Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Urban Cow Studio

One of my favourite shops in Adelaide would have to be Urban Cow Studio. They have such a great variety of quality handmade gifts, that it's easy to find something for anyone's taste. I love the fact that everything is locally made in South Australia. They also have a great little gallery space, which I had the pleasure of exhibiting in last year.

Urban Cow has been nominated by Tourism SA as the best retail tourist destination in South Australia. Which I think is well deserved. Below is a little blurb about the shop. I'd definitely recommend going and having a look!

Urban Cow Studio has been a mecca for artists and art lovers for the past 17 years. Currently displaying artwork from over 150 South Australian artists and designers it is a visual feast for the senses with a new surprise around every corner.

The 3 downstairs rooms are filled to the brim with designer jewellery, handmade ceramics and glassware, paintings, illustration, sculpture, textiles, tshirts and hoodies (home of the infamous South Australian "Heaps Good", "Magic Mountain" & "Adelaide's Got Balls" tshirts).

Take time to wander upstairs to the gallery which showcases a new exhibition each month (opening evening the 1st Wednesday of each month). Some people describe Urban Cow as the best giftshop in Australia.... but it is much, much, more.


These spotty mugs are just one of the products I sell through Urban Cow.

I have been making the official Urban Cow ceramic range for 3 1/2 years now. Check out the huge range of bowls and platters in store. Each piece is handmade and decorated - meaning customers can order their own unique gift - with names, dates, special colours and unique details. Because they are made from scratch, you need to allow 4-6 weeks in the busy times. So order well ahead of time!!

Here are some recent customer orders:

Urban Cow Studio
11 Frome St
Adelaide SA 5000
PH: (08) 8232 6126
www.urbancow.com.au (join our cool mailing list) or find us on Facebook.

The best gift shop & gallery for all things handmade in Adelaide.

Mon-Thurs: 10-6pm
Fri: 10-9pm
Sat: 10-5pm
Sun 12-5pm

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

MIFSA Art Exhibition Opening Night

My sister Kylie and I attended the opening of the MIFSA art exhibition tonight as part of Schizophrenia Awareness Week. It was a really good show, with 260 pieces on display! Lots of variety and talent to see. I wish I could have bought something. Some of the paintings were hung in an interesting way, which I have never seen done before. They were hung from rafters and the display itself looked like a piece of art work.

Jane Doyle (patron of MIFSA) officially opened the show with a very encouraging speech. Congratulations to all the prize winners. Kylie and I had so much fun doing this collaborative piece - we look forward to working together in the future!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

China Artist Residency

Well, the Helpmann Academy China artist residency is happening again! A couple of my good friends have been selected for the trip this year - Georgia Gabrielle and Wayne Mcara. I am so excited for them, because I know how awesome the experience will be. I wish i was going too... (it could happen)!?

Anyway, all the excitement has brought back many fond memories. So I thought I would post the article I wrote for the Helpmann magazine and some photos from my trip in 2008:

Jingdezhen Pottery Workshop Residency

Ancient Kiln Site. L-R: Sarah Rothe, Prue Gramp, Erin Lykos, Peter Johnson

In September and October 2008 Peter Johnson, Prue Gramp, Sarah Rothe and I travelled to Jingdezhen (China’s Porcelain Capital) to take part in the Helpmann Academy’s six-week residency program. This opportunity is offered biannually and is open to recent visual art graduates and lecturers from the Helpmann Academy partner schools. As an emerging ceramic artist nearing the end of my two year career development associateship in JamFactory’s ceramic studio, I felt this was a fantastic opportunity to further my skills and gain knowledge and inspiration for my future art practice. I was also fortunate in receiving financial assistance from Arts SA towards airfares and expenses.

Jingdezhen is an amazing place to visit for anyone, but for a potter it is a dream. It is considered a small town, with a population of 1.5 million, and has been devoted to pottery for about 1700 years!

The Pottery Workshop grounds

The Jingdezhen Pottery Workshop was established in 2005 by Caroline Cheng on the site of an old National Porcelain Company, The Sculpture Factory. Internationally respected potter Takeshi Yasuda is the Workshop Director and has over 30 years experience in ceramics.

The Experimental Workshop is surrounded by hundreds of independent artists and craftsmen with every kind of ceramic skill; clay producers, throwers, sculptors, mould makers, jigger jolly workers, stamp makers, blue and white decorators, overglaze decorators, glaze and colour shops, decal makers, underglaze transfer makers, kiln firing workshops and brush makers. I could never have imagined such a place existed.

Women printing in an underglaze transfer factory. (OH&S was not a huge concern.)

When I first arrived I was stunned by the amount of ceramic practice. Pottery is a way of life in Jingdezhen. The first week was spent visiting many ceramic supply shops, factories and tool shops. We collected many materials and products not available in Australia. At first it was hard to know where to start, because the possibilities seemed to be endless. I realised Jingdezhen is a place you could easily visit more than once.

The local ceramists work differently to the way we create in Australia. In Jingdezhen each person does only one part of the ceramic process. Due to this intense practice and generations of passed down knowledge, the local artisans have become exceptional at what they do. The Sculpture Factory is a big community with each studio doing a part of the process. Many international artists work with the ceramists in Jingdezhen to produce pieces that could not be made anywhere else.

Our group participated in over-glaze enamel workshops and under-glaze blue and white workshops. Jingdezhen is famous for blue and white decoration. The decorator’s skill and mastery of the brush is something to aspire to. Prue, Sarah and I arranged ongoing calligraphy classes with a local master. These classes were fantastic in teaching us how to use the brush, some basic Mandarin and history about their written language.

Big Pot Factory, Jingdezhen

We were kept very busy visiting fascinating places such as the Large Pot Factory where the craftsmen produce hand thrown pots measuring up to 8 metres in height. There are many historic sites to visit such as the ancient dragon kiln, where craftsmen still use ancient techniques. For example, the wheel throwers still use a stick to spin the pottery wheel. We also climbed Yellow Mountain and watched a traditional Chinese opera.

Wheel thrower using ancient techniques

Before arriving at the residency I was looking forward to meeting local artists and masters, not realising the fantastic opportunity I would have to also meet other international ceramists. We met ceramists from England, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, England, India, Canada, America, Israel and fellow Australians. It was a great opportunity to discuss ideas, swap techniques and talk about ceramics.

Every Friday night, the Pottery Workshop invites a resident artist to present a lecture. These free lectures are very well attending by local students who are eager to learn and gain insight into ceramic practise outside of China. Sarah Rothe and I delivered a combined lecture about the JamFactory and our own art practices. At the end of the lecture there was a time for questions. The students were very enthusiastic and many of the questions were interesting and surprising.

Students painting in the town of Yaoli

We were fortunate to be in Jingdezhen for their International Ceramic Fair. Our group from Adelaide was invited to present work in a Porcelain Jewellery exhibition. It was exciting to be included in the event. A four day ceramic market was held in the court yard of the Pottery Workshop. There were fun activities such as a wheel throwing competition and live music.

My six weeks in Jingdezhen was a truly fantastic experience. I learnt so much about ceramic production and Chinese culture. I took with me an abundance of information, techniques, materials and inspiration which I will use throughout my ceramic career. The people I met were fantastic. I would thoroughly recommend this experience for any artist, especially ceramists. I would like to thank the Helpmann Academy and Arts SA for this fantastic opportunity!

Yellow Mountain - such a beautiful place. We climbed 7km of steep stairs.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Well, Mothers Day is just around the corner and, while you can give your mum a gift any day of the year to show your appreciation of all that she does, I'm pretty sure she'll be expecting something on Sunday! Why not get her something uniquely hand crafted and locally made!?

Here's some ideas that I've been working on:

Colourful mugs
- available at the Urban Cow

Printed heart brooches (contact me)

Printed Tea Bowl (also available in other styles)
-available Urban Cow (SA), Hahndorf Academy (SA),
Old Bakery Gallery (NSW), Form (WA)

Printed oil pourer (also available in Spotty and Colourful ranges)
-available at Urban Cow and Pepper Street Art Centre (SA)

Spotty Mugs (range of colours)
- available at Urban Cow, Pepper Street Art Centre and Old Bakery Gallery

Spotty tea bowls
- available at Urban Cow, Pepper Street, Hahndorf Academy and Old Bakery Gallery

Urban Cow range bowls.
Why not get your mum something that's uniquely her!?
There are so many bowls to choose from.

Here are some (just to name a few):

- My mum is bewdiful (or beautiful)
-The kitchen was her heaven
- She was one hot disco mama (??? some mums are!?)
- Me, My mum
- She couldn't resist a bargain
- She shopped till she dropped

I can also do personalised pieces. Ok, it's a bit late for this year, but maybe for her birthday? Order something personal through the Urban Cow or contact me directly.

Hope your mum has a wonderful day - she deserves it!