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The Two Jimmys

By | Art, Disability, Lifestyle

When I started taking classes in pottery last year, I began to hand build creatures out of clay. They were initially creatures from my head. Mythical creatures that live in dreams and fantasy stories. One day, I was beginning what I expected to be another mythical creature. This piece of clay had other ideas, I sculpted my last guide dog Roscoe.

That sculpture showed me just how well my hands can see. It doesn’t just look like a dog, it looks like him.

After this, Fee suggested I could make other animals and give them disabilities. Show through sculpture the abilities of people with various disabilities. The idea was to create the animal and then write a story of their journey. This story could continue when they found new homes. Incorporating the journey of the person, or people they found homes with.

One of the first animals I made was a water dragon. I had a willing model to use as my guide. Jimmy, Fee’s water dragon who lives at the studio.

I’d never touched a lizard like him. I’d stroked the backs of a couple of blue-tongues and gone out of my way to avoid any opportunity to pat a snake. I knew that Jimmy was at the studio and was curious, but didn’t actually meet him until I decided to sculpt him.

The first time I held him was magical. He sat on my hand and I could feel him breathing. I was afraid to move. Not because I was scared of Jimmy, rather, I was afraid of disturbing him. His skin felt like rows of little bumps, His spine is smooth, as long as you stroke him down from head to tail. The most surprising and beautiful thing that day was that he let me touch his face. I moved my hand very slowly and gently from the back of his head over his face, prepared to stop at any sign he didn’t like it. He didn’t react at all.

I’ve always been told I have a very gentle and smoothing touch, but that day, I felt like I’d been given one of the greatest gifts of my life.

Slowly I started to get to know Jimmy and he began to know me. He liked to lie across my chest and tuck his little head under my chin. And for me, I loved the feel of his skin under my fingers. Slowly I realised that I was far calmer and in the present when I held Jimmy. I also got to know what he looked like with each session. All of this memory and feeling I put into my sculpture.

It’s been a long process. What with lockdown and other projects getting in the way, but Jimmy the sculpture finally came home with me. I can see little errors in the work. I haven’t gotten the texture of his skin quite right. The body isn’t narrow enough at the hips. What’s surprised me is that, I can see these errors, but I’m not beating myself up over them. I’ve been taking notes for next time. Learning more about the craft so I can improve with each piece.

Just before I brought Jimmy the sculpture home, with some help, I got a photo of the two Jimmys. Jimmy the Lizzard was quite happy to sit beside his likeness.

I finished the actual sculpting more than six months ago, but Jimmy still comes out of his tank for cuddles. Now he likes to sit on my shoulder while I work. He’ll sit on my back with his head and front feet over my shoulder. Wandering around on my back and shoulders when he wants to find a more comfortable spot.

I’ve come to care very deeply for this magical Water Dragon. Partly because I like spending time with him, but more importantly, because he’s happy to trust me.

He’s been generous enough to let me use him as a muse. So I hope you all like Jimmy the sculpture as much as I do.

 

-Sam Ogilvie

SCULPT AND SIP NIGHT

By | Art

A few weekends ago saw the first of Art Mania’s new and popular pottery workshops.

On Saturday night, a group of energetic and excited women arrived at the studio for “sculpt and sip.”

Apart from myself, all were new to the Art Mania Studio experience.

Sip and Sculpt was an evening of wine, food and hand-building with clay.

Each of us were given a portion of clay and after Kristie demonstrated a few key techniques, we were told to go for it. To make whatever we imagined. The volume was high, the energy sparkling with possibility and the wine flowed. Everyone was keen to give hand-building a go.

There was bonding in collective creativity, the opportunity to have time out from partners and children and a general enjoyment of the night. 

Part way through the evening, the group broke for a chance to enjoy one of Fee’s legendary platters. There were four types of cheeses, fruit, salad vegetables, cold meat and crackers. Everyone tucked in and continued to laugh and chat. And of course, more wine was poured and sipped by all.

In the first half of the workshop, we were encouraged to get their pieces completed, ready for stage two, after the break. One of the advantages of the weather warming up, is that pieces will dry faster.

At the studio, we work with two different types of glazes. There are under glazes. These are the glazes used for your base coat. These glazes are matte and after firing, do not change. What you see on your piece, as you glaze, is the colour your piece will stay. The other kind are fantasy glazes. These will change colour after firing. They also contain small chunks of glass and crystal. These little pieces will melt on firing adding a gloss and shimmer to your piece. Under glazes are the only ones that can be applied before the first firing. This first firing is known as a bisque fire.

On Saturday night, the group was offered that chance to apply an under glaze to their pieces. Part of the workshop was this opportunity to under glaze their work and then have it fired. Once the firing is done, a clear glaze will be applied before a second, glaze firing, is done. In around six weeks, the members of the workshop will be able to come in and collect their completed work.

I have to confess, the group was just a little loud for me. I only have a small voice and I’ve learnt over the years that there are times that I am just not going to be able to be heard. This doesn’t bother me, I like the dynamic energy. The joy of people letting go and letting themselves see what will happen, what they can create. I can sit and create, let the conversation wash over me and enjoy the night. They were a great group and I hope everyone comes back and participates in some of our other workshops.

We’ve also just launched our fourth term program. Part of next term are more sip and sculpt workshops. We are also running a high tea!

This is my favourite time of the term. When the current term is about to wind up and the next term is shimmering and sparkling just out of reach.

I love to sit down and workout what I’d like to try in the coming up term. It’s a lot like Christmas for me. So please, check out what’s still left this term, you might be lucky enough to snag a spot. Check out next term’s offerings and find something you’re interested in. Or maybe something that will push you outside your comfort zone.

I hope to see you in class soon!

– Sam Ogilvie

Top 5 points why one should do a pottery course with Art Mania Studio!

By | Art, Lifestyle

Top 5 points why one should do a pottery course with Art Mania Studio!

 

Something that comes from the earth, tactile, resulting in engaging in the creative brain which can be described as relaxing and therapeutic at the same time! When we work with clay, through hand-building or spinning clay on a wheel, our mind and body are in a state of synergy while being focused on the tactile process: the touch and the feel of soft clay between our fingers. 

The perfect mindfulness process to creating a door for your outside worries to fall away.

 

1. An outlet for ‘Self’ 

We all need an out from time to time! Too often than not, everyday life gets in the way of allowing us regular weekly time out to truly do something for ones’ self! There is a plethora of documented statistics, evidence based which demonstrate the importance for both physical and mental wellbeing, by engaging the creative brain. Pottery offers you an outlet for self!

2. The Brain’s Pleasure Centre

The brain produces many natural chemicals, dopamine is just one.  Dopamine affects your emotions, movements and your sensations of pleasure and pain. When our sensors kick in with the tactile processes or  hand-building with clay or working on a pottery wheel… BINGO! The brains receptors kick in and you start to feel good, hence the term ‘Pleasure Centre’!

3. Improve focus

When the pleasure centre kicks in while working with clay or on a Pottery wheel, you will notice improvements in areas including: flow and spontaneity, reduction in grief related thoughts; assists with self-identification and self-expression while also bolstering confidence and self-esteem. Being able to fully focus with the combination of hand and brain engagement assist the mind in coping with everyday life.

4. Reduces stress

 Our hands can be the answer to the reduction in stress, depression and anxiety! The importance of touch opens the flood gates to the pleasure centre.  Think about it…! Our hands can be the perfect outlet for creativity and focus; therefore outside distractions and influences are reduced to allow you time for ‘self’.

5. Helps reduce pain and discomfort

The movement of working with clay and creating on the pottery wheel is gentle yet strengthening to the hands, wrists, and arms. This can be beneficial to those prone to arthritis in the hands, as it promotes joint movement and dexterity. It’s common knowledge ‘stress’ can lead to feeling sensations of pain and discomfort. Creative hobbies – pottery is known for reducing stress and boosting self-esteem! It’s the natural chemical released in the brain which alleviates pain receptors while working with clay!

So tap into your pleasure centre, and get your clay on at Art Mania Studio’s fantastic welcoming studio space!

UPCOMING POTTERY CLASSES

Why enrol your child at Art Mania?

By | Art, Lifestyle

Creative Kids Voucher

Do you remember the look of pride and joy in your child’s eyes when you put their first piece of artwork onto the fridge? Remember the sounds of excitement and enthusiasm as texta’s or pencils scattered across the kitchen table as they decided to start their next creative project?

Recapture that excitement and pride by taking advantage of the $100 Creative Kids vouchers! Kids are taken on the most amazing journey over a term here at Art Mania Studio, they visibly blossom as their skills improve and their perspective on what’s possible widens.

Creativity is a foundational key to life. Kids shine and the ripple effect can be seen across every area of their life.

Art Mania Studio offers their After School Development Program for kids (age 5-12) and teens (age 13-18), to make sure that every child who wants to get creative, can! Wednesdays and Thursdays 4-5:30pm for 10 weeks of term is when it’s on! Weekdays no good for your family? The Krafty Kids Sat morning class also runs for the 10 weeks of term and gives an equal opportunity for growth and creative expression. These classes are a fantastic way for your child to delve into the creative world, and explore a variety of methods and techniques each week.

As parents and caregivers, there are a million different activities you can register your child for. So why should you choose to enrol your child at Art Mania?

  • Creativity is for every child (and adult!). It isn’t about having a special inclination towards being artistic; it’s not about how talented you are; it’s not even about whether or not you like your own work. Skills and techniques can be learned (just like riding a bike!), under the guidance of our wonderful tutors. Being creative has its own benefits – benefits that are just as important as those your child might get from team sports or similar.
  • Did you know that encouraging creativity in children encourages concentration, critical thinking and problem solving? Our classes engage participants in receiving and giving feedback – an essential social skill. Also, being creative helps your child learn to express themselves in different ways – this is a particular benefit for teens and preteens!

One thing that is so important is helping your child find their niche in life. The way of the world is changing and learning to use different parts of the brain will help your child in managing the demands of living in contemporary society and finding creative solutions to what life throws at them.

Our after school and weekend programs at Art Mania are a safe, fun space for your child or teen to really experience the world of art. They’ll explore different techniques and artists each week, with practical experience at the heart of each session.

Every child deserves the gift of creativity and expression.

APPLY FOR A CREATIVE KIDS VOUCHER

AVAILABLE KIDS & TEEN CLASSES

Creative Kids Voucher

By | Art, Lifestyle

Creative Kids Voucher

We’ve got some fantastic news – we are now a registered provider of the NSW Government’s Creative Kids rebate offers! These rebates give you $100 towards your school-aged child participating in our awesome kid’s art programs!

Parents and Carers can apply for a Creative Kids voucher through their MyServiceNSW account (you will need to log in or register) link here. You get one voucher worth $100 per school-aged child, and there’s no need to print the voucher after you have applied for it – all we need is the voucher number, expiry date, and your child’s name and date of birth.

From there, your child will be ready to enter an amazing world of creativity!

What do our Kid’s Art Programs offer? Your child will have the opportunity to express themselves in new and exciting ways, experiment with a whole smorgasbord of art mediums, but most of all, have FUN! To date we’ve experimented with painting, drawing, clay work, basket weaving – students have even created selfies – self-portraits away from the screens!

Kids need regular opportunities to work out their creative intelligence: it gives them a chance to make choices, express themselves, be creative (applying techniques in new and unusual ways), and to gain confidence in the process of creativity, rather than focusing on the finished product. These things are so important for kids of all ages, so that they can really hone not only their sense of self but also their ability to make choices. This program also helps kids who may not excel in traditional after school activities such as sport: we give them a chance to find something they can excel at, and spark a lifelong passion for creativity.

We’re running special Creative Kids classes for term 2, for new participants. If your child is already enrolled in our exciting kid’s art program, they can continue in their regular time slot. For new participants, we are opening two special classes for you to choose from.

Wednesday afternoons, 4pm – 5:30pm (two classes: one for primary and one for high school)

Saturday mornings, 10am – 11:30am (one class, with all ages learning together)

Both of these classes run for ten weeks, and the total cost is $300. For that, your child receives expert tuition, all gear required, new friends, time to explore, the chance to learn creative skills and the chance to explore art theory (this is always incorporated into practical and fun activities!).

With your voucher, you will get all this for $200! Awesome!

APPLY FOR A CREATIVE KIDS VOUCHER

AVAILABLE KIDS & TEEN CLASSES