≡ Menu

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


Use it or Lose it.

I have fallen out of the habit of writing on the blog.

I have excuses for not writing.

I am too busy to write, I am too happy to write. I have too much admin stuff demanding my time so that I am all worded out.

Monty demands a walk and so I compose silent stories as we head up the road. The rhythm of this country straightens the words that are swirling around inside my head, crowding and clouding my thinking, and as the shadows in the corner of my eyes morph into the old people, I nod sideways at them and whisper my promises to the trees they lean against.

watersnake - Copy

I come inside and the phone rings and the words vanish.

Writing is an art.

Storytelling is an art.

Use it or lose it, I need to flex my writing muscles to see if I have any strength left in my words.

November might just be the month to do it. A blog post a day.

We shall see how that goes, internet, we shall see.

Angels Kiss

{ 1 comment }

Mud and Ink. The Images.

The opening of Mud and Ink was a spectacular success. A conservative estimate is that approximately three hundred people turned up to see our show on a pretty cold Friday night.

Of course an exhibition the size of Mud and Ink would not have been possible without the behind the scenes efforts of Jon and my support team. The super organised Maggie Kudelka who did ALL the admin, as well as taking care of the myriad small details whilst juggling school pickups and Uni assignments. My friend Dawn Oakford who placed all the plinths in their correct spots, sorted out my catalogue and acted as a sounding board as I articulated my jumbled ideas and thoughts about the work, leaving me on Tuesday with the bones of a show in place. My daughter Veronica who helped me lay out the work in a cohesive manner and then did a stellar job photographing the work, using up all her spoons in the process.

And of course, you, my internet based cheer squad, all my friends in far flung places, cheering me on via instagram, facebook, twitter and that old fashioned talking device, the home telephone. THANKYOU.

We had a fabulous cake, made by the talented Sweet Macqueen. LOOK at that Fondant, just look at it. The cups look just like mine, and those hearts are just wonderful, the thought put into this cake made me hug myself in happiness.


Once the cake was cut it vanished in an instant, with the children making short work of all the fabulous fondanty bits.

jon and kim cake (1)

One of the many highlights of the night was this portrait of me drawn by Kate and Oskar Kudelka.

portrait of Kim

Artists on opening night

The following photos are all taken by Veronica Foale.

Mud and Ink

Mud and Ink image by Veronica Foale (12)

FrightBats  by Kim Foale image by Veronica Foale (2)

FrightBats  by Kim Foale image by Veronica Foale (1)

Mud and Ink image by Veronica Foale (16)

Mud and Ink image by Veronica Foale (15)

Mud and Ink image by Veronica Foale (8)

Mud and Ink image by Veronica Foale (7)IMG_8133 (1)

Mud and Ink image by Veronica Foale (18)


{ 1 comment }

Mud and Ink

Hello out there in internet land, this Friday the 8th of May is the GRAND OPENING of Mud and Ink.

You are all invited to come along to the Long Gallery in Salamanca and eat some cake and cheese, drink a bit of wine or sparkly soda water and say nice things about the work.Mud and Ink inviteI have made a Remote Control Tony, I was wondering what would happen if we had robot leaders and you could just plug in an opinion or action.

remote control tony small

Some “Suppositories of Wisdom” You might remember when Tony, said that no man is a suppository of all wisdom? I searched and searched the internet ala Andrew Bolt’s patented research techniques, looking for wise things dear Tony has said.
BUT THE INTERNET WAS EMPTY. So the suppositories are also blank, in homage to our dear leader.

suppositories 1 small

I have put the “Tweets of Jon” onto some plates, I particularly like this one, it says, “Solar is for Sissies. Unless you dig it up and set it on fire it doesn’t count as real energy.

solar is for sissies 1 small

This work relates to mining and greed and old technologies. What happens to us as a country when there is nothing left to dig up and sell?

white hand

And this poster by Jon Kudelka is just fabulous. Please come along on Friday if you can, otherwise the show runs until Sunday the 17th of May.

muddy and inky


The Work Has Absorbed All My Words.

This is the first time I have opened the blog in nearly three months. I have written and re written the opening sentence a few times but it is difficult maintaining my train of thought, as Monty runs around the kitchen behind me, barking at the cat.

He is a rambunctious boy.

monty complaining

I don’t have any words tearing around inside my head that I need to put down on virtual paper, in order to be able to think properly. I am so consumed by making the work in preparation for the upcoming Mud and Ink show in the Long Gallery in May that the work has absorbed all my words.

I used to offer my words up here to you, but my sadness has run its course. Thank you for helping me through the darkness that was my grief. I am better now.

rock bowl

On the First Friday of the Month from 10 am – 1 pm, I host an Open Studio at the Tasmanian Ceramics Association’s studio in Glenorchy. This month I asked for some help and together we sat down and rolled a bag of Southern Ice Porcelain into marble sized pieces of clay. Later that evening  I made skullstones at my kitchen table.

hundreds of skullstones200 skullstones


This government has me shaking my head in disbelief and as usual Richard Flanagan says what I am thinking.

We DO know, We have NO EXCUSES for our silence.

Richard Flanagan

What we are doing to those poor people in those dreadful concentration camps is wrong. I will brook no argument here, this is not a nuanced issue, this is an issue of right and wrong and what our government is doing is wrong and we are all complicit in this.

Children in detention is just too awful.

I dislike feeling powerless and I do not know what to do, other than to keep on pestering my local federal member.

And so all my words go into the work.

children in detention

{ 1 comment }

The Pot of DOOM

*This blog post opens with the sound of violins playing in the background as our hero has a bit of a complain.

Making a big pot is hard work, the bags of clay are heavy and the repetitive action of scrinching the clay into coils makes my wrist ache, reminding me that it is still cactus fuctus. The base of my thumb is tender to the touch from all the smoothing and pinching and smoothing again of the clay, and I fall into bed at eight pm completely exhausted.

This pot is 55 cm high, it is Keane’s Raku Gold, and it does not have a base.

suppository of wisdom 1

Here I am supporting the wet pot on a cushion while I check that the base is still as nice and tidy as it was when I began. Suppository on its side

I painted the pot with a white slip I made from Keane’s White Raku. I had been using Walkers ten slip but I had some issues with blistering after bisque, which I wasn’t sure if it was a compatibility issue or if the body had been a bit too dry to absorb the slip. It was easy enough to make a different slip, removing the potential problems of future blistering there, I also made sure the body was still quite wet when I painted on the slip. If I still get blistering, I will just accept it as one of those things and decorate accordingly so that the popped blisters become a feature rather than a disaster.

suppository of wisdom

I have coloured the pot with a 50/50 Gerstley Borate and commercial body stain mix. The green spots are underglaze colour, the blue stripey bits are also underglazes. This is an instagram photo and the colours are a tad softer in real life. Since returning from Kalgoorlie I am so thirsty for colour that there is a real risk that all my pots will be psychedelic orange.

suppository 2

detail of suppository

Once I had finished with the decoration I wrapped the pot in plastic and let it dry slowly out of the way. So far it is drying nicely and everything is on track for May.


Every step of the process, when you are making big pots is fraught with potential disaster. I am very conscious of how little time I actually have to pull together the body of work I need for the, “Mud And Ink” show in THE LONG GALLERY next May. *hyperventilates a bit*

So, I thought that maybe a long narrow oval pot might be a bit quicker to make than a round pot. HA! obviously I missed this bit in physics or geometry or whatever bit of mathematical trickery it was in school where we learned that ovals are actually longer than circles. Mine are anyway, don’t argue just * CUE MOAR VIOLINS.

It all started well enough.

At the end of day one, I had a nice pot that looked a bit mountainey and landscapey. I popped this up on instagram and a friend suggested that maybe I should stop here. I thought about it but decided that it needed a bit more height. I wrapped it up for the night and came back the next day. It was at this point that I decided that I needed to put a bottom in the pot if I was going to have it as an open form. Previously the need for a bottom wasn’t necessary as I was going to have this as an enclosed form. It is never a good idea to change directions halfway through the making of a large pot.

work in progress

I am easily influenced as I work, music plays an important part in my studio and often the music I am listening to will shape the pot I am making. I was listening to Radio National’s, “All in the Mind” programme as I worked on the pot the next day and thinking deep thoughts about mental illnesses and the impacts of incarceration on the human spirit. I was no longer thinking happy thoughts about about mountains and escarpments, I was thinking about what an asshat Morrison is and how appalling our treatment of refugees is and so the mountain began to morph into a boat.

I still wasn’t sure where I was going and the coils I was using were quite thin, so the pot was taking a long time to grow. A really long time. It was at about this stage that the making turned into a hard slog, I like to work hard and fast, immersing myself in the intuitive moment of making. This is why I do not throw, I dislike coming back to a form and trying to capture the relationship I had with the clay for a second time, it rarely works as the energy changes and so the pot changes.

morphing into a boat

By the end of the third day in the studio, I was done. I was so pleased to be done as everything about this pot had been hard work. I quickly threw on some slip, took an arty shot for Instagram and all I needed to do to be completely finished was add some colour the following day.

pot in progress

The next day I coloured the pot, wandered back down to the house to do things and FORGOT to go back up to the studio to wrap it in plastic to slow down the drying.

red pot

A friend contacted me asking if I would like to contribute some work  for a stall she was curating for the Mona Market in January. With some relief I spent all of Saturday making small skull finger spoons in Southern Ice porcelain. It was nice to be working with small pieces of porcelain, rather than giant lumps of heavily grogged clay.

These spoons, once they are fired will be a limited edition run and will only be available at Mona on the 17th of January, all things going to plan of course.

skull spoons


I left the pot alone for a couple of days, as the weather was grey and drizzly as only December in Tasmania can be, I didn’t cover it in plastic as it was drying slowly enough.

Tuesday was Happy Minion Day, and I spent the afternoon ignoring the pot and making small things and talking a lot with Molly my gorgeous apprentice/minion/friend. Molly has a website here, Scout Ceramics.

I should have coloured the inside of the pot then but I just couldn’t be bothered, there was a storm pending, Monty the pup was being a dick, and the aftermath of the deaths at the Lindt cafe had left me so flat. Our Prime Minister is such a tool, it embarrasses me every time he opens his mouth.

In hindsight, I should have just left the pot alone, so it stayed as a nice pot instead of morphing into the POT OF DOOM.

In all the photos above, you can see that the P.O.D is sitting on a piece of cement sheet on top of a support board. I lifted the P.O.D from its support and turned it upside down to shake out the crumbs as the neck was a bit too narrow to fit my arm inside. I put the P.O.D down onto the cement sheet onto the table and began to paint the inside with a 50/50 Gerstley Borate black colour mix but I was unable to see fully inside and so I moved it down onto a lower banding wheel. NOT THINKING that the cement sheet would flex and put extra stress on the P.O.D.

I finished painting on the colourant and moved the P.O.D back onto the table to get it out of my way, inadvertently flexing the cement sheet again.

Five minutes later I noticed the cracks.



Bugger, bugger, BUGGER.

I gave the cracks a bit of a poke and the top one wobbled alarmingly.

The P.O.D was a little bit fucked.

So I did what any self respecting ceramist would do, I took a photo, wacked it up onto instagram and came down to the house for a bit of a public sulk.

Ten minutes of public whingeing later and I had a plan.

I poked a knife into the cracks and wiggled it around a bit and pulled the broken bits off in sections.

Now the pot is back almost exactly where I had been a week ago, when my friend suggested I stop.

No longer the POT OF DOOM, though that is probably what I shall title it anyway.


repaired pot

On the upside, and as I am mostly an optimist there are always multiple upsides, I learned a lot from this pot. Lessons that I already knew well, were reinforced and probably just in the nick of time as things are bound to get super manic around here the closer I get to the deadline for Mud and Ink.

I have kept the top bits of the pot to use as test tiles. I bought a cobalt free black bodystain yesterday and I shall mix some of that up with Gerstley Borate to see what happens and I will add some cobalt ox to the stain as well to do a counter test. I was lucky enough to receive a very VERY good ceramic education and as a result I can not let a chance to pop some tests in the kiln go by.

I think I will leave the big pots alone until January now and give my hands a bit of a rest.

Today I will be making BAT WINGS. Hurrah.

I have all the fun.


{ 1 comment }

Understorey Dreaming

I saw a stick on the gravel road ahead of me the other morning and when the stick noticed me it wriggled back into the bush.

The snake was my gift from the universe and it was a happy walk.

snake shadows

Words are tricky things, slippery and elusive. I had a head full of beautiful words yesterday, they were floating around in nice neat lines ready to fly out my fingertips onto the page. My walk with Monty had been a lovely daydream, he was so well behaved that I was able to order my thoughts into coherent passages of prose and I was feeling the urge to write.

Once inside the house, the phone rang, shattering the spell and all my words were lost.

I am trying to rekindle the feeling now but the words are not dancing in my head at all.

My minion Molly, asked me what I get from the blog. I gave her a long and convoluted answer and told her some of your stories.

But when it really comes down to it, the answer is solace. I get solace from my blog.

It is a place to turn my daydreams into reality as well as a place to order my thoughts.

Thank you for reading


Photos of things. With some words.

I have been sharing more and more on facebook and twitter via my instagram account and less here on the blog.

It is easier you see, and quicker.

I can take a photo on my phone, upload it to my instagram account and auto share to facebook and twitter.

Tadaa, instant conversation.

My computer is dying, my puppy has grown up into a leaping full size mischievous Labrador who needs lot of attention otherwise he eats all the things.

Please feel free to find me on all my other online spaces.

Here are some of the recent photos I have been sharing elsewhere.

Monty was freaked out by his first thunderstorm and decided that the safest place in the house was in the chair with me.

Here he looks like the goofy Labrador he is.

Monty in my chair

Here he is about to morph into his hyper Kelpie self just before we go for a walkwalkwalkWALK

monty bought copy

Kalgoorlie Dreaming.

Water views from the train. There was a bit of rain while I was in Kalgoorlie, some fabulous storms as well. I was lucky to see all the water and the orange has seeped into my soul.

train dreams 1

water from the kalgoorlie train

Bitter Rose.

The making and exhibiting of Bitter Rose was cathartic, I included a very appropriate Anne Lamott quote in my artist statement

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

I have taken this quote to heart and I have a nice little trio of ugly sculptures planned for my show in the Long Gallery next year.

Bitter Rose copy

bitter Rose rear

Bees, native and introduced.

native bee copy

Honey Bee

Dragons by the water.


And I have been doing LOTS of this.

walking the dogs

That is all from me for the moment, I will try and be more present here on the blog but as the jagged edges of my grief recede, I feel the need to write less often as the words in my head are not burning my heart.

I hope you all have a fine time during the December madness and you either enjoy the festivities fully or you cope as best you can.

Love x