Maleny sculptor to hold first solo exhibition in Nambour
The simple foundational connection that clay has with the Earth is among the captivating and inspiring motivations behind the artistic passion of Maleny sculptor Cathy Lawley from Fried Mudd.
The practice of hand-crafting artworks from what is a natural resource, and then awaiting to see how it emerges from the kiln, evokes a curiosity that remains in her as strong today as when she first started the craft more than 30 years ago.
“I think it’s the anticipation; you never get bored when you open the kiln, there’s always something to get excited about, the passion is always there,” Ms Lawley said.
The artist is evoking that passion as she prepares works for her first solo exhibition, “Making Marks in Mud”, to be held at the Old Ambulance Station at Nambour in August.
The exhibition will include around 60 artworks. Among the items will be her favourite subject, chickens – with her own much-loved pet chooks providing daily inspiration – as well as native Australian animals, and her many impressive sculptures of the feminine form, evoking feelings of innocence, solitude, thoughtfulness and independence.
The exhibition will also feature discussions on Raku firing (which sees a freshly baked piece being transferred from the kiln to a bin of sawdust and straw, where it is smoked for 10 minutes, before being removed to create unusual effects), a multi-media presentation, as well as demonstrations of her techniques, including the unique “print making on clay”, which she learned during a 12-day stay last year at the progressive and prestigious Penland School of Arts in North Carolina, USA, courtesy of her being awarded a “Geoffrey Walker Scholarship”.
“The idea of the scholarship is to stretch you out of your comfort zone,” she explained. “To expand my knowledge and expand on what I would normally do.”
The “print making on clay” technique is also taught by Ms Lawley in workshops at her “Fried Mudd” studio and gallery at North Maleny. She also hosts clay wheel workshops as well.
“People just love to have experiences, and it’s escaping from the chaos of the outside world,” she explained of the workshops.
“Because they’re using their creative side of the brain, they lose themselves in the clay, they make new friends; they really get something out of it.
“And clay is the closest thing to being outside on the bare ground with your bare feet.”
The workshops have been featured on the Great South East and Queensland Weekender, the Today Show and Better Homes and Gardens.
Ms Lawley is a foundational artist for the “Peace of Green” gallery in central Maleny.
She is also a member of The Suncoast Clay Workers association, which is hosting the “Ignition” exhibition at the Old Ambulance Station (prior to Ms Lawley’s exhibition) from July 25 – August 12.
Ms Lawley has been a sculptor for more than 30 years, but has for the last 15 years made it her vocation, and she has every intention to keep moving forwards, learning more and sharing with others around her.
“Clay is really taking off, people just love it, they just love to create with it,” she said.
“Especially when you’re learning something new, I’m always learning new things, there’s just that consistent joyful feeling all the time.
“I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Maleny Sculptor, Cathy Lawley’s solo exhibition , “Making Marks in Mud”, will be held at the Old Ambulance Station in Nambour, from August 12-19. Opening night is August 16. Cathy can be contacted at 0402 333 576. More information and details of her clay workshops can be found onhttps://friedmudd.com/
Article written by Richard Bruinsma and published in June/July Edition of Come on Up