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The Colour of Destruction is Green

I have swarms of Green Scarab Beetles (Diphucephala colaspidoides) here at the moment.

They are super destructive and seem to come out in plague proportions every four years or so, probably the reason that one of my elderly neighbours calls them leap year beetles.

I am about to lose this years, cherries, raspberries, red currants and josta berries because the beetles have managed to sekletonise the trees and shrubs in a couple of days.

raspberry beetles

raspberry beetles 5

raspberry beetles on the cherries

raspberry beetles 4

raspberry beetles 3

raspberry beetles 2 copy

The last time we had a plague of beetles like this was the drought of 1998 or 99. That year was when the mature eucalyptus trees on the sides of my hills began to die back.

The dams here are nearly empty. The paddocks are February brown and now these buggers have come along in huge swarms and are finishing off the last of the greenery in the garden.

Bastard things.

We need some rain.



I mostly use the camera in my phone these days as the images it captures are good enough for facebook and instagram and my poor old Nikon is quite neglected.

Until we have a glorious sunset and I know that the phone will never ever in a zillion years capture the reds properly.

I blew the dust off the *proper camera* and had an enjoyable five or ten minutes daydreaming about trying to transfer the cloud marks onto some pots.

Such fabulous delicate brush strokes in the sky are simply too nice to not share.

red sky with cloud lines

cloud marks 2

cloud marks

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An invitation to take a deeper look.

I spent last winter deep in a post Mud and Ink lethargy, twelve months of single minded concentration on a project will do that to a person. I was tired, the weather was cold and snowy and the studio was freezing. I did not have any reason to be in my studio, other than my first born child’s insistence that I make something to sell with her at the markets, that it would be good for me. I ignored Veronica and spent the winter reading and faffing about recharging my creative batteries and eating licorice allsorts by the fire.

Finally I could ignore Veronica no longer as we had a two week stint in the Pop Up in Salamanca in October and even though I had enough stuff in the studio to cover our time in the shop, I thought I had best make something.

The first lot of dishes I made, were hastily thrown together, simple slab pots decorated in blue so that they would sell. Their price reflected my indifference to them as objects but they served their purpose in that I am back in my studio working.

I have now made some lovely pots that I am very happy with and of course their price reflects my happiness. These pots pictured below are also simple slab formed soap dishes, but they are complete, they have stories to tell.

stack of soap dishes

soap dish front viewStories that do not begin to be revealed until you pick them up and look closer, look underneath the pot to the hidden underside.

Stories of drought and environmental degradation interspersed with the silent cries of dead seabirds killed by plastic pollution. Secret stories in each pot, a touch of the makers spirit just underneath the surface.

But of course you can’t say that at a market stall as a busy shoppers eyes slide over the work falling onto the soap instead.

I can’t tell stories like that to people who don’t want to hear.

So I am telling you instead, I am sharing my secrets with you dear internet, the marks of the cog wheel in the pot below, come from a cigarette lighter retrieved from the belly of a dead albatross. The tracks are made by pressing a piece of wood from a dead tree across the base of the pot, so that the grub lines are transferred to the clay.

soap dish underside

My trees are dying, all the trees on my mountain are slowly dying. And all the wood hookers see is easy pickings, and all I can see is the death by inches of this country I love.

And so I put the stories of the trees into the work and some people listen but most people don’t, but now I have told you and that is enough.

A friend, Agnes, showed me a technique she uses to make the most beautiful round pots and I have run with it.

round pot with foot 2

I am in love with these little pots.

round pot with foot 1

The potential for storytelling with these pots is enormous and my fingers are itching to make more.

round pot with foot

I even made a blue one.

blue pot round

So you can guess where I will be today internet? You are right of course, I will be in my studio, making all the round pots and putting secret stories into them that I will only share with you.


No time for storytelling when the clock is ticking.

This week has been hectically busy with the set up and launch of Asylum as well as my other commitments, and each time I think of the promise I made to myself to blog every day, I laugh and laugh and jump in the car and drive away into the sunrise.

My daughter Veronica is trying to build a small business as an artisan soap maker. Veronica has an online store with a growing customer base, but in order to expand and build her brand locally, Veronica needs to be selling her soap at markets.

Over the last twelve months we have fallen into a routine, I take Veronica down to the markets, leaving Nat at home to look after their children. Nat then brings the children down at closing time and does the pack up. It is working rather well as I enjoy selling Veronica’s lovely soap. I am able to tell small stories about how Veronica uses her father with his dreadfully sensitive eczema prone skin as her crash test dummy. I also enjoy watching the men choose the smells they like, most blokes are reluctant to even look at the soap, but if they are up for a story I can confide that Von’s dad quite likes the Belgrove Whisky soap, or the Basil Lime Mandarin and the conversations that follow are often quite interesting. As an aside internet, it has surprised me the softer smells that The Spouse likes as he has always left the soap choosing and shampoo choosing down to me and when the children were small it was price not prettiness that drove my choices and we managed with a pretty utilitarian allergy free boring soap.

Look at this pretty soap. It smells as nice as the image suggests.

goats milk and lavender soap

Veronica Foale Essentials. Goat’s Milk and Lavender Soap



My Exhibition Pieces. Asylum 2015

This is titled, “Australia Gives the Finger to the United Nation’s Convention on Refugees”

Kim Foale _MG_1429_5486

image by Robin Roberts

As my artist statement I used excerpts from the ASRC fact sheet 2013. www.asrc.org.au

Asylum seekers who enter Australia without a valid visa by boat or plane are not illegal. They are permitted to enter without prior authorisation because this right is protected by Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention which recognises they have good cause for entering without a visa.

No offence under Australian law criminalises the act of arriving in Australia without a valid visa for the purposes of seeking asylum.

The allegation that boat arrivals are not genuine in their appeals for protection from persecution is untrue.

Kim Foale _MG_1430_5487

image by Robin Roberts

Kim Foale _MG_1431_5488

image by Robin Roberts

My second entry is titled, “Delicate Flowers Failed to Bloom”

asylum Kim Foale

image by Kim Foale

When reading patient records from the New Orleans City Insane Asylum I wondered if some of the women were really insane or if they were just inconvenient or opinionated?

New Orleans (La.) City Insane Asylum

Record of Patients, 1882-1884; 1888

Excerpts of

This woman is a Raving Maniac who can give no account of herself. She is naked in her cell.

Finding her insane, suffering from Stupidity.

She laughs constantly: when asked a question she gives a sharp answer, which is sometimes correct, but generally not.

Suffering from Delirium of Persecution, the result of unrequited love


Asylum is on at the Sidespace Gallery until the 15th of November. Open daily from 10.30 am – 4.30 pm


Some pots just need to rest for a bit.

This pot came out of the kiln a few months ago, I adored the bright colours over the clay body but I didn’t like the look or the feel of the iron spots (the brown speckles). BRT is a fabulous clay to work with, it is totally forgiving, I can break all the clay rules with impunity and it is perfect for children because it is so gutsy. But fired to stoneware in oxidation it is a bit of a nothing clay body and the iron spots need vigorous sanding or Dremel work in order for the pot to have a nice feel.

I did what I mostly do with a pot I am unsure about, I put it away to be examined in detail later. In this case, away, was outside the studio, plonked on top of a 44 gallon drum next to some other pots I liked but didn’t know what to do with.

detail of BRT bowl with colour.

Fast forward to a chilly winters day and the water in the pot had frozen nicely, I took a few photos as the ice was interesting, saved them to my desktop and promptly forgot about them again.

It wasn’t until today when I was cleaning up my computer that I saw the images and thought hmmm.

This needs a closer look.

The ice both highlights and diffuses the colours

detail of BRT pot frozen

I had a bit of a play with the image in photoshop and I think the artificially brightened colours would make a lovely bold painting. It is a shame I do not have a spare inch of wall space in the house anywhere, otherwise I might be tempted to throw some paint around. Actually now that I have typed that last line out, I see it for the silliness it is, of course I should throw some paint about, I can always make wall space later if the painting is any good.

That is the joy of this blog for me, the thinking by writing coupled with the thinking by looking properly always sends me off in unexpected directions.

detail of frozen pot

HDR altered detail of frozen pot copy 2

Returning to the first image, it is the matt blues and greens that I like the best here, especially when seen against the painted blue background of the 44. The lines of the ice over the strong brush strokes are also nice and the iron spots give the pot some added depth as well.  I am pleased I didn’t put the pot in the garden because it would have been years before I found it again rather than months and I shall have fun developing the ideas I have thought of today.

detail of BRT bowl with colour.


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Asylum a copy

I try and keep a modicum of distance between myself here on the blog and myself as the President of the Tasmanian Ceramics Association, as those who know me in my role as President do not need to be distracted by the inner workings of my mind. But sometimes the two worlds collide and here I am on the blog today wearing my presidential hat.

The TCA’s Annual Exhibition is on now at the Sidespace Gallery in Salamanca Arts Centre until Sunday the 15th of November.

With the Official Opening at 6pm Friday the 6th of November to be opened by Mr Andrew Wilkie MP

I will be sitting the show, today from 1 pm -4.30 and on Saturday from 10 am – 1 pm.

As the judging was done last night, the social media black out has been lifted and all participants can now share all their images of their work on their various platforms. I will be popping some photos up on my instagram account later on today.

If you are interested you can follow me on instagram here => Kim Foale Ceramics

The exhibiton is open daily from 10.30 am – 4.30 pm until the 15th of November.


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The Spiky Bridge, such a fabulously literal name.

Driving home from the East Coast last week, I stopped at the convict built Spiky Bridge near Swansea and spent over an hour photographing the stones. If you are interested in the story of the bridge, this blog,“On the Convict Trail” tells the story of the bridges construction and mythology fairly well.

spiky bridge right side view

spiky bridge profile

I have long been fascinated by standing stones and there was such a powerful energy about these stones that I was reluctant to leave without photographing them from every angle possible.

spiky bridge 3

spiky bridge 2

spiky bridge 1

So many lost stories here.

So many photos to still be edited.

So much inspiration for future work.

spiky bridge

This final set of two photos though might just be my current favourites. I had spent the weekend at a “Clay Camp” at Scamander and the theme of our weekend had been Tombstones and Totems.

rock faces on spiky bridge

spiky bridge totems and tombstones


Day three of NaNoBloMo

Day three of the *NaNoBloMo challenge and our hero is struggling through the thorny and wordless wilderness, multiple ellipses are underfoot making the verbal path slippery and treacherous…

Hi internet, I am writing again and I am starting to enjoy the familiar feel of the words as they drip from my fingertips onto the page. I am a morning writer, a first thing thinker and I need the silence of the new day in order to make my words work properly.

There is a tiny space  where I can either write on the blog or I can click through to my various social media pages. If I click over to facebook, yesterday’s news weighs me down and if I click through to twitter, the breaking news distracts me just as quickly.

It is a fine line, internet, a fine line.

Last night, The Spouse called me into the bathroom and together we leaned on the sink and watched a family of three wallabies feeding on the vegetable peels Jeff throws off the back balcony. It was light enough to take a photo but I didn’t want to break the spell by leaving to get a camera. The shots would have been ordinary anyway as the windows are grubby, my housekeeping skills are so hit and miss that the only time I think about washing windows is when they interfere with a photo op.

I commented to the Spouse that it was nice to be able to watch the wallabies and not need to kill them for food. The Spouse responded that he thought it was nice that they were there, up close and  easy if he ever needed to get one. I gave him and his hunters eyes a wry grin and went back to my book.

wallaby 2 copyA photo of one of my resident wallabies, taken a couple of years ago.

*NaNoBloMo used to be a thing back in the early days of blogging where you wrote a blog post a day for a month. I am not signing up to it because I cant be bothered and I am not much of a joiner inner. I am doing NaNo this year to remind myself that I have stories to tell and to stop myself from self censoring.


Monty the Labrador, Such a Goofy Dog

Monty is an eighteen month old Labrador Kelpie cross. He is a big strong handsome dog who likes people very much.

Monty in the snow

He is also a complete goofball, a total enthusiastic idiot of a dog, who, at the sight of a new person FORGETS ALL HIS MANNERS and immediately leaps at visitors with joyous abandon, as he tries to mouth their wrists and lick their faces simultaneously. Monty enters a complete state of blissful doggie ecstasy when we get visitors, nothing makes him happier than slobbering over and leaping on new people.

Our visitors do not feel the same level of bliss at all, the ecstasy just slides right by them, and we chaotically endure five minutes of inneffectual flapping from me and joyous leaping from Monty, UNTIL his brain begins to work again.

It is a bit like this photo. But less of the running and more of the LEAPING AND DROOLING.

Monty running

Monty is the first dog I have raised without any children in the house, hence the leaping. On his daily walk with me, he walks to heel on his lead, sits quietly on the side of our dirt road when he hears a car approaching and he is very obedient, almost a joy to be with.

monty studio assistant

UNTIL a neighbour stops in her car to have a chat, then Monty’s brain instantly turns to fizz and his inner goofball emerges. He nearly pulls my arm out of its socket in his enthusiastic quest to get inside that car and LICK the neighbour’s face/arms/head/any body part will do.

It is exhausting, trying to restrain him because he is so strong, nearly 60 kilos and I can not train it out of him because he does not leap at me. He wouldn’t dare, though he does give me a sneaky joyful lick on the face when I am distracted.

Monty in my chair


Monty needs to be socialised, but honestly internet I just do not have the time, spare money or the inclination to take him to dog classes.

Plus he power spews in the car. Even if he has not had any food at all he somehow dredges up a reservoir of undigested food to vomit everywhere, which he then quickly eats before I can stop the car, which in turn makes me retch. Labradors must have four stomachs like a cow. Driving with Monty is a vomitous trip of doom and I will avoid it if I can.

I have had dogs all my life. Harry my 12 year old heeler/collie is a lovely dog, an obedient dog, a non leaping dog who does not vomit in the car at all.

Harry asleep in the sun

Harry is so good that he made me smug. Smug and lazy. I was as smug as only the owner of an old dog can be, Harry and I practically communicated telepathically.

Smug telepathic communication of course.

Then along came cyclone Monty.

Monty has knocked the smugness right out of me, and the laziness has gone as well.

Harry has adopted an air of eternal suffering, as he tries to teach this young pup the rules. And I swear he rolls his eyes at me.

Our days are full of hilarity and chaos.

Lots of chaos.

And no Smug at all.


Monty with stick just before he runs away

Monty with stick again

Monty and tree running