This tag is associated with 15 posts

Eco Dyeing Experiments

I haven’t posted anything on the blog for ages and ages – mostly because of the business I began two years ago with my partner …. yes we have just had our 2nd birthday! The business is called ClayMotion, and we run art and craft classes and sell art supplies. I teach pottery, mosaics, acrylic pouring, drawing, and eco dyeing, so as you can imagine it is pretty hectic.

I do, however, want to try to dedicate some time to revitalising this blog for my own artwork and hope to post at least once a week …. so I will begin with Eco Dyeing.

I live on 10 acres in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia and have lots of trees and flowers on the property, and always have some sort of gorgeous foliage at my fingertips …. so I decided to try some eco dyeing, something I had been reading alot about, and watching YouTube videos, for quite some time – it was on the gunna list.

So, I have completed a few experiments now with some gorgeous results, and have a few videos up on my You Tube channel – something else I am going to be trying to pay more attention to moving forward!

A video is below the following photo gallery of the most recent workshop I have taught. You can also see more videos on the Eco Dyeing Playlist I have created which I will continue adding videos to as I do more experiments – well play, actually!

Scroll down, watch and enjoy – and I will see you next week ūüôā


Sunday Studio Visit – another art session for the Scotsburn Bushfire Recovery Art project

I am writing this a day late as yesterday (Sunday) I just ran out of time after being at the Scotsburn Bushfire Art Relief project all day and then visiting friends who live in Scotsburn, and just managed to save their property, for dinner.

The Scotsburn fires happened a week before Christmas last year (2015), and burnt through  4,000 hectares, taking livestock, shedding, homes and precious memories.


The Victorian government appointed a bushfire relief officer to facilitate healing in the community and as part of that initiative an arts program was established.

This is the second art session we have held in the community – you can check out the first session HERE.

And here are some pics of the finished works from the first session:

There will be a third session in mid November culminating in an exhibition to be held for a week and coinciding with the Anniversary Family BBQ being held in December to bring the community together and commemorate the bushfire.

The session included clay (me), drawing, felting and jewellery making, and the community had a great day with a BBQ lunch between sessions.

Following are some pics from the day and go to show how art is integral to bringing communities together and healing ūüôā

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.


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 ūüôā

Sunday Studio Visit – Workshopping Mosaics

Sunday Studio Visit – Workshopping Mosaics

This Sunday I am not in my studio – I am participating in a mosaics workshop in someone else’s studio!

I am working on  a project with the Ballarat Neighbourhood Centre to create a sensory garden for the Centre grounds. This is a project designed for the special needs group who meet once a week at the centre, and I am the artist on board. My role is to work with the group on some mosaic components for the garden Рat this stage each person will create a mosaic paver and then the group will work together on a wall mosaic.

I had dabbled in a little mosaics many years ago, and so a refresher was on the agenda. The Neighborhood Centre was lucky enough to receive a Regional Arts Victoria grant, and part of this was allocated to a professional development workshop.

The workshop was run by well known mosaic artist Helen Bodycomb at her studio at Lot 19 in Castlemaine. Lot 19 is an amazing artspace in the Central Highlands of Victoria comprising studio spaces, an outdoor stage, an art gallery suitable for exhibitions, music, marionette theatre, performance, and film, and an outdoor sculpture park.

The workshop took place over the weekend, with Monday being an open studio day for participants to finish any works without formal tuition, though Helen was on hand for any questions.

I attended the workshop with the project manager from the Neighbourhood Centre. My main focus for the workshop was to nut out the best way to make the pavers with the group… the project has a garden theme, so bright simple designs were in order, with a minimum of tile and/or glass cutting – keeping it simple and straightforward to cater for individual group members abilities and also the project timeline.

By Sunday lunchtime a prototype paver was made, with a few small designs being experimented with, for those unable to complete a whole paver. The design still needed to be mounted on the paver and grouted, but the design, dot mounted on fibreglass mesh, needed to dry first.

Paver Mosaic

So after lunch I was able to begin on a mosaic design of my own. As regular readers will know, most of my sculpture and artwork is organic and abstract, so this is the direction my mosaic design also followed. I decided to work mostly with stone divided up into section defined by rows of glass. I drew my design first and then transferred it to my mounting board using carbon paper. By the end of Sunday I had most of my design and layout completed so that Monday could mostly be spent finishing the paver prototype and then cementing my stone design onto the board.

Stone Mosaic in progress


It was great to have the opportunity to go back a third day and tie up the loose ends. The paver design was cement glued to the paver, but couldn’t be grouted until fully bonded – so I will do that tomorrow.

By the end of Monday I had almost finished my organic mosaic and was able to bring home the extra materials I would need to finish it, so stay tuned for a completed image soon.

Stone Mosaic in progress 1


And to finish off, some pics of me at the workshop!

Sunday Studio Visit : a miscellanous day

I’m not working on anything specific this Sunday so today’s¬†visit is a bit more general, looking at the day to day stuff that I¬†do in the studio.

As some readers may know I also teach classes and workshops from my studio ( I also visit schools and businesses for workshops), so today I unloaded the kiln from a firing I did a couple of days ago and reloaded it with a bisque firing, which I then fired. A bisque firing is the first firing in the ceramic process, which hardens the clay body so that is able to be glazed Рit is less porous and easier to handle without breaking.

Most of the work in the kiln was students, though I did put in some terracotta beads and marbled pendants I recently made, plus the “Made by Nature” series, which was the subject of a Sunday Studio Visit post a couple of weeks ago.

I also did a bit of marketing – Facebook, Twitter & Google+ – it can be so time consuming when you are self employed!

I also have a poetry and drawing blog¬†…. so today I wrote a poem for that and began a drawing… the drawing began its life as a ‘join the dots’ from a previous drawing I did in my journal, which is made of handmade paper. The previous drawing was created¬†using permanent ink pens, which are kind of like ‘posh’ textas which can bleed on unsized paper. So some of the marks from the previous drawing bled through to the next page, which I¬†then used as a starting point for todays drawing….

Apart from that it has been a gorgeous weekend here in Dunnstown with the amount of birdlife being mindblowing…. Parrots, Kookaburras, New Holland Honeyeaters, Wattle Birds, Blue Wrens (& a koala) and the family of magpies currently living on our property – two parents and three babies!! They are so amazing to watch and come up really close without worrying about us at all, which I love that they don’t see us as a danger, not even Eddy (the rescue dog) …AND so cute to see that alot of the bird life is drinking from the water feature we installed in the garden two years ago – yes, handmade by me!!


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 ūüôā

Sunday Studio Visit: Pit Firing Workshop

This Sunday afternoon there is excitement happening in the studio – I have been running a pit firing workshop!!

Yesterday we prepared, loaded and fired the pit, and this afternoon we unloaded, cleaned and polished the resultant pieces – which were fantastic!!

I won’t say too much as I will be writing a more in depth post with lots of pics during the coming week…. so for now a few tempting pics…. enjoy!!


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 Рand 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 Рor stay the weekend and explore everything!!

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

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 ‚Äúresults‚ÄĚ based modern society ‚Äď especially for children.

Clay Thong - image from

Clay Thong ‚Äď image from


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

This project¬†is a tactile project encouraging the children to ‚Äėsquelch‚Äô 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 ‚Äď 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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This work by Dawn Whitehand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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