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debbie harman qadri ceramics

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More snaps from the clay and metal exhibition at Gallery Mt Macedon.

January 2016

These works hadn’t been photographed individually before so I thought it best to document them.

Thanks to the Gallery Mt Macedon Co-operative, its been a great show, lots of people at the opening. We had a great time!

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Recent works with mild steel and clay

(please do not try this in any kiln unless you know what you are doing. warning: you may ruin your kiln or shelves)

photographs by Suzanne Balding

'Bit of a game',by Debbie Harman. Photograph by Suzanne Balding Close-up of  Ceramic and mild steel object, with white slip and black stain, by Debbie Harman. Photograph by Suzanne Balding 'cluster' earthenware clay, mild steel, white slip and iron oxide, by Debbie Harman. Photograph by Suzanne Balding Coil pot, slip and black stain, by Debbie Harman. Photograph by Suzanne Balding 'Pair', earthenware clay, scale, and iron oxide, by Debbie Harman. Photograph by Suzanne Balding

essay

Metal and clay

Debbie Harman (Qadri)

2015

I am sitting at my desk, going through the photographs that Suzanne Balding has made of my metal and clay artworks. And whilst I can only place a few here, she has given me over a hundred of them. I have to sift through them and as I do, I see that each one offers a glimpse of something different, often a small part of the making process is in focus, but serves to remind me of the reason that I made them.

 

Whilst at Doris I have been experimenting with combining forged metal and clay. It’s something that I first experimented with about three years ago and it has evolved out of feeling too tired to hit metal (sounding very lame for a blacksmith). Sometimes by the time Saturday came around I would drag myself to black-smithing but be too tired to face the hammer and tongs. And since my primary motivation for coming to blacksmithing was a social one, it was never a problem, I would just prepare for something more sedentary to do in the lunchroom. One day I brought some clay to play with and sat in the lunch room and then instead of forging pieces to go with the clay, I began to use things found in the metal scrap bin. I often use recycled materials in my artwork including plastic, rubbish and recycled clay so it was a natural progression to find a way at blacksmithing to also indulge in recycling. The scrap bin has so many interesting things in it, and it’s akin to patchwork rug making where you find some scraps that interest you and make them into something new. You could look at it as making use of the energy that went into making the pieces that I find in the bin. Often the pieces are made as part of the black smith training; loops, scrolls, hooks, scraps thrown aside or chopped off. Unwanted things.

 

It is really interesting to scavenge for interesting shapes and then figure out how they will work with the clay. The clay is a very soft, fragile, earthy material and generally the black-smithed metal pieces are hard, symmetrical, smooth and dark. The work is an opportunity to explore on a very intuitive level the two very basic materials. I try to do this in a very primary way, using only white or terracotta clay, black or brown colours and iron oxides and usually very organic shapes. There is an interesting relationship between the clay and mild steel, as both materials need fire/heat as part of their making process. And I find it interesting, as you can also see from some of the photographs that when I fire the clay to preserve its shape, the metal begins to deteriorate. The metal emerges from the kiln black, often with flakes of scale peeling off. Over time it begins to rust and as the porous clay receives moisture from the air the rust is drawn into the clay where they connect. So the artworks are constantly changing and reflecting the characteristics of the materials and their interaction.

 

When people see this work, I am very cautious to say, don’t do this at home. Putting metal in a kiln could be disastrous for the life of the kiln and the shelves. In fact the first time I took them to where I fire them, someone else saw them and then put some aluminium in the kiln the following firing and we were very lucky that it did not cause any grief. So it has become a covert practice. The artworks are very fragile whilst drying so they need to be moved to the studio in Sunbury where the kiln is, within the first few days and they are carefully hidden. They are dried very slowly in order to minimise shrinking, for three months, then they are quietly fired to earthenware temperature (about 1080) whilst no-one is looking. When they come out of the kiln they are likewise whisked away into bubble-wrap and boxes. I glazed my first pieces, but since then have tended to leave the work unglazed because I want the conversation to be about the two raw materials.

 

In this series of artworks I am truly relaxed and let the artworks find their own way. When I first studied clay I really enjoyed making abstract sculpture, but because there was not much use for sculpture, I veered off into other more functional areas. I feel in this work that I am returning to the initial pleasure of making and using the materials, without thinking too much about the end purpose. A bit like reading trashy novels, purely for pleasure and relaxation. I am not making them for any special purpose or reason. When I sit in the lunchroom at the barn and make the work my main purpose is to sit and converse with others, so I think the artwork has this very relaxed feel about it. It is a conversation about clay and metal and how they might fit together.

 

After firing, the artworks and the photographs that document them have become something else. They are a reminder of the process and celebrate the two materials but they also head off into the outside world talking about artwork, objects, audiences and shows. Meanwhile, I think I might just head back to the lunchroom with my teapot. . . . . .  .

 

'Reclining', clay , metal and white slip, by Debbie Harman. Photograph by Suzanne Balding Suzanne Balding__01 - Copy Suzanne Balding__21 Suzanne Balding__22 Suzanne Balding__23 Suzanne Balding__29 Suzanne Balding__43 Suzanne Balding__49 Suzanne Balding__64 Suzanne Balding__67 Suzanne Balding__77 Suzanne Balding__109 Suzanne Balding__137 Suzanne Balding__180 Suzanne Balding__242 Suzanne Balding__246 Terracotta, white clay and mild steel, by Debbie Harman. Photograph by Suzanne Balding

the drawings:

These drawings were done in preparation for the exhibition of the work at Macedon Gallery in January 2016.

invite single sided

http://www.thegallerymtmacedon.com.au/

 

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Hello! You have encountered The worm

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The worm is a little website tour that worms its way through websites

about the work of Debbie Harman Qadri

It is part of the Ten days to the Island Festival

http://tendaystotheisland.blogspot.com.au/

the next worm link is: http://drawingthelibrary.blogspot.com.au/2015_06_01_archive.html

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Here are the gorgeous creatures that year 3/4 Students from Brunswick South West Primary School made over their two day challenge.

well done!!!!!!

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Debbie Harman
Abandoned Selves

Friday 18 July – 16 August 2014

Abandoned Selves: Exploring ideas of the selves we leave behind and our perception of the selves we have become as we travel through the journey of life.
Debbie Harman’s exhibition, Abandoned Selves, will also feature at the Huntclub Community Arts Centre, Deer Park. It includes mixed media works, ceramics, weaving, painting, fabric and drawing. Debbie Harman is a Melbourne based Artist, her diverse practice also incorporates Community Arts and mural projects. Debbie’s ceramic work is exhibited in our SMALLpieces window space. It is a gorgeous underwater tableau of creatures, natural forms and lots and lots of legs. A must see!Abandoned selves set up at Northcote Pottery

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Today I installed the first part of my ‘Sages of Sunshine’ project at Sunshine Art Spaces, city place and sun Avenue in Sunshine, Melbourne.

The painted tiles celebrate locals and their sage words of wisdom.

follow the link at the bottom of the page to see more of the project.

 

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http://sagesofsunshine.wordpress.com/

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