Coming back home – Central Victoria

This posting is a continuation of my Clayspace talk (see previous posting).

What speaks to me here – at home in the dry, flinty goldfields landscape of Central Victoria?

  • the forests – ancient, damaged, glowing in spring
  • big trees
  • ancient rocks
  • kangaroos – mobs – alert, always a group
  • soft hills, volcanoes.

And it’s a landscape of creation and of loss. Volcanic eruptions from Mt Franklin – Lalgambook – would have been witnessed by Dja Dja Wurrung. They called this country the ‘smoking grounds’ and it is known to have been an important ceremonial place. I find Mt Franklin a very spooky and sad place; so is the cemetery at Franklinford – the mission cemetery – looking to Mt Franklin.

Here are some pieces I’ve made that respond to being here.

Nurturing Lands: Nurturing LandsMy ceramics reflect my response to a sense of storied places. These forms are hollow – the inside is unseen. Their skin is a thin wash of clay from the land I live on. And always a group – a mob – just like the roos.


Yearning 1Yearning :  Yearning is about that feeling of the land yearning for life – and people yearning for the land. These are wheel-based forms, enclosed, hollow, leaning.


Breaking the DroughtClay pans: Dry, cracking clays mark drought times. Water holes turn to clay pans, skin peeling, harsh dryness. Rain refills the land, but dryness will come again, and the water recedes again. Using the wheel, I altered these forms, folding the rims, and sealing the surface with terra sigillata from my own block at Green Gully.

Ground TruthGround truth: What is in the ground beneath our feet – mud and blood, generations gone. These pieces were made when we had rain after years of dryness. Suddenly new things were growing skywards.

But what are these growing things? What is the ‘truth’ of this land, and what does it give birth to?

These tiny pieces were hand-made. I pressed my elbow into a nest of leaves, the clay squashing up against my skin. Each is supported on a curly snake tail – symbolic, totemic, Jaara. The skin of these pieces is a thin wash of clay from the land I live on. The fractured circles on the upper ‘bowl’ represent water – the occasional rain of our stony gold-fields landscape.

Next posting – Laos


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