From the President

Happy New Year to everyone, and welcome to 2024.  This is the year of the Circle’s 40th anniversary and we will have a lot going on.

 We had a happy farewell to 2023 at our December meeting, a festive show and tell on the theme ‘Something Spiritual’.  Sadly several members were prevented from getting to Melbourne by the awful fog and the significant car accident near Bacchus March (though not involved or injured, thank goodness). But, despite the slightly reduced numbers, we had a great evening and a delightful display of pieces both ‘spiritual’ and ‘spirituous’. These included a darling icon of St George and the Dragon, a lovely c1810 Bristol Blue glass decanter, a sublime Ming Dynasty Guanyin and a striking Peruvian bull, and many others.

 Our professional photography session occurred on 20 January at Villa Alba and was a great success. As well as beautiful images for proud owners, we will now also have them available to enhance our website and reinforce the Circle’s identity.

 The grant program in honour of Patricia Begg OAM and Chris Begg has been established.  Annually for the next five years, a third-year RMIT graduate in ceramics will received a financial gift to support his or her ceramics practice. The successful applicant will also present at a Circle meeting later in the year.   Applications have been received and are being assessed and the grant program and first award will be launched at our Anniversary celebration in June.  There will be more on this in future newsletters, but please put aside the evening of Thursday 27 June 2024.

 At our February meeting Danny McGowan will speak on 20th century Dutch glass, with a particular focus on A.D Copier, a highly influential maker, whose work underpinned many of the developments in 20th century studio glass, including that of more famous locations such as Italy and Scandinavia.

 Also in February, Circle members have been invited to a pre-sale private showing of the Robert Burke Collection of 18th century porcelain, predominantly Chelsea and Worcester, but with Derby, Bow, Vauxhall and continental pieces as well. I had the privilege of seeing this collection in December and it is so impressive, with many excellent, beautiful pieces in remarkable condition.  The invitation has already gone out, so do let Chris know if you’ve not received it. Please also let Artvisory know if you plan to attend.

 Our March meeting will be our AGM, plus a show and tell on the theme 'Something unexpected' – perhaps something totally out of character in your collection, or with a completely unexpected story behind it, or a surprise gift or….etc, etc.

 The year’s program is looking good, with a number of speakers lined up, and a firm date for our Winter Seminar. As a result of responses to last year’s survey, we will not be at Lancefield this year. Rather, we will conduct a one-day seminar in Melbourne on Saturday 25 May 2024 - another date for your calendar.  Watch this space for further details.

 Finally, the Circle’s esteemed VP, Ray Kendall, has advised that he will step down from the committee in March.  Ray has been a wonderful committee member and we are very sorry to lose his contribution, but he assures us we will still see him and Patricia at Circle events – which we are very happy about.

 Kent and I are away in February, so I won’t see you at our first 2024 meeting, but look forward to the pleasure of your company in what is shaping up to be an excellent year.

 Genine Wallinga
President, January 2024


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