working 25 hours  a day, 8 days a week. Amazing quality of work - they've just completed their superbly crafted  tool cupboards which they erected by their work stations during the week. So silky smooth, and they looked fantastic. the exciting work which is happening in the weaving workshop - cross fertilisation of ideas and materials. Looking forward to seeing what they've done by the end of the year.

Alas! This is likely to be the last blog post before I leave Australia. If I carry on writing, I'll just get overly sentimental.  I'll add more to the blog when I've had chance to reflect and the dust has settled. This residency has been wonderful, more than I realise until I've had time to digest, and so very memorable. I've met some great people, made new friends, contacts, and some pretty good pots too. I'll rephrase that - some blinking good pots! The impact of this residency will stretch far beyond the parameters of these last 3 months. It goes without saying, I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family now, catching up and having another summer to look forward to...I hope. It's late - time to pack my suitcase. I leave tomorrow, then up to stay with friends north of Sydney before flying home on Tuesday .Everything feels a bit strange at the moment... Till next time.