This category contains 15 posts

Sunday Studio Visit – Paper Marbling

Todays studio visit is about visiting a fellow artists studio…

I have recently made contact with an artist group in my area called MAGNET – Moorabool Artists Group Network. I live on the cusp of Ballarat Shire and the Moorabool Shire and do most of my networking on the Ballarat side of where I live, so when I heard about this group – through an exhibition they held which I visited – I made contact, and have since met with them a couple of times. The group aims to hold regular meetings and dinners, organise exhibitions and workshops, and generally provide support.

Today, one of the members, Robert, who is a marbler on paper and ceramics, and experiments with other materials, generously held a free workshop for fellow group members. He is at the end of a workshop period and needed to use up left over ink and sizing…. what a great offer and professional development opportunity for the group!

I had never experienced paper marbling before and thoroughly enjoyed it!

As with the ceramic process there is an element of randomness and chance, but as with ceramics, the more practice and experience you gain the more ability you develop to control the randomness – well not really ‘control’, but you have more foresight about being able to predict the outcomes. Perhaps this affinity with the ceramic process is what I found appealing… I’ll have to do more and find out!

I think I have found another passion (I am running out of time to pursue all my passions) and am interested to experiment with this process on the ceramic surface, and also some of my own handmade paper.

Following are a few pics of some of my finished pieces taken in situ – some are a bit blurry, but you get the idea – I hope.

Mosaics project in Ballarat

Hello all – an update on the community mosaic project for you, previous posts of which can be seen HERE.

After finishing our mosaic pavers for the sensory garden we are now full steam ahead on completing the group mural for the garden – this is a bit more tricky as we have to make sure the separate components match up with each other in the overall scheme.


The group setted on a tree theme, which I then divided into portions so that each student could have a unique input into their segment of the tree – so we have lizards, owls, flowers, snakes and all sorts of gardeny stuff!

It is shaping up to look fantastic!! I a very excited 🙂

Mosaics Project at the Ballarat Neighourhood Centre

Regular readers will know I am co-ordinating a community art project at the Ballarat Neighbourhood House. The great news it is all on schedule – the individual mosaics project is almost complete…. it won’t be long till we move onto the group mosaic mural.

It has been such a great project with the students being so enthusiastic about learning something new within the context of literacy and numeracy.

Here’s some pics of the almost finished work – some pavers have been grouted and need a final clean-up, the others have been cemented to the concrete pavers and will be grouted next week.

They will look fantastic once they are installed in the community garden.


Term Three and a Continuation of Art Projects

Art Projects in Ballarat

As regular readers will know besides making art which I like to EXHIBIT and designing under my DeeDeeDeesigns brand, I also teach and run workshops in and around Ballarat.

The last few weeks I have been on term break from teaching, but now I am well and truly back in the swing.

As well as running ceramic classes and workshops for my ClayMotion business, I have also been involved in a community gardening project with the Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre – you can check out an earlier post HERE.

I am co-ordinating the mosaics portion of the gardening project, and today we began mounting our mesh mosaic designs onto the concrete pavers which will be installed into the garden – there was much excitement, it is starting to become real!!

Stay tuned for further developments 🙂



Mosaics Project in Ballarat

Mosaics Project at the Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre

As some readers may know I am involved in a mosaics project working with special needs people at the Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre.

The intention is to create a sensory garden, and within the garden there will be mosaic garden pavers and a wall mural.

It began two weeks go with planting some sensory plants in the garden such as rosemary, mint, sage and thyme.

The following week we researched and chose designs. We transferred them onto larger sheets of paper the same size as the pavers and coloured them with the colours everyone wanted to use for their mosaic design.

This week we began to lay and glue our tiles to the mesh we are using to mount the designs onto the pavers. This is a great way of working because the designs we completed last week can be placed under the mesh and easily followed when applying the tiles.

We are using glass tiles for these pavers, rather than ceramic, because being on the ground in a gravel path they may receive a little foot traffic and gravel debris. If the tiles get a little scratched this will be less noticeable as the colour of the glass goes all the way through the tile as opposed to ceramic where the colour/glaze sits on the surface only.

We will continue laying our design for the next sessions, and then after the break it will be time to mount them on the pavers.

The group are really engaged in the project which makes it very enjoyable – stay tuned for future updates 🙂

Pit Firing Workshop in Ballarat

My last Sunday Studio Visit post gave readers the heads up that I was conducting a pit firing workshop on the weekend… and it was great! Living in Australia means that I have to co-ordinate my pit firings between fire ban seasons, and living in Ballarat -cold and rainy (it is pouring as I speak)- means that scheduling a pit firing in the ‘not’ fire ban season can be risky…. I could wake up and the ground could be frozen…. well, maybe very soggy! However, the weather was perfect!! Not raining, not freezing cold, not windy….ideal! Student works had been low bisque fired in the lead up to the workshop so we were all set to go…. Saturday involved preparing the pots with seaweed, gum leaves, lemon leaves, copper wire, string, chicken wire and anything else handy; preparing the pit; loading the pit; and throwing in a match (the best bit). After a few hours of stoking corrugated iron was placed over the pit to allow for a slow overnight simmer. Sunday afternoon we explored the results – hot work!! OH&S: wear gloves!! We then cleaned and polished the works and admired the results – lots of photos and Facebook uploading!! There will be more pit firing workshops to come and you can sign up to information about upcoming events by subscribing to this blog, or I can put you on a mailing list – just contact me (link at top right hand of website). Meanwhile here are some pics of the weekend 🙂

Lotus Flowers and Chinese Dragons

Last week I visited Napoleons Primary School in regional Victoria to make some lotus flowers, which were to be incorporated into a Blessing of the Ground ceremony at Len Frazer Reserve – the site for the future Chinese monument, public art initiative of the City of Ballarat being designed by John Young.

The monument is due to be installed in November this year, and recognises the presence in, and contribution to, Ballarat by the Chinese population. The Chinese originally arrived in Ballarat during the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s and 60s, and though sojourners – meaning they had every intention of going back to their homeland – many stayed on in Ballarat and other parts of Australia. China at the time was a country of feuding, famine and poverty especially in the south, which is from where many of the sojourners travelled – to find their fortune and return to help their families.

Napoleons Primary school is a small regional with about eighty children, and each child present on the day made a lotus flower, from prep through to grade six. We used air dry terracotta clay for the project, so no firing was required. The children enjoyed the tactile opportunity afforded by clay – which, in my experience, most kids do!

At the end of the day I took all the flowers back to my studio to dry and then spray painted them in white, gold and red – lucky colours for the Chinese. they were installed in a circle on the morning of the ceremony in front of where the speakers would be standing. the speakers included the City of Ballarat Mayor, an emeritus professor from Sovereign Hill, the artist John Young, and the owner of the Golden Crown restaurant. The Golden Crown restaurant is built on the site of a historic Chinese eating house highly frequented during the gold rush, and indeed this is why the monument is being erected in Len Frazer Reserve – because there was a large conclave of Chinese camps, eateries and temples along Main Road.

As part of the celebrations I also made four lotus flowers – one for each speaker. I made the flowers from Magiclay, an air dry paperclay. I had never used this material before and it was very different in texture and feel to what I usually use. Initially it was very sticky – it stuck to the table, the rolling pin, the knife, to me – I almost gave up! But then the hair dryer saved me. Once I eliminated the ‘sticky’ factor it was much easier to control, though I still didn’t use a knife to cut it – I used scissors! Once dry I spray painted the flowers gold.

The ceremony was held on Sunday morning  in conjunction with Harmony Day celebrations in Camp St, Ballarat (Harmony Day was 21st March), and went over well with lots of people in attendance despite the cool morning – the highlight being the Chinese dragon – in my opinion. 🙂

Also a big thanks to the Golden Crown restaurant who provided a delicious yum cha after the ceremony.

Here are some more pics of the morning 🙂


Hello Fellow Bloggers!! Apologies for being so absent lately, it has been a hectic few months!! (and yes there is a reason besides Christmas which will be announced soon). I have been missing in action both in posts and visiting other blogs and I am hoping to get my act together soon! In the meantime I am running some school holiday workshops – via my ClayMotion business from my studio in Ballarat.

Ballarat is a wonderfully central location for people to visit from Melbourne or other Central Highlands regions – and if the kids do a morning class you have the afternoon to explore other stuff in Ballarat such as Sovereign Hill, the Gold Museum, the MADE Museum or  junk shops and cafes – or stay the weekend and explore everything!!

But in the meantime here is the information about the children’s classes I am offering this January 🙂

Feel free to share with creative kids – or kids that don’t realise they are creative as yet!!


ClayMotion classes and workshops for children are designed to encourage individual creativity, fine motor skills and tactile development, all of which are important skills to hone in our current modern fast paced technological world. Being able to relax in the environment of creativity is an important factor to maintain balance in a “results” based modern society – especially for children.

Clay Thong - image from

Clay Thong – image from


Wednesday 15th January 10-12noon $30.00 including materials and firing.

This project is a tactile project encouraging the children to ‘squelch’ their feet in the clay to make imprints for a set of clay thongs.

Children will roll out clay, imprint their feet into the soft clay, cut out the shape of their feet, and make their imprints into thongs.
The thongs will be decorated using brightly coloured slips.

Parents will be contacted when the thongs are fired and ready to pick up.


Herb Houses: Image from

Herb Houses: Image from


Wedneasday 22 january 10-12noon $30.00 including materials and firing.

This project is great for children who like to grow things – herbs, cactus or even the old fashioned onion tops!

Children will make clay houses from rolled out slabs of clay which will have no roof so that herbs or cactus can be planted into the house.

Houses will be painted with coloured slip.

Parents will be contacted when the thongs are fired and ready to pick up.


Team Building Workshop with Mars Confectionery Employees

Teambuilding programs are a great way to build upon employee communication skills, company morale and overall productivity.

CREATIVE teambuilding is an even better way to generate listening skills, empathetic skills and thinking skills.

Todays creative teambuilding workshop with Mars employees was a great example of this concept. Though small (5) , they were a group used to working with each other, being in a research and design team. Sometimes  however, such closeness can germinate negative elements such as  familiarity and complacency.  Creative teambuilding can help to overcome these workplace issues through fostering an environment of listening and co-operating. By describing and communicating an individuals vision of what a project – in this case a coffee cup – should look like, participants are encouraged to  increase their awareness of another  individuals personal preferences – this develops a number  of skills in the group participants  such as listening, empathy and  bonding. The project must be completed in a certain time frame which also focuses on time management skills within a studio environment and enables a team member to put themselves in another’s place, and developing workplace skills that include direct one-on-one discussion of aesthetic preferences.  The general group communication is in an informal relaxed environment, enabling  team members to realise their visions which helps to extend and consolidate understandings of fellow workmates, which in turn creates a more thorough understanding of workplace communications and networkings by increasing abilities to listen, and be considerate to other’s needs within the team.

Teambuilding sessions are held at the ClayMotion studio which is situated 10km from Ballarat and 100 km from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The studio sits on a peaceful 10 acre property providing a serene getaway for creative development.

Teambuilding sessions with ClayMotion can be booked online at the website or by phoning 0438382522

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Children’s Pottery Birthday Parties at ClayMotion

The latest birthday party to be celebrated at ClayMotion studios was for a 7yr old and a group of friends. The girls made ceramic treasure boxes by hollowing out a block of clay and painting them in coloured slips. Balloons, cakes and presents are all part of the fun.

If you live in the Ballarat area or surrounds this is a great alternative to McDonalds parties and other venues that offer junk food and not much else.

The kids have a wonderful time, and have something lasting they can take away with them and feel proud about.

You can check out the details about children’s parties via the ClayMotion website, as well as booking and contact information.

ClayMotion also offer adults and children’s ceramic classes, creative teambuilding workshops, professional development workshops and Mums and Bubs sessions. All details can be found on the website.

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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.