Category Archives: Creative Catalyst

Cool Candelabra

Drawing inspiration from Aeon’s very own wonderful boutique ceramic ware work of Fetish Designs, Creative Catalyst’s Cool Candelabra is an illuminating clay project.

Cool Candelabra
Fetish design candlesticks

After designing our own original candelabra we will construct our form using a variety of slab, coil and pinch building techniques then use stamping and sculpting to embellish our creations.

The final artwork will be coloured and glazed ready to be crowned with candles.

Pet Portraits in Oils

Painting & Drawing

If a picture paints a thousand words then a portrait of a pet is a lavish love sonnet.

Pivotal to our human evolutionary journey – our ancestors rendered their faithful hounds on cave walls. Amongst the most beautiful of the Egyptian sculptures are those of their revered feline companions and many pretty pennies were spent by Europe’s aristocracy to preserve a favourite pooch on canvas.

Pet Portraits in Oils
18th century oil portrait with pet by Pompeo Batoni

Working from a photo of your favourite pet or from  images of your ‘dream pet’ – an elephant? a unicorn? a dragon? a falcon? we will build a fabulous portrait  over a full day.

Early pencil sketches and studies will enable us to develop a monochromatic first layer in acrylic on canvas. After drying we will return with coloured oil paints to furnish a rich, textured and detailed finish on our Pet’s Portrait.

Storm in a Teacup


Get your hands into some clay and learn, or even polish your ceramic hand-building skills.

With the set theme ‘storm in a teacup’ as a starting point we will delve into the creative possibilities of extended pinch pots with coiled additions, sculptural elements and fine underglaze line work.

Taking inspiration from the old idiom, and building from there, this workshop will prove to be a fabulous opportunity to make a cup your own.

Add some feet to your teacup? A wing? Or perhaps a painted figure?

Storm in a Teacup

The finished pieces may be functional or pure fantasy!

Autumn Tiles

Explore beneath the oak trees and gather leaves, acorns, twigs and more to imprint on clay tiles.

Autumn Tiles

This class will explore the creative and technical challenges involved in creating nature-inspired clay tiles, and investigate design, tool-making, function & form, and the interplay  of texture, stamping, carving, relief, painting, glazing and more.

Drawing on inspiration from William Morris to the work of Gaudi and examples in our own home city, we’ll work together to hand build in clay our very own Autumn Tiles.

Animal Panels for the Petting Zoo

Animalia – The exploration of animals and their habitats. Big, small, furry, scaled, camouflaged, horned,  domesticated, wild, from icy dominions, soaring heights, hidden depths and changing landscapes. Inspiration abounds. Is there an animal that inspires or embodies you?

Both Creative Catalyst (and the Sparks in their incursions into the Art room) will be exploring animals as the inspiration, subject and object of several projects this term. A variety of materials will enable us to express and manipulate animal forms in a several ways.

Our theme is reflected in the painted Animal Panels we are doing over the next two weeks of term to be exhibited at  the Canberra Show.

Animal Panels painted in collaboration with our students in our After-School Creative Catalyst Program will be displayed at the Canberra Show this year in the ActewAGL Farmyard Nursery or the petting zoo.  Featuring animal motifs and teaching fantastic techniques and tips for how colour, shape  and texture create an artwork go and check them out yourself!

Some of our giant paper mache beasts created over the summer program  will be visiting Tuggeranong Art Center.

Tuggeranong Art Centre are also  exploring animals during this year. They say:

Food, friend or foe; guardian, mascot or symbol, animals appear everywhere in our society. Ever present in the human psyche, animals connect us to the wild and anchor us in the domestic. Indulge in your pet passions, scrutinise the treatment of animals and receive some good old pet therapy as we explore the theme of animals across a program of dance, theatre, music, film and visual arts.

Give them a visit and see if you can find any of our beasties.

Fiery yak becomes Chocolate Moose


After we finish the Animal Panels  we’re going to branch out and explore sculptural forms in Little Dog Models in our Ceramic classes. Taking this as our starting point, Creative Catalyst will expand into Large Dog Sculptures for the following fortnight with all sorts of different canine creations coming together.

Following on from our Panels project, our Mixed Materials classes are going to be exploring different sorts of Kinetic Beasties, both in standing and mobile form.

So let your spirit animal roam free, find your totem, and explore the wilderness of Creative Catalyst’s Animalia Theme!

Scrying Bowls

With Halloween still fresh on our minds and the day of the Dead upon us Tuesday’s Catalyst class embark upon our Scrying Bowl project. 


Scrying? Down the ages, scrying has been a prominent means of divination & fortune-telling through the act of looking into a bowl of fluid in the hope of discerning messages or visions.

Into the bowl would be placed the water which would then have an ‘activator’ added according to need:

  • To see a world like the one you are in, add a pinch of sea salt.
  • To see a world significantly different from your own, add a drop of ink.
  • To see into the realm of the Fae, add one drop of the oil of a flower.
  • To see into the realm of the dead, add one drop of your own blood, taken from a pinprick.
  • To see into your own mind, add a drop of saliva.

Working in clay we will build a unique hand made bowl to be decorated with runes, text and images using the sgraffito technique for our own try at scrying.

Ceramic Tile Art

When clay meets with our imagination nothing is impossible. Monday’s Mixed Media Class is exploring the history and art of tile making and decorating – including an inspirational tour of Teffany’s amazing Hearth studio across the road during week 6.
A detail from a tiled mosaic peice in Teffany’s upcoming art show Hearth
A detail from a tiled mosaic peice in Teffany’s upcoming art show Hearth
From a simple slab to a multifaceted geometrical or figurative composition of forms we will create new and unique designs to transcribe onto the clay and will use slip, sculpting, stamp and line work with underglaze to furnish our final individual glazed art tile.

Horrible Preserves

Step into our Catalyst Apothecary full of the rarest, most bizarre and downright spooky ingredients and specimens one could ever imagine or require for their unique concoctions, blends and brews! To be ready just in time for our up coming ‘Halloaeon’ event at Aeoncademy.

Creative Catalyst - Horrible PreservesOur Horrible Preserves will tap into our collective fascination with all things eerie. Using polymer clay, paint and other mixed materials we will create a collection of weird objects – think eye of newt, toe of frog and tongue of dog or trolls ears, wolf fangs and dragon claws  – to carefully preserve in our own jar of ‘pickling’ complete with hand drawn label. 

NOT ONLY are Creative Catalyst mixing their weird and wonderful preserves, but the Sparks are getting involved with their own version of this awesome project, complete with hand-lettered labels, freshly disembodied appendages, and a special mystery goo.


Laura’s Nest

Spring is springing! To celebrate we will be inspired by all things nesting, from the residences of bower-birds and magpies to Fiona Hall’s recent amazing exhibition at the National Gallery, Wrong Way Time (we loved her recycled paper sculptures of real bird nests). Taking inspiration from this amazing springtime phenomena, together we will explore the incredible world of bird nests and then create your own version in clay. After design, construction and decoration the nest will be fired in a kiln and then taken home to adorn your garden.

Birds of a feather... A nest in progress!
Birds of a feather… A nest in progress!

Feathered Headdresses

Feather Headdresses

Wearable art is compelling and transformative – humans have been creating it for as long as we’ve been human. In most cultures feathered headdresses have been used to communicate power, meaning, magic, mystery and/or beauty – from the warrior cultures of the Native Americans and Papuans to the drama of the Mayans and Africans. Chinese Empresses have long enjoyed their exquisitely intricate head combs and tiaras coated in the tiny iridescent blue kingfisher feathers. The Torres Strait Islander culture boasts some of the most ornate and the British Georgians too were nuts about big feathers in their millinery: it seems everyone appreciates a good feather in their cap.Feather Headdresses

In Creative Catalyst we’ve been drawing inspiration from these diverse cultural artefacts to design and create their own wonderful headwear using fabrics, beads, ribbons and of course: feathers.