First day at school

On Wednesday I went back to school. But not to any ordinary school no, it was my first day at my Ceramics Diploma at TAFE. Look at this incredibly welcoming door…

Entrance to TAFE

Our teachers are a dream, not to mention the amazing facilities and ease of schedule. But the part that really got me was our program for Term 1. By way of a snapshot:

[…] Term 1

* Thrown forms with applied glazes

* Investigation into curatorial history written research project

Option 1: To produce a series of three cylindrical forms which explore the possibilities of joining thrown forms.

Option 2: Small one piece lidded vessels with organic forms or larger ovenware chicken pots. […]

Even if I were starting at Hogwarts I don’t think I’d be as excited as I am about this certificate. There was even time to get messy on the wheel:

throwing

and start making the vessels I’ll join together next week.

first pots of the year

Classes are on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and every other Saturday. Heaven.

Note: All photos are by Araceli Robledo

Tap dancing!

When I was a little girl growing up in Canberra, I really really REALLY wanted to learn how to tap dance. I’d grown up watching Fred and Ginger,

ginger-rogers-fred-astaire-swing-time

Gene and Debbie (and Donald),

Debbie Reynolds Gene Kelly Singing in the Rain

Anne

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and the great Eleanor.

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However, being a little Spanish girl growing up far away from home, the only dance lessons my mother let me attend were flamenco, which I enjoyed thoroughly, don’t get me wrong. But tap… Ahh tap had always been this dream, for decades… until now. I am proud to say that I am a student at the Sydney Dance Company! Located by the Harbour Bridge, the moment you walk in you feel you are stepping into the set for Fame (minus the leg warmers, apparently they’re not that cool). There’s a great vibe and all sorts of people, joined by their love of dance. Just so you can get a sneak peak into what a class looks like, they have their own vimeo page, which includes a video of a tap lesson similar to the one I’m attending. If you are in Sydney and want to have the best workout whilst listening to swing (heaven?), then look no further.

NOTE: None of the photos are mine. The Swingtime photograph is from here, Singin’ in the rain from here, Kiss me Kate from here, and Rosalie from here.

Rose Bay at dusk

If you follow me on Pinterest, you will have seen a flurry of activity earlier today on my “Paintings that inspire me” board. Particularly with quite a few Raoul Dufy paintings added to it. And just like that, immediately after adding the images, Pinterest worked its magic. I suddenly had an urge to paint something à la manière de Dufy, and very quickly decided on doing a view of Rose Bay at dusk. During my first two months in Sydney, I lived in Rose Bay and took the ferry to work from there. To walk to the harbour every morning and back in the evening was a true blessing. And therefore, a perfect subject matter.

Rose Bay at dusk

I used watercolour and casein on Arches 300gsm paper. But if you want to know a bit more about the process, well, have I got a treat for you! Below is a little film that documents it all. To make it I used an app called “Miniatures Pro” and set it to take one frame per second. And as for music, it’s Dustin O’Halloran’s Prelude 2. Trusty iMovie glued it all together in style. I hope you enjoy the film as much as I did painting and putting it together!

 

Churros

I come from a family who loves to sleep and loves to eat. We all loved a good lie-in on weekends, except my dad. You see, his love of food was bigger than his love of sleep. So one of his genius ideas was to lure us into getting up early and helping him cook breakfast. And we’d cook churros, for the 6 of us, and any friends staying over. There was always someone staying over. But how do you manage to wake up teenagers early and make them cook breakfast? Bribery. Of the worst kind. What he’d do is he’d make the dough for the churros and fry one. Just one. Cover it in sugar and come to our rooms and make us try it, while still half-asleep. This is what the dough looks like:

churro dough

It was a masterful stroke, because he’d say something like “Ohhh I’ve made churros for breakfast. Come and join me”. So we’d get up, follow him as if we were under some sort of spell and then, then surprise SURPRISE. The churros had not been fried yet in olive oil! So we’d obviously help, by that point we were starving and our body wanted more churros. Image of churro being cooked below:

churros being fried

By the time they were ready, we’d all managed to get up and sat around the table, eagerly awaiting this feast. We only had breakfast together when there was churros.  This is what the finished product looks like:

Cooked churros

This past weekend I made churros for the first time since my dad passed away. A group of us got together at a friend’s house in Sydney. I provided the recipe, but he had a churrera, the machine where you put the dough in so it comes out in that great churro shape. And how did he source a churrera in Sydney? Well, he’d had it for over 15 years. It was a present from my dad as our friend would join in the churros fun like another member of the Robledo clan when he stayed with us all those years ago..

In case you were wondering, the churros were delicious, and we ate them the only way one possibly can… with thick hot chocolate!

NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo

Sydney on film

Hello hello, Happy New Year! Apologies for not posting here as often, I’m struggling to find time to get to my creative projects (lots initiated, not that many completed, story of my life). However, things are due to change soon. Some lovely friends have agreed to let me set up my noisy wheel in their garden. And best of all, they have just moved nearby.

In the meantime, I have been doing little things here and there, including this short film I made on Thursday on my way home. I was trying to find the Harbour Bridge footpath and got lost….! I filmed it with my Blackberry and edited with the fantastic iMovie. The music is by Rodriguez. I hope you enjoy this little peak into my daily life 😉

Super secret party in a hidden beach

When you move to a new city, particularly when you don’t know that many people at first, the first few weeks it’s all about doing cool stuff. With cool people. And what a cooler start than going to a super secret party in a hidden beach? This party happens every few months and is organised by a group of friends who are not professional DJs, but who do it for the love of it. As I can’t reveal the address for the party, my map is somewhat vague. However, I did take some pictures which I hope show just how cool it all was! So, first stop was getting into the grounds of this stunning house:

Then, walking down a grassy hill, turning right and there, there was the beach. Full of beautiful and super cool people, with super cool music playing in the background:

So we got there around 7pm. The view? No big deal, nope. No big deal AT ALL:

But look what happened a few minutes later:

Can there be a cooler start to my life here in Sydney? I very much doubt it.

Note: All photos are by Araceli Robledo

Queen Victoria Building

In the heart of Sydney’s central business district (or “CBD”, as it is known here), lies this sensuous 19th century shopping centre.  Queen Victoria Building’s interior design is wonderfully lush and romantic, just look at its lifts:

I had originally gone to buy ink for my fountain pen, but spent longer than expected looking at everything the place has to offer. From Aboriginal art galleries,

to a Viennese cafe, Klimt reproductions on the walls and Sacher torte included.

 

There’s also an abundance of jewelry shops – look at the size of the Australian baroque pearls of this necklace oh la la!

And believe it or not, there’s a shop that specialises in tin soldiers!

However, my biggest surprise came when I saw a Metropolitan Museum shop! With classic gifts and merchandising one would buy in New York, this shop was fully stocked.

And in case you missed my posts here and here, I do find a lot of inspiration in museums for my porcelain bowls. For a second time, the Met was subject of my work:

NOTE: All photos by Araceli Robledo