Smoke on the Water 2017

Cooroy is heating up for Smoke on the Water

The National Woodfire Ceramics Conference kicks off in Cooroy in less than a week, and potters from overseas and around Australia are already arriving for the pre-conference events.  The first International Artist to arrive, Shirobey Kobayashi from Japan is presenting one of the pre-conference workshops at Arcadia studio this week, as well as finding time to play the didgeridoo.

Shirobey draws his inspiration from nature, and his works beautifully illustrate the ancient tradition of Yakishime pottery. They are fired entirely with wood (Japanese Red Pine) in a hand-made Anagama tunnel kiln whose roof and sides are lined with clay. During the firing, which lasts a whole seven days, the ash from the burning wood is deposited on the pottery randomly and creates patterns that incarnate the raw power and creativity of nature itself.

Another potter is taking a little longer to get to Cooroy.  Tim Christensen lives sustainably and off grid in Maine, USA and his chosen medium is porcelain, our most durable graphic historical medium.

Tim has chosen to travel from his home to Cooroy by container ship, train, and bike, documenting through etching, writing, and sgraffito the different things he is seeing in the middle of the Pacific.  Tim is looking forward to the opportunity to make pots and talk about sgraffito and living off grid, and about creating in a time of great change.

“In the same ways that we know and learn from the cultures who have come before us, my pottery depicts the particular place and time in which I live, and why I think it is important,” says Tim.

“Most potters see themselves as one in a very long line of the record keepers of modern humanity, and I am no exception. At root, my work is a permanent record of the world around me as I experience it and reflect on it, and my job is to record that in the most fundamental and understandable way possible.”

Check the full program for Smoke on the Water to see when Shirobey Kobayashi, Tim Christensen and other renowned potters are presenting.  There are also lots of great free events for members of the public, including Band of Frequencies playing at the Potter’s Party on Thursday 29 June at the Cooroy Butter Factory precinct from 6pm. There will be food vans, a bar and of course lots of potters.

For the full list of events and venues, and conference registration, go to the registration desk at the Butter Factory Arts Centre or the website