Matthew?s a thrower


MATTHEW Francis is better known in Coffs Harbour for terrorising batsmen on the cricket field than he is for moulding clay in the studio, but all that is about to change.

The artist and potter, who is also one of the city's leading opening bowlers, is setting up shop at the Showground art workshop and gallery and his work will be included in an exhibition at the showground from 9am to 4pm on May 28 and 29.

The exhibition will coincide with a number of other events at the showground, including a dog show, a collectors fair and the weekly car market.

Originally from Coffs Harbour, Mr Francis studied visual arts at Southern Cross University and his Honours thesis in 2000, titled Eating From The Mouth of the Flame, investigated the surfaces of wood-fired ceramics.

After studying secondary education at Queensland's University of Technology he travelled to the USA to work and study, but has now returned to Coffs Harbour to live. He has recently returned from studying and working in America. In America he worked with two well-known artists as well as meeting many other recognised figures.

He shared studios with Thanos A Johnson, considered a Korean 'living national treasure', and Australian-born Mike Rand, a former Masters graduate from SCU, who is now working out of his studio near the small Colorado town of Carbondale, in the foothills of Mt Sopris.

Mr Francis will be holding open workshops each Tuesday from May 31, from 10am to noon, and all interested people are welcome to visit the Showground Gallery and see demonstrations of making vessels using wheel-throwing.

He also plans to hold ceramics classes for students at different levels of ability.

He said he would wait to see what feedback he received from potential students before deciding on the format of the classes, but he expected to be teaching hand-building, wheel-throwing, glazing, creating decorative handles and other skills, with the emphasis on creating functional ceramics. He is happy to teach people of all ages from high school students upwards.

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