'Blue Knob Ceramic Studio'
Artist-in-Residence – Heather Kimber
The initial vision for an art studio had long been part of Blue Knob Hall Gallery’s business plan. The concept of an art space, where people could gather to share and learn new skills, was a key factor in our commitment to this project.
We conducted a preliminary community consultation at the beginning of this project and the results indicated that there was a particular interest in ceramics.
In 2011-12 we applied for an Arts NSW grant. Although we did not receive the full amount we applied for to complete the project, we were very fortunate to have the support of the local community who donated an extraordinary amount of their time, helping with labour for the build, land excavation, slab pouring, tree felling and milling of timber, painting, cooking for the workers and providing building materials.
We were able to get the Studio completed to lock up stage, which was a phenomenal effort with so little cash! We then applied for 2 more grants to get the internal fit out completed, and were unsuccessful.
We had come so far – it was very disappointing and frustrating that we had this building to lock up stage, and couldn’t see it become a reality in the foreseeable future. We just needed more help to make it happen.
Fund-raising and small donations helped to get things moving again, but with very little money it looked like it would be many years before we could officially open the Studio.
We decided to run the Blue Knob Gallery Cafe on a volunteer basis for a year, and this was an enormous help in providing some cash flow to get various aspects of the build underway again.
And then ..... in 2015 along came a local community organisation who generously gave a $10,000 donation. Along with the money we had accrued from the Cafe volunteer year, we were able to go full speed ahead with the completion of the Blue Knob Ceramic Studio. We gratefully appreciate the generosity of both these contributions, as well as the original Arts NSW grant that got this project started.
The studio houses a work space area with purpose built benches, a wet room, a glaze room, a kiln room, a kitchenette, an art library and an extra multi-function space which can be utilized for a variety of uses. Such as extra workshop space for a diverse range of art genres, exhibition space or film room to name a few.
On Friday 19th February 2016, the Blue Knob Ceramic Studio officially opened its doors. Weekly ongoing work days continue, to finish details off in the studio, but the space is certainly up and running.
What’s happening now?
Heather Kimber, who has an Associate Diploma in Design majoring in Ceramics, and has had a long history of working in the arts, is our Artist-in-Residence at the Studio. Along with Heather’s initial studio equipment and gas kiln which was donated to this project, we were also donated another entire studio of equipment from a local potter, Chris Marchant, who sadly passed away in 2014. This is a wonderful legacy on his behalf, and we are very grateful for the opportunity to incorporate his equipment into the Studio as well.
The response from the community has been phenomenal. The Studio is open 3 days a week, with 2 sessions per day. Each session is 2 hours long, and the classes cater for beginners, intermediate and advanced pupils.
There are no official structured classes as such. It will depend on whether participants have had any experience with clay. Heather will take you through the basic hand-building techniques and show you how to throw on the potter’s wheel. It is then up to you to decide what you would like to make and she is there to guide and advise you along the way.
Age is no barrier – we have students ranging from 9 to 90 years of age and come from a diverse background in ceramic practise. All aspects of the studio have been embraced – from hand-building to wheel thrown work, glazing and firing, and the spirit of a shared environment to work in.
The Studio is being used constantly, to the point where classes are booked out several months in advance. This truly is a real success story!
It has been such an exciting project to be involved with. Not only from the actual build point of view, but the incredible help and support from the local community.
The long term vision for the studio is as follows:
- Continue with classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced with a view to fostering the development of these students and encourage them to exhibit/sell their work in galleries
- Introduce specialty workshops which focuses on a specific skill (ie mosaics, tile making, tool making for ceramics, raku workshops, etc)
- Develop a master class program which looks at specific elements of ceramics, ie glaze technology, inviting professional ceramic artists to come and demonstrate specialised areas of ceramics, etc
- Develop a school holiday program for children – liaising with local schools and Home School program
- Provide a space for people to come and learn other skills as well ie lino cuts, printing, painting, etc
Cost: $10 Annual Membership
Session: $5 per 2 hour session + cost of materials and firings
If you would like further information about the Studio and classes,
please contact Heather on 6689 7449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further history of the Ceramic Studio, please click here
Knob Hall Gallery 719 Blue Knob Road, Lillian Rock NSW 2480
Thursday - Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm
The Ceramic Studio
Ceramic Artist and Teacher
image by Marie Cameron photographer
Tree of Life by Heather Kimber