Take Being Silly Seriously - Dowse Worshop
The day before.
Here we are at Karl & Lisa’s. Paul has arrived and Riyah & Callum. Some not knowing what we’re doing while Karl & Laurie go to the Dowse for a health & safety briefing. And here’s Sung Hwan!
It’s a good reason to all get together. You can let go of your restraints. Even the Dowse have let go of their restraints. They gave us their instagram login details for tomorrow’s event. They have no idea what’s coming.
Neither do we.
So we have a team meeting, sitting at Karl & Lisa’s big outdoor table with our lunch, tea and coffee.
We’re turning the workshop event into an exhibition to sell the OG Brickell Brac pots. Much easier than dealing with a curator. We just won’t tell them, it’ll be fine!
The event is sold out.
The fundamental thing is that we have fun. Come along for the ride.
Lisa makes some great signs.
Making pots on the footpath/it’s a movement!
Making pots in Karl’s garage for the next Brickell Brac, maybe, who knows. Making because we must. Paul brought two wheels and Karl has a kick wheel and I threw some pots, yes I did. We all did. Simon too. Extra crunchy brickells today.
The pots go to dry over on the footpath. Karl attacks.
This moment. This is Brickell Brac.
Max & Joe, beloved interns, have almost finished uploading the Brickell Brac pots.
All is well.
Even Te Papa is convinced Brickell Brac is a movement in the making. Ask AI how to start a movement and you’ll find Brickell Brac probably already is one. A movement of what?
How is it? Radiant, babes.
Day of Dowse workshop
We’re two hours in. People are making, chatting, settled in after initial vague confusion and the discomfort of not knowing what they were supposed to do. Some still don’t know. Callum attempts to set Laurie on fire. There is tea. One hour to Tai Chi.
Simon cranks up the experimental techno for the wind-down before lunch. I feel like I’m at a squat party and I’ve been here way too long.
I go outside and sit by the EV chargers for a bit. It’s hard to know what this is. What are we trying to do here? Many BB pots have sold. Maybe that’s the main thing. How to document the chaos? Where to from here? It’ll all make sense eventually. Or not.
It doesn’t matter.
Sung Hwan Interlude
“I’m curious about everything, interested in everything. I remember praying to the sky. How do I become an artist? And then I just started… doing it. I don’t know what else to be.”
We talk in spirals about everything. It’s my favourite part of the day.
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars - Oscar Wilde
Inside, balls of clay are now being thrown at pots. The I am but a worm design is proving fomo-level popular at the screen printing station (I got one too! Yay!). Karaoke happens.
Are we ascending or descending?
Disintegrating into silliness?
Take being silly seriously
Standing around in a big circle with the day’s creations curated/arranged around and on top of some perspex cases.
Karl: “Just try to get out of what you made in your brain a bit and just look where it ended up. Open your eye a bit and look at the bigger picture. It’s very deep because you know here, there’s no art inside the cases. Once you’re inside the case, like in the museum, you’re fucked. Your freedom’s gone. It’s much more interesting outside of it. Once you’re over the line, you can’t touch it anymore. It’s gone forever.
What happened here, what did we do? Here is a Paul Maseyk, I can identify it, but it’s totally fucked. Or is it? You go and make stuff and okay, if you make what you always make, you say okay, I had a nice day. But maybe something’s happened that actually, maybe something you’re not comfortable with, but maybe if you look at it, like oh, it’s actually not that bad. There might be something happening that you didn’t have on your agenda or in your solution pocket. So anyway, it doesn’t matter. Maybe that’s enough serious…”
Laurie: “It’s that thing between art and design too. Are you just designing something that’s aesthetically pleasing so that you can sell it? Is that your motivation? And when you’re in a big museum like this, there are so many variations of arts and craft, everything’s kind of been done, it’s overwhelming. But then, what’s the intention, what’s the point? I think, well it’s because I enjoy it. It’s a compulsion. Is this really good because it’s like an open book of the time we’ve had today and it includes those quiet moments, it includes throwing shit, ruining the paintings, screaming and doing Tai Chi and it’s like, how can all of that be bound up in this pot? A diary of events. It’s a crazy fucking idea for most people but everyone that’s been here today will know that it’s a piece of Brickell Brac, it’s a representation of what happened today. It’s hard to quantify but that’s why it’s special.”
Karl: “We had no idea and you had no idea what it would look like at the end of the day. I had no idea but I’m quite excited to see what it looks like. You know, you end up with something you hadn’t expected. That’s quite a nice thing.”
Laurie: “The real joy for me is, someone will come up and say, oh it’s a bunch of shit but at least I haven’t seen it before. I just want to see something new, I want something new to happen to me. It’s hard to see something new. Like convention, Barry Brickell had this term, he called it the disease of convention and it is. It’s like a giant black hole that just keeps pulling you through how things are supposed to be, supposed to look, the job you’re supposed to have, the money you’re supposed to make. This is the pottery we were supposed to make today because this is the pottery we made. It’s important to us and it doesn’t matter if no one else in the world thinks it’s important. Honestly, I get all tingly thinking about it. This is the most important thing right now. These are the best pots in the entire world for us right now, better than anything in the museum collection, sorry the Dowse. This stuff is more important. These are our pots, the stories about our lives, our existence, the games we played together, the frustrations we might have had. Our aspirations about the future. People just see blobs. It doesn’t fucking matter. They’re our blobs.”
Karl: “You’re a blob.
It’s quite nice when you take yourself being silly seriously. Try it. Take the things you don’t take seriously and make them serious. Make them, you know, make them precious. Yeah.”
Six hours of vague chaos.
That’s Brickell Brac!
Unfortunately nearly everyone loved it. Luckily two people hated it and one person wants 'more brown people'.