CERAMIC artists from Europe, Asia, South America, USA and around Australia have descended on Corunna Farm, Mystery Bay for the “On the Edge of the Shelf” festival of wood-fired ceramics.
Cobargo potter Daniel Lafferty has organised the festival, which is also held in association with the International Ceramics Symposium.
The three-week festival will create a community of potters working and living together on the farm just south of Narooma on the Far South Coast NSW, where ideas will be freely exchanged and the art of wood-firing celebrated.
The centre of attention already is the magnificent and stunning 6-metre long clay and brick kiln taking shape on the picturesque banks of Corunna Lake.
The “anagama” style kiln that resembles a small Arabian mosque will be fired over the last five days of the festival once each of the artists has formed their clay artworks.
The 20 invited artists have already been out and about climbing Gulaga Mountain and exploring the area and checking out raw materials.
North Carolina ceramics artist Josh Copus, who owns The Clay Space in Asheville, said the local coastline was simply stunning.
He had just completed an artist residency in Tasmania and was looking forward to making more artworks using the local clay and materials such as scallop shells to make imprints and decorations.
Several large marquees and tents have been set up as temporary studios for the artists complete with potters wheels and benches.
“It’s all about sourcing local unrefined materials that have not been industrially processed,” Copus said.
“Hopefully the qualities of the materials and the area also come out in the artwork.”
While the event is not specifically open for the general public, there will be associated exhibitions at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery and at the Narek Galleries at Tanja and Ivy Hill Gallery at Wapengo, both on the Bermagui Tathra Road.
Anyone with a curiosity or love of potting, ceramics and fine art would do well to sneak down to Corunna Farm, look for the sign at the Mystery Bay turn-off.
There will also be a market day on the final day of the festival where visitors came come and buy some of the created works.
For more information about the exhibition and the wood-fire festival go to the website, www.on-the-edge-of-the-shelf.com
Opening at the regional gallery
The official opening of festival will take place down the highway on Friday night at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery that is hosting an exhibition of wood-fired ceramics by the interstate and local practitioners during May.
Regional Gallery curator Iain Dawson said “On The Edge of the Shelf” brought together people who enjoyed the fire as much as the clay, with potters attending from eight countries and from across Australia.
“The festival is the latest in a series of events held internationally and the first for Australia,” he said.
“It’s a festival for everyone - wood-firers, potters, ceramicists, sculptors, students, teachers and anyone else with an interest in pottery and ceramics.
“Local ceramic artist Daniel Lafferty has built a program of significant events, visual presentations, films, markets and the building of an anagama kiln - an ancient type of pottery kiln brought to Japan from China via Korea in the fifth century).
“In what promises to be a fascinating and important cross cultural event in the region, the artists involved will present an exhibition at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery from May 2 to 24.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for lovers of ceramics to view the works of artists from Europe, South and North America, Africa and Asia.
“This is probably one of the most international exhibitions ever held at the gallery,” he said.
The exhibition will be officially opened this Friday, May 2, from 6pm to 8pm.
Other gallery showings
In addition to the Regional Gallery show, two of the Far South Coast’s most respected galleries, both located on the Bermagui Tathra Road, are also in on the action.
Homage @ Narek Galleries is an exhibition of wood-fired ceramics by a group of Australia's leading practitioners.
It is entitled “Homage” as it pays homage to major benefactor and supporter of the festival James Kasper, an internationally respected ceramics artist who hails from the tiny community of Tipton in the Mid-Western US state of Iowa.
Ivy Hill Gallery at Wapengo meanwhile has “From the book - Art of Woodfire” from May 2 to June 9.
It features nine of Australia's best potters, chosen from Owen Rye's book “Art of Woodfire”.
They are Barbara Campbell-Allen, Rowley Drysdale, Su Hanna, Steve Harrison, Neil Hoffmann, Peter Pilven, Owen Rye, Steve Williams and Kirk Winter.
Join the artists for drinks on Saturday, May 17 from 5pm.
Finally, Spiral Gallery in Bega has the “Local Fire Celebratory Ceramics Exhibition” that all this month features the work of Anneke Paijmans, Daniel Lafferty, Tim Moorhead, Ivan Gluch, Joy Georgeson, Jenny Mein, Janna Ferris, David Stocker, Karen Charlebois, Margaret Brown, Nancy Brunton, Michael Adams, Helen Martin and Lorraine Hodgkins.