Awards Members' Selective 2013

12 April 2013

We meet today on WhadjukNoongar land and I acknowledge the WadjukNoongaras the spiritual and cultural custodians of this land.

Pots change the way we live our lives? I’m sure you all agree with me. One of the key criteria that make us human is our ability to design and fabricate objects that enable us to engage more efficiently, aesthetically and productively with our world and for centuries ceramic objects have improved and enhanced our lives.
When I sit down at my computer each morning I am joyously metby awonderful group of vessels made by Pip Drysdale, I eat my muesli from a Stewart Scambler bowl, I drink my coffee from a French Bistro-ware green and gold cup,and it matters. The joy I get from holding or touching these objects, from using them for the purpose for which they were created, gives each day an added enjoyment and a heightened sense of what it means to be human and to be engaged with my world.
As agents of change Potters seek ways to improve, to integrate and to re-imagine the objects and spaces that shape how we live.It is a fundamental and important process that makes our lives better and more fulfilled. It requires a deep knowledge of materials and their properties, but it is essentially an intellectual activity that requires all our faculties as human beings.
The Finnish architect and theorist Juhani Pallasmaa describes how making is a process of thinking with the hands that leads to innovation. His idea of the ‘thinking hand’ is one that has resonance for visual artists and particularly for those in the crafts where the belief in process as a dynamic, evolving and responsive activity is well established.
Of course the thinking hand must bewell-trained. Daniel Levitin has proposed the ten thousand hours rule as the timeframe required for complex skills to become deeply ingrained and hence readily available as tacit knowledge. And all of you here tonight know about the hours of work required to be skilled and attuned to your materials and how these skills are engaged in the processes involved in making pots.
Wonder or surprise at what you have imagined is the next step, what Plato called Poesis, “whatever passes from not being into being”, which is of course the root of what we understand to be originality, the kernel at the core of the creative process. This sense of wonder or expectation drives the maker on to see what can be formed anew, what this alchemical process of combination and amalgamation can achieve.
It is at this point that the entire body is engaged in the creative activity, when the brain and our senses are electrified by the possibility we have revealed through the process of physically engaging with our material environment and manipulating, re-forming and re-shaping it.
This is the moment of creative insight and innovation, when the thinking hand changes the world, as we know it, when the entire project of making is grounded in the tacit knowledge that comes from the hands, as a window of the mind and as its guide. This is the moment of creation that we see reflected in the works around us this evening.
It was a real joy to enter the gallery on Monday and to have the opportunity to engage with these objects, and I also got to touch them, hold them, which you’re not able to do sadly.
It was, needless to say, a tough job to pick winners but I was able to identify works that met all the qualities Pallasmaa identifies and it’s my great pleasure to announce them this evening.

The winners are:

Highly Commended
Atsuko Sandover (3 artworks titled 'Rose')
Jackie Masters (3 bowls)
Janis Heston (3 Lidded boxes)

Judge's Award
NjalikwaChongwe 'Earth Sphere 2'

Kusnik Award
Stewart Scambler 'Spherical Jar 1'

Please join me in congratulating the winners and thanking all the potters with works on show this eveningfor sharing their the products of their ‘thinking hands’ with a thunderous round of applause.

Professor Ted Snell AM CitWA

Stewart Scambler. Woodfired. KUSNIK Award
Njalikwa Chongwe. Raku. Judges Award
Janis Heston. Fumed Terra sigillata. Highly Commended
Jackie Masters. White Ice Glaze with Oxide Rim. Highly Commended
Atsuko Sandover (3 artworks titled 'Rose') Highly Commended
Mary Wallace
John Blinco
Robyn Lees. Tea-Tree
Trish Scambler
Cathy Day
Holly Courtney
Philippa Gordon
Rosemary Schoen
Janet Kovesi Watt
Vicki Malone
Luda Korczynskyj

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