A lot of things have happened to The Australian Ceramics Association since my last report. First of all we had the devastating fire at our office in Waverley. The fire destroyed the office, our archives and our library but TACA lives on! Due to meticulous office management by Vicki Grima, EO and editor of The Journal of Australian Ceramics, all the files were backed up and safely at home. Vicki and Rachael have been working at Vicki’s home and we have now found a new office at Square One Studios (SQ1), an independently run artists’ studio space, rented by graphic designers, painters, ceramicists, photographers and other creative workers and I feel this will be a great fit for TACA.
Vicki talked about this in her report:
One week in late May we changed our bank accounts, the office burnt down and we launched a new website and changed web hosts! It was a huge week. We are still coming to terms with those changes. It is believed that the fire started due to faulty old wiring in the ceiling of an office in the middle of the building. Damage was so severe to the building at 249 Bronte Rd that it will be demolished, leaving only the façade. New office spaces will be constructed but will not be suitable for TACA.
We were 2 days into layout when the fire happened so this issue of The JAC feels like a miracle. Thank goodness for back-ups! A big thank you to Astrid Wehling (designer), Suzanne Dean (proofreader) and Rachael Rigg who worked to a tight deadline and in different circumstances. Newstyle Printing in Adelaide also deserve thanks for working within the smallest possible time frame to get the JAC printed and to Canberra in time for the Triennale. Issue 54/2 was published for the Triennale with a free copy given to each delegate (400 total).
… Over 120 donations have been received since the fire totaling $18,680 as of 17/7/15. TACA will use the donated funds it re-establish services to our members in a new location at SQ1, Bowden St, Alexandria. Thank you to all who donated.
… TACA office is still operating under restricted conditions as much of our paperwork and records were destroyed. Everything takes longer.
The Triennale was an amazing event! Around 400 ceramicists converged on Canberra and the city was jumping. Vicki and I tried to go to different café everyday for breakfast and we never ate breakfast off factory made ware! There were pop-up shops and galleries rented by local ceramicists selling work faster than they could wrap them. Craft ACT has a beautiful new retail space, AGENCY, in the Ori building in Braddon a revitalized semi-industrial zone very close to the city centre. I felt that the city of Canberra presented a very interesting model of a healthy arts eco-system with commerce and commercial investment working with government and non-profit organisations, educational institutions and commercial galleries. The Triennial itself provided another aspect of this symbiotic arts/ business model. The ANU provided beautiful grounds and fabulous lecture facilities for the keynote speeches. Marketplace at the National Gallery of Australia, gallery openings and associated events such as the Strathnairn woodfiring and delicious curry night, and the Canberra Potters exhibition and woodfired pizza night (woodfiring is not just for pots!) gave the delegates an insight into the many sides of the arts community in and around the city.
Photos l to r: Joey Burns tableware at Barrio, Craft ACT registration, John Tuckwell demo, Mike Goldmark
TACA’s exhibition BeLonging was a beautiful presentation of TACA’s members and our goals for the Australian Ceramics community. 140 artworks from our members around Australia were displayed on a continuous shelf, looping around the foyer of the ANU Gallery. The diversity of the pieces was held together by the size restriction and as a viewer you were pulled gently from piece to piece by the narrative of the artist’s statements. Over the exhibition period I saw many people spending prolonged periods of time moving from piece to piece, engaging visually with the artwork and gaining further insight through the artist’s statements. It is a credit to curator, Madhulika Ghosh, that she worked through all the technical obstacles and maintained her concept to produce such a moving testament to TACA. Her vision was for a project that was inclusive, beautiful and poetic, and she succeeded. BeLonging brought our members together and then, united by the conceptual framework, the exhibition became more than the sum of its parts and became a concrete illustration of the unity of purpose and inspiration TACA serves as a focus for.
The inaugural Australian Ceramics Film Festival was well received. We had a great room for the festival in the middle of all the demonstrations and Greg Daly from the ANU had the inspiration to provide four comfortable couches that were well used by weary conference delegates! We showed 11 short films from Australian ceramicists as well as TACA’s film exploring our last exhibition The Course of Objects.
I was really excited to be able to present the work and thoughts of some of our members in the Film Festival and feel it is a valuable thread to follow into the future. Films allow us to promote our members to audiences they find hard to reach. One of the keynote speakers Mike Goldmark spoke about the power of film and how he harnesses this to promote the artists in his gallery. I am working on getting the Australian Ceramics Film Festival on a special Vimeo channel to further promote the participants. We have already been offered some interesting opportunities for the film festival at the next Triennale in Hobart in 2018. Keep an eye out on our AC Facebook page, AC Instagram and AC blog for the Australian Ceramics Film Festival online!
Finally we would not have been able to do any of the wonderful projects that we took part in for the Triennale without the endless, unstinting generosity and energy of Vicki Grima EO and editor of The Journal of Australian Ceramics. Our committee worked to get the BeLonging exhibition installed, produced cards for artists statements, manned the desk, handed out drinks, helped take down the exhibition and worked very hard to make it work. Throughout everything that has happened to our organisation in the last couple of months I am continually reminded that it is our members, individuals working in their own studios and coming together through TACA that give us strength.