Dawn Whitehand

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Wheelthrown Jugs and Vases

Wheelthrown  Jugs and Vases

It’s been a long time since I wrote in this blog…. 2020 has certainly been a mind altering experience! Prior to that my posting was slowing due to being so busy with the ClayMotion shop I have mentioned in previous posts … so the combination of both made 2020 an almost complete write off! But it’s not finished as yet.

Due to the ongoing social distancing requirements that will be in place most certainly until a vaccine is rolled out, which I suspect will be quite a while, I am unable to run classes at the shop-studio at full capacity. I haven’t for a while, and, as i said, i can’t  see that changing for months.

So, I have made the difficult decision to class the shop and relocate back to my home studio, where I can still accommodate socially distanced classes, but having lower overheads, will be more viable.

Having made the decision I now need to focus on the positive outcomes, and one of them is that I can now dedicate more time to my own art practice and post more regularly here on my blog. I also plan to attach a shopping cart to this site and sell my artwork online from here, rather than via a third party such as Etsy. During lockdown I have also been drawing more, so might share some of that process and results too.

So for my first post in months I would like to share some wheelthrown jugs and vases I threw on the pottery wheel back in February. These will be posted in the online shop, but if you are interested and don’t want to wait – great Christmas pressies – let me know and payment options can be organised via email.

Wheelthrown stoneware Jugs and Vases by Dawn Whitehand

They were thrown using BRT clay which is a course clay, but has a beautiful, speckled, textural body that is also gorgeous with a glaze over the top. I do always like to leave some of the body unglazed to feature the clay surface – that’s kind of the purpose of using it in the first place.

Following is a video of me throwing one of these vessels and also a video of the finished vessels.

Enjoy, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon on a much more regular basis!

Be sure to also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to follow along with my creative journey.

Sunday Studio Visit – Experimenting with Fluid Art : Acrylic Pouring

Since my first post about acrylic pouring a few months ago I have had another few plays with the technique and it is quite a fun spontaneous method. As you experiment more there is a certain amount of predictability to it – the colours you choose, the order that you layer your colours, things like that – but once it is on the canvas the paint takes on a life of its own. In this way it is a bit like pottery – you can control the form you make, apply your precisely measured glaze design and recipe, but once in the kiln the flame will take over and the kiln goddess will have her way!

Previously I have experimented with flip cups* and dirty pours*, so this time I thought I would try a couple of different methods I have seen while losing hours to You-Tube!!

Firstly I tried pouring from a jug in which I layered my paints. I poured in a circular motion onto a larger canvas … I videoed it, but have just a screenshot of what it looked like, because I can’t upload a video directly to WordPress and I don’t have it posted somewhere else to add via URL – anyway the screenshot gives you the idea (I hope). The pic next to it is the end result after some titling.

Next I lined up three toilet rolls and poured my paint into them directly on the canvas. Again, I can’t show the video, put a still pic, and the end result…. I enjoyed this method, and it is a good way to cover a more rectangular canvas.

Finally I did a colander pour! it was a fun method, and I will definitely try it again now that I know – sort of – what to expect! Finally I can show you a video of this as I posted it on my Instagram page. Watch the vid, then keep scrolling to see the final painting.

Dawn Whitehand - acrylic pouring

Acrylic pouring can be challenging in that you are pouring – usually – from a circular object onto a square canvas so that it can be hard to reach the corners without losing the integrity of the pour and “cells”. To counter this I tried pouring a little paint on the corners and then blowing through a straw so that the paint would flow and blend with the other colours resulting in a more integrated effect and not just a blob of paint in the corner – I think it worked quite well.

*Dirty Pour – different coloured paints are layered into a cup and poured onto the canvas.
*Flip Cup – different coloured paints are layered into a cup and flipped onto the canvas.

The Making of Earth Blanket

Sorry for the absence of late! Followers may know I have opened a shop in Central Ballarat which consumes a huge amount of my time. On top of that, currently an event – the Biennale of Australian Art – is happening in Ballarat, and I have work on show… which means I had to create it … which also took a huge amount of time, though pleasurable 🙂

My artwork, Earth Blanket,  is a ceramic installation comprised of over 20 individual pieces sited at Lake Wendouree as part of the Lakeside Sculpture Work, a component of the Biennale. In total there are 36 sculptures installed around the lake from around Australia.

During the making of the art I wanted to create blog posts documenting the progress, but just kept running out of time, or was too exhausted! So, here we are in hindsight – keep scrolling for pics and videos 🙂

Throwing the enclosed forms:

Manipulating the freshly thrown orbs:

Opening the glaze kiln:


The concept of the artwork is to trigger a re-connection to the Earth via an organic contemplation within the environment using a medium which is of the Earth herself – clay. It is only through a re-awareness of humanities symbiotic relationship to the Earth that we can stop consuming her and begin living with her.

I was very happy with my site at the lake; the site being an important conduit to delivering the artwork’s message.

BOAA is well worth a visit if you are in or near the Ballarat area – in fact it is worth planning a visit even if you are not! Besides the sculpture walk there are also lots of solo and group exhibitions, performances, music and much more happening, with a combination of both free and ticketed events. And there is plenty of time to visit as the biennale runs till November 6th 2018. You can check out the program on the BOAA WEBSITE.

Stay tuned for a post showcasing the fab works of the Sculpture Walk!



Sunday Studio Visit – celebrating sales

It has been ten days since my last post, and I have been unable to write Sunday Studio Visits – sorry about that! I promise to get back into routine…

Sundays have been a bit problematic for me recently as I have been travelling to Melbourne most Sundays over the past few weeks as my mum has been sick, had surgery, was in hospital, and all that that involves. She is out of hospital now and recovering at home, so hopefully life will become less stressful & hectic!

Today’s Sunday studio visit, though, is not in the studio, as I did still go to Melbourne to visit my mum – but I also wanted to visit the Victorian Contemporary Art Societies Brooch Exhibition, as I had three brooches in the show. The exhibition travelled over two locations: Toorak & Fitzroy. I couldn’t get to the Toorak opening, due to the above issues, so went to the Fitzroy opening.


Art Brooches : Upcycled materials, including buttons, guitar strings, seed beads, beads and jewellery wire


An annual exhibition, this year the show had over 200 art brooches including works from the USA and Belgium! The works were displayed in wall mounted perspex boxes and looked great.

The openings were also an opportunity for visitors to “try and buy”, a great idea. Upon arriving at the Fitzroy opening I was pleasantly surprised with two of my brooches having being sold! Sold brooches are still on ‘show’, though, through the substitution of images – another great idea!

The Art Brooch Show is an annual event held by the group and this is the first time I have entered, so was chuffed to make sales.

To reward myself there was a little retail therapy – who can go past a 50% off sale in Brunswick Street – a couple of wines at Naked Satan, a bar in Brunswick Street, and a yummy Vietnamese meal for dinner: there goes the earnings from the brooch sales! Oh well, easy come, easy go…

You can check out more of the brooches in the show on the Victorian Contemporary Art Societies website (I’m numbers 228, 229, 230).


Check in again next Sunday for another studio visit – or visit before that for some other interesting art stuff!

New YouTube Video: Pottery Techniques – Throwing on Bats

I’ve had a YouTube account for a while now and haven’t really used it very much…so I thought it was time to utilise it and get myself out there a bit more!

In the past I have mainly used YouTube to watch and listen to music, and I have kept all the music videos I have favourited in the past. Adding to this I am uploading ceramic/pottery tutorials and some slideshows of my drawings and photography.

As some readers may know I teach ceramics/pottery from my studio and so am often demonstrating and instructing during class. However,it often needs a few demos for concepts to become solidified in students’ minds – so, what better way than to have some video tutorials they can watch from home to help strengthen their learning.

This is the latest video tutorial I have uploaded, and features me demonstrating the technique of throwing on bats (no not the flying animal kind).

Throwing on bats (boards)is ideal for throwing multiples in one session – it is especially suitable for throwing bowls and platters as it allows you to remove them from the wheelhead without warping.

So, have a look, and checkout some of my others videos while you are there 🙂

The Earthen Centre at Backspace Gallery

As regular blog visitors may know I recently curated a ceramic show which is currently being exhibited at Backspace Gallery in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

This is the second exhibition I have curated in my arts career – the first also being a ceramic exhibition, which was pre-blog days (I don’t even have a Facebook album for it – so I may have to do some searching and publish a post), and I must say I do enjoy the process: so much so I may pursue involving myself more in curating artists into exhibitions in the future.

Developing a theme, and then asking artists to address this theme is interesting and inspirational – responses are wide ranging in technique and intellectual philosophy. I find that this, in turn, informs and inspires my own art practice. So it is a win win!!

The Earthen Centre showcases the diverse range of ceramic works produced by artists living within central Victoria who draw their inspiration from the fact that they live and breathe in a regional environment. Although wide ranging in technique and style, the common thread binding all of the work together is the natural landscape and the ability of the featured artists to use clay – the skin of the earth – to communicate their perceptions and understandings of their surroundings.

There was a great turn out for the opening – unfortunately I forgot my camera (very unusual of me) so I only have images of the works in situ, not of the actual opening 🙁

But anyway….

This is the (somewhat nervous and therefore short) speech I gave at the exhibition opening – followed by some pics of the exhibition:

Thankyou everyone for coming

I would like to begin with acknowledging the Wathurrong people, elders past and present, upon whose land we are now standing.

This exhibition aims to showcase ceramics artists from the Central Highlands region who use clay to respond to their semi-rural environment. These responses are varied including the environmental messages of Kate Vivian, the everyday narratives of Desiree Radi Mansbridge, the natural tones and textures of the landscape reflected in Judy Dewil, Petrus Spronk and Ri Van Veen’s works, and of course the personal stories of Deanne Gilson.

Clay is the ideal medium to express these wide ranging interpretations as it is highly plastic, malleable, and of course, is itself of the Earth.

It is hoped the stillness of this exhibition provides a point of quiet meditation and focus upon each piece so that the message being communicated by each artist can be heard.

I would like to thank all the artists for participating in the exhibition, so please enjoy another glass of wine, and remember all of the works are for sale, and there are no commission on sales – so all moneys go to the artists.



The exhibition is open Thursday – Sunday from 10am -4pm

And here are some pics…. ENJOY




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