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Un Magazine 14.1

Dell Stewart and Hana Cruickshank

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Terracotta Wood Tower (2020) - These ceramic objects were made by my daughter Hana and I at our dining table. I learned to use clay while staying with my grandma on school holidays. I remember the brick kiln she built in her backyard and the drama of a smoky raku firing. A very serious Grandma with long metal tongs would remove the glowing, red hot pots. Grandma made pottery for as long as I can remember, and during those holiday visits she taught me.

Balls (2020) - Facing the long summer holidays, the care of children (and elders) is a particularly undervalued form of work in our society — art making is another. Many parents make comments about surviving the school holidays. I look forward to them, it feels like we have more time. The holidays stretch out, the days are longer and Hana wants to make things, a lot of things. Maintaining my practice means keeping her hands busy in order to get an opportunity to work. I joke that I’m her studio assistant — I only get to work if she is happily making with me.

Passionflower Checkers (2020) - Care of another is a huge commitment and establishes parameters of its own. It is porous, endless work; it’s dirty hands and always cleaning up. Some aspects of this particular collaboration are tested by the inequality of the arrangement: I decide if it happens, I have to be responsible and organised. This is balanced by the pleasure of watching her skills develop, her ideas expand exponentially and the shared enjoyment of working together.

Growing Trees (2020) - Hana hums and sings incoherently while making a large coiled jug. By large I mean that it is bigger than both her hands, but not as big as she is imagining it will be. She rolls and coils and spins the hand wheel, enjoying her new competency; at times getting carried away, pushing the soft clay too far. I am in awe of her certitude; she knows what she is making. There are bootleg versions of my pots: a terracotta fruit bowl painted with wood grain, a carved bowl, a crackled vase. Her jug makes me want to make a jug, and her coils fill me with envy. She wants to make one hundred vases and to use my favourite brush and she wants me to pass the knife and get her more clay.