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Today I remembered I had a website.....

Today I remembered I had a website.  LinkedIn, BranchedOut, Pinterested and Facebooked, so much time is spent internet socialising that my website gets forgotten.  Itís because it gives me no direct feedback or interaction and yet it is such an important tool for exposing my work.  So today Iím becoming reacquainted with it.  Iíve changed the design and layout, this will be the fourth change that Iíve made since opening the site two years ago.  The image I want associated with my work always gives me a problem because I cross borders with the pieces I produce; I have my functional ware which is bright and playful and would take a web design in one direction to convey that message, but then I have my exhibition work which is conceptual and although sprinkled with humour usually has a serious underlying message.  So for the time being what you are now seeing is what you are getting.

And as for my work ... well itís been a strange 12 months. Bill Brown, who I trailed around the pottery for two months, has infected my brain with plaster of Paris and now I see things with moulds as their starting point.  My functional work is for sale in a couple of venues; Casa Periera in Valletta, The Palace Hotel in Sliema, Paris Art Studio Gallery in Valletta and Prickly Pear Shop in Gozo, so I need to keep on top of production with throwing.  I recently dipped back into open air firing with some pit firing and obvara firing which felt good and Iím now starting work on a project for an exhibition next year which Iím very excited about.  So as usual, my brain hops from one thing to another and my attention span further diminishes as I move between different areas of ceramic design and production - at least there is some constant in my life.

New photos, exhibition info and details where to find my work follow shortly.

Stay dirty!


Another year, another Annual Ceramics Open Day

I just noticed that my last blog post was before my degree show, tut tut with keeping frequent updated!  So now Iím very happily the other side of the event with six years of part time study finished and a first class hons degree in design, ceramics beneath my belt, I had thought that I would now be left with a great chunky void in my life to fill will trivial fluffy stuff, but so far that hasnít happened.  The marvelous Bill Brown was in Malta for a month just after my return from Glasgow so Iíve spent much time shadowing him and now that he has returned home I find myself facing my Annual Ceramic Open Day which is two little weeks away.

Much time has been spent in the studio over the last few days building up a body of work for the Open Day, itís all quite exciting as the clay is behaving well (thank you Commercial Clays  for the beautiful consistency!)  and larger functional pots have been a treat to throw.  All I need now is good drying weather so that I can get the growing mound of work fired.  The collection includes large bowls, large and small jugs, mugs, vases, egg cups, dips bowls, lidded pots of all sizes, wine coolers, goblets and this is just the items that need firing, there is other recent work including Pottons and BroOHches which will also make an appearance.   According to my written schedule everything should get fired on time, hereís hoping...

Annual Ceramics Open Day
Sunday November 20th 2011
9am to 4pm
l/o Siggiewi, Malta please email for directions
FB event page!/event.php?eid=300117399999241

16 days until the degree show ... what shall i wear ...

The last thing on my mind at the moment is what to wear for the degree show.  Although now I've written it I know that its one of the things I need to start thinking of.  Up until recently all I could think about was if the 4 boxes of ceramic work had all arrived safely by post at Glasgow School of Art as the post office seems to have its own rugby league.

The show opens at 5pm on the 8th September at the House for an Art Lover in Glasgow, Scotland and represents the final 2 years of my BA (Hons) Degree course in Ceramic Design.   My statement that will be used on the banner advertising the show goes as follows 'Although born in the English West Midlands Sue Mifsud has resided in the middle of the Mediterranean on the island of Malta for the last 21 years, 18 of those years have been spent with clay under her finger nails.  She started her BA (Hons) Degree as a mature student and for her final two years chose the subject of interaction.  'Mugs are the most interactive form of ceramics,  they perform within our personal space, are fondled like lovers and offer moment of respite with their contents.  The five sets of mugs that I've designed and created have a personality and carry a message through use of colour and form relating to historical references, social interaction and everyday objects.'

Because of the artisan markets that I sell from locally, my name has become associated with mugs which at times I've found unsettling after spending time creating much larger and complicated work for exhibitions, but for smaller audiences.  However rather than fight it I decided to embrace it, my project was screaming for them and hell, I do love 'em!  At home we have a shelf full of different shaped hand made mugs and as my sister in law found out when recently staying with us, you tend to pick a mug to drink from to suit your mood and beverage rather than it being a thoughtless process.  I enjoy the fact that thought goes into choosing what would normally be an everyday object. 

The mugs that are now sitting in Glasgow awaiting my arrival do however stretch the boundaries of mugliness, each set has a poster associated with it which is a form of advertisement used to reinforce the social message that they are carrying. The shapes vary considerably from set to set and throwing, hand building, slip casting and extruding techniques have all been used in their making.  Some pieces I have absolutely loved making, one set was totally annoying and a real patience tester but the frustration led me to creating another of the sets and so proved productive.

Pictures of all the work will be posted to my website after the opening so as not to spoil the surprise, this however is a taster.

Make a statement - get mugged!

Bill Brown in Malta

For nearly six years now I've been taught by Bill Brown at Glasgow School of Art.  I have a great respect for him as a teacher and as a contemporary artist.  His imagination and lateral sense of working always surprises and amuzes me.  With the Ceramics Department of GSA now closed I jumped on the opportunity of inviting Bill to join us at Ceramika Maltija in Attard, Malta (where I work part time as Technical Manager) for a month in October .  He thankfully agreed and during his stay he will be training the staff, presenting a number of talks and running two weekend workshops.  Everyone involved is very excited and funding received from the Malta Arts Fund has made the project feasible.



'Tart! Something sweet?' choc pots

.....ginger truffles, lavender truffles, rose petal truffles ..... my very talented friend Melina, founder of 'Tart! Something sweet?' makes the most exotic chocolates that bring out the sweetie monster in me and whenever I have them in the house there is no thought given to storage as they never last that long.

These do however make the most fantastic of gifts and in collaboration with Melina I have designed some exclusive containers for her chocolate sensations to be presented in.  These will be available for the first time from my stall on the Patches Market (Sunday 12th Dec, indoor market, Merchants Street, Valletta)......

Something sweet?.......!/Tartmalta


Last event of the year .... Patches market

I look down at my sad weathered hands and think to myself that I should invest in some decent hand cream, but itís just a thought and nothing will come of it....  The days are getting colder as is the water in the bowl next to my wheel,  one day  Ill also invest in hot running water or a kettle in the studio, but thatís just another hand cream fantasy.

My wheel has been constantly humming over the last few weeks, first with my open day on the 28th November and now with Patches market which will be held on the 12th December at the indoor market on Merchants Street in Valletta.  Today the kiln went on for a biscuit firing and tomorrow I will glaze the twenty odd pieces in preparation for the market.  There are a load of mugs in there, a couple of lidded jars with feet, a large bottle, a large mulled wine jug and three bespoke lidded jars which Iíve made for a good friendís exclusive chocolate range. 

Throwing is where I started in the world of clay and it gives me more satisfaction than any other studio work, although I do have to challenge myself with new shapes to keep it interesting.  The lidded pots with feet and handles are my current fascination, bringing together many different elements of throwing and Iíve developed two new glazes, black and jade, with these jars in mind.

If youíre looking for something to do on Sunday, come for a chat Ė it sounds as if there will be plenty going on in Valletta and I can always bore you senseless with pottery talk!






HOPE exhibition...

The HOPE exhibition at Mater Dei hospital has now been open for a week, it has surpassed all my expectations with the transformation of the space, the size of the audience and the tidal wave of feedback....Iíve been asked many times how many pieces have sold as if that is a gauge to the exhibition's success, although we are pleased with the sales I don't really think that the work is highly commercial (in the sense that it  wasnt targeted to go with peoples curtains and rugs) - the idea was to explore the subject of hope and see how best to translate that to visitors with us working as individual artists and collaboratively.......

On Wednesday I stopped to talk to a foreign couple who I'd seen standing by the Medicine Cabinet for a good 10 minutes, to find out what their thoughts were.  Anyone who has visited the exhibition will know that the Medicine Cabinet is a piece that Carmel Bonello and I worked on collaboratively and comprises of his parents old wooden medicine cabinet with painted portraits of his parents on the inside of the door and thirteen thrown white earthenware 'medicine bottles', which I created, sitting on its three shelves each carrying a word relating to things that we hope for in our lives.  The words don't necessarily relate to me, I chose words as triggers to connect with the audience; Joy, Happiness, Zest, Youth, Hope, Beauty, Freedom, Health, Success, Safety, Understanding, Satisfaction and Energy.  The couple were discussing which medicine bottles they would have in their own cabinets and what size the bottles would be depending on the importance of the 'medicine' .  The conversation drifted off into the concept of other works exhibited and fifteen minutes passed swiftly leaving me deep in thought and grateful for their consideration of the work.....

Many thanks to all the folk that have taken time to explore our work! 

The exhibition is open 24 hours a day all week until the 28th November 2010 in the main reception area of the hospital....

exhibitions and adrenalin

..its early Sunday morning and its one week until the opening of the Functional by Design exhibition and five weeks until the opening of the HOPE exhibition.  All my thoughts, waking and sleeping, are about ceramics at the moment.  Last night I dreamt my way through two new pieces which I need to start today; Im going to be working with acrylics and canvas for the HOPE exhibition but using techniques and tools that I use for applying oxides to clay slabs. 

This particular exhibition is all about collaboration and pushing boundaries and Im very lucky to have found an artist like Carmel Bonello to work with who gives me freedom to roam in his territory just as Ive given him freedom to experiment within the ceramics field. 

The canvases that I produce won't be completed works, they will be abstract backgrounds that Carmel will then add figures to in the foreground, it will be very interesting to see the outcome.  We have worked on seventeen pieces together so far (ceramics with painted surfaces, mixed media installations and ceramic elements on canvas) and its been an educating experience having to let go of not only our sacred studio space but the vision of the finished work when we hand over something half completed to the other person.

Enough rambling for today, the sun is now showing itself which signals the start of my creative day.....

May your clay always behave

Glasgow here I come...

A whole year has passed since I was last at Glasgow School of Art and much clay has passed through my nail-less fingers since.   My bags are packed with samples of the work I've been working on and my research book (which has taken up 2 kilos of the Ryanair 15 kilo allowance!).  

I'm hoping this trip will give me the opportunity to get to grips with the jigger jolley, have a bash at screen printing and throw some large stuff without worrying about my stock pile of clay disappearing.  

One year left until my BA Hons Degree show.   It will be an exciting year as the ideas are already swimming in my head for my final work and it will be all fun pulling them out of the grey matter into the clay matter!

Passport, tickets, money, tools ..... check!


Website work

..with many hours of today dedicated to getting this website up and running, its now looking slightly healthier and more cuddly....

this morning an earthenware set of cups and a jug came out of the kiln and the plastic came off the sculpture that Im drying, pls don't crack, pls don't crack, pls don't crack, am slightly impatient to get it fired...

may the clay be with you

website up and running

at last a website! .... but will it mean more hours away from the clay, glued to the computer?...its a battle trying to balance time between all the elements that are needed to make and market...only time will tell

as the studio is quite a solitary environment i want to use my site to bring people into my dirty little world of clay before and after firing takes place..... the amount of 'galleries' will increase   when i find time and a number of projects will be included, showing them unfolding as pieces are created....

thanks for tuning in


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