Artist Profile: Susan Dunne

Name: Sue

Age: 70

Exhibition: A Series of Solos

Where did you grow up?

I was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, and grew up in and around Gympie.

Where are you now?

I now live at Slacks Creek, after having shared a wonderful house at Cooloolabin, near Yandina, with a fellow potter for three years after I retired. It was really beautiful, but the owner decided to sell, so I had to find something to suit my lifestyle, piles of material, wool, paper, paints, clay, tools, wheel and kiln. Not an easy task on the basic pension, but this place has just what I need, and for the time being, can afford.

Oh yes, I forgot the three sewing machines.

How did you get to where you are today?

I started potting through the hobby classes run by the Logan TAFE in about ’92/’93, then enrolled at Southbank TAFE in ’95 and did the Advanced Diploma part time. I then enrolled in Griffith to do the arts degree, but after two years at trying my hand at Silversmithing, I transferred to Southern Cross to major in ceramics.  Here, I was able to continue in a medium that I felt really comfortable with, and better yet, they did wood firing.

While I was at TAFE, I enrolled in the wood firing subject, and so began a love affair that continues to this day.  I was never confident with the electric kilns, and to just put my work in, press a button, then walk away was a bit of an anticlimax. The gas was a little better. You had some control over the outcome, but for some reason the whole commitment that is required for the wood kiln was what I was happiest with.  The whole process involves an entire team, often composed of at least one Master, and including the rawest of new recruits.  In this way, knowledge is handed on, even though each firing can be vastly different to the one before.  We did exchange firings with Cooloola TAFE and Southern Cross, meeting other Masters and making new friends.

I have attended each Ceramic Conference at Gulgong since ’95, learning from international Masters, meeting like-minded people, and also learning from local potters.  One doesn’t necessarily have to be a Master to have some wonderful tricks and skills to pass on.  This is another side of this practice that I love – people’s generosity.

What materials are your favourite to work with?

I work primarily with JB1, with Cesco underglazes and brush-on Cesco clear for my kiln, and Paul Davis Sino Liner on the inside of my work for the wood kiln.  I have a few homemade glazes that I brought with me from Cooloolabin, but haven’t used these much yet.

What do you do when you’re not busy with your work?

Other creative activities, reading, visiting with friends and family.

Do you have a particular career goal you’d like to achieve in the next 3 years? 

Just to keep potting.

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