Pottering About

Creative Recharge — QAGOMA Brisbane

Every once in a while you experience something that inspires, invigorates and stirs the creative juices within. A recent trip to Brisbane and in particular the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) surpassed expectations despite the threat of a cyclone to ruin the fun.


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National Arboretum — Canberra

What first strikes you about the National Arboretum is its distinct lack of trees. But don’t let that fool you. The National Arboretum is a most wonderful place to be and for Australian’s to be proud of. 

Sitting a top of a prominent naked hill, sits “wide brown land”. On one level a truly impressive piece of typography — spelling out the description of Australia by Dorothea McKellar in her poem My Country — but on another level it beautifully captures the essence of Australia in a strikingly original way.

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Horsing Around — Ampersand Christmas Party

Our lovely client Ampersand invited Liz and I to their team Christmas jolly at Albert Park —
Paspaley Polo in the City.
What a splendid day with splendid company. Oh and the Poh-Loh was an eye opener too.

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Sing-a-ling-a-ling | A most pleasant afternoon in Maldon

Our mate, local troubadour and man about town, Pete Bodin, recently played at the Maldon Folk Festival — competing in the highly regarded Roddy Read Memorial Song Writing Award. What a treat. Aside from Pete’s clear talents there were 12 other performers. Game on… so how did Pete go?

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Identity Matters

It’s been five years in the making but I can now call myself an Aussie. It was always going to happen but I didn’t fully understand the impact this milestone would have on me, my family & friends.

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Poetic cat

Pikelet and his idol, Les Murray.

Walking the Goldfields Track

A 21km walk from Vaughan Springs to Castlemaine was sheer delight.
Dappled late afternoon light bounced and flickered as we climbed “the Monk” with expansive views to Mt. Alexander, Mt. Tarrangower and Castlemaine, which glinted like a jewel in the valley below, I considered the notion that I had chosen to make this place my home.

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Sandra Bowkett vessel

Crosshatched: beakers, bowls and other small vessels by Sandra Bowkett

“This range of vessels has grown out of my Asialink residency in Banay Singh’s village in India. I was there to learn the rapid throwing technique of the kulhaar potters*. In my studio near Tallarook (Central Victoria) Banay Singh made these vessels on a traditional Rajashtani pottery wheel. I finished them on a kick wheel, glazed them and then high fired them in a wood firing kiln with locally collected fallen timber. All in all a sustainable way to make a durable vessel. These vessels embody the generational knowledge of Banay Singh and the more recent western clay, glaze, and firing crafts that I contribute. Enjoy their use.”

*These traditional potters make the millions of small vessels that have met the needs of ‘use and throw’. As plastic increasingly takes the place of these simple low fired vessels the work for kulhaar potters is diminishing. ——— Sandra Bowkett

Sandra’s Asialink Residency was funded by the Australia-India Council and Arts Victoria. She was hosted in India by the South Asia Foundation.


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Pikelet in the dishwasher

Recently we went up to Griffith to my mum’s. When we go we take Pikelet; he is the 3rd child after all. This photo shows Pikey in mum’s dishwasher. He was rather content in there and quite disinterested in our attempts to coax him out. Look how lovely and shiny my little boy’s coat is — and this was before he went through a full cycle!


Quercus turns 150


The oldest planting in the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens recently turned 150. It was planted on the 26th of May 1863 to celebrate the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales. Mount Alexander Shire put on a party to celebrate. Good on em! This is a MAGNIFICENT tree. Despite it being an exotic it is within the confines of a botanical garden and therefore ‘of scientific interest’. The power it emanates when standing beneath it is something to marvel at. Trees eh. Gotta love em.

PS There were more people than visible in the above photograph. Everyone seemed to respectfully stand at the edge of the canopy reach rather than underneath. Councillor Jess Howard is on the mike with three of her five children at her feet. Someone from Mount Alexander Shire council is in purple — sartorially complementary with the autumnal display and to the right is Albie Norman, completely agog at her every word.

Petal & Pet and some summer degrees

Courtyard of the Theatre Royal Castlemaine with Petal & Pet on the mikes. Smashing late summer’s eve.

Friday 22nd February 2013

Chops for tea

Found this image (actually a page  from an old book being sold as a single page) in a local Castlemaine shop. Lady wanted $50 for it. Too steep for me so I took a photograph of it instead. Was that wrong? The original copyright must have expired. Does she own the copyright because she is selling it? Answers on a postcard please.

Quality parents at Berkeley St kinder

Gav and I are considering sending #2 to Berkeley St Kindergarten so we went along to their annual fete last Saturday. This is how it ended up with two other Dads.

Needless to say we had loads of fun. And sticky cream stuff on our clothes.

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Not bad for a first attempt

The Carrot Cake gauntlet was thrown by a neighbour. We picked it up.

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What’s your garden wearing this Spring?

This season's colours – Castlemaine

This season’s colours revealed. more

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Coffee #3

The Mount Alexander Shire Accommodation and Respite Group (MASARG Inc.) is an independent, registered, not for profit charitable organisation. Coffee is their latest fundraiser:

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Call the fire brigade

Ok, so now I know what it’s like to have a teenager. This photo shows Pikelet stuck up a tree in our back yard. Every day he does this. Not always the same tree so we need to be inventive as to how we rescue him as our ladder is only so long. As #1 says “he goes proper crazy nuts” everytime he goes outside. And now that it’s really warming up (the wisteria just popped today) I can see more rescues to come. Not that it’s me who has to actually get on the ladder. You’d be joking.

What’s a BLEAT?

At Saffs, our favourite local Castlemaine cafe, they’ve got a BLEAT on the menu. Well it would be rude not to.

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Coffee #2

Coffee Basics Dark Roast is the current coffee of choice here at CFT_HQ. We’ve gone through a few brands and blends over the years so to strike this stuff as a roasted locally offering we’re buzzed! More >>

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Castlemaine Dips

As The Age said in April 2011 “Castlemaine is offering a fresh prize for tourists and locals in 2011. The historic mining town is rapidly becoming a foodie destination as tree-changers from Melbourne — and around the world — bring their artisan skills to a community that is all-embracing.”

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Actually, don’t bring back the patty cake

A competition ‘Bring Back the Patty Cake’ to make and decorate a patty cake, was held in the Ray Bradfield Room in Victory Park Castlemaine (Sunday 3 June 2012). You’d think it would be a bit of Sunday morning fun, but no.

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Just another day at school

24 May 2012
#1 and her VBF were being chased by the boys and they crashed into each other. VBF ended up with a massive shiner and #1 ended up with three stitches. Very brave #1 was, especially when they shoved in that ginormous needle for the anesthetic. Stitches were in for a week. VBF’s shiner lasted a little longer.

Coffee #1

May 2012
Hayden Winch, owner of The Public Inn has opened a cafe called re_PUBLIC in the old Fire Station in Templeton Street. Talk about sun trap on a crisp autumnal morning. In this bag was the house blend (when I bought it back in May). The hirsute young fella who served me may have misheard me when I said ‘domestic machine’. What I ended up with would have breezed through NASA’s finest filter. The result being not particularly appealing. I mixed the remainder with some other less than appealing leftover coffee I had languishing at the back of the cupboard till I could justify another purchase.

Meet Pikelet.

Pikelet, aka The Office Cat. He’s a Brown Burmese and has been with us for just over a month. He’s a big hit with the girls, less so with the neighbour’s cat. He’s still got his knackers, though an appointment has been booked with poker playing pal Paul the vet. What’s with my clauses and commas there? There’s probably some techy grammar explanation but I never paid attention during that course at uni. No wonder I went into design and not copywriting initially, with one more for effect. Though should that have been a semi-colon as a longer pause was needed?

Wattle Day yesterday and Fathers’ Day today

Spring has not just sprung but crash tackled us to the ground this weekend. So this morning we went for a walk along a section of the Goldfields Track as that’s what Father wanted to do. Back home now for some domestic this and that. Dad is on his 3rd hammer (having unbelievably broken the previous two), #1 is riding her bike, #2 is napping, and me, I should be prepping a special Fathers’ Day tea. But I’m not am I!


Huntsman spiders — on the increase

They breed ‘em big here in Castlemaine. Spiders are generally quite amenable creatures; catching flies, eating them etc. Now we don’t mind them hanging about outside keeping to themselves. What we really object to is when said Huntsman (and woman) decide to take a joyride in our car and then pop out to say hello while we’re doing 100km down the Calder . So, when we see them the question is: to squash or not to squash? They really are quite amazing. Lizzie’s all for keeping them; Gav’s all for, well sending them to the great big web in the sky.