The end of my Australia trip was spent traveling through larger cities lecturing and demonstrating at universities. In Sydney I did a demo at the National Art School. This beautiful and unusual campus occupies the former Darlinghurst prison. The sandstone buildings are tightly grouped and surrounded by a high gated wall. The formality of the former prison grounds sat in stark contrast to the students lounging on the lawn during lunch.
As it turns out prisons are perfect for art studios. The already subdivided spaces easily convert into studios. The picture above shows the senior BFA studios in the loft above the throwing lab.
This small building near the exterior wall of the campus used to be the mortuary. The hour glass, scull/cross bones, and extinguished torch are all symbols explaining the building's original purpose. Their serious tone cracked me up. They remind the students to "make smart art or else...."
The head of workshop at NAS is Merran Esson. She graciously invited me to her downtown home where I got to see her studio and collection. She was working towards an exhibition and had many example of work in process. Her heavily textured forms are covered with a green matt glaze that accentuates the rock-like surfaces. She had recently spent time in the Outback so we had a nice discussion about the influence the trip had on her work.
In the evening we drove down to the Sydney Harbor. I was excited to see the Sydney Opera House, one of Australia's most famous buildings. The Jorn Utzon design is breathtaking. The rounded triangular structure reminds me of Deborah Schwartzkoph's angular forms.