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  • Writer's pictureCarmen Tyrer

Love winning awards

Just a few days ago I went to the Perth Royal Show to demonstrate working with cold porcelain clay.

I entered a twig of about 60 cm length of a cold porcelain Silver Princess eucalyptus. Received a first prize and a ribbon for best exhibit in my category.

The feeling of having made a piece with great effort, managing to overcome several problems during the making, and doing as good as you possibly can is in itself a reason for joy and satisfaction. Then realising that the judges have acknowledged the quality of your work gives me a profound feeling of joy.

I don’t motivate myself by the $ making associated with winning awards.

For me is the process of making something to the best of my ability, the conquering of a difficult procedure, the testing of many ways to achieve a certain look or shape until suddenly something comes to mind and there you are, you finally got it! That is a feeling you enjoy in the solitude of your studio and have nobody to share what you have finally achieved! These are joys only us can celebrate quietly alone.

In the process of making The Silver Princess twig I encountered many hurdles, one was the white rubbery ,gooey residue that covers the twig and most parts of this eucalyptus.

The branch I made before turned out good but this white residue made me experiment with as many things as I could imagine. Well, I painted the pieces with different paints this time because the material I painted the branch with before was staining the white residue even after applying sealants of every type I had. The result was not a white residue but pinkish or greenish according to what part the white was applied.

This time reluctantly used oils and acrylics. Reluctantly, because the paint I used before looks so beautiful ! But does not allow the white residue stay white.

This latest branch turned out great painted with oils and acrylics and both accepted my white residue application technique perfectly without the background colour bleeding into the white! Then at some stage I was ready to start assembling the parts into a twig, then noticed three of the buds were not to my liking. They did not look as good as the rest! So had to go back and remove some colour with my Dremmel drill and a sanding disk until it was ready to paint again. I was happy I wasted a day but got the best result.

After these and more hiccups of course you appreciate and feel elated at having your work recognised and given an award, which you secretly and quietly know it is well deserved.

I share these moments with my very dear friends not in the interest of getting great comments but in the spirit of sharing my joy at my work being valued.

In my life as a dentist i strived to make the best work I could possibly do bordering in the obsessive, not that it was necessary to get to such level, but it was the artist in me who was creating a beautifully carved amalgam, in the old days, or a stunning front tooth reconstruction that could not be appreciated as a restored tooth but as a natural tooth. That is how I used to get my artistic rewards, that could not share with anyone.

With dentistry , the patient gives you the thumbs up if your needles don’t hurt! Or if you are very gentle while working. Unfortunately they are not able to tell the difference between a job well done or an amazing piece or a little disaster !

Only other dentists and sometimes your assistant can see the quality of your work.

This is why I feel this enormous pleasure when my work has been valued. I think.


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