Hello again! We know it has been a while since you've heard any news from us, but that's only because we're all still patiently waiting for background approvals and cogs and wheels to turn in our favour! To recap and go forward, here's the gist of where we're at..... 2018 saw the launch of our wonderful, but slow growing organisation with the Regional Centre for Culture grant for the "ClayStation" talks and demos by artists for Castlemaine Clay. It was the perfect way to introduce ourselves to you and to start thinking about what we want our group to look like.
NEW COMMITTEE MEMBER We are thrilled to have Mark Mason join us as our newest general committee member. Mark has just moved to the area and has very generously put up his hand to jump aboard and help out. Mark comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience and we are very excited to welcome him to the committee. For those who wish to know more about Mark's background, see is his bio at the end of this blog post and check out @friendlyfireceramics on Instagram for his fabulous raku work!
We mentioned in the last post that we want to continue to provide artist talks, workshops and demos this year and beyond. Not having a grant for the next round of talks means a couple of different things: Firstly, we will be charging a fee for attendance from now on, as we still want to pay the artists properly for their time and skills. This will be discounted for members, of course (and remember, those 12 month memberships don't start ticking down for the year, until our Mud Room doors open for use!). Secondly, we can invite any artist from anywhere to share their passion and knowledge with us. Our speakers from the first round ClayStation were all local artists, as per the guidelines for the RCC 2018 grant. So as we get into the swing of things, whether it's this year or somewhere down the track, we can expect to hear from ceramicists from far and wide, as well as continuing to invite local artists to share their stories. A couple of our committee members are currently working on a program for the next ClayStation series - stay tuned for more details!
Mark Mason Biography
I was born in Ballarat in 1959. While at teachers college in 1978 I took a pottery elective and my passion for clay and wheel thrown work began. I started my career as a primary teacher in 1980 but never lost my passion for ceramics taking many part time courses. In 1988 I completed an Associate Diploma in Ceramics Design at Frankston Chishlom. During this period I rediscovered my interest in the Raku firing process. I enjoy this process because it pushes clay and chemicals to their limits. It is always a challenge to repeat the effect that one likes. I enjoy its instantaneous results and its unpredictable nature. In 2000 I graduated from Monash University with a Degree in Ceramics Design. During this time I continued to develop my skills and knowledge in Raku firing concentrating on the difficult to control dry copper matt glaze. These glazes are characterised by velvety dry-ish surfaces with all the copper break-ups possible. More recently I have started to explore a different firing technique Naked Raku, which is characterised by strong ghostly crackle patterns being transferred to a burnished clay surface through a glaze mask applied over a barrier layer of slip. I enjoy working with clay because it is such a versatile medium. I strive to push clay to its limits in both the way I throw and fire. Form and texture are also an important part of my work. I like large and traditional forms with a variety of surface textures and appendages.