Roll Up Roll Up…

the potters have come to town for Clay Push but we’re such a polite bunch there was no pushing, not even at the bar.

Last week saw close to 500 ceramicists descend on the normally peaceful town of Gulgong, a 19th century gold rush town in New South Wales, Australia,  for a week’s long ceramics event titled Clay Push. This mud extravaganza has been held every 3 years for the past 25 years and was the passionate creation of the late Doyenne of Australian ceramics Janet Mansfield.

Sadly Janet passed away earlier this year but that didn’t stop the event from going ahead. Over the years Janet had gathered around her a dedicated group of people from near and far who helped organise these events and with Vicki Grima and Chester Nealie at the helm the show went blazed brightly.

And what a show! 20 Australian and International Masters and Presenters took the delegates through workshops and presentations. There were yoga sessions with Kari from Queensland, exhibition openings almost every night, films, talks and many late nights at the local pubs. The event culminated in a dinner for approx 230 delegates cooked by an intrepid group of New Zealand Potters. My apologies I didn’t have time to get your names but your beef stew rocked!

Here are a  few photos from that crazy, mad, wonderful, tiring week.

Red Hill Marquee

Red Hill Marquee

This was one of the venues. Now do you understand my reference to the circus?

The next few photos are just a few of the ceramic Masters.

Ane Katrin Von Bulow

Ane-Katrine von Bulow from Denmark makes fine slip-cast vessels on which she prints rhythmic patterns. Her technique requires the patience of a saint.

Greg DalyGreg Daly is the Australian glaze guru. Just click here and you’ll understand my statement.

Kirsten CoelhoI freely admit to having a potter’s crush when it comes to Kirsten Coelho from South Australia. Her work straddles the impossible line of being both solid and  ethereal. Thanks Kirsten for teaching me a few new throwing techniques.

Naidee ChangmohNaidee Changmoh from Thailand says “I love to make figures with big heads, cartoon like. That makes my work cute, warm and peaceful”.  A perfect description of both the work and the artist.

Marianne HallbergMarianne Hallberg‘s work takes everyday objects and gives them a Dr Seuss twist. Don’t be fooled by her serious face, there is a giggly little child that lives within and it comes out in her work.

Norma GrinbergNorma Grinberg got everyone in on the act.

Paul De Jongh Pit FireNo it’s not a bbq – just Paul de Jongh from South Africa dong a pit firing. I was the proud recipient of one of the pots and it’s gorgeous.

Greg Piper

That Greg Piper will do anything for a great shot.

And finally just a few shots of the town of the Gulgong .  I don’t think I mentioned it earlier but I was actually working the event so didn’t get a chance to take many photos.

The Commercial Hotel - my home for the week

The Commercial Hotel – my home for the week


Gulgong - where the streets travel into infinity

Gulgong – where the streets travel into infinity

Clay Push was a special event and what has really stuck with me is  how important friendships and collaborations with like-minded folk can be to one’s artistic practice. For one week I had the luxury of time – to sit, chat, laugh, drink and chat some more.  A special thank you to Ashley McHutchinson for keeping me sane and making me laugh and thank you to Vicki for asking me to be a part of the big crazy circus that was Clay Push 2013.


About Elisa Bartels

A ceramic artist/designer and sporadic botanical dyer chatting and photographing the trials, tribulations and celebrations of being an artist who doesn't want to starve.
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3 Responses to Roll Up Roll Up…

  1. Ian Hodgson says:

    A nice contribution Elisa. Thanks

  2. simone young says:

    Nice work roomie an amazing week thanks Elisa really enjoyed getting to know you better you worked like a trojan!!!

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