September 2015

PRESIDENT’S REPORT AGM 2015

2015 has been a huge year for TACA. We have overcome some unexpected hurdles and have achieved some unexpected successes. The highlight of the year for me was Stepping Up, the Australia Ceramics Triennale held in Canberra in July. These conferences are a physical embodiment of the Australian ceramics community and provide a focused, intensive glimpse into the myriad activities that ceramicists around Australia take part in. This year TACA has been focusing on opening up further opportunities for our regional members. We saw the fruition of some of theses initiatives in our members’ exhibition and film festival at the Triennale. TACA’s exhibition “Belonging” was a beautiful presentation of TACA’s members and our goals for the Australian Ceramics community, exhibiting 140 artworks from members all around Australia and providing a concrete and powerful example of the inclusiveness that TACA aims to promote. We also initiated the inaugural Ceramics Film Festival that included 11 films from contemporary ceramicists bringing our members yet another platform for promotion and communication within the ceramics community. The success of these events has ramifications that spread far wider than the national conference. Opportunities to showcase regional ceramicists within the context of a national conference provide flow on effects that strengthen the ties within our community bringing artists from the farthest flung corners of Australia together. The film festival is now up on a specialised channel on our Vimeo site so you can view the films at your leisure here: https://vimeo.com/channels/965994

vimeo channel

This coming year is the final year for the Trudie Alfred Bequest scholarships. Valued at up to $4000 + 1 year membership of TACA and open to students enrolled in their second or subsequent year of a ceramic program this scholarship was set up after ceramicist Trudie Alfred left TACA a bequest to help students that are financially struggling to continue their studies. This is such a generous, amazing thing for an artist to do and the legacy of these scholarships will be felt in the arts community long after the money has been awarded. Many of the previous recipients of this scholarship have gone onto exciting careers in ceramics.  Here are a couple of links to previous winners: Inga Svendsen: http://ingasvendsen.blogspot.com.au; Anne-Marie Jackson: www.amcjackson.com; Kylie Rose McLean: www.loopyrose.com.

TACA’s activities throughout Australia in 2015  
•    We have an active relationship with our members and we field enquiries from all over the country every day.
•    The Journal of Australian Ceramics features exhibitions, projects and articles that draw from the huge diverse well of talent within Australia,
•    Every week we send out a “Ceramic Openings” email featuring current exhibitions opening around Australia
•    The Australian Ceramics Directory is undergoing an update to keep it in line with our beautiful new website
•    Our Facebook page and Instagram feed continue to grow and the #australianceramics hashtag has been a huge success and created an online gallery featuring thousands of images of Australian ceramic art.

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•    Australian Ceramics Open Studios (ACOS) continues to expand and evolve.  This year 135 artists took part and we saw an increase in the numbers of co-operatives and ceramic groups coming together to showcase their work within their communities. It was also noticeable this year how many artists had articles in their local media and how amazing and wonderful they looked! Ceramicists of Australia are presenting both themselves and their work in a highly professional manner that reflects the quality and of the work and broaden the awareness of ceramics throughout the community.
•    Our reputation as an exciting presence in ceramics internationally continues to grow. This year Vicki Grima was featured in a long interview on Ben Carter’s podcast Tales of a Red Clay Rambler where she talked about TACA and our current projects. This podcast is distributed internationally and Ben interviewed several Australian ceramicists (including me!) at the recent Triennale. “Tales of a Red Clay Rambler” makes excellent studio listening and gives and inspiring insight into the world of international ceramics; www.talesofaredclayrambler.com/#podcast.
•    The Journal of Australian Ceramics has been running a photography competition with a theme in each issue. The winner of competition in Vol 54 No 1, April 2015, was Raymond Rorke with his beautiful image of ceramic installation referencing farm tools for the theme of ‘knolling’.  This image and our competition were picked up by international ceramics website CFile, giving our Journal a boost of international publicity.
•    I have been invited to demonstrate at the 50th anniversary NCECA conference (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) next year and will be over in America spreading the word about our amazing community and the exciting work TACA is doing with our print and digital media, and membership projects.
•    Opportunities for members to exhibit, take part in published print and online media, and be part of major national events and international events continue to expand.

Finally, I have to thank all of the people who make TACA work.  Our office would be crippled without the tireless efforts of Vicki Grima whose enthusiasm, patience and superlative editing skills are without parallel. Many of you would have had the chance to meet Rachael Rigg, office admin and subscription manager at the Triennale; thanks to Rachael for her superb organisational skills in the office. The Committee are wonderful. I love working with them and appreciate the enormous amounts of thought and effort they put into our organisation every year.  We look forward to the coming year with optimism and enthusiasm.