The Art of Bell Ringing (2007)

Porcelain carries a backpack of history to this continent of contradictions. Long established in the cultures of China and Korea, it also totes its dark, enthralling origin in Europe with Böettger’s captive experimentation towards an arcanum for ‘white gold’. In a relatively brief time, the fickle paste led to factory output for porcelain collecting to ceiling-high excess by European gentry, in turn gently satirised by makers such as Meissen’s Johann Kaendler. Porcelain does not let me forget this, here, southern hemisphere, 21C, whether handling buttery Limoges, Les Blakebrough’s austral arcanum of ‘Ice’, or mixing it with paper pulp derived, at least in part, from contested remnant forests. I have long been under the spell of the ‘symbolic object’, and ceramics of no single genre nor prescribed technique, have a long and eloquently expressive history of conscious witness to place and time – both the intensely local and the culturally-reflective. If I can continue to offset my studio’s greenhouse emissions, I would proffer the words of maker Lee Ufan in empathy : “One might say that artists are a dangerous and greedy species because they want to somehow, somewhere capture and stop the fleeting poetic moment that appears by chance and then immediately gives way to the everyday world …” 1      

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Boscacci, L 2007, The Art of Bell Ringing’, The Journal of Australian Ceramics, vol.46, no.1, pp.62–64.