Hands-on help for local artists

Posted on 12 January, 2015

Arts and crafts are a traditional and time-honoured way for people to express themselves and their culture. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, art is also a communications tool for passing on cultural identity and knowledge from one generation to another. And it’s an important source of income for many communities.

The Ceduna Aboriginal Arts and Culture Centre is located on the beautiful far west coast of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia. It first opened its doors in 2001, giving local artists an opportunity to explore a variety of art mediums including pottery and ceramics.

The Centre is a place where people can access workshops, training and materials, and facilities for the production of Aboriginal visual arts. It also enables artists to promote and sell their work, offering them an opportunity for sustainable income and economic independence.

The Centre Coordinator at the time, Eloise  approached ICV to help find a volunteer with experience in ceramics. The Centre had a gas kiln to fire pottery but nobody with the expertise to work it, so there were many unfinished pieces sitting in storage. Giving artists the skills to finish their products would allow them to be ready for sale through the gallery and new website.

ICV volunteer and husband and wife team Jack and Jill, both experienced artists, jumped at the chance to help.

Their first job was to see if the kiln was still in good working order, before working with the artists  showing them how to glaze and prepare their pottery and use the kiln for firing. In spite of difficulties with the kiln controller, they completed two firings and artists now also have written instructions for future firings.

Eyre Futures is a local organisation which helps youths maximise their education and employment opportunities. Participants in their hospitality program joined the ceramics workshops to decorate and glaze cups, bowls and plates ready for firing. Their aim was to sell the items at the hospitality skills development cafe “Bernadette’s Place”, located within the Arts Centre.

Artworks are now available for sale at the Arts Centre,  and Eyre Futures has kindly offered to purchase a badly needed new controller for the kiln.