Treasures from my Travels inspiring our Clay Play

Georgian plate

I brought this bowl as part of a set in a market in Tbilisi Georgia.

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I was there at the end of August 1997. I know this because when the people in the market found out we were from England they told us that Princess Diana had died.

I have never been anywhere like Tbilisi was at the time. There were tank scrapes on the narrow alleyways and bullet holes in the walls.

No cafes but hidden underground clubs.

Only one set of postcards of ugly Soviet buildings and statues. Suitable for the US oil workers passing through perhaps?

Amazingly beautiful buildings crumbling next to Soviet apartment blocks bulging with families, laden with washing lines

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Bath houses with marvellous mosaics, an old style Soda Fountain store just selling local mineral water, boating on Tbilisi reservoir and the broken down fun fair high above the city.

Country house dachas, falling asleep in hammocks in the garden, woken by pigs foraging underneath.

Camping up a mountain where my Georgian friend said he thought I was the first Australian female to venture if not the first Australian!

Vodka of every flavour including chili. Toasts by the Tomadan (males only.) I named myself a Tomadina and joined in!

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I was travelling a lot at that time and I would always buy an original watercolour from the markets from each place I visited.

Have a look at http://georgiaabout.com. I loved my time in Tbilisi and this brings back a lot of good memories and a lot of things seem to be the same but I think (hope) that life has become easier for the people.

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Two friends have the other smaller bowls in the set. They were all carried back in a backpack to London and then mine travelled up to Scotland and later all the way across the world to Brisbane.

So playing with our new tools reminded me of the bowl and then my travels.

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Cut out shapes in the construction, are mirrored in the glazed design. It is quite complex and beautiful.

I think there will have to be a lot of playing with the new tools to recreate anything like this piece.

I wish I had bought more.

Maybe I’ll start with a clay tile?

Lucy x

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