Being involved with TACA continues to be a wonderful, enriching experience. TACA is full of energetic, intelligent, fascinating, and talented people and being involved with the Board has given me the opportunity to meet artists and ceramic collectors and enthusiasts all over Australia. It has changed my life and encouraged me to look further and deeper into the field of contemporary Australian ceramics. I’m so grateful to all the Board Members present and past who have worked to build up this organsation and cared for it so deeply.

Online courses
I’ve put together a proposal for the online courses we talked about getting up and running. This is the first iteration and I am writing an EOI for tutors. It is important that we use this as an opportunity to promote the organisation and the individuals. The best online courses really manage to convey the personality of the teacher through the lesson. I have researched the platforms available for online courses and I have one to recommend going with. If this goes really well we could do a second filming in a year or so in another city and fly people to it.

Fair pay for Artists
NAVA report:
This makes depressing reading as the report written about the Brisbane Round Table on Fair Pay for artists is dominated by arts bureaucrats who seem to think that in order to exhibit artists should accept working for a lower pay rate.
“ … those running art spaces spoke of the difficulty they saw of having to choose between meeting the best practice standards for our industry by paying fees and superannuation thus increasing the cost of staging a show, or not paying and giving more artists the opportunity to exhibit their work and be seen by audiences.”

We are all familiar with this attitude but TACA does not support artists working for other organisations where everyone is getting paid, like councils and regional galleries for ‘exposure’ or ‘publicity’ (ie for free). Professional arts bodies need to pay professionals for the work they do. There may be some kind of in-kind agreement but this should never be used to pressure artists to accept below industry standards of pay. TACA will support any of our members in frank discussions with hiring bodies if they need assistance.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art 
I noticed that the collection of contemporary Australian and QLD ceramics at QAGOMA is displayed just near the toilets and encompasses a widely scattered variety without a lot of context. This is not just a problem at the QLD Art Gallery, but also in state galleries and collections all around Australia. I propose that TACA work with these galleries on showcasing Australian contemporary ceramics more strongly within their collections and within the exhibition program. There are so many great artists working in the field and the exhibitions I have been involved in curating and exhibiting in have a wide and lively audience. I urge all TACA members to engage with galleries about their ceramics collections and exhibition program, write to the Board, encourage discussion and examination of collector and donor bases for the ceramics collection. I really think contemporary ceramics could be integrated much more strongly into gallery collections and not just the occasional artist who catches the eye of the curators with work that captures the zeitgeist but a cross-section of artists that contribute to the breadth of our medium.

The overall loss ($7452) for this quarter, January to March 2017, is reasonably close to budget estimates and an acceptable result for a quarter that does not benefit from income generated by the publication of the magazine. For the same period last year a loss of $14,247 was recorded.

Results of Ceramic Teachers Survey – 2017
TACA would like to thank all those members who responded to the survey of ceramic teachers in Australia. The response was fantastic. It is intended to do a follow up survey with a few more questions for those that responded. The additional comments were also much appreciated and the carefully considered comments gave additional food for thought.

A brief summary indicates that nearly 60% are over 55, 80% are female and 60% have more than 20 year’s experience working with clay.
The split is 50/50 city/regional as self-identified by respondents.
63% are teaching in recreation/community centres and 87% of students will not achieve any qualification.
Only 13% are full-time and 65% identify as casuals.
50% have some teaching qualification or a Certificate 4 in Workplace Training and Assessment.
54% are not paid for preparation or cleaning up and 60% receive no remuneration for kiln loading, firing etc.

The survey was not intended to question or cover the quality of teaching etc although, as was pointed out in additional comments, this is extremely important.

The survey was intended to give TACA some indication of data to support frequent questions about teaching from the membership. It also raises some interesting issues for future discussion, particularly the issue of comprehensive training in ceramics for future teachers of ceramics. If most people doing ceramics are receiving no qualification, how are future teachers to be selected ,/appointed?

I have been working with Susannah Larritt (Victoria) who has made a really good start on mocking up the ACOS maps. The varying numbers of participants per state will be an interesting one to work with. Hopefully TAS and SA will have a few more participants this year. For the mock ups it has largely been driven by the number of participants and where they are located.

Thanks to the volunteers who helped bag the mag: Tony Schlosser (who supplies the space), Jo Wood, Karen Murray, Sue McGuinn, Ursula Burgoyne, Christine Skrobek, Denise McDonald, Elizabeth Rowe, Alice Couttoupes and Keith Grima.

Soda Firing Festival in Fuping China: As Editor I was asked to propose 2 Australian ceramicists who were showed talent and a practice in soda firing for the Soda Firing Festival in Fuping China in September 2017. Maryke Henderson (ACT) and Sally May Mills (WA) were the two I put forward and they have both been accepted. They have started to plan their trip.

TACA Office Open Day was held on Sat 29 April. For an inaugural event it went really well. There was a busy positive vibe, lively interactions, a diverse group of people and two captivating demos – one by Denise McDonald, one by Sharyn Brown. I gave two talks on social media, publishing, websites, Instagram and taking iPhone photos. Thanks to Denise who also facilitated Facebook live feed for those who couldn’t be there.
34 people signed the attendance sheet; most were TACA members
15–20 people didn’t sign the attendance sheet
Total attendance: 50–55 people (plus helpers, around 6)
We made a small profit on the day mainly from the sale of books and DVDs.

Smoke on the Water, Cooroy: We (Montessa and I) are heading up to SOTW 28 June to 1 July, so TACA office will be closed for most of that week.

The Australian Ceramics Triennale Tasmania 2019: has been confirmed and will be held 1–4 May 2019. The theme is Holding Space / Making Place. It will be known as The Australian Ceramics Triennale Tasmania 2019 (TACTT2019).
TACTT2019 Committee is meeting regularly in various locations around Tasmania. They have been in contact with local, regional and state bodies (Brand Tasmania, TMAG, UTAS, Tasmanian Ceramics Association, Salamanca Precinct, PW1 etc). Excitement is building as the branding has just been released.
* Holding Space Making Place: provocative philosophical word streams to engage participants and build program through these themes.
Holding: keeping safe, allowing possibility, enabling connection; gathering
Space: the openness that gives room; dimension and movement; release.
Making: bringing into appearance, shaping form, giving materiality to idea; originating.
Place: the horizon within which we find ourselves, things, and the world; distance and nearness; return.

Australian Ceramics Open Studios: A poster has been designed for ACOS and 5-10 copies will be distributed to each participant in late July. As of Friday 26 May, we have 95 TACA members (single and group) who have submitted an EOI for the Australian Ceramics Open Studios 2017 on 19 & 20 August. Most of those are now live on

We welcomed these new TACA members from early May to mid-June 2017:
Sophi Suttor, Manuela Ferstl, Jennifer Valmadre, Sophie McLean, Kirsty Collins, Bianca Vern-Barnett, Ceramics Lismore TAFE, Samantha Kuhn, Sheree Gilchrist, Anthony Brink, Emma Cummings, Kristin Moore, Lesley Lebkowicz, Michael Vandiver, Rachel Varela, Susan Lynch, Elizabeth Redman, Olivia Hamilton, Susie Lawrence, Helen Simmons, Lee Todd, Angie Robinson, Narumi Ii, Adele Macer, Anja Kapoukranidis, Maeve Dunnett and Nicole Wright.

TACA BOARD 2016/2017
President: Shannon Garson;
Sharyn Brown
Greg Crowe
Holly Macdonald;
Lou McCallum;
Secretary: Vicki Grima;

TACA Annual General Meeting will be held in September 2017.

Like to contact TACA BOARD?
Send an email to; Subject: EMAIL TO TACA BOARD
The Australian Ceramics Association
PO Box 677 Alexandria NSW 1435
SQ1, 32 Bowden St, Alexandria NSW 2015
T: 1300 720 124; 0419 250 282
F: 02 8072 1804