Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I was offered some frangipani flowers to fill a large vessel at my marquee stall at Rivafest. Their heady perfume reminds me of Papua New Guinean house gardens and the rough and ready PNG way of weeding by pulling out absolutely everything then putting the useful plants back in. I pick a frangipani flower most mornings after letting out the chooks then put it on the kitchen bench until it goes brown.
I went to the opening of Quotidian and Quixotic Gallery last night and saw some work by one of favourite artists, Gloria Petyarre. She has such wonderful design sense.
Here's another work from my recent show in Darwin.

Monday, November 23, 2009

november pineapples

I remember an old canecutter mate called Vic who said that pineapples picked in November usually have rot in them. I always think of Vic when I cut a rotten one open. Someone said he had tertiary stage syphilis and that accounted for his odd manner.
I've been invited to have an artisan's marquee at Ballina's Rivafest next weekend. I'm busily making some smaller work for sale. This is an image of some more work from my Darwin residency.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

golf withdrawal

I couldn't play golf yesterday because it was raining and I've got withdrawal syndrome. But I also had my first day at Barratt Galleries as a volunteer. I first met Julie Barratt at a writing workshop at Linnaeas Estate last year.
I'm making some pate a papier shapes for two new paintings which I'm hoping to finish for the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery show in late November. Here is another image from my show in Darwin.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

home time

For full details of my Arafuran adventures go to the Craft Australia website. We arrived back home to healthy chickens although both Athena and Aphrodite had gone broody. Some time in the chicken penitentiary is the only cure for them. We have a pair of scrub turkeys making a mound nearby in the rainforest for company for them.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


This is the charming speech given by Tim Berra at the opening of my solo show in Darwin.

Good Afternoon Fellow Primates
Welcome to this wonderful exhibition of Louise Fulton's work at the intersection of art and science. These two areas of human activity rarely communicate but tonight, we see how science can inspire an artist. Louise has embedded biological themes into her creactions. To appreciate her work requires a degree of scientific literacy, an important attribute for any citizen. This is especially timely during the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the most important scientists who ever lived, Charles Darwin. This man may have had the greatest idea ever had by the human mind, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. It fundamentally changed how humans view their place in nature and created a paradigm shift in science. If you would like to hear more about the life of Darwin, after whom this fair city is named, I hope you wil attend my keynote address at the the Darwin Symposium on Tuesday. Meanwhile soak yourself in images of microorganisms, the juxtaposition of bonobo and human bodies and footprints, Darwin's hat and other wonders to delight the mind.

Friday, September 18, 2009

going balmy

Parap market this morning had a delicious haze of sesame oil, chicken fat and incence wafting between the stalls. We tried lotus seed crepes and wild rice with palm sugar and coconut. Adrielle was selling her sweet little ocarinas by tempting the strolling crowd like the Pied Piper.
My art exhibition opened last night with a speech by Tim Berra, Emeritus Professor in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. He opened by saying "Good evening fellow primates" then said lots of nice things about the show.

Monday, September 14, 2009

feeling territorial

I went sailing on a 38 foot boat in Darwin harbour on Sunday. There was a young Irish electrician on board who was a first time sailor. He had red swollen feet and scabs on his lips from burns from falling asleep for two hours in the sun the other day. He got boned up on the lingo such as rope may be called a sheet or shroud or halyard or painter or hawser or bowline or rig or tackle.
The Territory Craft gallery is mine. Andrea bumped out on Sunday arvo and I have started to set up my show.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dyad - an unnatural selection

My residency at Territory Craft studios coincides with the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’. Charles Darwin was the first person to provide a rational explanation of our human origins, our relationship to the great apes and descent from a common ancestor. My exhibition which opens next Friday has diverse objects celebrating the evolution of creating art and comprises work which met the rigours of survival of the fittest in an unfamiliar environment.
Travelling across the continent via the mining towns of Cloncurry and Mount Isa, I had time to review my internal and external landscape. What does distance from home and my studio bring to thinking and making in a new environment? Does a physical change bring a change in internal creative dialogue and therefore adaptation?
These questions were addressed during my residency as I trialled new ceramic techniques, coped with the zero humidity of the dry season and its effect on greenware and smashed work that failed to adapt to the vagaries of the kilns. I was hoping that the Darwin residency would generate work that had favourable variations which could be preserved. In the end I produced numerous offspring in an evolutionary process of making that led to the natural selection of new species of art forms. The dry season environment in particular determined which forms survived and which unfavourable variations were removed.
The ceramics and mixed media work showing at Territory Craft offers a broad repertoire of ideas and techniques. It consists of pairs or ’dyads’ of objects. I use a variety of scientific source material including micro-organisms which I recombine into repeat patterns which focus on the intrinsic beauty of biological imagery. Pattern and structure helps us comprehend science and the concept of natural variation. In particular, propagation and mitosis carries contemporary resonance in the field of virology with the current problems surrounding H1N1 and Hendra virus. These themes are a recurring motif in the art work in both form and surface decoration. I have also modelled and drawn apes and man/Darwin onto the ceramic forms and 2-D work. I'll have some more images for you in the next few days.

Monday, August 24, 2009

double trouble

I had coffee at 5pm. At midnight I was watching a horrific movie about a drug cartel/satanic sect in Mexico based on a real life story. This morning I was feeling decidedly anxious about everthing. I opened the extra big kiln to find work both under and over fired, depending on the shelf location. Some work is excellent considering it had to be fired four times to get the right effect. I'm going to reglaze some large platters today using stencils and a matt glaze.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

fire in the hold

I found a ladder made from reo this morning hanging from a frond in a dense palm grove. I couldn't see any fruit in the palm, was it a leftover from a building site or a mini-ladder for midgets? I arrived at the studio to find an error message on the glaze firing computer screen. It maxed out at 847 degrees and called a halt. This was a disappointment because I had finally fought off my procrastination about glazing and loaded the kiln yesterday. More procrastination today talking with Jasmine Jan and surfing online. However I am progressing with some mixed media work involving bronze wire nests and ceramic protazoan shapes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

beat the drum

I stood with the crowd listening to the DSO percussionists drum up a feast of sound yesterday at the museum. Four men clapped, shooshed and slapped their bodies to a tango beat in one set. It reminded me of the Spanish flamenco dancer in Granada, all machismo and flying sweat. It was the highlight of the day. I went to the studio to find two large protazoan shaped sculptures had irreversibly cracked from drying too quickly. Waking at three o'clock this morning and reading a book on evolution, I had an inspiration to sculpt a monkey climbing over them, so that's what I've been working on today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

monkey business

Overheard at the markets - She said to him "Do you want to go down to Mindil Beach to watch the sunset?'. He replied "No, I saw it last week".

I did some publicity shots yesterday using work in progress.

Monday, July 27, 2009

taro custard

Parap market has the best taro custards baked in banana leaf, slightly sweet, slightly salty, smooth and creamy, they just slip down. I saw a cockatoo this morning carry off a green passionfruit growing on the neighbour's front fence. I then found a wallet on the median strip of Lee Point Road complete with credit cards, but sans money. I rang the owner when I got home, his wife became breathless at the thought that someone had found it and had to turn the phone over to her husband. He wanted to give me fifty dollars as reward. I had an internal moral tussle when he kept on insisting I take it, but couldn't.
My art exhibition scheduled for Sept "Dyad, an unnatural selection" will be pairs of objects using Charles Darwin, small organism shapes and great apes as source material. I finished a pair of protazoan shaped sculptures yesterday using BRT clay and a linocut for surface detail.

Taro Custard Recipe
300mls coconut milk
4 eggs
3/4 cup raw sugar
1 cup steamed and mashed taro (cold)
2 Tbsps rice flour
pinch salt
Mix together and cook gently until slightly thickened. Pour into a tray and bake at 160 degrees C for 30 mins until set.
Serve immediately on banana leaves

For authentic Thai flavour
+ use palm sugar instead of raw sugar
+ gently heat the coconut milk with some pandanus leaf then strain prior to use

Friday, July 17, 2009

territorial chair

My copper red stoneware bowl slipped from the dodgy dishrack this morning and crashed onto the tiled floor, such a pity as it has been my travelling companion for the past few weeks. I've been sitting in the Territory Craft gallery all day working on my protazoan lino cut while people wander in looking lost and asking where the Northern Territory museum is. I have to explain why I'm using lino cuts for ceramic work and then I redirect them through to the museum. I unloaded the kiln this afternoon with only one breakage due to a concave kiln shelf. Ceramics is a life of hits and misses.

Monday, July 13, 2009

arafura dreaming

I've been waking each night as I turn over on the blow-up mattress which threatens to turf me onto the floor each time I move. I can hear the sound of scrub hens fighting in the garden and the night plovers and eagles whirling above. There is the unmistakable sound of a peacock calling in a yard nearby. The sun doesn't rise until 7am and there is a strange mixture of mist and smoke from the big fire at Berry Springs hugging the ground. I'm making paper clay so I sit in bed methodically shredding toilet paper into a bucket between my legs. I'm thinking that my flat mates are probably wondering what is the strange noise coming from my bedroom in the wee hours of the night.

Today in the studios of Territory Craft I finally made something with clay. Up to now I've be plaster casting and linocutting in preparation for ceramic work. I slab rolled the clay and made two protazoan inspired clocks.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

studio report

My studio at Territory Craft is surrounded by venetian windows with the humid Arafura winds blowing through to ventilate the space. The smell is of damp clay. I have banished my leather sandals which have become foetid with fungus. I am working on some moulds for platters and clocks today. I'm also doing some design work for a repeating pattern using protazoan shapes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

winton library

So many dead kangaroos on the road between Toowoomba and Winton. I'm keeping the smell out by keeping the windows closed, I've got my earplugs in and music up loud. How many times can you listen to Tina Turner on a 6 day voyage? I try to sing along but the earplugs makes my voice sound like a rusty bucket.

Winton library has internet access, what a great service for my travelling log.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

on the road again...

One sleep to go before the big dry calls me north to Darwin. Cruising down the highway in my gray Echo (I'm imagining it's a pink Cadillac). Looking for the best coffee shops and bakeries and op-shops along the road. My friend Sue asked me if I had some photos of my paintings on my blog. I suppose it was a bit of an oversight on my part so here is one of my favourites.

Monday, June 15, 2009


I stood in the kitchen of an old women today who was wearing a grey-green tracksuit top with fake printed embroidery. The design was beautiful with blossoms and long feathered lyrebirds. She had cut the neck out because it was too uncomfortably tight. There was beauty and poignancy in the moment as I thought about lost embroidery skills.

I made a range of vases with damascene like embossing called Chatelaine suite. I was looking for a minimalist form with an intensely decorated surface.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

weekend cholesterol fix

"There's an interesting taste in this lasagna" he said. " Well, it's got chilli, coconut milk and coriander in it" she said. It looked authentically Italian which was amazing considering the difficulty she was having mastering the vagaries of the new Smeg oven.

Yes, it's the weekend and time to throw the vegetarian menu out and eat meat. I thought we had some mince in the freezer but no. Lentils to the rescue, I made a cross-cultural lasagna with some left over green curry of lentils. You may not believe me but it was delicious.

I put in the mechanism for a moon clock today. The face is similar to my 'Contentment' vases.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

tick tock tick tock

Awake at 3 am, I'm thinking of how uncomfortable it might be to sleep angled into the back of the Echo with my head up against the back hatch and my feet wedged next the driver's seat door. I have a camp foam mat which is probably inadequate to the task of cushioning me from the spare wheel housing. Motel rooms at Longreach, Camoweal and Three Ways are looking good in comparison.

Some new ceramic jewellery pieces look good so I will incorporate them into necklaces this weekend.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Territory calling

Only 16 more sleeps before I set off on my road trip to Darwin and the Territory Craft Studio residency. I've just put some glaze tests into the kiln so I can finalise what to pack into my mini Toyota Tardis. Hot weather clothing is sitting in piles on the spare bed and equipment and tools on the floor. I'm trying to anticipate the minutiae that I might need for three months. Will I need a tent because I heard that all the seasonal workers lob into Darwin at this time of year?

Athena, Parvati and Lakshmi all escaped again yesterday from an unknown location along the perimeter fence. It turned out that the food in the hopper had run out and the call of the wild was too strong. They found the lady finger bananas on the veranda.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

photo opportunity sort of day

"Do you want anything for the shopping list?" he said. "We've got leftovers in the freezer" she said. "Yeh, but we're going out, remember?", he said. "Ahh, now I remember, I said I would cook frangipani pie with prunes" she said.

After rectifying the disaster in the kitchen, that is, I put unpitted prunes in the pie, I eventually got around to photographing a drawing called Palindrome from 2002. The light outside was good so I shot it on the verandah near the vegie patch.

Venus escaped and then Parvati, the chicken run had to be reinforced.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Cobalt Suleyman

The big low off the coast last week blew into my studio creating soggy storage boxes on "the Tank", my stainless steel storage shelving. I put out some old work onto the top shelf to dry and my sister had to take a piece home with her. I'm glad it's going to a good home instead of sitting in storage. It was a two part stoneware vessel based on Suleyman the Magnificent's ceremonial hat. It does look a bit like a cobalt blue cactus though, or maybe a life form from another planet.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

heavenly chicken house

My darling sister and Mama have arrived to help collect chicken eggs from the goddesses' coup. The rain has stopped and we went to Bangalow to see the FEHVA exhibition. Sharon Steel's cards with a lino cut angel in red was irresistable. I cracked the kiln and the self saucing earthenware jewellery pieces are now ready for sanding before the process of applying decals.>

Thursday, May 14, 2009

ceramic thunder pattern beads

Had a busy morning making minestrone, bread then pesto. Moved some heavy logs around under the poinciana tree to stop the chickens from scratching the soil down onto the driveway. I finally got into the studio and made some ceramic beads using two lino cuts with Chinese thunder pattern to emboss the larger sides. After lunch I headed off to Barratt Galleries to catch up with Damian Kelly on his whirlwind tour for the Print Council.