Unknown to a good many members, I thought a few words of introduction might be in order. I was a member of the association some years ago but allowed my membership to lapse on account of other more pressing matters that occupied my time for several years. But I renewed my membership recently with a great deal of enthusiasm for the aims and objectives of the association.
I came to sculpture later in life than a good many practising sculptors. As a schoolboy raised in a family in which the arts played no part I found myself, surprisingly, always top in art which, in those days, seemed to consist of lettering, (my P for python was exemplary), mask making (I suspect to hide our grubby faces) and clay, with which I made the obscene or the ridiculous when the teacher’s back was turned. We never painted a picture or made a sculpture. In fact my interest in the arts extended more to the mercenary than the aesthetic or intellectual in that I raised pocket money by selling translations of Latin homework to the rich but not perhaps the bright; or did they have better things to do? I was a spotty-faced kid who was equally good (or bad) at everything, and in those days if you showed an aptitude for maths and science that’s what you went into. Consequently, like a good many ‘scientific’ people, I missed out on a formal arts education which therefore I gained informally through the experience and study of a lifetime. I do not envy the formally educated but only wish that I had had the opportunity to do arts and science, not one or the other.
While I have been a closet painter all my life, sculpture with its grander scale, greater demands on time and limitless absorption of money eluded me until a few years ago. Now I spend nearly all my time at it.
In our association are many people who received formal training, others who gained their knowledge and experience throughout their lives and some who, when they join us, have only a keen desire to learn. This is the strength of our association. One in which the basic qualification for membership is a desire to be ‘in sculpture’. Young and old, formally qualified or not, all are welcome. We give opportunity for the naïve to learn from the experienced no matter what their age or background so that all can develop their practice to a level that suits them. The free interchange of intellectual knowledge and practical skills is essential to a healthy organisation.
With an enthusiastic membership and a management dedicated to its aims and objectives our association can only thrive and prosper. Both of these we have. The year ahead will include general meetings at which speakers will introduce us to topics pertinent to the art of sculpture, visits to the studios of members who will open their doors to explain the mysteries of their creative processes, and social functions in which pleasantries and gossip will be exchanged in a family atmosphere. Three very public exhibitions are planned at which we can promote the art of sculpture to the wider community.
I look forward to working with your talented, dedicated and enthusiastic committee to bring you all these things and develop the association further. In the meantime I hope to meet as many of you as possible at the end-of-year lunchtime barbecue on Sunday, the 9th of December at 20 England Street, East Bentleigh.
I wish you all health, happiness and good sculpting in the year ahead.