Tuesday, June 16, 2009

HECTIC WEEK...or two.

Paper clay piece by Cyrus (Wai-Kuen) Tang, in the book 500 Ceramic Sculptures.

It's been a hectic few weeks rushing back and forth to Durban airport, sending off carvings to several different locations in the States. Up until now I've avoided sending my work overseas because of the astronomical freight charges from South Africa but eventually I decided that if people were prepared to pay the freight charges I should be excited and grateful for this opportunity. With the rate of exchange it's actually not as bad as I thought and after 2 months of research, sourcing the best and most economical way to go about it, I've finally done it! Three of my carvings are in the States as we speak. One is hanging in a beautiful home (photographs sent by the extremely patient and thoughtful buyer) .....and the other two are probably languishing in some bustling Customs Department, rousing the suspicion of beady eyed officials who don't like the look of my worn, weathered, wormy wood. I wish I could reassure them that I created the worn, weathered, wormy effect with my own two hands (at the risk of developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome too, I might add.) In the mean time I'm feeling extremely mother hennish about my wandering chicks. Hold thumbs that all is well!

It has also been a week of grappling with Flu bugs. The three of us all laid up at the same time, coughing and spluttering and looking like death ....... but today I'm taking interest in my new book, 500 Ceramic Sculptures which arrived on my doorstep via Kalahari.

I love the 500 series but I have to say this one is my least favourite. Not sure why....maybe it's just too clever or too contemporary...or too obsessed with genitalia..... (once I noticed one, they were everywhere)....or maybe it's just the Flu. Nevertheless there are some amazing pieces in this book.

Kate MacDowell's detailed porcelain sculptures .....

This intriguing piece by Gabriele Putz .....

....and these handwoven stoneware baskets by Phyllis Kudder Sullivan.

Memory by Kylli Koiv, Handbuilt stonware and porcelain.

Tomorrow I will be over the Flu and yet another public holiday....ready to get back to work. For some reason I'm expecting to battle with beginning.....but I'm also determined to put in a full day's work...so something has to happen! 


  1. Oh, I do hope your family gets back to being 100% soon. Thanks for posting these. It's nice that your one piece at least made it safe and sound - with pictures and all. Perhaps the other ones will arrive sooner than later. Postal systems and delivery systems are harsh at times. My littlest one was doing a semester in Australia and her package (most of her clothes) arrived just before she left to come home. I wonder where box was all that time. She said it was like Christmas since she had forgotten what she packed.

  2. Sorry to hear you have the flu. I am intrigued about the genitalia comment and sympathise with the worrying about your work bit.

    Are you going to do a post showing a start to finish for one of your pieces? Love to see that.


  3. Congratulations on becoming international.

    Any shipping tips for the untutored? I'm looking into this now.

  4. wishing you a speedy recovery & thanks for sharing a few of the pieces from the book.

  5. Thanks for the heads up about the 500 book. Did it come in a plain brown wrapper? Take care of yourself.

  6. Well, it sounds like good hectic, except for the flu, of course. Feel better soon. Loved the ceramics from your new book!

  7. Hope you feel better soon! Good for you to let your babies fly, but I understand how hard it is to let go.

  8. I accidentally left my work at home today so I decided to read blogs while gallery sitting. I found yours and it's been a wonderful half hour reading and looking.
    thank you!

  9. Yeah Robyn!! It's wonderful to know that your pieces are gracing the states :) Hopefully their beauty has softened the beady eyes and warmed their suspicious hearts!! This book looks beautiful.
    Sending healing thoughts your way with hopes the flu flies far from your door step, never to return. take good care,

  10. The "shovel sperm" are wonderful. How exciting to have some of your work across an ocean - very brave and exciting! Hope the flu leaves soon.

  11. Congratulations about expanding into the US. Your carvings should be everywhere! Hope you all feel better soon.

  12. Your comment about the 500 series - had no idea there was such a thing. A friend recently gave me a copy of 500 Handmade Books - now I know that it is a family of books. Thanks!

  13. Dolores, I'm sure all will be well, though any parcel coming into South Africa is a different story.

    Dave, I just might do that...

    ArtSparker, doing some research into reputable freight companies would be the best place to start.

    Thanks Michelle.

    Don, LOL...it could have been the effects of cough mixture distorting my vision. Perhaps I should review the book in a week's time.

    Thanks Willow.

    Beverly, I'll feel a lot happier once I've heard they are safe.

    Bridget, thank you! Glad you enjoyed the read.

    Karin, it is wonderful isn't it?

  14. Wow! Your work in the happy hands of a new owner and the other two also here in the states...congratulations!
    Sorry about the flu but I was reading determination to be done with it and back to work...good luck with a fresh start!
    Where was the genitalia!ha Lovely photos.

  15. The hand woven stoneware baskets by Phyllis Kudder Sullivan are really intriguing. Wonder how she did that.

  16. Hi Robyn,
    My heart skipped a beat when I saw the pages...then realized they were paper clay (beating faster)pages.
    Always a wonder here :)
    It must be an amazing feeling, having your work shipped off around the world!
    Get well soon Robyn...the flu is rife over here too!

  17. Hey Robyn,
    Sorry you all were down with the icky flu bug. Hope you are back to 100% soon.
    Congrats on going international! That Rocks!
    I will hold thumbs and keep fingers crossed for the 2 carvings that haven't reached their new homes yet.

    Love the sperm! Just love them!

  18. Oh, these paper clay pieces. Oh, Oh. Now I’m thinking….. Congratulations on your International sales and shipping expertise. Wonderful to have jumped that hurdle! Your art is so unique, so resonate. Wishing you happy days of work.

  19. Beautiful works of art - your blog is a joy to look at. Glad you have started sending them abroad - your creations have got to leave the nest, even if it hurts. Hope the flu is going rapidly.

  20. Renee, yes the "shovel sperm" piece is rather ingenius isn't it?
    You have a treat ahead of you to discover the 500 series! They are wonderful books!

    Seth, that's so sweet of you. It is exciting to have my work in the states.....I just wish I could hitch a ride.

    Mary Anne, You're a hoot! I didn't include any of the genatalia pieces in this post. Perhaps my next post should??

    Maya, I had to look several times and they still look like fibre baskets to me.

    Jo, aren't those pages yummy? I bet you could write on them. It is an amazing feeling having my work so far away in a country I've never been to.

  21. You still manage to create an intriguing and interesting post even with all the germs. I'm glad you are looking forward to your next carving.

  22. Oh GWS! Congratulations on becoming international. I like the fact that you have pictorial evidence of one of your 'chicks' in it's new home.

  23. well, let's see - first, so sorry you've all had the flu! it's just the worst!, but I love your determination not be be sick any longer - huge, huge, congratulations on your sales here! that is just wonderful! and may I say, I was astonished to find out that first picture was of ceramic paper - even though I know it is ceramic, I'm still having a hard time believing it! great post!

  24. I do hope you are feeling well now. You have so much to keep you busy. The ceramic book is inspiring. Your art going to the States. How wonderful. I bet you get so busy you won't have time to get sick. tee hee... take care.

  25. Fantastic news about your work being here in the States, Robyn! Thrilled for you. I know how it feels to have your babies scattered about the planet but you do get used to it and rest assured they are in good hands.

    I enjoyed the images from your book. Some very inspiring pieces. I enjoy sculpture in white oddly enough for one who adores color so much. It's interesting when we plunk down to buy a pricey art book and there are only a few that seem to really speak to us, but for that I always feel it was worth the purchase.

    Feel better soon :) xx m.a.

  26. Congratulations on getting orders from the States and around the world! That's fantastic! Hope you get better soon, although you sound really hard working and determined for someone who has the flu... :)

  27. thought that top image was your journals for a minute--and i got very envious. :)
    Also love the Memory abstract a lot.

    So glad you are getting better! I decided if Customs keeps your "chicks" its because they are enchanted and want to spend some time with some great art! Can't blame them.

    Hope you all feel 100% soon.

  28. Poor you Robyn(and your family of course). I hope you are all getting better now). Flu is the pits. Congratulations on getting your gorgeous sculptures into America. I agree with you, if people are willing to pay the shipping charges, then why not.

    Like you I love the 500 series and I have quite a few of them. I will definitely not be getting that one though. There are so many disciplines they haven't touched on yet. I am hoping they may do one on mosaics.

    Have a good week.

  29. Jackie, I'm feeling human again!

    HHMNB, it was the cherry on the top receiving a photo of "Cows for Lobola" installed in a beautiful home.

    Jeane, I thought the first photo would have you all stymied :-)

    Lisa, much better thank you. I love to be busy!

    Mary Ann, that's the way I feel too. If there are a few pieces that speak to me I can totally justify buying the book. It doesn't take much....

    Anaka, I'm over the worst. A week off is far too long.

    Mansuetude, it would be wonderful if that were the case....Customs wanting to spend time with my work :-)

    Cathy, don't let me put you off. There are a lot of stunning pieces and many that are humerous. 500 Mosaics would be fantastic.

  30. Bravo Robyn! Your work deserves to be released into the world. Thanks for sharing the ceramic images. I particularly loved the Kate MacDowell piece. Hope you are feeling better soon!

  31. I love those woven stoneware baskets...something about baskets/vessels.
    I hope that you are over this flu and happily carving away...

    Jacky xox

  32. As I write this you and your family must have kicked your flu & must be in the best of health and working away :)
    And i can so understand the resistance to shipping abroad and other such practical nightmares. If I can do away with such concerns i would be so much happier.
    The Book and the little shovel sperms by Gabriele Putz is amazing. You share so much of your art and inspiration with us which we would otherwise never have seen.

  33. Well, the flu (or a parasite) does provide plenty of bathroom humor.

    And don't worry mother hen - I'll let you know as soon as it gets here!

  34. I'm so sorry to visit and find you ill!! Best wishes for a speedy recovery. You know, I've never had the flu. I mentioned that at a dinner party last week and everyone looked at me as though I were some sort of freak. But, even though I can't know how badly you are feeling...I do wish you to feel better soon!!

    And hearty congratulations on having your work out in the world!!

  35. Hope you feel better as I am typing this note. How exciting that some of your totems have made their way here. It makes me happy knowing that some of them might be close enough for me to see. Thank you Robyn, for all of your comments regarding my niece. It's been a rollercoaster, but she's back on the mend again and we are continually amazed at her determiniation.

  36. How exciting that your beautiful totems are travelling across the ocean... Congratulations!!! I hope by now you're feeling a little better, over the beginning hump and enjoying your work again :) I love how some of these ceramics have such amazing textures and they look like they're made of other materials entirely. Incredible!

  37. I read on Laura's blog (Fantastic Fabric) that you have a wonderful blog. And she is right. I will come back to see more!

  38. Well hello Robyn! Nice to meet you at last! I've been spying on you since Lyle referred to you a week or so ago. Yes, my posting title is probably a bit confusing, but my mail, finally received by Lyle, is now rightfully owned by her. Hence her decision to send the tragic fashion couple out of the States (I think they've been banned because of their frightful fashion sense?). So like two little locusts blowing along with the wind, they're about to touch down in Sth Africa. Perhaps you could alter them or jazz them up with a touch of tiger stripes?

  39. PS. Hope you're over the flu now? We have 200+ cases of swine flu over here in NZ (its the flu season right now, it being winter and all). I'm hoping I catch it because next year's season is apparently going to be far worse. So a bit of immunity might be a good thing.

  40. Kate, so sweet of you to say so. The Kate MacDowell piece is fantastic...the photo I took doesn't do it justice.

    Jacky, the flu has almost flewn :-)

    Vineeta, I'm very grateful that I am able to send my work over seas but initially I was tempted to stay in my comfort zone.

    Heather, I appreciate that, thank you :-)

    Pamela, that is amazing that you've never had the flu. It must be all the brisk walks you take with Edward. Luckily the flu bug we had is not one of the nasty ones that are floating around South Africa at the moment.

    Kerri, Avery seems to be such a spirited little girl. I'm sure that is going to make a big difference to her recovery.

    Kendalee, thank you, I'm back in the swing of things.

    Corryna, thank you so much!

    Debrina, I look forward to meeting the well travelled couple and would never dream of altering them. That frightful fashion sense makes them who they are today :-)

  41. How exciting that your sculptures are now in the States. I've had fantasies of owning one of your sculptures someday and this only feeds it :D

  42. all the 500 series are so well produced. Always contemporary and reflective of great traditional ways too.