13 June 2015

John Stewart and Leonie Lane :: creatives - Clunes

When government arts funding was slashed and courses cut from TAFE campuses two years ago, ceramicist John Stewart went back to his first love. At the time he was head teacher of Creative Industries at Lismore TAFE, and he left a long and successful teaching career to get back to his workshop outside Clunes.

John discovered ceramics as a teenager, teaching himself the techniques from books. When he chose it for his Higher School Certificate his teachers were surprisingly supportive. “Everyone was so relieved because I was a dreadful painter!” he says.

4 June 2015

Acrophobia or something like it

It was the Giant Drop at Dreamworld that undid me. Sitting, waiting, nothing out in front, nothing below. Only a metal harness preventing me from free-falling 39 storeys onto concrete and fake rocks below.

I wanted to get off. I couldn’t get off. I pressed my back into the plastic seat as far as it would go. I didn’t speak. When the carriage was released we rushed to the bottom, gut-in-throat, and I vowed never to go on it again. I’ll be sticking to the pirate ship, me hearties.

I wasn’t always this paranoid about heights but it’s getting worse. It’s no wonder theme parks aren’t built for adults to enjoy, when your aversion to risk is properly formed and your body’s equilibrium is so easily disturbed. But what about climbing the bell towers of medieval European churches? The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb? Surely people past puberty can tackle those? Perhaps I just pushed it too far, did one too many. These days I barely want to go above the 3rd floor in a high rise.