The Journal of Australian Ceramics Vol 51 No 1 April 2012

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Contents<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>ume <strong>51</strong>/1<br />

<strong>April</strong> <strong>2012</strong><br />

S16<br />

Cover<br />

Patsy Hely<br />

Island. 2011, porcetain<br />

with powder coated aluminium<br />

Sducers, each h.Scm. w.13cm<br />

Photo: Brenton McGeachie<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong><br />

Dates <strong>of</strong> Publication<br />

1 <strong>April</strong>. 17 Ju~. 20 <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

PubUsher<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Assodation<br />

PO 80x 274 Waverley NSW 2024<br />

T: 1300 720 124<br />

F: 02 9369 3742<br />

mailOaustrahanceramics.com<br />

www.australianceramics.com<br />

ABN 14 001 535 502<br />

ISSN 1449-27SX<br />

Editor<br />

Vicki Grima<br />

Marketing and Promotions<br />

Carol Fraczek<br />

Design<br />

Astrid Wehling<br />

W'Io'ffl.astridv.lehling.com.au<br />

Subscriptions Manager<br />

Ashley McHutchison<br />

Pro<strong>of</strong>reader. content<br />

Suzanne Dean<br />

Australia Wide Reports<br />

Please see reports<br />

for contact details<br />

ACT: Jane Crick<br />

NSW; Sue Stewart<br />

OLD Far <strong>No</strong>rth: Lone Whne<br />

OLD South East: lyn Rogers<br />

QLD Townsville: Sharon Jewell<br />

SA: Kirsten Coelho<br />

TAS: John Watson<br />

V1C: Glenn England<br />

WAc Elaine Bradley<br />

Printed by<br />

Newstyie Printing Co Pry ltd<br />

41 Manchester St. Mile End SA<br />

503 1 certIfied to ASINZS ISO<br />

14001 :2004 Environmental<br />

Management Systems. Printed on<br />

Impress Satin (FSC) stock USIng<br />

100% vegetable-based<br />

process in~.<br />

f) ~ECYC .... ED<br />

~.3per<br />

I "( ~ :;,_ C~'·H ')<br />

"vJ<br />



4 NOW + THEN<br />


6 THE TRUDIE ALFRED BEQUEST <strong>2012</strong><br />



12 Wanda Garnsey by Karen Weiss<br />

14 Kunmunara (carol) Williams by Ge<strong>of</strong>f Crispin and Janet DeBoos<br />

16 David Boyd by Damon Moon<br />


17 <strong>The</strong> JAC SOth Anniversary Celebration by Grace Cochrane<br />

21 PROmotion by Dee Taylor-Graham<br />

24 Filthy lucre by Damon Moon<br />


30 Peter Rushforth by Jan Howlin<br />

41 Margaret Tuckson by Karen Weiss<br />

46 Patsy Hely by Anne Brennan<br />

52 Tania Rollond<br />

58 Steve Williams by Gail Nichols<br />

64 Susie McMeekin by Christopher Sanders<br />

68 Elaine Bradley<br />

72 Andrew Bryant by Stephanie Outridge Field<br />

76 Bruce Nuske by Stephen Bowers<br />

82 Michael Stephan by Jo Mcintyre Bornemissza<br />

88 Janet Beckhouse by Inga Walton<br />

94 John Dermer<br />


98 <strong>The</strong> Bluestone Collection by Robyn Phelan<br />

100 Val and Michael Gregg by Elisa Bartels<br />


103 Shoot the Potter<br />


108 Top potters respond to questions from the editor<br />

111 Surviving the Challenges: David Walker sums up the <strong>Australian</strong><br />

ceramics industry over the last few decades<br />


113 Craft to Consumer: Ingrid Tufts. designer and maker. discusses<br />

expanding her reach in retail<br />

117 Yili: Steve Williams reports on Aboriginal Ceramic Design at Great<br />

Lakes TAFE Art and Design School in Tuncurry NSW<br />

121 Digital and Analogue: Hayden Youlley jumps at the chance<br />

to work with Rod Bamford and his 3D Printer<br />


125 EVENT: Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong> from the Desert by Jo Herbig<br />

and Franca Barraclough<br />


130 EVENT: Subversive Clay exhibitions: a preview<br />

132 EVENT: Subversive Clay: Damon Moon takes a look at subversion<br />

134 WEll READ: "<strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> <strong>No</strong>t Making" by Dee Taylor-Graham<br />


THE JOURNAL Of AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 1

Editor: Vi cki Grima<br />

A few members <strong>of</strong> the JAC team:<br />

from left, Astrid Wehling, Vicki<br />

Grima, Ashley McHutchison and<br />

Elisa Bartels at Manly Art Gallery<br />

& Museum, 22 January <strong>2012</strong><br />

50 years . 146 issues . 7 editors . close to 15,000 pages<br />

and way over a metre on a bookshelf if you have a full set.<br />

Pottery in Australia started <strong>of</strong>f at 5 shillings (SOc) and after 18 changes over 50 years, the price has<br />

settled at $16.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first 40 issues were black + white. <strong>The</strong> last 31 were full colour.<br />

<strong>The</strong> name changed to <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>, gradually, between 2001 and 2003.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first issue (1962) was 26 pages, stapled within a cover featuring Bernard Leach.<br />

<strong>The</strong> largest issue (in 2009) was 160 pages, published for the <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Triennale.<br />

Peter Rushforth is the most featured cover artist with five covers to his credit.<br />

We celebrated our 40th anniversary with the Covers exhibition, and one <strong>of</strong> the displays from that<br />

exhibition is on the wall <strong>of</strong> our <strong>of</strong>fice. <strong>The</strong> magazine printing reps say, "You know, those covers ..., they<br />

illustrate a history <strong>of</strong> printing", and designers say, " ... a history <strong>of</strong> graphic design" .<br />

With every issue published, that history is growing - a history <strong>of</strong> ceramic studio practice in Australia.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> tells stories about the makers, shares images <strong>of</strong> the objects they create and documents<br />

the methods they use. <strong>The</strong> talent featured also includes writers, photographers, designers, collectors,<br />

collaborators, teachers, exhibition curators, gallery owners, bloggers, stirrers and editors.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> the perks <strong>of</strong> being editor <strong>of</strong> a niche publication is being involved in almost every aspect <strong>of</strong> the<br />

<strong>Journal</strong>, from making the hard choices about what's in and what's out, to loading Australia Post's truck<br />

as the copies start their journey to our readers.<br />

In preparing this issue, I collected statements from potters who have been involved with ceramics<br />

and the <strong>Journal</strong> over the last few decades. One, by Victorian ceramic artist Stephen Benwell, caught my<br />

attention: "One way to gauge the importance <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Journal</strong> is to imagine if we had gone through the<br />

last 50 years without it! Impossible to imagine," he said.<br />

Plans for the near future include a digital online version and a new<br />

website. And maybe by the end <strong>of</strong> this year, a digital archive <strong>of</strong> the first<br />

50 years <strong>of</strong> this wonderful publication. It's an exciting time!<br />

~.<br />

2 THE IOURNAl OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

Australia Wide Reporters<br />

Jane Crick (ACT)<br />

Handbuilding has been my<br />

passion for more than thirty<br />

years - slabs such precision,<br />

coils such pleasure, pinching<br />

such fun. An avid collector <strong>of</strong><br />

handmade cups and saucers,<br />

I currently have about sixty<br />

amazing examples. Teaching<br />

is always a joy whether with<br />

Canberra Potters, visiting other<br />

groups, or at Moonshill.<br />

www.canberrapotters.com.au<br />

www.janecrick.netfirms.com<br />

Lynette Rogers (QLD)<br />

I am living the good life on the<br />

Gold Coast. I am a member<br />

<strong>of</strong>, and a teacher for, the Gold<br />

Coast Potters' Assoc Inc, as<br />

well as a member <strong>of</strong> Clay Art<br />

Benowa Gallery. My work<br />

can be viewed here: www.<br />

goldcoastpotters.com. At 60,<br />

I am very happy teaching kids<br />

and adults in my wonderful<br />

studio, with new packages <strong>of</strong><br />

corporate bonding sessions and<br />

birthday parties. I love clay!<br />

John Watson (TAS)<br />

I have been making ceramics for<br />

twelve years and sell most <strong>of</strong><br />

my work at Offcentre, an artists'<br />

cooperative in Hobart.<br />

E: john@dmink.net<br />

Glenn England (VIC)<br />

Having taught ceramics for<br />

the past 24 yea rs I have<br />

recently retired, moved to<br />

the Dandenong Ranges and<br />

re-established my studio.<br />

My ceramics are an ongoing<br />

narrative: the story <strong>of</strong> my<br />

past experiences, interests<br />

and inspirations. I am looking<br />

forward to exploring my new<br />

environment and expressing it<br />

in my art.<br />

E: glennengland@optusnet.<br />

com.au; Dandenong Ranges<br />

Open Studios,<br />

www.potteryopenst udios.com<br />

Sue Stewart (NSW)<br />

Currently I am a part-time<br />

teacher <strong>of</strong> ceramics at TAFE<br />

and run private classes at<br />

Newcastle Studio Potters, and I<br />

look after the website, www.<br />

newcastlepotters.com.au. I<br />

enjoy making both handbuilt,<br />

abstract and figurative<br />

sculptures and wheelthrown<br />

vessels. <strong>The</strong> eroded cliffs<br />

around the studio are providing<br />

inspiration for current<br />

sculptures.<br />

www.ceramicartist .com.au<br />

~ Lone White (QLD far north)<br />

: I have been playing with clay for<br />

: more than 35 years and still love<br />

· to explore new ideas with clay,<br />

: glazes and firing techniques;<br />

www,lonewhite-ceramics.<br />

, com; E: lone@tpg.com.au.<br />

· I have been promoting the<br />

: pottery industry in Far <strong>No</strong>rth<br />

: OLD for many years though<br />

! Cairns Potters Club, www.<br />

: cairnspottersclub.net, and<br />

• the Visual Arts Association <strong>of</strong><br />

: Far <strong>No</strong>rth OLD,<br />

: www.visualartsassocfnq.com<br />


<strong>No</strong>w + <strong>The</strong>n<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Association wishes<br />

Pauline Mann a speedy recovery after her<br />

recent health problems. We thank her for<br />

diligently reporting on ceramic events and artists<br />

on the west coast since 2005, as the State<br />

Representative for WA.<br />

television producers in NSW. With an emphasis<br />

on <strong>Australian</strong> craftsmanship, Crackle Medium<br />

especially promotes and focuses on ceramic<br />

artists; www.cracklemedium.com<br />

Correction to text in JAC, issue 50/3, <strong>The</strong><br />

Narrative Knot catalogue:<br />

Jan Howlin - Tools <strong>of</strong> Engagement is a<br />

collection <strong>of</strong> domestic objects, created in a range<br />

<strong>of</strong> camouflage patterns in happy household<br />

colours. It alludes somewhat tongue-in-cheek to<br />

the tensions that almost inevitably arise, whether<br />

rarely or with regularity, through the passage <strong>of</strong><br />

everyday life in the domestic arena. Taking the<br />

fantasy <strong>of</strong> domestic bliss to task, the work also<br />

raises the suggestion that 'if it's love it's worth<br />

fighting for'. Choose your weapons; prepare for<br />

action!<br />

Sydney-based food photographer and food<br />

stylist, Dario Milano (www.foodpixels.com).<br />

has just launched his newest project Crackle<br />

Medium, an online prop hire business catering<br />

to food and lifestyle publications, advertisers and<br />

Gail Nichols, beaker: photo: Crackle Medium<br />

A big thank you to Ingrid Tufts from the<br />

current and past editors <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

Australia <strong>Ceramics</strong>. Ingrid, a ceramic artist from<br />

Melbourne, generously donated a gorgeous<br />

porcelain beaker to each editor, inscribed with<br />

the dates <strong>of</strong> their editorship, as a memento <strong>of</strong><br />

JACs 50 year anniversary celebrated at Manly<br />

Art Gallery & Museum on 22 January <strong>2012</strong> .<br />

www.tufts.com.au<br />

Vale: Bob Grieve, potter<br />

Died 17 October 2011 in Roma, OLD<br />

aged 82<br />

Vale: Kunmunara (Carol) Williams, potter<br />

Died October 2011 in South Australia<br />

aged 34<br />

Vale: David Boyd, painter and ceramicist<br />

Died 10 <strong>No</strong>vember 2011 in Sydney, NSW<br />

aged 87<br />

Vale: Wanda Garnsey, potter<br />

Died 24 December 2011 in Sydney, NSW<br />

aged 97<br />


All things digital<br />

QR code. What's that?<br />

Our 'Shoot the Potter' image folder on Flickr is well worth a<br />

visit, 50 try the QR Code on the right to view the images.<br />

A QR (Quick Response) code enables you to view and<br />

bookmark a web page using your digital device.<br />

Download a QR reader app to your smartphonelipadltablet,<br />

open the app, point it at the black and white square (right)<br />

and your device will scan the QR code. You will then be taken<br />

online to view our Shoot the Potter images.<br />

It's free and VERY clever! Give it a go right here.<br />

Would you like to see your exhibition<br />

review on our new blog?<br />

Check our new blog out here:<br />

http://australianceramics.wordpress.com/<br />

Submissions are now open for short and (not<br />

necessarily) sweet reviews <strong>of</strong> exhibitions you have<br />

visited.<br />

Requirements for blog reviews: 1 50-200 words<br />

along w ith a link to a website for images, or<br />

attach 2-4 low res (72dpi) images. Please send<br />

your review as plain text (no fancy formatting).<br />

Send by email to mail@australianceramics.com.<br />

If you would like an email every time there is a<br />

new blog post, click on the FOLLOW button (see<br />

bottom right <strong>of</strong> blog page) and enter your email<br />

address. You will be sent a confirmation email.<br />


__ .. w-._ --..... __ __.<br />

~~-----<br />

-<br />

Be sure to enjoy our extra web features online at www.austraUanceramlcs.com<br />

Go online to enjoy a<br />

. Jan Howlin's visit to Peter's studio in<br />

the Blue Mountains, west <strong>of</strong> Sydney, resulted in this unique opportunity to capture his thoughts about<br />

the early days <strong>of</strong> JAC's predecessor, Pottery in Australia, and memories <strong>of</strong> his life as a studio potter.<br />

Read Michael Stephan's article by Jo Mcintyre Bornemissza, then go to http://vimeo.com/4826053<br />

to view<br />

on his life and work, one <strong>of</strong> three 'stillsbased'<br />

biographies that accompanied the exhibition Working Fire at Carnegie Gallery, Hobart Tasmania.<br />

This issue's web-only article is a .<br />

<strong>of</strong> HYPERCLAY: Contemporary<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong>. Read Altair's overview <strong>of</strong> the exhibition, then go behind the scenes with the artists by<br />

downloading the free iTunes app, HYPERCLAY: Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong>.<br />

THE IOURNAl OF AUSTRAlIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 5




Congratulations to the inaugural winners <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Trudie Alfred Bequest Ceramic Scholarships <strong>2012</strong>-<br />

Amy Hick (ACn, Janetta Kerr-Grant (VIC), Tracey Mitchell (NSW), Serena Rosevear (TAS) and<br />

Sharon Thompson (NSW). It was wonderful to be able to present the awards to four <strong>of</strong> the five winners<br />

at the celebrations for our 50th Anniversary on 22 January <strong>2012</strong> at Manly Art Gallery & Museum.<br />

Each <strong>of</strong> the five winners received $4000, which will assist them w ith their ceramics studies at a tertiary<br />

institution in <strong>2012</strong>.<br />

About the winners<br />

Amy Hick is commencing Honours in a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Visual<br />

Arts, majoring in ceramics, at the ANU in Canberra. Her aim<br />

is to investigate how the practice <strong>of</strong> installation can be used<br />

as a device to create an immersive experience. She is also<br />

curious to see how extravagant numbers <strong>of</strong> a simple object<br />

can be assembled to create an elaborate work. Porcelain<br />

and light are mediums that enhance each other and it is this<br />

convergence that she would like to investigate.<br />

E: amy.louise_89@hotmail.com<br />


Janetta Kerr-G rant is studying for a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Creative<br />

Arts (Honours), Arts Academy, University <strong>of</strong> Ballarat. This year<br />

her plan is explore the narrative and poetic possibilities <strong>of</strong> the<br />

increasingly common experience <strong>of</strong> driving on vast freeway<br />

networks, focusing on the signage, lighting and the fleeting<br />

quality <strong>of</strong> movement, in a series <strong>of</strong> related ceramic vessels;<br />

www.janettakerrgrant.com.au<br />

Tracey Mitchell is studying an Advanced Diploma <strong>of</strong> Visual<br />

Arts at Sydney Institute, Gymea, NSW. Her aim for the year<br />

is to gain as much learning as she pOSSibly can and to make<br />

the very most <strong>of</strong> her opportunities. She intends to explore<br />

sculptural form using both slipcasting and handbuilding.<br />

Within this, she intends to experiment with different surface<br />

treatments including the consideration <strong>of</strong> the use <strong>of</strong> colour;<br />

http://traceymitchellceramics.com<br />

Serena Rosevear will be studying Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Contemporary<br />

Arts (Honours) at the School <strong>of</strong> Visual and Performing<br />

Arts, University <strong>of</strong> Tasmania. Her research will explore the<br />

application <strong>of</strong> digital technologies to ceramic processes,<br />

questioning the impact <strong>of</strong> such technologies on originality<br />

and uniqueness, contributing to her overarching interest in<br />

reaching an understanding <strong>of</strong> her place as a maker <strong>of</strong> objects<br />

at this specific point in history; www.visuaiarts.net.au/<br />

gallerylsrosevear or check out Serena's page on Facebook<br />

Sharon Thompson will be studying Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Visual<br />

Arts at Southern Cross University, lismore, NSW. She aims<br />

to continue investigations into a new technique <strong>of</strong> 'ecoprinting'<br />

on the ceramic surface through a natural plant dying<br />

process. In parallel, she wants to continue refining her skills in<br />

developing the form, and extend it from pure ornamentation<br />

to incorporate greater functionality.<br />

E: snsthompson@bigpond.com; T: 0427 682 923<br />


A call for applications for the 2013 scholarships will be announced in the<br />

next issue <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>, <strong>51</strong>12, July <strong>2012</strong>, and on our<br />

website, www.australianceramics.com.

Tribute<br />

-----------------------<br />

Vale Wanda Garnsey<br />

1914-2011<br />

Some sad news. Wanda Garnsey,<br />

the founder and first editor <strong>of</strong> Pottery<br />

in Australia (now <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Australian</strong> Ceramic, JAC) passed away<br />

on 24 December 2011 at the age <strong>of</strong><br />

97 years. As an active member <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Potters Society <strong>of</strong> Australia, Wanda saw<br />

the need for a journal that would provide<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> potters with an overview <strong>of</strong><br />

what was happening in Australia as well<br />

as overseas. After a few PSA meetings<br />

in which this was discussed, Wanda<br />

decided to go ahead and just do it. On<br />

seeing the first edition, members <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Potters Society <strong>of</strong> Australia - who had<br />

been expecting a modest newsletter -<br />

realised the extent <strong>of</strong> Wanda's vision and<br />

applauded it.<br />

Wanda Garnsey<br />

Photo: Douglas Thompson<br />

She showcased work by <strong>Australian</strong><br />

potters and provided in-depth cutting<br />

edge technical articles using <strong>Australian</strong><br />

materials. <strong>The</strong>re were reports on<br />

exhibitions, workshops and visits by<br />

overseas celebrities. Bernard Leach's visit<br />

to Australia featured in the first edition.<br />

Potters who travelled overseas were<br />

persuaded to write illustrated articles on<br />

their visits to potters in Asia, Europe, USA<br />

and the Middle East. Her daughter, Julie<br />

Blakemore, recalls Wanda cajoling articles<br />

from potters uncertain <strong>of</strong> their writing skills (" Just get the gist <strong>of</strong> it down; I'll fix the rest! "), and, <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

with Margaret Tuckson at her side, poring over her living room table spread with typewritten articles<br />

glued on bits <strong>of</strong> paper. By herself, Wanda Garnsey created a template for the journal which, with a few<br />

updates and revisions, remains the format for the JAC to this day.<br />

Her desire to see the work <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> potters recognised more widely led to <strong>Australian</strong> Pottery<br />

(1972), co-written with arts historian and critic Kenneth Hood, a pr<strong>of</strong>usely illustrated book which<br />

remains a valuable resource for researchers into <strong>Australian</strong> studio ceramics. Wanda had a deep interest<br />

in Asian ceramics. After several visits to mainland China, Japan and Korea, in 1983, in collaboration<br />

with NZ writer Rewi Alley, she wrote, China, ancient kilns and modern ceramics: a guide to the<br />

potteries, which is still cited in the Encyclopedia Britannica online as a reference text.<br />


Left: Wanda Garnsey jug; right: Wandy Garnsey, stoneware, magnesia glaze, tallest h.22cm; photo: Ge<strong>of</strong>f Hawkshaw<br />

Pottery in Australia, <strong>Vol</strong> 8, <strong>No</strong> 2, 1969<br />

Wanda, who studied ceramics at East Sydney Technical College (EST( ) under Peter Rushforth and<br />

Mollie Douglas, was also a talented potter whose work is in the collection <strong>of</strong> the Art Gallery <strong>of</strong> NSW,<br />

the Powerhouse Museum and the Manly Ga llery and Museum. Photographs <strong>of</strong> her work can be seen<br />

in the National Library Trove archive. She was an avid experimenter with glazes and clay bodies. Julie<br />

remembers the family heading out for the day with spades and sugar bags to dig up local clay and a<br />

studio with buckets <strong>of</strong> glaze everywhere.<br />

Wanda had a strong social conscience. She was a member <strong>of</strong> the Women's International League for<br />

Peace and Freedom, especially active during the Vietnam War and the French nuclear tests in the Pacific.<br />

She organised and edited the Pearl Beach Recipe Book, the proceeds from which went to a fund that<br />

she started, Medical Aid for Children <strong>of</strong> Laos, for which she raised almost $70,000.<br />

Even though she had ceased her own ceramics practice by 1972, Wanda retained a strong interest in<br />

ceramics and her house was still a stopping <strong>of</strong>f place for local and overseas ceramicists for many years.<br />

Wanda relinquished her editorship <strong>of</strong> Pottery in Australia in 1974 aft er twelve years as the editor,<br />

continuing to receive copies <strong>of</strong> t he JAC up to the present. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Association reg rets<br />

her passing, and gratefully acknowledges her outstanding contribution to <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics,<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> and TACA.<br />

Vale Wanda Garnsey.<br />

Karen Weiss<br />

With thanks to Julie Blakemore for sharing her memories <strong>of</strong> Wanda,<br />


Tribute<br />

Kunmunara (Carol) Williams<br />

1977-2011<br />

Kunmunara (Carol) Williams<br />

was one <strong>of</strong> the true great<br />

talents, both in Ernabella<br />

and on the Lands. She was a<br />

proud Pitjantjatjara woman.<br />

My main contact was with<br />

her work in ceramics while<br />

I was in Ernabella for nearly<br />

two years.<br />

Kunmunara (Carol) Williams, Ernabella, SA<br />

Image used with the permission <strong>of</strong> Carol's fami ly_<br />

When I picture her it<br />

was both with a wonderful<br />

smile and a hint <strong>of</strong> shyness,<br />

especially early on. This soon<br />

changed when concentration<br />

was required . She came into<br />

the studio, flicked her hair<br />

back and started work on the<br />

latest piece.<br />

Her first large ceramic piece was shown in 2006 at the National <strong>Ceramics</strong> Conference in Brisbane. It<br />

caused considerable comment with many people wanting to obtain the work. It was truly a masterwork.<br />

Many people have continued to comment on its artistic power as it has travelled around a number <strong>of</strong><br />

exhibitions.<br />

Kunmunara also contributed to the initial stages <strong>of</strong> the Remote Communities Ceramic Network<br />

involving ceramic artists from Ernabella, Hermannsburg and the Tiwi Islands. Her creative flair<br />

contributed to these interactions, especially her collaborative works w ith Robert Puruntatameri from<br />

Pularumpi on Melville Island. Such connections across Indigenous communities are so important for<br />

individual artists as well as the communities they represent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> powerful works she produced helped to establish recognition for Ernabella ceramics as her<br />

individual artworks reflected both traditional mark making and contemporary Pitjantjatjara expression.<br />

Her recent work indicated her continuing development as a powerful ceramic artist. Thanks to Janet<br />

OeBoos and the Ceramic Workshop at the ANU for their continuing support <strong>of</strong> these ceramic artists<br />

from remote communities.<br />

We have lost a uniquely talented woman.<br />

"Tjakurinanyi munu kulpai kangkuru! "<br />

(Farewell and goodbye sister)<br />

Ge<strong>of</strong>f Crispin<br />


Kunmunara (Carol) Williams was a special<br />

person with a singular talent that was continuing<br />

to develop in breadth and sophistication. Her<br />

works stand out amongst decorated ceramics from<br />

Ernabella and she had become one <strong>of</strong> the most<br />

important artists working there in this medium.<br />

My relationship with her started through one <strong>of</strong><br />

her works, shown in an exhibition at the National<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> Conference in Brisbane in 2006. This work<br />

'bought me', rather than the reverse. I simply had to<br />

take it home. <strong>The</strong>re was a powerful quality in it that<br />

was irresistible. It subsequently did come home after<br />

being on loan to the Powerhouse Museum for the<br />

important exhibition, Smartworks.<br />

I later met Kunmunara (or Carol as I ma inly knew<br />

her) through the <strong>Australian</strong> National University's<br />

involvement in the Remote Communities <strong>Ceramics</strong><br />

Network (RCCN) project. This was a project<br />

developed by Ge<strong>of</strong>f Crispin, to allow communication<br />

and sharing <strong>of</strong> ideas and expertise between different<br />

Indigenous communities. Ernabella (and Carol)<br />

became pivotal in the success <strong>of</strong> the project. She<br />

worked both in the desert and at ANU in Canberra,<br />

where her prodigious and thoughtful output was<br />

inspiring to students.<br />

Carol Williams (Ernabella, South Australia), Vase, 2006<br />

terracotta; photo: Sotha Bourn; reproduced courtesy <strong>of</strong> the<br />

PO\'Verhouse Museum, Sydney, NSW<br />

Carol was in turn shy, naughty, very attached to her family and independently focused on her work.<br />

She tried everything, being very quick at seeing the potential in new techniques and new ways <strong>of</strong><br />

working.<br />

Carol's death comes at a time when she had been chosen to be one <strong>of</strong> the artists due to travel to<br />

Jingdezhen in China, to connect there with a much older ceramic tradition and to experience working<br />

on the expansive canvas <strong>of</strong> very large porcelain pots. That she will not be able to try this is a loss to the<br />

art world, but nothing compared to the loss experienced by her family - her son Mutju and her sister<br />

Tjimpuna.<br />

It is always sad when someone dies, but when a younger person dies, and one who was such a force<br />

in her community, it is a tragedy.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> the great privileges <strong>of</strong> working with Carol and the other artists and communities that are part<br />

<strong>of</strong> the RCCN is that we all learn and grow, and understand more about continuity. Carol's role in that<br />

process will be manifest through the young girls she taught in the school, through her equally talented<br />

sister Tjimpuna, and, most <strong>of</strong> all, through her singular pots.<br />

Janet De Baas<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong><br />


Tribute<br />

Vale David Boyd<br />

1924-2011<br />

David Fielding Gough Boyd was the fourth<br />

child <strong>of</strong> the famous <strong>Australian</strong> ceramicist<br />

(William) Merric Boyd and Doris (nee Gough)<br />

Boyd. He grew up in the family enclave<br />

known as Open Country, in the suburb<br />

<strong>of</strong> Murrumbeena, which was (then) on the<br />

outskirts <strong>of</strong> Melbourne. His childhood was<br />

unconventional, bohemian and artistically rich .<br />

All the Boyd children helped out with the<br />

family ceramics business from an early age,<br />

and David was no exception. He studied<br />

music (he was a gifted pianist) and (briefly)<br />

painting in Melbourne, before moving to<br />

Sydney during the period 1946/47, where<br />

he helped his brother Guy Boyd (who was<br />

studying sculpture at the National Art School)<br />

establish a commercial pottery. This colourful,<br />

fashionable pottery was sold under the name<br />

<strong>of</strong> 'Martin Boyd Pottery' and it was a highly<br />

successful venture.<br />

In 1947, David met the precociously<br />

talented Hermia Lloyd-Jones, a student at the<br />

National Art School. <strong>The</strong>y married in 1948<br />

Hermia Boyd and David Boyd, Murrumbeena, 1959<br />

and spent the rest <strong>of</strong> their life together, until<br />

Hermia passed away in 2000. From the late<br />

1940s to the early 1960s, in Australia, England<br />

and Europe, David and Hermia Boyd made commercially successful and artistically adventurous ceramics.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y left Australia to live in Europe (for the second time) in 1961, just as the <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics<br />

scene was coming <strong>of</strong> age, but there is no doubt that David and Hermia Boyd were the most successful<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> ceramicists <strong>of</strong> the post-war period.<br />

Although they continued making ceramics in England into the 1960s, David's preoccupations had<br />

increasingly turned to painting, and his career as a potter came to a close. A full retrospective exhibition<br />

<strong>of</strong> the ceramics <strong>of</strong> David and Hermia Boyd is long overdue, and would shed a great deal <strong>of</strong> light onto a<br />

formative period <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics.<br />

Damon Moon, Willunga <strong>2012</strong><br />

Editor's note: see Damon Moon's article, 'A Family Affair - the Boyds and the History <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>', lAC, 48/3 <strong>No</strong>vember, 2009, pages 24-29<br />


Perspective<br />

Grace Cochrane at the<br />

MAG&M celebration<br />

22 January <strong>2012</strong><br />

Photo: Glenn Duffus<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong><br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong>: 50th Anniversary<br />

Celebration<br />

Speech by Grace Cochrane at Manly Art Gallery & Museum, 22 January <strong>2012</strong><br />

Thank you Patsy, and to Vicki and those others representing the Association and the <strong>Journal</strong>, for inviting<br />

me to speak at this very significant occasion.<br />

Fifty years <strong>of</strong> continuous publication! That is a milestone in anyone's terms, but even more so when<br />

the achievement has been carried out completely within the organisation, its members, subscribers and<br />

advertisers, over all that time.<br />

Pottery in Australia was first published in 1962, shortly after the founding <strong>of</strong> the Potters Society <strong>of</strong><br />

NSW (later <strong>of</strong> Australia) in 1956. Everyone was excited by the international studio ceramics movement<br />

focused largely around the work and writing <strong>of</strong> Bernard Leach, and specifically his visit to Australia<br />

in 1962, which prompted the publication <strong>of</strong> the first issue. Peter Rushforth (who is here tonight),<br />

Mollie Douglas, Ivan McMeekin and Ivan Englund were founders, while Margaret Tuckson and Bobbie<br />

Rushforth (both also here) were also around at the time. And as a member <strong>of</strong> the Potters Society, Mollie<br />

was one <strong>of</strong> those who represented Australia at the first World Crafts Conference in the USA in 1964.<br />

In Australia, the Potters Society was arguably the first distinctively pr<strong>of</strong>essional studio crafts group,<br />

following the Arts and Crafts Societies that had existed since the early 20th century, and the Spinners<br />

& Weavers and Embroiderers Guilds which had formed in the late 40s and 50s. It was soon followed<br />

<strong>of</strong> course, by a range <strong>of</strong> state potters groups, most <strong>of</strong> which also survive today: the state crafts<br />

organisations from the early 70s; and from the late 70s into the 80s, specialist groups for jewellery and<br />

metalwork, glass, furniture and woodworking.<br />

Everywhere you turn at the moment, there seems to be an anniversary: the Ceramic Study Group<br />

follows you with their 50th next year; Craft Australia and most <strong>of</strong> the state craf ts organisations are<br />

hitting 40 (Jane Burns, first director <strong>of</strong> the Crafts Council <strong>of</strong> Australia is also here); Ausglass and JMGA<br />

are recovering from 30. How lucky we have been to be part <strong>of</strong> this extraordinary time.<br />


Perspective<br />

Pages 18-20: PROmotion exhibition, Manly Art Gallery & Museum<br />

22 January <strong>2012</strong>; photos: Glenn Duffus and Vicki Grima<br />

Why did the Potters Society want a journal? Wanda<br />

Garnsey said in her editorial in <strong>Vol</strong> 1 <strong>No</strong> 1, in May 1962:<br />

.. . Pottery in Australia has been produced primarily to<br />

disseminate information among potters, and to endeavour<br />

to promote a better understanding <strong>of</strong> our problems, both<br />

technical and aesthet ic.<br />

This first edition, with an article on stoneware bodies,<br />

and another on the more intangible subject <strong>of</strong> a potters<br />

philosophy, together with photographs <strong>of</strong> pots, tries to fulfill<br />

this purpose.<br />

Acknowledging the stimulus <strong>of</strong> Bernard leach's personality<br />

by publishing this edition following his visit to Sydney, we<br />

would yet stress the fact that the potters themselves are<br />

the mainstay <strong>of</strong> this and any future production. We depend<br />

on the support <strong>of</strong> our subscribers and the stimulus <strong>of</strong> our<br />

contributors. With this encouragement the journal may<br />

expand in scope and perform a genuine service to potters.<br />

While she couldn't possibly anticipate the future at that<br />

time, it is certain that over these 50 years the journal has<br />

indeed performed a "genuine service to potters" and the<br />

potters themselves, as subject, authors and subscribers, have<br />

continued to be the" mainstay" <strong>of</strong> the journal.<br />

Pottery in Australia was also part <strong>of</strong> a national and<br />

international network <strong>of</strong> publishing. In the USA, Craft<br />

Horizons started in the 40s as a mimeographed sheet,<br />

becoming part <strong>of</strong> the American Craftsmen's Council in 1959;<br />

and the USA journal <strong>Ceramics</strong> Monthly started in 1953.<br />

NZ Potter went for 40 years from 1958-1998; Ceramic<br />

Review, in Britain, seems to have started in 1970; Craft<br />

Australia was launched in 1971, just before the British<br />

Crafts magazine.<br />

So Pottery in Australia was not only very early on the<br />

scene - but it has lasted, publishing continuously from 1962,<br />

since 2006 as <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>. This<br />

co-incided with the shift in name from the Potters Society <strong>of</strong><br />

Australia to <strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Association, to reflect<br />

the diversity <strong>of</strong> current practice. It has also always been<br />

national in its reach.<br />

Central to the success and long life <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Journal</strong>, has<br />

been the commitment <strong>of</strong> the editors who have produced<br />

what are now 146 issues, bringing us to <strong>Vol</strong> 50 no 3.<br />

Vicki has just spoken about how she tries to assess what

is necessary for the time, what she looks for and how she<br />

goes about getting that together. This process has also been<br />

addressed in their own ways by her predecessors: As you<br />

will know, they are, from present to past, Vicki Grima, Trisha<br />

Dean, Sue Buckle, Leonard Smith, Janet Mansfield, Margot<br />

Staples, and founding editor Wanda Garnsey.<br />

Apart from representing potters - their work, their ideas<br />

and the context in which they work - the <strong>Journal</strong> has also<br />

<strong>of</strong>fered many opportunities for writers, both those who<br />

specialise in that field as well as potters or ceramicists who<br />

also have a talent for it, and may be interested in putting<br />

thoughts into words. I think this opportunity is one <strong>of</strong> the<br />

journal's distinctive features; people are able to <strong>of</strong>fer their<br />

informed research and observations within the critical and<br />

informative framework <strong>of</strong> the journal.<br />

It has also given many people a start for writing elsewhere,<br />

and for further study, research and publication. I think you<br />

could say that Pottery in Australia was the catalyst for<br />

Wanda Garnsey who co-authored with Kenneth Hood,<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> Pottery, in 1972, probably the first publication<br />

on studio ceramics in Australia, and for Janet Mansfield who<br />

not only produced separate publications but also set up<br />

her own journals, in 1990 and 1995. It certainly provided a<br />

context for publications such as Th e Artist-Craftsman in<br />

Australia by Faye Bottrell in 1972, Nine Artist Potters by<br />

Alison Littlemore and Kraig Carlstrom in 1973 and Twelve<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> Cra ftsmen by Patricia Thompson in 1973.<br />

Pottery in Australia also provided a context for earlier<br />

more technical publications such as Ivan Englund's research<br />

<strong>of</strong> 1962' and Ivan McMeekin's <strong>of</strong> 1967. 2 Today, <strong>of</strong> course, it<br />

reviews writing in publications and exhibit ion catalogues as<br />

well as ceramics practice, as a matter <strong>of</strong> course .<br />

Also crucial to the success <strong>of</strong> the journal, has been the<br />

strong support <strong>of</strong> galleries across the country, <strong>of</strong> TAFE<br />

colleges and universities, and suppliers <strong>of</strong> clay and equipment.<br />

Consistent advertisers over the years have included wellknown<br />

businesses such as Walkers, Cesco, Venco, Woodrow,<br />

Clayworks, Keanes and Feeneys.<br />

It seems to me that those founding ideals <strong>of</strong> providing<br />

information and promoting understanding have continued<br />

at the core <strong>of</strong> the journal's work. It has celebrated exciting<br />

developments, acknowledged influential people and<br />

challenged thinking about ceramics. And above all, when we<br />

look at the record <strong>of</strong> these 146 journals, they represent an<br />

extremely important archive; an unparalleled record <strong>of</strong> the<br />

time and a resource for the future. It is a treasure. And this<br />

process continues!<br />

In recent years, <strong>of</strong> course, the journal has been joined<br />

by a website, and at the opening <strong>of</strong> the exhibition, Cover<br />

.. . .... . ..<br />

.<br />

" ,<br />

.::-:-:-;-:-:... : : :t1:<br />

"<br />

.. . . . . . .. .. . . .. . . . . .. . . .<br />

..,<br />

...·· ·· ··;··'. ··r··<br />

:; ;:; i U. ::::<br />


Perspective<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />



Wanda Garnsey 1962- 1973 25 issues<br />

Margot Staples 1974-1976 5 issues<br />

Janet Mansfield 1976-1990 39 issues<br />

Leonard Smith 1990--1991 6 issues<br />

Sue Buckle 1991-2000 37 issues<br />

Trisha Dean 2001 - 2005 16 issues<br />

Vicki Grima 2006-current 18 issues<br />

Story: celebrating 40 years <strong>of</strong> Pottery in Australia at the Powerhouse Museum 10 years ago,<br />

the Association launched its online <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Directory, linked to the website. This was a<br />

contemporary development <strong>of</strong> the first published directory (Potters in Australia, a Directory) in 1977,3<br />

and subsequent updates. You can now access articles online as well. Despite these online developments,<br />

the subscriptions for the print copies for <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> remain constant; clearly<br />

audiences still value the physical nature <strong>of</strong> this resource and like it on their shelves, within reach .<br />

One <strong>of</strong> the things I noticed at the launch <strong>of</strong> Cover Story in 2002, when all those 116 covers to that<br />

date, were displayed together, was that as well as the fantastic historical record <strong>of</strong> ceramic practice that<br />

they contained, they also represented a history <strong>of</strong> graphic design processes and styles, and photographic<br />

and printing processes. It didn't quite start as a mimeographed sheet like Craft Horizons, but it was an<br />

achievement to publish those 26 pages with black and white photos, and it is salutory to acknowledge<br />

how different, in this 50th year, is the process <strong>of</strong> communicating, editing, preparing images and<br />

printing.<br />

I am sure that Wanda Garnsey, who sadly passed away just a few weeks ago, will have been proud<br />

that her hope that the journal "may expand in scope and perform a genuine service to potters",<br />

had certainly done just that. Her daughter, Julie Blakemore, mentioned tonight how collegiate she<br />

remembers those in the ceramics world - and nothing has changed! Look at you all! <strong>The</strong> core values<br />

and purpose remain, but the opportunities, examples, ideas and experiences are constantly changing<br />

and I know it is always challenging and exciting to keep up with them - and anticipate them!<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> is a credit to its founders; to all the editors who have followed; to all the writers,<br />

photgraphers, advertisers and researchers who have been part <strong>of</strong> it - and above all to the strength and<br />

interest <strong>of</strong> you, the ceramics community, who have all been associated with the <strong>Journal</strong> and see value in<br />

it. This is what Wanda called "the stimulus <strong>of</strong> the contributors" . It is particularly rewarding to hold this<br />

event at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum, which has always been a keen supporter <strong>of</strong> the Association,<br />

as well as its biennial exhibitions, such as these two that we've enjoyed over the last couple <strong>of</strong> months.<br />

Congratulations to everyone here who has been involved in the <strong>Journal</strong> over its amazing half century.<br />

I'm betting that in another fifty years another group will be here marking another milestone. I wonder<br />

what they will be saying?<br />

1 Ivan Englund, <strong>The</strong> Applicati<strong>of</strong>l <strong>of</strong> the Igneous Rocks <strong>of</strong> the lIfawarra Region to Stoneware Glazes in Studio Pottery. unpublished thesis. 1962.<br />

2 Ivan McMeekin, <strong>No</strong>tes (Of Potters In Australia. <strong>Vol</strong> I: Raw Materials and Clay Bodies, NSW University Press, Sydney 1967. pp 63·64<br />

3 Potlers Society <strong>of</strong> Australia, Potters in Austral,a, a Directory. 1977.<br />

Grace Cochrane is an independent curator and writer. Until 2006, she was Senior Curator <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Australian</strong> Decorative Arts and Design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.<br />


Perspective<br />

Dee Taylor·Graham at the<br />

MAG&M celebration<br />

22 January <strong>2012</strong><br />

Photo: Glenn Duffus<br />

PROmotion<br />

Curator, Dee Taylor-Graham concludes<br />

Early last year Michael Keighery and Vicki Grima<br />

sent a letter out inviting about forty <strong>Australian</strong><br />

ceramicists to be a part <strong>of</strong> an exciting project called<br />

PROmotion.<br />

Conceived with the dual intentions <strong>of</strong> fostering<br />

dialogue about <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong><br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> (JAC) and providing an opportunity to<br />

talk about current work, PROmotion started as an online blog (www.jacpromotion2011.com) and<br />

culminated with an exhibition at the Manly Art Gallery and Museum (MAG&M) in December 2011 .<br />

From <strong>April</strong> 2011 , the participants, all <strong>of</strong> whom had appeared in the National Education Pictorial<br />

Survey <strong>of</strong> the JAC, introduced themselves via the blog and posted images <strong>of</strong> their studio spaces and<br />

work produced therein.<br />

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. c-. _ _<br />

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- - PI<br />

---I'"<br />

,_,_""' ' ''"' fI'<br />

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--...------.... _.__ ........... -"----<br />

--_..-<br />

.._-_._------ ... ..__.__<br />

-- ...__ ....... ----­<br />

::.-:...:.::-::::;:.:=----...- _...<br />


Perspective<br />

In September, when Vicki asked me to take up where Michael had left <strong>of</strong>f as curator, I put forward<br />

a number <strong>of</strong> questions, asking the bloggers to talk in detail about the whos, whats, wheres and, most<br />

importantly (to my mind at least),. the whys <strong>of</strong> their studio practices.<br />

Given the intentions <strong>of</strong> the project and the impending 50th anniversary celebrations, I was also<br />

very keen to keep asking the original question posited by Michael, regarding the role <strong>of</strong> the JAC in<br />

the development <strong>of</strong> the bloggers' careers. Had it acted as a source <strong>of</strong> inspiration, conversation and<br />

connection to community, point <strong>of</strong> opposition or all <strong>of</strong> the above?<br />

In thinking about our place in history, I also encouraged the bloggers to consider, and post about,<br />

points <strong>of</strong> interest or inspiration within the MAG&M's impressive collection <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics.<br />

1 Anne-Maria Plevier<br />

2 Josephine Pittman<br />

3 Owen Carpenter<br />

4 JoWood<br />

5 Jan Downes

Perspective<br />

From this dialogue, seven artists were selected to be in the final exhibition_ I also invited a couple <strong>of</strong><br />

last minute ring-ins to join the blog, both <strong>of</strong> whom had featured in the education survey and embraced<br />

the blogging platform with vigour.<br />

<strong>The</strong> work <strong>of</strong> these nine artists was shown at MAG&M alongside influential work from the collection,<br />

treasures from the JAC archives and a <strong>The</strong>n and <strong>No</strong>w projection created by Esther Shilling to trace the<br />

JAC's 50 years _ An added bonus was the loan, from Hornsby TAFE, <strong>of</strong> Mollie Douglas' tools, materials<br />

and a wheel built by her father, capturing the pioneering spirit seen in the early years <strong>of</strong> the JAC<br />

Thanks to all the bloggers, the final nine artists, the wonderful staff at MAG&M and most <strong>of</strong> all to<br />

Vicki Grima_ Here's to another 50 marvellous years <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>_ Onwards<br />

and upwards_<br />

6 Maria Vanhees<br />

7 Keiko Matsui<br />

8 Charmain Hearder<br />

9 Joey Burns

Pe rspect ive<br />

Filthy Lucre: how money<br />

has helped to shape<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> ceramics over<br />

the past half century<br />

Comment by Damon Moon<br />

<strong>The</strong> best things in life are free<br />

But you can keep them for the birds and bees<br />

<strong>No</strong>w gimme money (that's what I want)<br />

Money (that's what I want)<br />

Gordy/Bradford 1959<br />

<strong>No</strong>stalgia can be comforting, but it's all too easy to wallow in a past that was really more like the<br />

present than one likes to think.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Gordy/Bradford song was playing around the time Pottery in Australia was first published in<br />

, 962; Robert Menzies was Prime Minister, and EK Holdens were rolling <strong>of</strong>f the production line, and<br />

tended to (forgive the tortured metaphor) paint a picture <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics in, if not sepia tones,<br />

then at least colours reminiscent <strong>of</strong> an old Kodachrome slide. We think <strong>of</strong> it as being far removed from<br />

what happens now, but the reality is that only a few changes have occurred in <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics over<br />

the past five decades, and those changes, important though they are, are probably not the ones we<br />

expect to find.<br />

For a start, not a lot has altered in the sort <strong>of</strong> work that is made. <strong>Ceramics</strong> can still be separated into<br />

the same categories <strong>of</strong> objects that it occupied fifty years ago; namely, vessel-based work and everything<br />

else. <strong>The</strong>re may be a quibble about when ceramics becomes sculpture or at what point a pot becomes<br />

a representation <strong>of</strong> a pot, but, for the purposes <strong>of</strong> this discussion, I'm contending that nothing new has<br />

arrived on the scene during the past half century.<br />

We've had faux Sung and faux just about everything Japanese. Modernism, Funk. Memphis, Post<br />

Modernism, Cool Porcelain, Designer Groupings. Conceptual Clay and God knows what else. Even the<br />

seemingly recent innovation <strong>of</strong> installations date back at least to the mid-seventies.' Some styles seem<br />

to have come and gone while others have endured, but perhaps the only really notable change in all<br />

that time has been a shift in interest away from brown clay, once the staple <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> potters, to the<br />

almost universal use <strong>of</strong> white clays, particularly porcelain.<br />


Perspective<br />

Pottery<br />

~::: InAusbalIa<br />

l eft: Pottery in Aurtralia cover, <strong>Vol</strong> 29 <strong>No</strong> 1, 1990<br />

Below: Pottery in Australia, <strong>Vol</strong> 24 <strong>No</strong> 3, 1985, pages 74,75<br />

AN OFFER<br />

Too Good To Refuse<br />

· =:..-:!.c:=~<br />

"-II)-"-~<br />

............ -....<br />

-<br />

• c-. ....-............-<br />

_ _<br />

• "......,.d...,

Perspective<br />

-----------------<br />

Pottery in Australia cover<br />

VoilS <strong>No</strong> 2, 1976<br />

apprenticeships, this approach never caught on, and privately funded apprenticeships were always<br />

destined to fail in a country where the teacher could hardly earn enough from the sales <strong>of</strong> work to<br />

support themselves, let alone a trainee. <strong>The</strong> other approach, where ceramics was taught as a genuine<br />

trade, wasn't ever really a starter, since traditional ceramics manufacturers were dying out by the time<br />

the post war crafts movement had taken hold.<br />

Despite this reliance on the art school system, the position <strong>of</strong> ceramics within the marketplace has<br />

always been more ambiguous, with goods appearing in venues ranging from high-end galleries to craft<br />

shops, private showrooms and even stalls in local markets. Sometimes a ceramicist would place work in<br />

all <strong>of</strong> these venues simultaneously, showing a promiscuous disregard for the niceties that constrained<br />

more mainstream artists and helped defined their practice.<br />

Maybe the only consistent factor in <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics has been its continuing marginality; always<br />

one sandwich short <strong>of</strong> a picnic as far as the art world was concerned, and increasingly fated to be on<br />

the decline with a general public spoiled for choice in a modern consumer paradise. In fact, it is this<br />

last observation which points to the factor that has conditioned every aspect <strong>of</strong> the development <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Australian</strong> ceramics, from the amateur to the pr<strong>of</strong>essional, from academia to the marketplace. in both<br />

the public and private sectors. and that is money.<br />

Money may indeed be the root <strong>of</strong> all evil 1 (actually this is a malapropism - the original quote suggests<br />

that the love <strong>of</strong> money is the problem) but the economy <strong>of</strong> the crafts, how money is earned and<br />

distributed within a community <strong>of</strong> makers and consumers, has shaped <strong>Australian</strong> clay as surely as the<br />

hands <strong>of</strong> a skilled craftsperson.<br />

To see how this has happened, we must go back to the late 1940s when legions <strong>of</strong> returned<br />

servicemen, aided by government funded retraining schemes, enrolled in courses in art schools and<br />

technical colleges throughout the country. Although ceramics was only a very small part <strong>of</strong> what was on<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer it did allow some students to experience clay for the first time and to consider that some form <strong>of</strong><br />

artistic expression could be a part <strong>of</strong> their lives.<br />

In addition to this, the ending <strong>of</strong> the period <strong>of</strong> wartime austerity had led to a proliferation <strong>of</strong> small<br />

26 THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APR il <strong>2012</strong>

Perspective<br />

ceramics manufacturing concerns. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> public were hungry for goods, and potteries across<br />

the country sated the desire <strong>of</strong> the consumer for colourful, relatively inexpensive items that faced little<br />

domestic competition in a highly protected market. <strong>The</strong> work may have been earthenware, and some<br />

may have despised the seemingly endless supply <strong>of</strong> eggcups and ramekins that flooded the market, but<br />

it was a business with a sound economic base.<br />

At the same time, growing numbers <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> potters, inspired by Bernard Leach's A Potter's Book,<br />

embraced the challenges <strong>of</strong> stoneware. <strong>The</strong> aesthetic was different and the technology presented many<br />

challenges, which doubtless was part <strong>of</strong> the appeal and explains the tendency <strong>of</strong> ceramics magazines to<br />

include copious amounts <strong>of</strong> technical information. <strong>The</strong>re was a ready market for this new style <strong>of</strong> work,<br />

as it fitted well with the more avant-garde trends in architecture and homewares, although whether it<br />

ever had the same level <strong>of</strong> mass appeal as earthenware is debatable.<br />

Growing numbers <strong>of</strong> commercial galleries exhibited ceramics and, because <strong>of</strong> the good prospects for<br />

sales, commissions were low and galleries wouldn't dream <strong>of</strong> charging up-front costs. Exhibitions <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

sold out, and there are wonderful stories <strong>of</strong> gallery directors rationing sales to eager customers, such<br />

was the interest in this new field <strong>of</strong> studio pottery. However, the major development in the ceramics<br />

economy concerned the increasing amounts <strong>of</strong> public money flowing to the crafts. <strong>The</strong>re were two main<br />

sources <strong>of</strong> this extraordinary largesse.<br />

<strong>The</strong> first was the proliferation <strong>of</strong> government-funded ceramics training courses. In departments <strong>of</strong><br />

further education, in vocational training and at art schools, the 1960s and '70s saw an exponential rise<br />

in the adult education sector. Since ceramics was <strong>of</strong>ten a part <strong>of</strong> the school curriculum, teacher training<br />

colleges incorporated ceramics departments as well.<br />

<strong>The</strong> result was that by the mid-70s even a small state might have a dozen or more fully functioning<br />

ceramics departments scattered throughout the metropolitan and regional areas. Many <strong>of</strong> these<br />

institutions <strong>of</strong>fered a range <strong>of</strong> courses, with part-time and after hours ceramics classes being very well<br />

attended indeed.<br />

All <strong>of</strong> these departments needed to be staffed and equipped, and a reasonably talented ceramicist<br />

might well look forward to gaining at least some <strong>of</strong> their income from teaching, with the most fortunate<br />

ones being <strong>of</strong>fered the sinecure <strong>of</strong> a tenured position, together with generous working conditions and<br />

the prospect <strong>of</strong> a highly subsidised superannuation scheme on their retirement.<br />

We also shouldn't forget the students who, thanks to the Whitlam years, now had access not only to<br />

free education but a student allowance that prOVided Gust) enough money to live on, which led to ever<br />

greater numbers <strong>of</strong> people moving through the art departments.<br />

If this era saw an expansion <strong>of</strong> the higher education sector, it also witnessed another facet <strong>of</strong><br />

government support for the crafts, which was the introduction <strong>of</strong> the grant, or should that be the<br />

GRANT.<br />

As Grace Cochrane notes:<br />

"Towards the end <strong>of</strong> the 1960s, the first moves were made to rationalise and co-ordinate the ways in<br />

which the federal government funded the arts, a development that was to reach its fullest form in the<br />

reshaped Australia Council for the Arts in 1973."3<br />


Perspective<br />

<strong>The</strong> newly elected Prime Minister, Gough Whit lam, called on Jean Battersby, the C EO <strong>of</strong> the then<br />

Australia Council (originally an organisation mainly concerned with funding the performing arts), to<br />

prepare a report for the new government that highlighted the administrative and, from a strongly<br />

centralist government's point <strong>of</strong> view, philosophical problems presented in overseeing the raft <strong>of</strong> existing<br />

arts funding bodies 4<br />

Predictably enough, Battersby found that, " ... the present situation is not satisfactory from an<br />

administrative point <strong>of</strong> view ... " 5 To conjure the blessed spirit <strong>of</strong> Sir Humphrey Appleby, " steps needed<br />

to be taken " .<br />

After all, Whitlam, w ith characteristic hyperbole, had stressed the importance <strong>of</strong> the arts to his new<br />

government, stating that,<br />

. all the other objectives <strong>of</strong> the Labor government - social reform, justice and equity in the<br />

provision <strong>of</strong> social services and educational opportunities - have as their goal the creation <strong>of</strong> a society in<br />

which the arts can f1ourish ".6<br />

Never one to waste time, on Australia Day 26 January 1973, Whitlam announced the first<br />

appointments to a new arts council, comprising seven specialist boards, <strong>of</strong> which the Crafts Board was<br />

one. For the first time, the crafts had a seat at the adult table.<br />

State governments followed suit, allocating funds through newly created departments <strong>of</strong> the arts to<br />

local crafts boards, which were <strong>of</strong>ten also funded by the Australia Council. Offices were rented, staff<br />

appointed and these organisations, state and federal, came to control the purse strings.<br />

<strong>No</strong>t that the strings were drawn very tightly, at least in the beginning. Fiscal rectitude was not one<br />

<strong>of</strong> Gough's strong points, and activities that had hitherto seemed to be the domain <strong>of</strong> the hobbyist -<br />

basket-weaving and the like - soon found themselves being encouraged and given financial support,<br />

and the mechanism by which this was achieved was the grant.<br />

In an interesting historical coincidence, it was at about this time that the influence <strong>of</strong> a mainly<br />

American school <strong>of</strong> avant-garde ceramics, transmitted through the pages <strong>of</strong> that esteemed journal Craft<br />

Horizons, really began to be felt in this country.<br />

This was a new type <strong>of</strong> ceramic work that was at the very forefront <strong>of</strong> post -modernism, revelling in<br />

its 'dumbing down' <strong>of</strong> high-art pretensions and poking fun at the rather serious and tasteful world <strong>of</strong><br />

studio pottery. Unfortunately, these new ceram ic objects were mostly unsaleable, and it is here that we<br />

begin to see the negative side <strong>of</strong> a system that supported artists to make things the public simply didn't<br />

want.<br />

This is such a complex equation that unravelling all the permutations should be the subject <strong>of</strong> at<br />

least one PhD. Suffice to say that the combination <strong>of</strong> providing government assistance for individuals to<br />

make work, together with rewarding many <strong>of</strong> those same individuals with teaching positions, as well as<br />

generously funding non-commercial gallery spaces to show work which was going to be very difficult<br />

to sell, led to a situation where many ceramicists didn't take the attitudes <strong>of</strong> the general public into<br />

consideration at all, because they had no financial incentive to do so. This represented a paradigm shift<br />

in the relationship between <strong>Australian</strong> ceramicists and a public that had hitherto supported the crafts in<br />

a fairly enthusiastic manner.<br />


--------<br />

Perspective<br />

<strong>The</strong>re began an inevitable drift away from ceramics. <strong>Ceramics</strong> departments began to close down and<br />

the student numbers dwindled. <strong>The</strong> new management-driven class <strong>of</strong> education administrators (whose<br />

numbers were actually rising!) used this as an excuse to close more courses, and it just went on from<br />

there. Private galleries weren't as w illing to exh ibit ceramics, because the sales had begun to drop <strong>of</strong>f.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y also charged a lot more for the privilege, regularly demanding up-front fees to cover costs, a<br />

punitive economic burden which the artist frequently tried to defray by - you guessed it - applying for<br />

a grant. Ironically, this practice was also adopted by government-funded spaces that found themselves<br />

in the privileged position <strong>of</strong> being paid (how shall I put this delicately?) to both give and receive at the<br />

same time.<br />

Amidst all this discussion <strong>of</strong> the role <strong>of</strong> government in shaping <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics, what is to be said<br />

<strong>of</strong> the ultimate consumer, the so-called general public? What role have they played in all <strong>of</strong> this?<br />

Tastes certainly do change, as does the availability <strong>of</strong> goods, and w ith it the way people choose to<br />

spend their money.<br />

In the heyday <strong>of</strong> the crafts, inner-city shopping precincts barely had a c<strong>of</strong>fee shop or restaurant to<br />

their name. Whole categories <strong>of</strong> modern consumer goods simply didn't exist. This is significant because<br />

spending on the crafts is discretionary. <strong>The</strong> funds can just as easily be spent on something else, for<br />

example anything beginning w ith a lower-case 'i', or eating out.<br />

Shops are now full <strong>of</strong> ridiculously cheap ceramics, mostly, but not exclusively imported from China,<br />

a country which has been pretty good at cornering a global market for export ceramics for over five<br />

hundred years. Whereas you simply couldn't go into a store in the 1960s or '70s and buy a nice set <strong>of</strong><br />

plain white noodle bowls for a couple <strong>of</strong> dollars each, now you can get them at the supermarket. This<br />

is pretty serious competition for a potter who makes functional wares and it takes a very informed and<br />

dedicated consumer to spot the difference .<br />

In the end, perhaps all one can really say is that in ceramics the distribution <strong>of</strong> government money<br />

has had a definite impact on what is made, but then again so has the normal ebb and flow <strong>of</strong> the<br />

marketplace. <strong>The</strong> final arbiter <strong>of</strong> the arts economy is actually the secondary market, which is about as<br />

free as the free market gets, " ... Nature, red in tooth and claw ... "7, though I don't think Tennyson had<br />

Sotheby's in mind when he came up with the phrase. It will probably take another fifty years to sort it all<br />

out.<br />

1 For example, Eros in Porcelain. an exhibitoo by the then Adelaide-based ceramicist Mark Thompson at the S.A. Craft Authority Gallery in May,<br />

1976. A detailed review <strong>of</strong> this exhibition, written by Dick. Richards, can be found in Pottery In Australia, VoI. 1S. <strong>No</strong>.2 p.66<br />

2 Timothy, chapter 6 verse 10<br />

3 Grace Cochrane, <strong>The</strong> Crafts Movement in Australia: if history, p.13S New South Wales University Press. 1992<br />

4 WN'N. aph.gov.aullibrary/pubs/BNf2008-9IArt5Policy.htm from a document prepared by Dr. John Gardiner-Garden<br />

5 Jean Bauersby, First Annual Report, January to December 19 73 Australia Council for the Arts, 1973 p. 9<br />

6 Gough Whitlam. <strong>The</strong> Whit/am Government 1972- 75. Viking 1985 p. 553<br />

7 Alfred lord Tennyson, In Memorium A H.H .. 1850 (canto 55)<br />

Damon Moon<br />

Willunga, <strong>2012</strong><br />

http://damonmoon.com<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

<strong>The</strong> Whole Man<br />

<strong>The</strong> Life and Work <strong>of</strong> Peter Rushforth by Jan Howlin<br />

Peter Rushforth emerges from Le Var, the rustic Blue Mountains house where he and his wife Bobby<br />

have lived for more than 30 years, and approaches with an open hand and a warm, gentle greeting.<br />

<strong>No</strong> doubt many have been welcomed into the Rushforth's realm in this way - a household <strong>of</strong> genuine<br />

congeniality set in an environment <strong>of</strong> dramatic natural beauty, the whole experience heightened by the<br />

presence <strong>of</strong> his studio, kilns and pottery. Widely regarded as the father <strong>of</strong> studio pottery in Australia,<br />

Rushforth has been celebrated over many years for the exemplary life he has led as a potter and teacher,<br />

and for the inspiration he has been to many in the ceramic field, demonstrating through his work, his<br />

person and his lifestyle the firmly-held philosophy that has sustained him.<br />

Rushforth's work is represented in many private coiled ions and major galleries around Australia and<br />

internationally; and his considerable contribution to the ceramic field and to the community has been<br />

acknowledged through his appointment to the Order <strong>of</strong> Australia in 1985, by a retrospedive at the<br />

National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Vidoria (also in 1985), an Australia Council Emeritus Fellowship in 1993, a Fellowship<br />

<strong>of</strong> the National Art School in 2003, and an Honorary Dodorate <strong>of</strong> Fine Art from RMIT in 2010.<br />

Rushforth came to pottery after World War II - possibly because <strong>of</strong> it. Born in Manly, Sydney, in 1920,<br />

he always liked to make things with his hands. Both his parents died when he was quite young and<br />

he developed a penchant for self -sufficiency. While serving in the armed forces, he became a Japanese<br />

prisoner-<strong>of</strong>-war in Burma and in Changi where, since the contents <strong>of</strong> Singapore Library had been<br />

made available to prisoners, he read about art and philosophy. Here Rushforth learnt <strong>of</strong> the ideas <strong>of</strong> Dr<br />

Soetsu Yanagi, who, along with Shoji Hamada and Kanjiro Kawai, had developed the Japanese folk art<br />

movement, Mingei.<br />

Like countless others returning to civilian life after the end <strong>of</strong> World War II, Rushforth was searching<br />

for a future that would be meaningful and productive.<br />

He studied art for four years at <strong>The</strong> Melbourne Technica l College (MTC, later RMIT) under the<br />

Commonwealth Reconstrudion Training Scheme. During this time, he says, "I met Allan Lowe, who<br />

was one <strong>of</strong> the early pioneer potters before the war, and that's what really influenced me in becoming<br />

a full-time potter." At Lowe's Ferntree Gully pottery Rushforth witnessed the kind <strong>of</strong> constructive,<br />

self-sufficient way <strong>of</strong> life he was looking for. "Although I had wanted to do art, I hadn't focused my<br />

direction, and his work, rather his lifestyle, influenced me."<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

At MTC Rushforth applied himself to pottery fUll-time. He was taught by John Knight and Jeffery<br />

Wilkinson, and completed his studies in 1949. At that time, he recalls, pottery made in Australia was<br />

largely influenced by the decorative style <strong>of</strong> the manufactured wares <strong>of</strong> Stoke-on-Trent. Almost everyone<br />

worked in earthenware, while Rushforth was strongly drawn to stoneware. He had been greatly<br />

impressed by the H. W. Kent Collection <strong>of</strong> Oriental ceramics held at the National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Victoria,<br />

which afforded him first hand experience <strong>of</strong> Song dynasty stoneware with its chun and celadon glazes.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Kent collection had also influenced Lowe, along with Harold Hughan, who was the first studio<br />

potter in Australia to build a stoneware kiln.' Rushforth visited Hughan at his Glen Iris pottery several<br />

times and attended lectures on stoneware glazes given by his son, Robert.2 "I really wanted to go in<br />

that direction," says Rushforth, "but we had very little knowledge <strong>of</strong> how to achieve those techniques."<br />

<strong>The</strong> information Rushforth did have - ideas that made a powerful impact on him - came from<br />

Bernard Leach 's iconic work, A Potter's Book, which was published in 1940. Having studied with<br />

Hamada in Japa n (1920-1923), Leach articulated the Mingei folk-art ethic, and in an attempt to bridge<br />

Eastern and Western cultures he championed the making <strong>of</strong> functional stoneware with an Oriental<br />

aesthetic based on the natural qualities <strong>of</strong> the ceramic materials. Leach's philosophy and ideas found<br />

great resonance with Western potters and the Anglo-Oriental influence quickly came to dominate postwar<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> ceramics J In 1950 East Sydney Technical College (ESTC) advertised a position teaching<br />

pottery and in appointing Rushforth to the role he became it's chief protagonist 4<br />

Relocating to Sydney, Rushforth and Bobby first moved to Beecr<strong>of</strong>t, then to Church Point and later<br />

to Shipley in the Blue Mountains. Along the way they had three daughters. At each home, Rushforth<br />

built a studio and a wood-firing kiln or two and maintained his pottery practice alongside his teaching<br />

commitments. His fascination for stoneware was shared by his fellow-teacher at EST(, Mollie Douglas,<br />

who had laid the foundations <strong>of</strong> the pottery course there.5 In 1952, Ivan McMeekin returned to<br />

Australia after working with Michael Cardew in England and established Sturt Pottery in Mittagong,

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

NSW. McMeekin brought with him a selection <strong>of</strong> pots by Cardew, Leach and others, and he and<br />

Rushforth began meeting regularly with Douglas and Ivan Englund to examine the pots and share<br />

information. "We were keen to start more research into high temperature work, but also to exhibit<br />

as a group," says Rushforth and it was from these meetings that, in 1956, the Potters' Society <strong>of</strong><br />

Australia was established, with Rushforth its first president from its inception until 1961 . <strong>The</strong> group was<br />

committed to creating functional stoneware pottery that exploited the natural qualities <strong>of</strong> their materials<br />

to expressive ends. As Rushforth wrote at the time, " <strong>The</strong> challenge <strong>of</strong> producing high temperature<br />

glazes with comparable aesthetic qualities to the beautiful classical glazes <strong>of</strong> the East was a goal <strong>of</strong><br />

many <strong>of</strong> us. "6<br />

<strong>The</strong> 1950s saw what <strong>No</strong>ris Ioannou has called an " explosion <strong>of</strong> studio pottery" 7, which was inspired<br />

by the Leach Anglo-Oriental influence, and which expanded in the sixties and continued into the<br />

seventies. As Kenneth Hood from the National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Victoria described it, William Morris's Arts and<br />

Crafts movement had heralded a revival <strong>of</strong> interest in the crafts in England since the 1920s when Leach<br />

first returned from Japan, but it took until the 1960s for Australia to see an awakening <strong>of</strong> interest in the<br />

crafts, with pottery as its primary focus. 8<br />

"I think there was a worldwide interest in people using their hands and working creatively," says<br />

Rushforth, " and pottery, out <strong>of</strong> the craft movement, probably dominated the numbers." In 1962,<br />

Wanda Garnsey, a very active member <strong>of</strong> the Potters' Society .. established Pottery in Australia, now<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>, which became a vital communication tool for the growing field.<br />

"<strong>The</strong>re were so many potters emerging that the Potters' Society expanded very quickly ... we were able<br />

to liaise with potters in New Zealand and England and eventually with many <strong>of</strong> the Japanese potters,<br />

who were invited to Australia by the Potters' Society."<br />

Lots <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> potters also went to study in Japan, including Rushforth, who spent five months<br />

there in 1963. He visited Koishiwarra, a village <strong>of</strong> traditional potters in Kyushu; studied in Mashiko

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

with Shimaoka, a pupil <strong>of</strong> Hamada's; and worked in a studio at Kyoto Art University. Here he related<br />

intuitively to the Japanese aesthetic and the appreciation <strong>of</strong> beauty as found in nature and expressed in<br />

the tea ceremony. He wrote in an article he called <strong>The</strong> Good Pot, how he had become aware <strong>of</strong> the<br />

vast diversity that existed within the Japanese tradition. He appreciated the tendency to asymmetry;<br />

noted cultural concepts such as 'jaku', 'sabi' and 'shibusa' which are much appreciated by the Japanese,<br />

and absorbed the notion that, "for the Zen masters, art is never decoration, embellishment; instead it<br />

is a work <strong>of</strong> enlightenment, illumination, salvation. Art is a technique for acquiring liberty. "9 While his<br />

early pots had exhibited" a classic simplicity and purity <strong>of</strong> shape" ' 0, Rushforth's trip to Japan led him to<br />

a greater spontaneity in his work. 11 He found a new appreciation for imperfections, for the natural flaws<br />

in the materials that the firing can bring out, and continued his investigation <strong>of</strong> the local materials that<br />

would emulate the classic Japanese glazes with a deeper understanding <strong>of</strong> their creative uses.<br />

When Rushforth began teaching at ESTC, he became the first full-time pottery teacher on staff.<br />

Initially, pottery was taught part-time as a component in a design diploma, but by 1960 Rushforth had<br />

created a full-time ceramics course. By 1963, he was Head Teacher <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>, and in 1967 a Churchill<br />

Fellowship enabled him to travel to Europe and the USA to study educational methods and training.<br />

In 1972 he became Senior Head Teacher, a position that, "he held with distinction until his retirement<br />

in 1979."12 As Kenneth Hood writes, "He was always a committed and inspiring teacher." Rushforth's<br />

teaching principles were modelled on the advice <strong>of</strong> a Zen teacher, who advocated that you should first<br />

"develop an infallible technique, and then leave yourself open to inspiration" 13<br />

Rushforth gathered around him at ESTC a talented group <strong>of</strong> teachers who helped shape the course <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramics in Australia. Along with Mollie Douglas were Col Levy, Bernard Sahm, Derek Smith, Peter Travis,<br />

Gillian Griggs, Shigeo Shiga, Sandra Taylor, Joan Grounds and others. 14 Many other renowned potters<br />

were invited to talk and work with students, among them Takeichi Kawai, Tatsuzo Shamaoka, Robert<br />

Hughan, Shoji Hamada, Mitsuo Shoji, Yu Fujiwara, Paul Soldner, Ha rry Davis, Michael Cardew, Douglas<br />

Laurie and Fred Olsen'S Bernard Leach also came to Sydney briefly in 1962.

Pro file<br />

-------<br />

Under Rushforth's direction the pottery course at ESTC became the most respected in Australia, with<br />

more than 200 students applying each year for only 18 available places'·, and many <strong>of</strong> these students<br />

went on to become the ensuing generation's prominent ceramic practitioners - Marea Gazzard, Wanda<br />

Garnsey, Margaret Tuckson, Peter Travis, Bernard Sahm and Janet Mansfield were among them. Grace<br />

Cochrane confirms the extent <strong>of</strong> Rushforth's influence and the extremely high regard in which he is<br />

held: "Throughout his long - and continuing - career, Rushforth has been an outstanding practitioner,<br />

researcher, thinker, teacher and mentor" and he remains" an exemplary figure in the post-war ceramic<br />

movement." 17<br />

While fulfilling his teaching responsibilities, Rushforth also pursued his studio work, with the same<br />

ideas and principles fuelling both endeavours. A belief in the humanising capacity <strong>of</strong> craft lies at the<br />

heart <strong>of</strong> his philosophy. "I think it is human instinct to make and create," he says. Bernard Leach<br />

described craft as "good works proceeding from the whole man. Heart, head and hand in proper<br />

balance," and Rushforth acknowledges that in his" earlier work, the writings <strong>of</strong> Bernard Leach were a<br />

great source <strong>of</strong> inspiration" . <strong>The</strong> idea that expressive hand-made work could counter the de-humanising<br />

influences <strong>of</strong> the technological age was a powerful part <strong>of</strong> the impetus that motivated him, and many<br />

others, in the studio pottery movement.<br />

"My motivation for choosing pottery as my life-long work ... was the attraction <strong>of</strong> the lifestyle, and<br />

the great pleasure <strong>of</strong> being involved in a constructive activity," Rushforth wrote in 1985, "yet there are<br />

values that transcend the activity <strong>of</strong> making objects, such as the search for beauty and the validity <strong>of</strong><br />

one's work in relation to the community in which one lives." He found that validity in creating useful<br />

pottery - plates, jugs, teapots and bowls - that in stark contrast to machine-made products powerfully<br />

express the humanity intrinsic to their making. He also makes forms such as tea-bowls and blossom jars<br />

that echo Japanese counterparts and reflect his interest in the Japanese aesthetic.<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Rushforth's search for beauty and aesthetic expression derived from his materials has resulted,<br />

according to Ian McKay, in a body <strong>of</strong> work that is largely concerned with understatement and a fugitive<br />

aesthetic.'8 " <strong>The</strong> transcendent values universally acknowledged in all the great pottery traditions have<br />

been one <strong>of</strong> Peter Rushforth 's life-long preoccupations" ' 9, he writes. But while admiring the long and<br />

unbroken tradition <strong>of</strong> Japanese ceramics, the Japanese concept <strong>of</strong> beauty, and " the marvellous glazes<br />

developed by the Chinese over millennia," Rushforth is adamant that "we don't want to just simulate<br />

a culture. We have to establish work and ideals that are relevant to our own society." He believes<br />

we should use our insights into Oriental pottery traditions and values to produce new glazes from<br />

our local materials and develop our own philosophy to produce work that is valid to the <strong>Australian</strong><br />

environmenpo Kenneth Hood sees Rushforth 's success in this quest as one <strong>of</strong> his great achievements:<br />

"<strong>The</strong>re is something endemically <strong>Australian</strong> about his work: its roughness, vigour and feeling for natural<br />

forms."<br />

At Rushforth 's home, the <strong>Australian</strong>ness <strong>of</strong> the Blue Mountains landscape is both undeniable and<br />

dramatic. Modest timber structures are generously spaced amongst gardens tended by Bobby and<br />

between tall stands <strong>of</strong> trees, with the Kanimbla Valley stretching out to the far distance. We walk<br />

between them as Rushforth shows us the small timber gallery where his work is displayed. We pass<br />

the area where he prepares his clay, find in his long-time studio, pots at various stages <strong>of</strong> completion<br />

which sit beside buckets <strong>of</strong> glaze awaiting their next application, and finally arrive at his wood-firing<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

kilns - an anagama and a single chamber kiln with a firebox attached. <strong>The</strong> whole place is one <strong>of</strong><br />

atmospheric beauty and intensely felt weather. It is an environment subjed to mists and storms, snow<br />

and searing heat, and the occasional bushfire, and in between it is idyllically agreeable. While Rushforth<br />

has developed his own versions <strong>of</strong> the classic Japanese glazes and finishes over the years - Chun,<br />

Tenmoku, Celadons, Shino and ash glazes, and has also used natural ash and the flame effeds achieved<br />

through firing - it is the Chun glaze, originally from Song dynasty China, that has most captured his<br />

imagination. He says this is partly because the blue is rich and atmospheric. It is not the result <strong>of</strong> a blue<br />

pigment, such as cobalt, but is created as light is diffused through minute bubbles within the glaze. " I<br />

like the opalescence <strong>of</strong> the (hun glaze, and blue is a mysterious colour. It also evokes a feeling <strong>of</strong> the<br />

environment up here - the mountains, the mists and the snow," he says.<br />

Rushforth wrote about this connedion for an exhibition in 1988: "While Chun-blue glazes can<br />

be produced in a variety <strong>of</strong> kilns, the pots in this exhibition have developed special qualities from<br />

the manner in which they have been fired in a woodfired kiln ... in Shipley in the Blue Mountains. In<br />

many ways the beautiful environment surrounding the workshop - the vistas <strong>of</strong> valleys, bushland and<br />

mountain escarpments - is expressed in these pots, each one being a unique statement in form, glaze<br />

and texture. "21 But those statements could never have been made had Rushforth not drawn together<br />

the qualities <strong>of</strong> his materials and the beauty <strong>of</strong> his environment through the utterly human intervention<br />

<strong>of</strong> his head, heart and hands.<br />

Rushforth expeds to conduct his last firing at Le Var in <strong>2012</strong> .

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

1 Hood, Kenneth. Peter Rushforth RetrospectIVe E1dlibiflOn, National Gallefy <strong>of</strong> Viaoria, Melbourne 1985. p3<br />

2 Ibid.<br />

3 Menzies, Jackie, <strong>The</strong> Asian Interface, AUSfIalian Artists and the Far East. An Gallery <strong>of</strong> New South Wales 1983. Introductoo<br />

4 Ibid.<br />

S Hood. Kenneth. Peter Rushforth Retrospective Exhibition, National GalJery <strong>of</strong> Victoria, Melbourne 1985, p4<br />

6 Rushforth. Peter, Pottery In Australia, <strong>Vol</strong> 6, <strong>No</strong> 1, May 1967<br />

7 Ioannou. <strong>No</strong>ris. Potfery in Australia, '200 Years <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> Clay Culture', <strong>Vol</strong> 27, <strong>No</strong> 2, May 1988, p72<br />

8 Hood, Kenneth, Pottery in Australia. 'Canberra Exhibition' <strong>Vol</strong> I, <strong>No</strong> 2, 1962. p2<br />

9 Rushforth. Peter, '<strong>The</strong> Good Pot' , P<strong>of</strong>fffy in AU5tfJfia, <strong>Vol</strong> 18 <strong>No</strong> I, 1979 pp3-S<br />

10 Hood. Kenneth, Peter Rushforth Relfospective Exhibifioo. National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Victoria, Melbourne 1985. pi 0<br />

11 Ibid.<br />

12 Hood, Kenneth, Peter Rushforth Retrospective EKhibition. National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Victoria, Melbourne 1985. p4<br />

13 Rushforth. Peter, '<strong>The</strong> Good Pot', Pottery in Austfdfia, <strong>Vol</strong> 18, <strong>No</strong> 1. 1979, p3<br />

14 ibid<br />

15 Ibid, p7<br />

16 ,bKl. p4<br />

17 Cochrane. Grace. lener 01 suppon for Peter Rushforth (pnor to hIS being awarded an Honorary Doctor <strong>of</strong> Fine Art, RMIT), held amongst Peter<br />

Rushforth's private papers<br />

18 McKay lan, 'Peter Rushforth. <strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Potter'. Pottery in AuS1/3h3, <strong>Vol</strong> 27. <strong>No</strong> I, feb 1988, p4<br />

19 ibid<br />

20 Rushforth, Pete/, '<strong>The</strong> Good Pot'. Pottery in Australia, vol 18 <strong>No</strong>l, 1979 pS<br />

21 McKay lan, 'Peler Rushforth, <strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> <strong>The</strong> Patter'. Pottery in Australia, <strong>Vol</strong> 27, <strong>No</strong> I, feb 1988. p6<br />

Photographer: Anthony Browell

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />


1920 Born in Manly, Sydney<br />

1939-1945 Served in the armed forces becoming a prisoner <strong>of</strong> war in Changi and in Burma.<br />

1946--1949 Studied drawing, painting, sculpture and then pottery at RMIT, under the Commonwealth<br />

Reconstruction training Scheme.<br />

1946 A visit to Allan Lowe's Ferntree Gully pottery studio inspired him to pursue a life in pottery.<br />

1949 Visited Melbourne potter Harold Hughan who had built the first studio pottery stoneware kiln in<br />

Australia .<br />

1950 Moved to Sydney and took up a position at East Sydney Technical College (ESTC), later becoming<br />

the first full-time ceramics teacher.<br />

1956 Founded the Potters' Society <strong>of</strong> Australia, together with Mollie Douglas, Ivan Englund and Ivan<br />

McMeekin. Awarded a Diploma <strong>of</strong> Honour for work exhibited in the First World Congress <strong>of</strong> the<br />

international Academy <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>, Cannes.<br />

1956--1961 President <strong>of</strong> the Potters' Society<br />

1960 Under his guidance the first full-time ceramics course was <strong>of</strong>fered at ESTC.<br />

1962 Bernard Leach visited Australia .<br />

1963 Appointed Head Teacher <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> at EST(; spent five months in Japan.<br />

1965 Exhibited in 10th International Exhibition <strong>of</strong> Ceramic Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington .<br />

1967 Travelled on a Churchill Fellowship to Europe and USA.<br />

1969 Moved home and studio to Church Point.<br />

1972 Senior Head Teacher <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong>, ESTC<br />

1974 Exhibited at Faenza 's International Contemporary Ceramic Art Competition.<br />

1975 Exhibited in Tokyo, the first solo show <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> pottery to be shown in Japan.<br />

1978 Retired from teaching at the National Art School and moved to Blackheath. Won the Warringah<br />

Art Prize, Open Craft section. Heart, Head and Hand, a documentary <strong>of</strong> his life and work, was<br />

directed by Peter Weir and produced by Craft Australia.<br />

1985 Appointed to the Order <strong>of</strong> Australia (AM) for service to the ceramic arts, particularly pottery.<br />

Retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Victoria<br />

1993 Awarded an Australia Council Emeritus Fellowship<br />

1997 50 years as a potter celebrated at <strong>The</strong> Powerhouse Museum<br />

2003 Awarded a Fellowship <strong>of</strong> the National Art School<br />

2010 Awarded an Honorary Doctorate <strong>of</strong> Fine Art, RMIT. A documentary <strong>of</strong> his life, Playing with Clay<br />

- the Art and Life <strong>of</strong> Peter Rushforth was made by Christina Wilcox.

Margaret Tuckson's note on the back <strong>of</strong> the photo: "Sepik Province. meeting <strong>of</strong> happy potters - we had just discovered that we<br />

both made potsl photo: Ron and Patricia, MayIJune 1972"<br />

<strong>The</strong> Intrepid Margaret Tuckson<br />

Margaret Tuckson has stories by the dozen, by the hundred. At ninety years <strong>of</strong> age she can look back<br />

on a life into which she has crammed enough for several lives. Only last year she finally, reluctantly,<br />

handed over her five pottery wheels and two kilns to a neighbour when she moved from her home in<br />

Wahroonga, Sydney. This much loved house, built for her and her late husband Tony Tuckson in 1961 by<br />

architect Russell Jack had, as Margaret firmly requested, a pottery studio for her.<br />

Margaret moved away because, she says, it was being 'Sensible' - here she draws a big '5' in the<br />

air. <strong>The</strong>re was too great a threat <strong>of</strong> bushfire, so now she has installed herself in a pleasant cottage in<br />

Chatswood filled with paintings, sculptures and pots, so many pots.<br />

But this is not an opening Margaret would choose. "Surely you'd want to know the beginning first?"<br />

she says, gesturing with those long twiggy fingers.<br />

So - 23rd <strong>of</strong> October 1921, born to Mr and Mrs Bisset <strong>of</strong> Gordon, a daughter, Dorothea Margaret<br />

Bisset. Educated Abbotsleigh School for Girls, where she became acquainted with Mollie Douglas.<br />

As a young girl, Margaret was fascinated by the large earthenware water pots which her parents had<br />

acquired at Port Said on their shipboard passage from England to Australia. She wanted to know how<br />

people made those pots and where they came from. By the time Margaret was half way through school,<br />

her curiosity had formed itself into a resolve to become a potter when, as she says, "It was pretty rare<br />

for people to talk or even think about pots."<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

lett: Margaret Tuckson, earthenware<br />

Photo: Ge<strong>of</strong>f Hawkshaw<br />

Pottery in Australia, <strong>Vol</strong> 6, <strong>No</strong> 2, 1967<br />

Below left: Margaret Tuckson<br />

earthenware rolling pots<br />

Photo: Ge<strong>of</strong>f Hawkshaw<br />

Pottery in Australia, VoIS, <strong>No</strong> 2, 1969<br />

East Sydney Technical College<br />

(ESTC) ran an art and design<br />

course which included pottery.<br />

After two years <strong>of</strong> formal arts<br />

training, she could choose pottery<br />

as a craft elective. However, with a<br />

great demand for pottery classes,<br />

students were divided into two<br />

groups, with one sent <strong>of</strong>f to work<br />

with clay and the other to a lecture<br />

on molecular glaze formulae.<br />

Margaret, whose maths skills were<br />

not too strong, was in the second<br />

group. Frustrated by her struggle<br />

with maths, Margaret swapped<br />

to weaving until soon after the<br />

outbreak <strong>of</strong> war when, as she says,<br />

"We all had to do something."<br />

It was <strong>of</strong>f to work in a munitions<br />

factory in Wahroonga.<br />

At her 21 st birthday party, Margaret met Tony Tuckson, an English Spitfire pilot posted in Australia.<br />

Tony had studied painting before the war and he and Margaret got straight into discussing art. Jn<br />

1943, they married and in 1945, their son Michael was born. Posted back to England, Tony, after some<br />

months, wangled a posting back to Australia. <strong>The</strong>y built a house at East Gordon with a studio for<br />

Tony who recommenced his art studies and supported his small family by teaching art, gardening, and<br />

as attendant at the Art Gallery <strong>of</strong> NSW (AGNSW). He was appointed Deputy Director <strong>of</strong> AGNSW in<br />

1957 and earned a reputation as an outstanding abstract expressionist painter. On Tony's suggestion,<br />

Margaret returned to ESTC to complete her ceramics education, studying part-time with Mollie Douglas<br />

and then Peter Rushforth from 1948-1952. After finishing her studies, but without a studio <strong>of</strong> her own,<br />

Margaret was invited by Wanda Garnsey to help her in her newly established pottery at Turramurra, and<br />

did some potting there.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Potters' Society <strong>of</strong> NSW (later, <strong>of</strong> Australia, now <strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Association) was set up<br />

in 1954 and Margaret and Wanda Garnsey joined at the same time that year. As a member to this da y,<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Margaret exhibited in the society's<br />

group exhibitions from 1958, was an<br />

active committee member and Hon.<br />

Sec. and contributed to Pottery in<br />

Australia (PIA), both with articles on<br />

her research and many travels, and<br />

helping Garnsey with the journal.<br />

In the meantime, another related<br />

interest arose that was to take her life<br />

in a new and unexpected direction. In<br />

1949, Tony Tuckson saw an exhibition<br />

<strong>of</strong> Aboriginal art from Arnhem Land<br />

collected by Ronald and Catherine<br />

Berndt. social anthropologists. He<br />

was overwhelmed by what he saw.<br />

When in 1958 he and Margaret<br />

were invited by Dr Stuart Scougall to<br />

accompany him to Melville Island, they<br />

immediately agreed. Tony started a<br />

collection <strong>of</strong> Aboriginal art for the Art<br />

Gallery <strong>of</strong> NSW. Through Tuckson and<br />

Scougall, the AGNSW commissioned a<br />

set <strong>of</strong> grave posts to be made by the<br />

artists <strong>of</strong> the small Tiwi community<br />

at Milikapiti. Margaret took it upon<br />

herself to photograph every stage<br />

<strong>of</strong> the making <strong>of</strong> the grave posts.<br />

As Margaret says, "I consider myself<br />

extremely lucky landing in on all that."<br />

As the Tucksons' interest in<br />

lindigenous art grew, Tony arranged Photos from Margaret Tuckson's archive<br />

a trip to Papua New Guinea in 1965,<br />

collecting for the AGNSW, and<br />

Margaret accompanied him. "Wanda said, 'Right, OK, take your camera and your notebook and do an<br />

article when you come back.' And I said, 'I couldn't, I haven't ever written anything.' and she said, 'Yes,<br />

you could!' And she bullied me, quite rightly." When Margaret returned, she wrote the article illustrated<br />

with her own photographs, drawing not only on her own experience but also on considerable text<br />

research and information from Christian Kauffmann, a Swiss anthropologist.<br />

Through Tony, Margaret met Patricia May, an art historian. Margaret showed her the PIA article she<br />

had written and May was very interested. "She said, 'You and I should do a book together.' ...<br />

I said 'Fantastic!' She's from (an academic background) and ... 1 was the potter so it was a very good<br />

combination in the end." In all, Margaret was to visit Papua New Guinea ten times, mostly accompanied<br />

by May, sometimes by others, but always her notes were sent to May.<br />

Malina Monks, a good friend who once accompanied Margaret to PNG recalls, " What research she<br />

did! Miles <strong>of</strong> correspondence with administrators, with missions, to find out who was making where<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

and what kind <strong>of</strong> things they were making and where she could get a boat maybe to take her ... she<br />

did all <strong>of</strong> her own photography ..., she watched and took in the tiniest details <strong>of</strong> how they were doing<br />

something." In addition, in 1967 Margaret researched Melanesian pottery in many museums in Europe<br />

and the USA.<br />

She received " great help and encouragement and understanding" from village headmen, villagers and<br />

potters. She remembers a couple <strong>of</strong> young village men saying to her, "This is very good that you are<br />

writing all this down, because it will go away." Sadly, this was to be the case, with many <strong>of</strong> the village<br />

pottery industries they recorded disappearing.<br />

Margaret Tuckson and Patricia May received well-deserved international and lasting recognition for<br />

their comprehensive, thorough and well-illustrated book <strong>The</strong> Traditional Pottery <strong>of</strong> Papua New<br />

Guinea (May and Tuckson 1982). Margaret gave talks and papers on her research into PNG pottery<br />

in the USA, England, <strong>No</strong>rvvay and Denmark and to many students in Austra lia . In 2004, Margaret was<br />

awarded Membership <strong>of</strong> the Order <strong>of</strong> Australia both for her promotion <strong>of</strong> abstract expressionist art and<br />

her research and collection <strong>of</strong> Indigenous art and Papua New Guinea ceramic art.<br />

From 1962 she taught students privately at her new pottery in Wahroonga. Barbara Taggart, one <strong>of</strong><br />

Margaret's students from the 70s says, "She was a very, very good teacher. We learnt on kickwheels ...<br />

we only did earthenware; we also learned to fire the small wood kiln, which we loved. Simple glazes,<br />

borax glazes. <strong>No</strong>thing too fancy or expensive. <strong>The</strong>re was a big barrel for recycled clay which we called<br />

'Old Smelly'. She recycled everything. <strong>The</strong>re was no waste with Margaret, ever. She'd get other potters<br />

in ... Janet Mansfield (taught) us to put handles on mugs. "<br />

In addition to teaching, making her own work - elegant and finely thrown domestic terra cotta<br />

earthenware - working on the book, entertaining, attending exhibitions and conferences, playing<br />

tennis, giving workshops, keeping up her social contacts including her longstanding friendship with<br />

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, parenting, being a committee member <strong>of</strong> the PSA, the <strong>Ceramics</strong> Study Group,<br />

the Crafts Councils <strong>of</strong> NSW and Australia.and others - she always found time for something else she<br />

Margaret Tuckson's collection; photos: Karen Weiss

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------<br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

loved - to travel. Bill Samuels. who invited her on a three-week flying trip to the Kimberleys with himself<br />

as pilot in the mid-90s. says " Margaret is the intrepid traveller ... rafting down the Franklin and <strong>of</strong>f to<br />

Easter Island."<br />

Her travels are always adventures. Accompanied by Tony or friends. with notebook and camera. since<br />

1965 she has travelled to PNG. through Europe and the UK. to the USA. Thailand. Sri Lanka and Laos.<br />

She has criss-crossed Australia. especially the Top End. and at every place she has made new friends or<br />

reconnected with former ones.<br />

Margaret's generosity has seen much <strong>of</strong> her collection <strong>of</strong> ceramics and paintings find new homes<br />

in public art collections. She has retained her favourites: the Ian Fairweather they once spent all their<br />

money on, the PNG pots, a Malina Monks ceramic sculpture and. throughout her home. many <strong>of</strong> Tony's<br />

paintings. Margaret Tuckson 's enthusiasm - for art and for life - is undiminished, w ith many more stories<br />

to come.<br />

My gratitude to Margaret Tuckson, Malina Monks. Judy Boydell, Renata de Lambert, Barbara Taggart<br />

and Bill Samuels for sharing their reminiscences with me.<br />

References:<br />

Margaret Tuckson interview with K. Weiss 4,1.12<br />

Renata de lambert interview with K.Weiss 25, 1.12<br />

Malina Monks interview with K.Weiss 22.1 .12<br />

Judy 80ydeU interview with K.Weiss 22 .1.12<br />

Bill Samuels interview with K.Weiss 25.1.12<br />

May, Palnda and Tuckson. Margaret, <strong>The</strong> Tradi rionaf Pottery <strong>of</strong> Papua New Guinea. 2000 University <strong>of</strong> Hawai'j Press, Honolulu<br />

Tu(kson. M argaret, Pottery in New GUinea, PIA, vat 5, <strong>No</strong> 1, May 1966<br />

Perkins, Hetti. 'A privileged moment: Retracing Tony Tuckson's pioneering journey north', Art & Australia Spring, 2009<br />

Thomas, Daniel, 'Tuckson, John Anthony (192' -1973)', <strong>Australian</strong> Dictionary <strong>of</strong> Biography. <strong>Vol</strong> 16, 2002; Melbourne University Press<br />

© Karen Weiss February <strong>2012</strong><br />

Margaret in her Wahroonga home with her New Guinea pot collection

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

<strong>The</strong> Active Life <strong>of</strong> Objects<br />

-------<br />

Anne Brennan considers recent work by Patsy Hely<br />

Late in 2011 Patsy Hely made two small groups <strong>of</strong> hand painted cups and saucers entitled respectively<br />

Island and Lake. When I first saw these works in an exhibition, I was enchanted by the way in which<br />

they seemed to float, little self-contained worlds, on two small shelves on the gallery wall. <strong>The</strong> simple<br />

cone-shaped cups seemed to drift in their generous saucers, made <strong>of</strong> green glass or blue powdercoated<br />

aluminium. Little skerricks <strong>of</strong> land floated in a lake <strong>of</strong> watery blue on the painted surfaces <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Island cups. <strong>The</strong> Lake cups, on the other hand, were painted with a palisade <strong>of</strong> tree trunks. <strong>The</strong>se were<br />

inverted on their saucers so that their bases (that part <strong>of</strong> a cup which is usually hidden) were visible,<br />

making it possible to see how the painted surface had been extended over them, to depict a wreath <strong>of</strong><br />

scrubby vegetation encircling a patch <strong>of</strong> blue.<br />

<strong>The</strong> landscapes depicted in these works seemed to be both generic and specific - the little<br />

boomerangs <strong>of</strong> land afloat in their watery world could be at once any tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean,<br />

or one <strong>of</strong> the artificial islands in Lake Burley Griffin, in Patsy's home town <strong>of</strong> Canberra. <strong>The</strong>re was<br />

something about this shift between the universal and the particular that induced a sense <strong>of</strong> reverie<br />

in me. I thought about all the islands and lakes I had visited in my life, and the definitions <strong>of</strong> them I<br />

had learned in school: an island is a body <strong>of</strong> land surrounded by water, and a lake is a body <strong>of</strong> water<br />

surrounded by land. <strong>The</strong>re was something beautifully reciprocal about this relationship <strong>of</strong> containment,<br />

I mused: the land cups the water, and the water cups land. If vessels are always about the idea <strong>of</strong><br />

containment, how appropriate that these cu ps and saucers should mimic this reciprocal embrace.<br />

Some months later, I encountered the work again, this time on Patsy's kitchen bench. Amongst the<br />

cups and saucers we'd used for our morning c<strong>of</strong>fee, Lake and Island seemed to participate in a more<br />

quotidian world, and I began to notice other kinds <strong>of</strong> things about them. <strong>The</strong>ir handles, for instance:<br />

refined, modified arabesques <strong>of</strong> slim porcelain, curving round like graceful commas, and joined to<br />

the wall <strong>of</strong> the cup by a slender buttress <strong>of</strong> clay. <strong>The</strong> more I looked at them, the more I saw them as<br />

somehow separate from the bowl <strong>of</strong> the cup itself. This is not to say that they looked out <strong>of</strong> place;<br />

rather it was as though the handles were somehow deliberately distinguishing themselves from the body<br />

<strong>of</strong> the cup, performing in fact an act <strong>of</strong> punctuation, <strong>of</strong> separation.<br />

Looking at them made me think <strong>of</strong> the German an thropologist Georg Simmel's beautiful essay on<br />

the handle. According to Simmel, works <strong>of</strong> art such as paintings operate differently in the world than<br />

do utilitarian objects. <strong>The</strong> worlds depicted in an image are self-enclosed, only able to be looked at, he<br />

argues. Utilitarian objects, on the other hand, interact with "everything that surges past or hovers about<br />

[them]." Whilst a painting may be made <strong>of</strong> tangible materials-such as paint and canvas, the world it<br />

depicts exists outside <strong>of</strong>, and independent from, the everyday world. <strong>The</strong> same applies to objects <strong>of</strong><br />

aesthetic value, such as vases and cups. However, Simmel argues, "reality also makes claims upon '" an<br />

object that is handled, filled, emptied, pr<strong>of</strong>fered and set down here and there." It is in the handle <strong>of</strong><br />

a vessel, according to Simmel, that this duality is most clearly expressed. On the one hand, the handle<br />

operates as a kind <strong>of</strong> bridge between the aesthetic world and that <strong>of</strong> the everyday. On the other, the<br />

handle must also operate within the idealised realm <strong>of</strong> the aesthetic.<br />

<strong>The</strong> handles on the Island and Lake cups are appropriated from commercially-produced porcelain<br />

ware. Because <strong>of</strong> this, they look familiar. In them we read (perhaps without realising it), the<br />


,<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

unconsciously-accumulated memory <strong>of</strong> countless cups encountered over our lifetimes, all <strong>of</strong> those<br />

moments when we have handled, looked at, sipped from, washed, dried and dropped these material<br />

fellow-travellers <strong>of</strong> our lived experience. At the same time, they gesture towards Patsy's own interest<br />

in the rich histories <strong>of</strong> ceramics. She frequently incorporates cast elements from other vessels, or even<br />

found pieces <strong>of</strong> ceramics, into her work. This gives her a way to allude to the circulation <strong>of</strong> ceramic<br />

objects through our lives and culture.<br />

In the case <strong>of</strong> the cups in Island and Lake, the handles participate in a sort <strong>of</strong> aesthetic game.<br />

<strong>The</strong> cups operate as a three-dimensional surface on which a painterly exploration <strong>of</strong> the relationship<br />

between water and land is played out. <strong>The</strong>ir curved surfaces lend another dimension to the worlds<br />

represented upon them and create a punning analogy between the forms <strong>of</strong> islands and lakes and<br />

the forms <strong>of</strong> cups and saucers. But it is the handles that complete this analogy, since they are the<br />

quintessential sign <strong>of</strong> a teacup, with all <strong>of</strong> its references to the rituals and gestures <strong>of</strong> everyday life.<br />

Our everyday worlds are not perfect, and the objects that populate our lives aren't always perfect<br />

either. An inspection <strong>of</strong> most family cupboards would reveal a tale <strong>of</strong> mismatched china, <strong>of</strong> Spode<br />

pieces sharing shelf space with a painted souvenir cup from a long-forgotten holiday. Patsy is interested<br />

in the way in which objects accumulate in and inhabit our domestic lives, and <strong>of</strong>ten refers to this kind<br />

<strong>of</strong> casual domestic mismatching in her work. <strong>The</strong> saucers she uses are sometimes made in another<br />

material (glass or wood. for example) and their forms are <strong>of</strong>ten drawn from those <strong>of</strong> mass produced<br />

ceramic ware. A characteristic flat, steep-walled saucer, used in Island and Lake and also in some works<br />

produced for her exhibition To <strong>The</strong>re and Back in Adelaide in 2010, for example, are based on a Susie<br />

Cooper saucer in her own domestic collection.<br />

Looking at these arrangements, I am reminded <strong>of</strong> Simmel's reference to the way in which everyday<br />

life "surges around" objects, and how objects themselves move through space in the service <strong>of</strong><br />

our everyday needs. Patsy has alluded to this in the catalogue statement for To <strong>The</strong>re and Back in<br />

Adelaide, when she speaks <strong>of</strong> the way in which cups, jugs and saucers "signify action and movement<br />

.. . <strong>The</strong>y are objects that something is done with". She draws an analogy between this kind <strong>of</strong> action<br />

and the movement entailed in travelling, with its concomitant activities <strong>of</strong> looking, thinking and<br />

experiencing.<br />

For this exhibition, she used as her starting point a series <strong>of</strong> visits she made to Adelaide in 2009 and<br />

2010. <strong>The</strong> final works for the show depicted small vignettes drawn from photographs, postcards and<br />

videos <strong>of</strong> Adelaide she found on the internet. <strong>The</strong> exhibition included a series <strong>of</strong> jugs painted with a<br />

set <strong>of</strong> unremarkable scenes: a view from a window <strong>of</strong> Adelaide's new airport across a busy tarmac, a<br />

skyline <strong>of</strong> modern city buildings - their gridded windows appearing slightly wobbly under the limitations<br />

imposed by the medium <strong>of</strong> china paint.<br />

But it was a pair <strong>of</strong> cups and saucers depicting the greenbelt parklands that surround Adelaide's CBO<br />

to which I found myself returning. <strong>The</strong> handle <strong>of</strong> one, a wide shallow porcelain cylinder, was surprisingly<br />

slender and richly covered in gold lustre, forming an unexpected contrast to the rather austere olive<br />

greens <strong>of</strong> the landscape on the body <strong>of</strong> the cup. <strong>The</strong> other cup was identical to those used in the Island<br />

Previous page (page 47): top: Island, 2011, porcelain, powder-coated aluminium saucer, each h.Scm, w.13cm<br />

Below: Lake, 2011 porcelain, glass, each h.8cm, w.13.Scm. glass saucer by Nadege Desgenetez; photos: Brenton McGeachie<br />

Opposite page, above: Adelaide VII . 2010, porcelain, h.lOcm, w.12cm, d.9cm<br />

Opposite page, below: Adelaide VI (airport). 2010, porcelain. h.l6cm. w.8cm. d.5cm; photos: Michael Kluvanek<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

'--------~<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRAliAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 49

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Opposite page: Jug (by the lake). 2010<br />

porcelain. h.26.Scm, w. lOcm, d.7cm<br />

Left : Vase with two scenes (Mt Madura). 2009<br />

porcelain, h.2Scm, w. 17cm<br />

Photos: Brenton McGeachie<br />

and Lake series. its elegant comma-shaped<br />

handle ornamented with a small lick <strong>of</strong> silver<br />

lustre. Once again. I was struck by the way<br />

in which the handles seem to articulate<br />

themselves in relation to the body <strong>of</strong> the<br />

cup, little punctuating gestures that make<br />

us reconsider the relationship between the<br />

painted surfaces <strong>of</strong> the cups and the material<br />

and aesthetic worlds which they inhabit.<br />

This use <strong>of</strong> second-hand imagery plays<br />

with a series <strong>of</strong> conventions that allude to the souvenir. On the one hand, Patsy refers to the way in<br />

which postcards and travel souvenirs borrow from and repeat already existing images <strong>of</strong> sites. And yet,<br />

the images are not readily recognisable; they could be pictures drawn from any small <strong>Australian</strong> city.<br />

Nevertheless. they are, in fact, images <strong>of</strong> particular places, and the recognition <strong>of</strong> a bu ilding or a specific<br />

vista invests them with a particular kind <strong>of</strong> secret and pleasurable meaning.<br />

This kind <strong>of</strong> tension between the generic and the particular is made even more complex by the fact<br />

that the cups are slipcast (and therefore produced in multiples) and at the same time hand-painted<br />

one-<strong>of</strong>fs. Perhaps in this we can read an analogy for the ways in which the pleasures <strong>of</strong> travel, like the<br />

pleasures <strong>of</strong> our everyday experiences, are both universal through being shared by many and specific to<br />

ourselves alone.<br />

More than this, however, in the gilded handles <strong>of</strong> these two cups, and in their hand-painted surfaces,<br />

we might also read the way in which the value <strong>of</strong> the souvenir shifts over time. Looking at them, I<br />

cannot help remembering how, in the 18th and 19th centuries, ceramic objects popularised knowledge<br />

about unknown worlds. I am thinking particularly <strong>of</strong> the way in which images made by naturalists on<br />

Cook's voyages were circulated through Britain and Europe in popular print form. versions <strong>of</strong> which were<br />

also incorporated into ceramic souvenirs. <strong>The</strong>re is a famous example <strong>of</strong> one <strong>of</strong> these, the Staffordshire<br />

Kanguru and Tigar Mug, in the collection <strong>of</strong> the National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Australia. It is perhaps Patsy's<br />

greatest skill that she can invest her work with these ever-widening circles <strong>of</strong> meaning and with such<br />

small details as a handle make a bridge between the world <strong>of</strong> our lived experience and the long, rich<br />

lives <strong>of</strong> objects.<br />

Georg Simmel, 'Two Essays: <strong>The</strong> Handle and <strong>The</strong> Ruin', Hudson Review,<br />

11:3 (1958: Autumn) 372-385 (translated by David Kettler).<br />

Anne Brennan is an artist and writer. She is the Head <strong>of</strong> the Art <strong>The</strong>ory Workshop at the<br />

ANU School <strong>of</strong> Art.<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRIL <strong>2012</strong> <strong>51</strong>

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

..\ .. ..... "- . ~ ...<br />

• • . ;'.. .~ r<br />

• ~. . .. _ -.. WI ... L,<br />

.-. '1 "t<br />

thinkin2 abou\ drawings about<br />

<strong>of</strong>)JeCtsClDout oOKlng<br />

Tania Rollond<br />

Photographer: Greg Piper<br />


Looking at objects, and thinking about making objects,<br />

J am thinking about<br />

being human.<br />

We humans who endlessly, endlessly, endlessly<br />

make, unmake, name and consume with our hands and eyes and brains have filled our planet with<br />

things.<br />

And in this way we have created our world, a realm apart<br />

from nature.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se artifacts are a language, each object a word.<br />

As I acquire, order, rearrange and discard each thing in my life, I name and rename myself.<br />

As I recognize myself in these objects, I shape my life and try to secure some part <strong>of</strong> my existence,<br />

to find some objective confirmation <strong>of</strong> identity.<br />

A tangible point <strong>of</strong> sameness and order to hold onto in the face <strong>of</strong> an ever-changing and indifferent<br />

universe.<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

But the objects are also shifting and changing in this world which never stops moving and we are all<br />

caught up and swept along, and just when you think you understand something it slips away and you<br />

realize that the world moves forward with or without you, it does not care for you . You realize that<br />

you might only see the truth looking backwards, and though the world is filled with objects which<br />

have been made by us, they are not us, they cannot speak the truth, they are part <strong>of</strong> the mystery <strong>of</strong><br />

being here and not knowing.

Each object has a name, it belongs to a category <strong>of</strong> forms which exist<br />

in my mind.<br />

As I look, I name and identify,<br />

then act according to what is known in my mind, not what is sensed by my body.<br />

Seeing is believing, right?<br />

When I see I do not just look, I remember<br />

and I fix my memories over the thing and I do not see it directly, I see what I expect, or what I am<br />

able to comprehend.<br />

I need only the slightest clue.<br />

Language allows me to understand and it directs me, but there are moments when I break free and<br />

see without language, without naming or knowing.<br />

I am just experiencing.<br />

I think this happens when I see an object without a name, without a meaning.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se things are not signs and I look at them<br />

instead <strong>of</strong> looking through them to see what they say about us,<br />

about our history, culture, or society.<br />

An unidentifiable thing is a still point,<br />

a direct experience.<br />

And a direct experience feels rare<br />

and precious,<br />

so I go looking for these unnameable objects.<br />

I search for them in the space between. <strong>The</strong> space which is made up <strong>of</strong> all the things we do not<br />

know.<br />

I break objects apart and rejoin them, I empty them <strong>of</strong> their content, create hollow outlines and<br />

obscure shapes. I make them willfully unknowable.<br />

I have become obsessed with things, possessed by them.<br />

I draw them and make them, remake them and mark them, and I am hoping that these things will<br />

speak <strong>of</strong> some essence. Of the mysterious state <strong>of</strong> the world which shimmers and is never fixed,<br />

<strong>of</strong> truth which is relative, or provisional, and the feeling I have, which is<br />

uncertainty.<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

I am making invisible doubts visible, looking for something inside and trying to make a drawing <strong>of</strong> the<br />

way it feels outside. Trying to make something which is not a representation <strong>of</strong> anything other than<br />

the thing it is, that shifts between the actual, the pictorial, the physical and the abstract. Taking a line<br />

and shaping a space, I am looking for things that cannot be located and I am listening, to see what<br />

the material might say. My thinking is drawing. My making is thinking.<br />

I am marking and making, trying to say something, but I don't really know what it is I have to say.<br />

You might only see the truth when you are looking backwards. 50 what can I say?<br />

Just, that I am<br />

here<br />

now.<br />

Th is text is a kind <strong>of</strong> abbreviated poetic reworking and misremembering <strong>of</strong> my MFA research, completed<br />

at COFA, UNSW in 2011. Original sources and properly referenced quotes can be found in my research<br />

paper, available via the UNSW Library online.<br />

All images from between objects and images, an exhibition <strong>of</strong> ceramics (with wire) and works on paper<br />

made between 2008 and 2011, and exhibited at the COFAspace Gallery, and the National Art School<br />

Project Space in Sydney, 2011 .<br />

Photographer: Greg Piper; www.gregpiper.com.au<br />

www.taniarollond.com.au<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Playing Loose<br />

A conversation with Steve Wi lliams by Gail Nichols<br />

Steve Williams<br />

Opposite page, above: Steve Williams. Inside Out, <strong>2012</strong>, wheelthrown, inverted cylinder, h.9cm, w.38cm<br />

Opposite page, below: Steve Williams, Flatform, 200S, handbuilt, woodfired, 1320"C, diam.49cm; photos: Scott Calvin<br />

Wandering through the National Woodfire Survey exhibition in Canberra in 2005, my attention was<br />

drawn to a sculpture entitled Flatform that was dominated by a pierced, s<strong>of</strong>tly draped slab. It had a<br />

playful sense <strong>of</strong> energy and spontaneity about it. I sensed a child-like inventiveness in the maker, who<br />

clearly also understood the technical complexities <strong>of</strong> large-scale clay sculpture and the demands <strong>of</strong><br />

woodfiring. I wanted to learn more about this artist, Steve Williams. More recently, Steve exhibited in a<br />

show I curated in Tasmania, and this led to some fruitful email discussions.<br />

Steve Williams lives in Tuncurry, in northern New South Wales. His formal ceramics education took<br />

place in Wagga (Riverina College <strong>of</strong> Advanced Education) and Melbourne (Caulfield Institute). As an<br />

artist he has worked in various places, including a residency in Fuping, China, in 2007 and a Clayworks<br />

residency in 2008. Originally trained as a secondary school teacher, Steve redirected his career into TAFE<br />

teaching and freelance ceramic work, firstly in Wagga and later in northern NSW at Great Lakes TAFE.<br />

He shares a wood kiln with Jann Kesby at Kempsey and fires three or four times a year.<br />

Steve brings a childlike playfulness to his work, with the self-awareness <strong>of</strong> an experienced artist.<br />

He moves freely between making sculpture and functional vessels and incorporates many non-clay<br />

materials in his work. He is fascinated by 'Loose Parts', a concept developed by Simon Nicholson that<br />


1 Inside Out, <strong>2012</strong>, wheelthrown, cut and assembled<br />

woodfired. h.6cm, w.13cm<br />

2 Rip Plates, 2004, wheel thrown, altered, woodfired<br />

1320·( , diam.23cm<br />

3 Slash and Burn, 2005, wheelthown, woodfired 1320·(<br />

bale hooks, diam.32cm<br />

4 Platter, <strong>2012</strong>, wheelthrown, altered, woodfired<br />

Shino and cone glaze, diam.35cm<br />

All work by Steve William s: photos: Scott Calvin<br />

, .<br />

~~j~)<br />

-<br />

.:t....<br />

,<br />

.<br />

~... -<br />

has been applied to playground design and<br />

childhood education. Nicholson maintains that<br />

creativity is enhanced by access to materials that<br />

can be moved and manipulated freely w ith no<br />

2 specific directions. Examples include water, sand,<br />

buckets, blocks, sticks and recycled materials.<br />

It could be argued that artists are people who<br />

maintain their ability to play with loose parts into<br />

adulthood,. Steve has certainly managed that. He<br />

says, "I have pondered long and hard on why we<br />

as humans need to create with difference. <strong>The</strong><br />

loose parts theory <strong>of</strong> children and play has been<br />

an important catalyst to help me appreciate why<br />

play and invention are so important".<br />

Steve favours directness and immediacy <strong>of</strong><br />

process in his work. " It has always been about<br />

making 'in one sitting' ... this forces invention<br />

and discovery for making, finding ways <strong>of</strong><br />

constructing and completing plastic clay forms.<br />

Creating a foot element on thrown bowls by<br />

moving clay with a stick or a stone, immediately<br />

after throwing is one <strong>of</strong> my favourite things."<br />

Is his aim the fired work, or is the process an<br />

end in itself?<br />

"<strong>The</strong> process is the most fun. Whilst I do enjoy<br />

throwing and making utilitarian objects, I'm not<br />

a repeat maker. I'm probably more <strong>of</strong> maker<br />

in series . In the last few years I have become<br />

increasingly interested in the use <strong>of</strong> found<br />

objects from place and experiences. Woodfiring<br />

remains the only way <strong>of</strong> bringing these loose<br />

parts together in an unimposed way. <strong>The</strong>re is a<br />

looseness with wood firing that fits as the most<br />

appropriate way to create 'synthetic rock'. "<br />

Steve has an affinity with organic natural<br />

processes <strong>of</strong> growth and change, and his work<br />

speaks strongly <strong>of</strong> geological processes such<br />

as erosion and eruption. " Geology suggests

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Steve Williams, Flying<br />

Machine (Coal Carriers)<br />

2007, wheelthrown,<br />

press-moulded, woodfired<br />

1320"(, crates <strong>of</strong> coal<br />

h.l00cm, w.8Ocm<br />

Photo: artist<br />

constant change. 'Geological' also suggests an association with a particular place and I have always<br />

sought out materials from place. That could be the sieved aggregate from a local red clay in Wagga.<br />

<strong>The</strong> red clay would be over-fired at high temperature, so adding the aggregate to a fireclay/porcelain<br />

body added place, life and history to the body that created fired eruptions. <strong>The</strong> digging <strong>of</strong> red clay for<br />

aggregate led to digging up objeds (bale hooks, bottles etc.) which led to the work Slash and Burn.<br />

Local materials could also be fireclay from Bunnings hardware, or a source <strong>of</strong> clay in a coastal sand<br />

environment. "<br />

<strong>The</strong> loose parts approach enables Steve to relate easily to place and to adapt to various working<br />

environments. <strong>The</strong> world is his playground and he finds joy in working in it. <strong>No</strong>t limited specifically<br />

to clay and ceramic processes, Steve seleds materials from his environment, then experiments with<br />

combining and manipulating them. In Coal Carriers, a work he made during the Fuping residency,<br />

ceramic flying machines are exhibited on crates <strong>of</strong> coal. "<strong>The</strong>y were an amalgam response to travelling<br />

to an amazing country, not being able to see the sky and having trouble breathing, largely because <strong>of</strong><br />

the <strong>Australian</strong> coal being burnt to provide energy."<br />

Plasticity <strong>of</strong> materials is highly significant to Steve's work. "Many materials can take deformation<br />

without fradure (definition <strong>of</strong> plasticity) but with non-clay materials, say, metal or wood, it generally<br />

takes more than just the human hand to deform. Clay can deform and transfer a fingerprint ... how<br />

cool is that? (lay's ease <strong>of</strong> deformation is probably the quality that gives it such appeal. When the water<br />

evaporates from the plastic clay, you have to add or take away to create form. I have never been an<br />

adder or taker away. That would suggest a much longer script, and control ", not such a loose part.<br />

When clay dries out, it is not nearly as responsive and playful",<br />

When working with non-clay materials, Steve continues to exploit properties <strong>of</strong> plasticity. <strong>The</strong> wall<br />

piece, Landfill, exhitiited in the Atmos-Fire exhibition at Woodfire Tasmania 2011, was made from<br />

wheelthrown woodfired porcelain and empty plastic milk bottles, deformed and fused together with a<br />

heat gun, This was part <strong>of</strong> a series <strong>of</strong> works inspired by a visit to a local recycling centre, "I was moved<br />

by the compression <strong>of</strong> containers (vessels) whether steel, aluminium, cardboard or plastic, into large<br />

bales for reprocessing (mostly in (hina), As a vessel maker I began to think about the users <strong>of</strong> these<br />


1 Buttress, 2010, assembled metal can bales, h.2SOcm<br />

2 Landfill, 20 II, porcelain, wheelthrown, woodfired 1320"(, heat-fused plastic, h.1 OOem, w.l00em, d.1 Oem<br />

3 Down the Drain, 2010, compressed plastic milk bottles. endangered lillpiHi, starch stencil, h.180cm, w.400cm<br />

All work: by Steve Williams; photos: Scott Calvin<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

non-clay vessels. <strong>The</strong> texture <strong>of</strong> these bales changed as the holidaying population moved in and out <strong>of</strong><br />

the area." Buttress was made from bales <strong>of</strong> compressed cans placed in opposing positions inside and<br />

outside a floor-to-ceiling window <strong>of</strong> the Art School Gallery at Great Lakes TAFE. In another installation,<br />

Endangered, an endangered Lillipilli grew out <strong>of</strong> a 400 kg bale <strong>of</strong> compressed plastic bottles. A bottle<br />

shadow was stencilled onto the floor using flour and water. <strong>The</strong> materials used in these installations<br />

were on loan and were later returned to the recycling centre.<br />

"Clay's pyroplasticity is another element. or loose part, in the equation. I encourage pyroplasticity<br />

within the kiln by orchestrating the clay body, packing and heat work. Packing and firing is a large<br />

component <strong>of</strong> the process. I will sometimes fuse-melt clay elements together to create assemblages not<br />

possible with raw clay."<br />

Steve enjoys working in isolation, valuing the freedom this gives him to develop his own ideas. He<br />

admits to deliberately avoiding contact with the ceramic world through publications, but he enjoys<br />

direct contact with other potters and their work. Steve cites Chester Nealie as an important influence,<br />

due to his contagious spirit, knowledge and humour. "Chester encouraged me to slow down, find the<br />

natural and to be me." Other influences include Owen Rye for the depth and richness <strong>of</strong> his surfaces,<br />

and architects Frank Gehry and Antoni Gaudi for the ref reshing oddness and informality in their work. "I<br />

look at their work and ask, how did they get that through council? I'm glad they did."<br />

An enthusiastic educator in ceramics within the broader context <strong>of</strong> art and design, Steve is particularly<br />

excited by the Aboriginal design program he helped to found at Great Lakes TAFE (see Steve's article on<br />

page 117 in this issue). Steve applies the loose parts concept in his teaching, encouraging students to<br />

develop their personal creativity through direct experience and discovery. He is careful not to excessively<br />

influence them with study <strong>of</strong> history and the work <strong>of</strong> others. "Whilst there is a role for historical<br />

knowledge, an environment <strong>of</strong> 'unknown' must be established for new concepts. I try and establish<br />

that creative isolation void for students. I really enjoy setting up first experiences for learners from which<br />

ideas and personal direction come."<br />

What is Steve working on at the moment?<br />

"A number <strong>of</strong> things ... I am throwing forms that involve the inside thrown wall being presented<br />

as the outer surface. <strong>The</strong> energy and quality <strong>of</strong> the cylinder's inside thrown wall, when turned out, is<br />

slightly mysterious and quite lovely. I enjoy making wheelthrown objects that present foods - a kind <strong>of</strong><br />

a mixed media installation. <strong>The</strong> colours <strong>of</strong> tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants (homegrown) look amazing on<br />

the woodfired surface. I am also working on assemblages <strong>of</strong> wheelthrown vessels for dips and biscuits.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se developed as a design requirement to be able to transport dip, nibbles and biscuits to friend's<br />

place in a crate on our pushbikes. <strong>The</strong> inside thrown wall is exposed, giving light to, and liberating, the<br />

hidden wheel-thrown wall. I would love to do a project where ceramic objects were made in response to<br />

and for food presentation as part <strong>of</strong> a banquet."<br />

A banquet <strong>of</strong> loose parts. <strong>The</strong> play continues.<br />

Dr Gail Nichols is recognised internationally for her innovative work with soda vapour glazing.<br />

She lives and works at Mongarlowe, near Braidwood in NSW,<br />

www.stevewilliams3d.net<br />

See pages 117- 120 for Steve Williams' article about the Aboriginal Ceramic Design Program at<br />

Great lakes TAFE Art and Design School in Tuncurry NSW.<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Beavering Away in the<br />

Mountains<br />

Christopher Sanders reviews the work <strong>of</strong> Susie MCMeekin<br />

Susie McMeekin makes beautiful pots in her Blue Mountains studio, two hours<br />

from Sydney. Her recent exhibition at the East West Gallery in Melbourne<br />

comprised a selection <strong>of</strong> finely thrown bowls, vases, plates and jugs, glazed and<br />

reduction-fired with finishes inspired by classic Chinese glazes. Whilst selected<br />

plates had delicate surface markings and a jar a finely altered fluted rim, overall<br />

it was an exhibition concerned with subtle functional form, surface texture and<br />

glaze colour.<br />

McMeekin makes her own clay and glazes. She is what might be termed a 'traditional potter',<br />

even an 'old-fashioned' potter. This is no su rprise since she was apprenticed to her potter father, Ivan<br />

McMeekin, and her practice imbued with the values he placed upon the classic wares from China 's Song<br />

Dynasty. <strong>The</strong> best <strong>of</strong> the Song Dynasty originals have a patrician and enduring elegance that reflect<br />

the context <strong>of</strong> the 12th century Song courts. McMeekin feels that the appeal <strong>of</strong> her work lies in its<br />

simplicity. Th is may be so, but is it is a simpliCity born from a sophisticated synthesis <strong>of</strong> a past material<br />

and visual aesthetic within the context <strong>of</strong> contemporary Australia.<br />

Susie did not enjoy a natural career path into studio pottery, and it was not until the late seventies<br />

that she began assisting her father who was suffering from a major illness at the time. After initial<br />

throwing lessons, Susie recalls that she" ... was hooked in about two days ". She and her father "got<br />

on very well together and he understood me and how to teach me".' Susie McMeekin also found the<br />

solitary nature <strong>of</strong> running a pottery suited her. She rel ished her apprenticeship recalling that it was<br />

framed by "a very gentle work regime ... tailored to his illness and energy levels". Susie MCMeekin<br />

has continued to work at her own pace, avoiding stress and rush and allowing space for the ongoing<br />

evolution <strong>of</strong> her distinct take on Chinese ceramics.<br />

Yet it is here that perhaps a great irony lies: the current Chinese potter cares little about the<br />

individuality <strong>of</strong> a piece, whereas the <strong>Australian</strong> studio potter places high value upon it. While<br />

contemporary Chinese domestic ware makers are very skilled, the vast majority are piecework artisans<br />

who do not handle their pots from beginning to end. Many <strong>of</strong> the glazes in contemporary Chinese<br />

workshops are bought '<strong>of</strong>f the rack',2 whereas Susie McMeekin continues to follow her father's path,<br />

sourcing and testing local materials, raw dipping glazes and allowing the fly ash from woodfiring to<br />

create the special variations that distinguish her best exhibition works.<br />

Opposite page, above: Celadon Lidded Jar, 2011, white stoneware, local granite celadon glaze, h.21em<br />

Below: Copper Red Rice Bowl, 20,', Southern Ice, h.7em, w.13em<br />

80th works by Susie McMeekin, wheelthrown, redudion gas·fired; photos: Christopher Sanders<br />


1 Chun Woodfired Bowl, 2009, Gulgong stoneovvare, wheelthrown, fired in the very back <strong>of</strong><br />

Janet Mansfield's racer kiln, h.8cm, w.2Ocm<br />

2 Celadon Plate, 20 11, white stoneware, local granite celadon glaze. fluted walls. scratch decoration, reduction gas-fired<br />

diam.20.Scm<br />

3 Woodfired Tenmoku Cylinder, 1999, Gulgong stoneware, very high-fired in Peter Rushforth's wood kiln, h.2Ocm<br />

All works by SU5ie MCMeekin; photos: Christopher Sanders<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Susie's father espoused elements <strong>of</strong> the philosophies <strong>of</strong> the influential pre-war British potters<br />

Michael Cardew and Bernard Leach who, in their differing ways, were immersed in ceramic traditions<br />

oppositional to those <strong>of</strong> industrial Britain.l Ivan McMeekin felt that pottery and the act <strong>of</strong> making is<br />

"a tactile and visual art, and (that) it plays a very intimate part in our everyday lives" .4 In this sense, he<br />

shared Cardew and Leach's resentment <strong>of</strong> the industrially standardised materials potters were forced to<br />

use, either through lack <strong>of</strong> knowledge or other alternatives. Unlike most contemporary ceramicists, Susie<br />

continues to make her clay from "three different Gulgong clays (which give it) .. . good green strength<br />

(and allow it to) fire to a good colour" . With the modesty typical <strong>of</strong> potters, she characterises her testing<br />

<strong>of</strong> rock dusts for glazes as " ... beavering away at making celadons".<br />

It is the development <strong>of</strong> an understanding <strong>of</strong> materials and processes in an evolutionary manner that<br />

gives strength to the work <strong>of</strong> the dedicated 'artist potter'. Ivan McMeekin used this term,S one which<br />

was popular during the sixties and seventies. In practice, it means that the best works are reserved<br />

for exhibition while a small production line might support the cash flow <strong>of</strong> the enterprise. <strong>The</strong> reality<br />

<strong>of</strong> being an artist potter means controlling design <strong>of</strong> the ware, selecting and using raw materials and<br />

controlling the firing, whilst also managing all other aspects <strong>of</strong> the business. <strong>The</strong> steps in these processes<br />

are not totally pre-determined and instead contribute to a range <strong>of</strong> potential rather than absolutely<br />

determined results. <strong>The</strong> final editing, or selection, forms the basis <strong>of</strong> exh ibition work.<br />

Reduction or 'smoked' firing is the key to most oriental glazing. Susie observes her father's strict rules:<br />

no visitors, no pots from others and no alcohol I Susie loves woodfiring and its capacity to bring further<br />

variation to the reduction process and she sees the results as sometimes so superior to gas that she<br />

feels almost reduced to tears. At present her woodfired works are fired elsewhere as, domestically, the<br />

woodfired kiln is impractical, but plans are in progress to change this. In her own studio she uses gas for<br />

stricter control <strong>of</strong> specif ic glazes such as the copper reds, allowing her to bring out their wonderiul rich<br />

colouring and suriace variations.<br />

McMeekin remains steadfast in her aesthetic, but she sometimes feels the weight <strong>of</strong> having managed<br />

a small one-person business over the past three decades. Marjorie Ho at East West Gallery provided an<br />

excellent space for McMeekin's subtle and special show. McMeekin's pieces are articulate and confident,<br />

yet an inherent humility lies within each. <strong>The</strong>y express their lineage and a sense <strong>of</strong> continuity, and they<br />

bear an innate dignity as they emerge from the McMeekin kilns and studio into the hands <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong><br />

collectors.<br />

1 Christopher Sanders. questIonnaire response from Susie McMeekin, January <strong>2012</strong><br />

2 As observed in 2005 by author on trip to JlOgdezhen. Jianxi province<br />

3 Bernard leach. A Porter's Book, Britain, 1940; Michael Cardew, Pioneer Pottery, Britain, 1969. l each was greatly influenced by Japanese aesthetics<br />

but saw the Song Dynasty Chinese as exemplar s. Cardew was interested in the traditions <strong>of</strong> Nigerian pottery but shared leach's interest in using<br />

local materials.<br />

4 Ivan McMeekin. <strong>No</strong>tes for Potters in Australia, NSW Umversity Press, 1978, page 2<br />

5 Ibid. McMeekin, tvan, pag£' 3<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> by Susie McMeekin, <strong>No</strong>vemberfDecember 2011 ; www.eastwestart.com.au<br />

www.susiemcmeekin.com<br />

http://christophersanders,zenfolio.com<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Elaine Bradley in her East Fremantle studio, WA; photo: Emmet Sheil<br />

Right: Elaine Bradley, Nest (Curves), front, Craft ACT CruCible Showcase, Harvest, 2011 ; photo: Creative Image Photography<br />

Making it fit<br />

Elaine Bradley reflects on family, study and her ceramic practice<br />

It is a funny thing, when someone asks how you got into your line <strong>of</strong> work, you look back at your<br />

path, and the signs are so obvious in retrospect, As a child in Dublin it delighted me when my father<br />

encouraged my drawings, especially when I was rewarded with grown-up drawing materials from his<br />

company's drawing <strong>of</strong>fice. At five, Mum taught me to knit and a pal taught me crochet, every girl<br />

taught others. I learnt to sew and embroider in primary school too. In high school as well as the usual<br />

stuff and Latin, I learnt to dressmake, cook Irish Stew, bake suet pudding and, 'Ahem', to 'lay a tray for<br />

one's husband' for when the poor darling man came in from work. We rolled our eyes and took the<br />

home ec. teacher to task for her outdated point <strong>of</strong> view.<br />

Dad travelled <strong>of</strong>ten on business to Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia, bringing home loot<br />

<strong>of</strong> sophisticated chocolate and toys and divine high-end glass or ceramic objects for the suburban<br />

mantelpiece. Dad and I shared an eye for design. On family holidays, I observed my aunt's china<br />

collection, seventeen bone china dinner services received as wedding gifts, displayed in a cabinet<br />

the National Museum in Dublin would have appreciated. On the mantle and dresser were a range <strong>of</strong><br />

Wedgwood jasperware bowls, boxes, vases and vessels <strong>of</strong> unknown purpose. Who knew you were<br />

supposed to keep your cotton wool balls on a dresser in a china cookie jar? My Ma kept hers in a plastic<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Nest with Two Brown Eggs, detail, thrown double-walled<br />

Clayworks TMK, iron oxide decals, Cone 9 oxidation<br />

All works by Elaine Bradley<br />

Wh ite and Amber. detail, thrown double-walled, Southern<br />

Ice, iron oxide decals, Cone 9 oxidation<br />

Photos: Eva Fernandez<br />

bag. <strong>The</strong> important questions no adult could answer were - why were the Wedgwood boxes blue,<br />

inside and out; why were they matt and not smooth and glossy like china cups; and why were the<br />

German beer steins all grey and pitted looking yet they were made <strong>of</strong> clay too?<br />

In secondary school, sculptor Colm Brennan asked which non-drawing materials we'd explored . He<br />

was genuinely interested when I mentioned embroidery; I could do my art exam in thread - he was<br />

encouraging me to break new ground. Sorted! When Colm hauled out a bag <strong>of</strong> clay, asking who<br />

wanted to try that - my heart sank so pr<strong>of</strong>oundly I felt sick; I'd missed my first opportunity with clay.<br />

Years on, I tried an evening pottery class in an old stables yard behind Trinity College, Dublin. I reca ll<br />

an enormous handbuilt kickwheel in the studio, ra rely used, as few giants ever signed up for the class.<br />

<strong>The</strong> tutor failed to explain that working w ith s<strong>of</strong>t clay is a lot easier on a wheel than struggling with the<br />

lumpy cold hard stuff she made available - I'm still miffed about that. Walking to the bus stop to go<br />

home at night I was <strong>of</strong>ten propositioned by men in cars mistaking me for the 'ladies <strong>of</strong> the night' who<br />

patrolled that area, this despite being dressed in my most unsexy insurance company uniform. Realising<br />

how dodgy the area was, I had to give clay a miss. Romance saw me moving to London at 22 and<br />

starting a pottery course that required me to take an A-Level exam after two years. I had no intention<br />

<strong>of</strong> doing the exam but the syllabus went beyond handbuilding skills and dunking stuff in buckets <strong>of</strong><br />

glaze. We covered ceramic history, contemporary artists, gallery and studio visits and a wide range <strong>of</strong><br />

techniques. A young Takeshi Yasuda did a demo for our class, as did Magdalene Odundo and Mary<br />

Wandrausch. Our teacher made clay seem like there was nothing more interesting. I got an A!<br />

An unfulfilling career in corporate London and the support <strong>of</strong> my partner Henry led me to decide<br />

to apply for the highly regarded ceramics course at Harrow School <strong>of</strong> Art, but then marriage and<br />

emigration became part <strong>of</strong> the equation and, instead, I found myself in Perth, WA enrolling in the<br />

Claremont School <strong>of</strong> Art (TAFE) to study ceramics . I knew I wanted to be a studio potter, but in TAFE<br />

they wanted me to make lots <strong>of</strong> mugs and casserole dishes. <strong>The</strong> arrival <strong>of</strong> the first <strong>of</strong> our sons put the<br />

plans on hold and family life took over. Many years and housemoves later I found myself clearing out<br />

a shed where I found my wheel and tools. Clay seemed so far on the backburner I despaired I'd never<br />

touch it again. I decided to sel l my wheel, but immediately that heartsick lurching feeling hit and I knew<br />

- I just couldn't ! <strong>The</strong> youngest was in school, it was time to reclaim ME. I found my way to the ANU<br />


Elaine Bradley, Nest with Two Little White Eggs, detail, thrown double-walled Clayworks TMK, iron oxide decals, Cone 9<br />

oxidation; photo: Eva Fernandez<br />

Distance Diploma course, thanks to Sandra Black who had taught there. She was so supportive <strong>of</strong> my<br />

need to find a way to take up ceramics again and fit it around my family.<br />

In WA there are no options to study ceramics at tertiary level, full time. <strong>The</strong> ceramics community is<br />

cohesive and inclusive <strong>of</strong> those interested in learning and making. Most <strong>of</strong> my colleagues are involved<br />

with further education in some form and CAAWA (Ceramic Arts Association <strong>of</strong> WA) is especially<br />

active in promoting ceramics and the interests <strong>of</strong> makers culturally and socially. I count among my<br />

acquaintances Sandra Black, Fleur Schell, Cher Shackleton, Stewart and Trisha Scambler, Andrea<br />

Vinkovic, Greg Crowe and Graham Hay, to name a few - every one <strong>of</strong> whom has been supportive in<br />

some way to my path .<br />

<strong>The</strong> ANU course has morphed into something greater run by Janet deBoos with Greg Daly, Dr Gail<br />

Nichols, Anita Mcintyre, Joanna Searle and Patsy Hely on the staff. <strong>The</strong> experience there was pivotal<br />

in giving me the confidence to call myself an artist and to find my voice. Paul Scott taught print on<br />

clay techniques at my first session at ANU, where Janet identified that I am process driven and derive<br />

as much satisfaction from the discovery aspect as the finished product. I find it useful developmentally<br />

to work in a series, but not exclusively. I have two small studios, one at home and one in Fremantle<br />

through ArtSource WA.<br />

My recent work stems from my graduating work, nest forms in thrown porcelain, hollow doublewalled<br />

pillowy bowls with iron oxide decals from my own photographs strewn across the surface<br />

to convey ... convey what? To me this work reflects what home and family means, the security or<br />

otherwise <strong>of</strong> a place where you belong, the embrace or suffocation, the tenuousness or frailty <strong>of</strong> where<br />

you find yourself. My childhood was idyllic in ways, yet precarious due to our mother'S chronic poor<br />

health. We <strong>of</strong>ten buckled under the strain. My current role gets that way too sometimes. Indirectly I put<br />

together contrasting and conflicting images to illustrate the instability we lived with. You can take the<br />

results as purely decorative - that's ok too. Erosion and decomposition will be key in the next phase <strong>of</strong><br />

this series.<br />

http://elainebradley,blogspot,com.au<br />

THE 10URNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 71

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Making Space<br />

Stephanie Outridge Field on Andrew Bryant<br />

Throwing focuses on the transition <strong>of</strong> clay to form in a series <strong>of</strong> concentric thrusts created through the<br />

counterbalance <strong>of</strong> the maker push ing into the centre and the centrifugal force that is being harnessed<br />

manipulating the clay up and out.<br />

<strong>The</strong> family <strong>of</strong> pots made on the wheel sha re some characteristics, but not many. As a family it contains vessels<br />

retain ing free throwing marks and vessels where all traces <strong>of</strong> the hand have been effaced, pots thrown quickly and<br />

painstakingly made pots. Overtly functional pots and covertly metaphorical ones are all made on the wheel. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

are well established methods and principles; what is new is the sense <strong>of</strong> the reinvigoration <strong>of</strong> an ancient technique:<br />

an investigation into the dynamic pulse <strong>of</strong> thrown clay. 1<br />

Andrew uses throwing as his technique and the wheel as his tool. Andrew explores and constantly<br />

reveals the skeletal structure that is inherent to the thrown vessel. He makes several sections, like<br />

segments <strong>of</strong> an insect, which he joins immediately, creating columns with an internal pedestal that<br />

spikes into the next segment. He makes two, and inverts the second to allow the internal spindles to sit<br />

like opposing stalagmites and stalactites in a geological formation.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n he deconstructs the vessel by slicing through the walls to reveal the relationship between<br />

internal structure and external form, sometimes cutting one side only. At other times he cuts opposing<br />

sides, allowing a clea r section to be viewed.<br />

Throwing as a process is loaded with the potential to make mistakes. Andrew says, "I like mistakes; all<br />

have informed my approach. Aesthetically, the physical attributes that are a mistake, in another context<br />

create a new presence or way <strong>of</strong> looking at the thrown form and surface. It is through those mistakes<br />

that I innovate and think laterally about the processes <strong>of</strong> wheel throwing. That keeps me excited and<br />

fuels my work and my enthusiasm for it.<br />

"When I look into my trigger points, they are all artists who have the visual Wow! factor as well.<br />

Surrealistic ideas and Alan Peascod's innovations were an extremely important early influence. More<br />

recently, Tony Cragg and Damien Hirst, amongst others, have influenced my way <strong>of</strong> making."<br />

Su rrealism 2 is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s and Surrealist works feature the<br />

element <strong>of</strong> surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur3; however, many Surrealist artists and<br />

writers regard their work as an expression <strong>of</strong> the ph ilosophical movement, first and foremost, with the<br />

works being an artefact. 'Artefact' is a description and concept that undeniably connects with Andrew's<br />

work.<br />

Many potters are intrigued by simple forms and clear construction, finding that there is a great subtlety to be<br />

explored within these parameters. One <strong>of</strong> the pleasu res <strong>of</strong> these ceramics is that they seem to tell you how they<br />

were made. 4<br />

Andrew Bryant's works are layered and segmented and they tell you not only <strong>of</strong> the process but<br />

also <strong>of</strong> the stresses and tensions <strong>of</strong> the struts and walls <strong>of</strong> the pot's structure. It seems apt to describe<br />

Andrew's work as the residue (or residual) <strong>of</strong> the physical process <strong>of</strong> making: somehow the intense<br />

physicality <strong>of</strong> the making and the brashness <strong>of</strong> his relationship with clay make the final work the residue<br />

rather than the outcome.<br />

Andrew uses Feeney's BRT, a gritty clay that he woodfires to stoneware. "Most people don't like<br />

throwing with this clay but it is perfect because <strong>of</strong> its raw physical strength and it allows me to work<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

very quickly to capture the expression in the clay that I want It copes very well with the speed at which I<br />

want to work to make these forms. I also use Blackwattle porcelain paperclay, to make the spiral forms.<br />

"It is process-based work which resonates with the first mark you make on a wheel- the spiral <strong>of</strong> a<br />

finger drawn through the clay - the most elemental <strong>of</strong> beginnings for all wheel throwing potters."<br />

Andrew uses bats to support individual elements <strong>of</strong> the work prior to joining. He also uses a<br />

blowtorch to hasten the drying, strengthening the elements in order to work at his preferred pace - fast<br />

"It was the hypnotic spiral that first drew me in to the sensuality <strong>of</strong> wheel throwing. Whilst I<br />

continue to be obsessed with figurative vessel forms, I am now deconstructing. I am still drawn to the<br />

quintessential structure <strong>of</strong> throwing: the spiral, an iconic never-ending visual element It is a dynamic<br />

and almost disturbing shape that is like energy unleashed."<br />

<strong>The</strong> vase forms are like spiral shields, "backs against the wall", joined onto a central circular ring.<br />

Andrew likes double meanings where the edges are blurred - work being a couple <strong>of</strong> things at the same<br />

time, a sculpture or a vase.<br />

"Conceptually, I am inspired by contemporary sculptors who get to the core <strong>of</strong> materials. I like the<br />

approach and work <strong>of</strong> Tony Cragg, as he breaks things up."<br />

Tony Cragg has commented, "Cutting up material, turning it round, changing the contours, the<br />

surface and volumes time and time again. Watching as the changes accumulate, taking one far away<br />

Previous page (page 73): Shadow <strong>of</strong> a Four-Dimensional Vase, 2011, BRT, woodfired, ogama; h.SOcm, w.17cm, d.12cm<br />

Below: 1 Anatomy <strong>of</strong> a Vase in White, 2010, high-fired porcelain, white glaze, h.40cm, w.42cm, d.12cm<br />

2 Anatomy <strong>of</strong> a Woodfired Vase, 2010, BRT, woodfired ogama, h.42cm, w.50cm, d.1Ocm<br />

3 <strong>The</strong> Inner Self, 2010, BRT, high·fired. dark satin crawl glaze, h.5Scm; all work by Andrew Bryant; photos: Tony Webdale<br />


Above: Andrew Bryant. Deconstructed Landscape, 2009<br />

found local clay, woodfired, ogama, h.24cm, w.3Ocm, d.Scm<br />

Photo: artist<br />

Right: Andrew Bryant, <strong>The</strong> Spiral, 2010<br />

high-fired, crater glaze, h.32cm, w. 32cm, d.l0cm<br />

Photo: Tony Webdale<br />

from the starting point, through passages<br />

where one notices that the changes are not<br />

just taking place in the material. "5 <strong>The</strong>se<br />

words seem incredibly apt when watching<br />

Andrew work.<br />

Andrew says, "This work I am doing now<br />

makes clay forms look good to me - breaking<br />

up the space, and in combination with a crater<br />

glaze, it meshes to create a web <strong>of</strong> glaze<br />

draping across the ribs. I do not want anything<br />

extraneous - no handles, no preciousness. "<br />

<strong>The</strong> forms made by artists are seldom the result<br />

<strong>of</strong> groundless innovations, but result out <strong>of</strong> their<br />

understanding <strong>of</strong> their existences, which in turn<br />

can only reflect the knowledge, history and beliefs<br />

<strong>of</strong> the artist's culture.6<br />

I think this Tony Cragg quote speaks directly<br />

<strong>of</strong> Andrew's work, which is redolent <strong>of</strong> all<br />

his influences - the material, its history and<br />

traditions, his teachers and his heroes, Also,<br />

importantly, Andrew is a man and artist <strong>of</strong> his<br />

time and culture.<br />

1 Edmund De Waal<br />

2 leader And,'e Breton was explicit in hIS a~ion that<br />

SurrealISm was above all a revolutIOnary movement<br />

3 <strong>No</strong>n sequitur is latin for * jt does not folklw. H It is most <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

used as a noun to describe illogical statements.<br />

4 Edmund De Waal<br />

5 Tony Cragg, www.tony-cragg .com<br />

6 Tony Cragg, www.tony-

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

<strong>The</strong> Evolving Practice<br />

<strong>of</strong> Bruce Nuske<br />

Stephen Bowers reviews a forty-year career in ceramics<br />

It is appropriate in this anniversary issue <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Journal</strong> to devote some pages to pr<strong>of</strong>iles on<br />

contemporary <strong>Australian</strong> ceramic artists whose work is both ingenious and original. Bruce Nuske is<br />

such an artist.<br />

Given the scope <strong>of</strong> what is acceptable to visual arts writing within <strong>Australian</strong> journals, it is not<br />

su rprising that, like many <strong>of</strong> his ceramics peers, critical understanding and appreciation <strong>of</strong> Nuske's<br />

contribution is relatively understated and fervour for his work is the preserve <strong>of</strong> a few knowledgeable<br />

aficionados and polished collectors. Despite a career spanning more than forty years, he remains<br />

something <strong>of</strong> an enigma.<br />

Nuske was born on 29 August 1949 in McBride Hospital in Medindie <strong>of</strong> parents Johannes and Clytie,<br />

both <strong>of</strong> whom were born in 1916. His father, <strong>of</strong> German descent, was a businessman with interests in<br />

farming. His mother <strong>of</strong> English/German descent, had an upbringing deemed appropriate for a woman<br />

<strong>of</strong> the times and possessed an independence and resourcefulness that was to stand her in good<br />

stead when, following the death <strong>of</strong> her husband in a trucking accident in 1952, she took over sole<br />

management <strong>of</strong> the family farm.<br />

<strong>The</strong> third <strong>of</strong> four boys, Nuske lived initially on a farm near Cummins on the Eyre Peninsular before<br />

moving to a sheep and cattle farm near Collie south <strong>of</strong> Perth in 19<strong>51</strong> when his family re-Iocated to<br />

concentrate on a family faming business.<br />

<strong>The</strong> experience <strong>of</strong> growing up on a hardworking, successful rural holding, amid the rich full life <strong>of</strong><br />

the agricultural calendar and surrounded on all sides by practical farm scenes and rural prospects, gave<br />

Nuske an enduring connection to the earth, to gardening and the self-sufficiency <strong>of</strong> rustic crafts.<br />

His childhood experience remains the wellspring <strong>of</strong> his insight into botanical form and the lines and<br />

rhythms <strong>of</strong> growth and change to be found in natural arrangement.<br />

After the death <strong>of</strong> his father, his mother took on the task <strong>of</strong> raising the boys and running the farm.<br />

Her resourcefulness and intrepidity in successfully facing this task left an indelible impression on Nuske<br />

who remains devoted to her memory and inspired by her fortitude.<br />

After completing high school at Concordia Lutheran College in Highgate in Adelaide, he took a year<br />

<strong>of</strong>f to return to the family home in WA. <strong>The</strong> following year, 1969, he decided to pursue his aptitude for<br />

drawing and practical craft and enrolled in a four-year Diploma <strong>of</strong> Design - <strong>Ceramics</strong> at the SA School<br />

<strong>of</strong> Art, then located in Stanley Street in <strong>No</strong>rth Adelaide.<br />

It was a commonplace at the time for lecturers in art colleges to be artists in their own right. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

then trained their students (<strong>of</strong>ten by a kind <strong>of</strong> invisible osmosis) who in turn became lecturers who<br />

propagated the cycle. Over time that model proved a dead end. Employment opportunities dried up as<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Above: Bruce Nuske, Teapots, 2009, wheelformed, porcelain, slip decoration<br />

Below: Bruce Nuske, Ro to~Rococo, 2010, wheelformed, altered, porcelain, sprigged and coloured slip decoration<br />

Photos: Grant Hancock.<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRAliAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 77

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Right: Happily Ever After<br />

2004, porcelain<br />

Right below: Tea Wear /11<br />

2005, porcelain<br />

Opposite page, from lOP:<br />

Green Teapot, 2007,<br />

stoneware and porcelain<br />

Tea Tree and Watering Can<br />

2007, porcelain<br />

Ant Hill Pepper and Salt<br />

Trees, 2008, handbuilt<br />

porcelain and stoneware<br />

Water Sets, 2008, porcelain<br />

Bowl, 2010, wheelformed and<br />

altered ivory porcelain, white<br />

slip decoration<br />

All work by Bruce Nuske<br />

Photos: Grant Hancock<br />

enrolments fell and art colleges succumbed to rationalisation, the narrow goal posts <strong>of</strong> administration<br />

and the de-skilling <strong>of</strong> conceptual art practice.<br />

During Nuske's studies, the redoubtable Milton Moon taught ceramics and had instituted the Design<br />

Diploma course where his ideas held sway. Though he did not subscribe to all <strong>of</strong> Moon's strictures, he<br />

admired Moon's zesty convictions and survived the system, expanding his experiences by resorting to<br />

firings using elaborate techniques <strong>of</strong> decoration and experimenting with forms and glazes that went<br />

beyond approved limits <strong>of</strong> the Japanese/Leach tradition.<br />


Inspired by double page colour style spreads discovered in<br />

World <strong>Ceramics</strong>, Nuske's work from this period (1969-1972)<br />

took stoneware production forms to new levels by the<br />

dexterous addition <strong>of</strong> freely painted tendril patterns in copper,<br />

iron and cobalt with occasional touches <strong>of</strong> onglaze lustre;<br />

Nuske had discovered colour.<br />

His aesthetic explorations were paralleled, independently<br />

and slightly later, by art school students Mark Thompson<br />

and Paul Greenaway, while Bronwyn Kemp became a friend<br />

at a later date. Like Nuske they all showed an aptitude,<br />

inventiveness and ability that outstripped the confines <strong>of</strong> their<br />

courses and all went on to create rich bodies <strong>of</strong> significant<br />

work.<br />

In 1972, Nuske graduated and, on Moon's<br />

recommendation, became a teacher <strong>of</strong> ceramics at the<br />

<strong>No</strong>rwood Adult Education Centre. With its rhythms <strong>of</strong> annual<br />

intake <strong>of</strong> students, regular workloads, generous holidays and<br />

relatively well-equipped studios, Nuske found a niche and has<br />

remained within the system ever since. In 1978, he obtained<br />

a Diploma <strong>of</strong> Teaching from SA College <strong>of</strong> Advanced<br />

Education fOllowed by a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Applied Art & Design<br />

from the University <strong>of</strong> South Australia in 2001 .<br />

Nuske admits his employment within the TAFE system and<br />

its creative resources has underpinned his productive life,<br />

providing him with the freedom to concentrate on one-<strong>of</strong>ts,<br />

commissions and exhibition pieces.<br />

In 1974, he married Paula Bennett, a vivacious and<br />

intelligent primary school teacher <strong>of</strong> Irish-Scottish descent. In<br />

1976, they bought a house in St Peters near the JamFactory,<br />

where, from 1980 to 1986, Nuske became a tenant, sharing<br />

a studio with Thompson and Kemp. This period included<br />

three years <strong>of</strong> leave-without-pay during which he was able<br />

to devote himself to full time ceramics. This was a key<br />

productive period for Nuske who increasingly won recognition<br />

for his work, holding his first solo shows at JamFactory<br />

and Distelfink (in Melbourne) and being included in several<br />

important survey exhibitions.<br />

As well as the development <strong>of</strong> sculptural and handbuilt<br />

forms throughout this time, Nuske's functional thrown<br />

vessels, plates, platters, vases and teapots continued to<br />

develop intricate surface textures, inlays and brushwork<br />

decoration. A keen gardener, Nuske's luxuriant backyard<br />

and his collection <strong>of</strong> chooks, bantams and Asian pheasants<br />

provided motifs for this period .

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Bruce Nuske, Rococ%eD, 2010, wheelformed, altered, porcelain, sprigged and coloured slip decoration<br />

Photo: Grant Hancock<br />

Nuske cites the home, the backyard and domestic utility as important aspects <strong>of</strong> his practice, which<br />

also includes a relentless addiction to drawing. <strong>The</strong> process <strong>of</strong> realising 3D forms from 2D drawings is<br />

never literal however, allowing Nuske room to improvise, a freedom he carries through from the making<br />

<strong>of</strong> the form to the final touches <strong>of</strong> decoration.<br />

While he may work in series (his aridity pieces <strong>of</strong> 2005-2009 are a good example), Nuske is never one<br />

to make predictable or repetitious production; his pitchers, dippers, jugs, bottles, beakers, bowls, cups<br />

and teapots are all distinctively individual.<br />

A concern with water - in some cases the lack <strong>of</strong> it - can be seen in many <strong>of</strong> his works. Through<br />

skilled homage to water and its life giving properties, Nuske's vessels reflect on the universal need for<br />

sustaining moisture. His series <strong>of</strong> water bowls exhibited in ##Table Ware##, an exhibition at JamFactory<br />

in 2007, appeared bleached, skeletal, pinched and drained - holding precious little moisture - while his<br />

crisp jugs, pitchers and dippers celebrated the ability to freely dispense fluids.<br />

Whatever his theme, what motivates him (according to Nuske) is a desire to individually create<br />

beautiful, balanced and well crafted pieces where the overall 'feel' or character <strong>of</strong> each pot is distinctive<br />

and Singular.<br />

Adelaide, particularly via the JamFactory, possesses a supportive and cohesive ceramics community<br />

and through his involvement with this community, Nuske has enjoyed signal moments <strong>of</strong> recognition .<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Left and below:<br />

khai liew I Bruce Nuske<br />

collaboration as part <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Collec +ors exhibition <strong>of</strong> works<br />

Photos: Grant Hancock<br />

<strong>The</strong>se include being called on by leading contemporary furniture designer Khai Uew to create a vice<br />

regal cipher tile for a suite <strong>of</strong> Uew's bedroom furniture designed for the residence <strong>of</strong> Governor General<br />

Quentin Bryce, and being commissioned to make ceramic components for Uew's designs exhibited in<br />

London in 2010, as well seeing his work exhibited at COLLECT at the Victoria and Albert Museum<br />

where it was purchased by the Duke <strong>of</strong> Devonshire for his collection at Chatsworth.<br />

His work can be found in collections around Australia including the Art Gallery <strong>of</strong> South Australia, Art<br />

Gallery <strong>of</strong> Queensland, Art Gallery <strong>of</strong> Western Australia, the Powerhouse Museum, Geelong Regional<br />

Gallery and the National Gallery <strong>of</strong> Victoria as well as many private collections.<br />

Nuske's practice continues to evolve and today he is as busy as ever. In addition to his teaching work<br />

in ceramics at Adelaide College <strong>of</strong> the Arts, his up-coming projects include a collaborative exhibition<br />

with Khai Uew at the Samstag Museum at the University <strong>of</strong> SA, inclusion in a select group show at BMG<br />

Gallery (Adelaide) and involvement in a survey exhibition <strong>of</strong> Skangaroovian Funk being developed by the<br />

Art Gallery <strong>of</strong> South Australia in conjunction with the South <strong>Australian</strong> School <strong>of</strong> Art, all to coincide with<br />

the <strong>2012</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Triennale in September.<br />

Stephen Bowers is a Field Researcher with the Australasian Institute <strong>of</strong> Backyard Studies.<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Wreckage, Remnants and<br />

What Remains<br />

)0 Mcintyre Bornemissza writes about the work <strong>of</strong> Michael Stephan<br />

Michael Stephan's ceramic structures invite consideration and contemplation.<br />

Distinctive, unique, yet ambiguous, they are silent catalysts for the maker's own thoughts on life and<br />

nature, as he is the catalyst through which they have come to be. Indeed, they may well be referred to<br />

as 'Zen' creations, because <strong>of</strong> Stephan's selfless respect for nature and clay, his non-self-assertiveness<br />

and non-craving acceptance <strong>of</strong> life. <strong>The</strong>y are original, unselfconscious, abstract and intuitive expressions<br />

using clay and fire.<br />

Stephan has long been enthralled by landscapes in which once-thriving, productive industry has<br />

fallen into decay and desolation; where the arrogance <strong>of</strong> Man's domination <strong>of</strong> nature has proven to be<br />

foolish, the symbols <strong>of</strong> which lie in naked chimneys, crumbling walls and rusting machinery, or in the<br />

devastation wrought by floods, conflagrations or earthquakes. Such actions concern him, while at the<br />

same time he is in awe <strong>of</strong> the tenuous hold that exists between Man and Nature.<br />

During his time monitoring boilers, Stephan also became fascinated with the effects <strong>of</strong> heat. steam<br />

and pressure upon pipes and machinery. <strong>The</strong>re, the palpable danger, the smell and sounds <strong>of</strong> expanding<br />

metal, left indelible imprints upon him, aspects <strong>of</strong> which are now seen in his work.<br />

Stephan lives under the shoulder <strong>of</strong> Hobart's iconic and imposing Mount Wellington with its mighty<br />

dolerite outcrops, and works in a modest sparsely-appointed space under his house.<br />

He describes his pieces as "happening in a moment", his actions being spontaneous, immediate,<br />

intuitive and dependent upon his reflexes.<br />

Using heavily grogged clay, he starts with a block into which he cuts downward, but not completely<br />

through, with a coil <strong>of</strong> springy wire. <strong>The</strong> only conscious part <strong>of</strong> this initial process is the forming <strong>of</strong><br />

the slender cylinders, which represent chimneys, funnels or vents, that are shoved into or sandwiched<br />

between separating slabs and pushed upwards. Sections, which threaten to detach, are jammed<br />

together again without slip as Stephan's hands work hastily, infusing the finished pieces with pent-up<br />

energy. Usually, parameters are "wide open" . However, in the conflict between control and spontaneity,<br />

Stephan finds himself seized with uncertainty and anxiety.<br />

Pieces <strong>of</strong> dowel or fingers are poked, plunged and pushed into the work creating holes which serve to<br />

aerate and lighten the forms, while the inevitable stresses exerted in the drying process invest the pieces<br />

with characteristic ruptures, tears, splits and cracks - a process <strong>of</strong> upheaval.<br />

Periods ranging from a week to a month typify the drying process after which, usually on a Friday,<br />

Oppo~te page: Michael Stephan, Compression, Chimney Series, 2011, woodfired RSF clay<br />

high alumina dry Shino, h.29cm, w.21cm, d.12cm; photo: Peter Whyte Photographic<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Stephan drives 250 kilometres north to fellow potter Neil H<strong>of</strong>fmann's property at Reedy Marsh, where<br />

he loads a bourry box kiln that has a top loading chamber w ith the fire box on the side. He places<br />

approximately twelve 'strudures' within the kiln, around which he packs fundional ware (mugs and<br />

bottles) he has thrown from fine, white stoneware and high iron-bearing stoneware, which he glazes<br />

with various Shinos. (He has yet to "make a good mug" and won't consider selling any until this<br />

happens). <strong>The</strong> packing process takes about six hours.<br />

Fallen timber, local hardwood and gum from the property is used as fuel and following pre-heating to<br />

800"(, the kiln is left to "slow combust" (by completely filling the fire box and adjusting dampers until<br />

redudion smoke clears) until early morning. Stephan is then able to take a welcome rest in readiness for<br />

the next day and the final assault.<br />

<strong>The</strong> long firing process, which takes up to sixty hours from packing to cooling, is one from which<br />

Stephan feels detached and vulnerable. For Michael, fire is an awesome force and tool by which 'so<br />

much happens'; it is intriguing and complicated. With this limited control, there is a need to be brave,<br />

to 'let go: to allow his work to take on its own identity. Pr<strong>of</strong>ound humility, perceived as strength, is<br />

coupled with anxiety. He wonders if he is "chasing vulnerability", especially when entire kiln loads are<br />

lost, as has occurred previously. His average success rate varies from 30-50%!<br />

Yet, although some pieces may fall apart in his hands, the unpredidability <strong>of</strong> the entire process (the<br />

deconstruding, maturing and ageing) is synonymous with life itself and exemplified by the aspeds over<br />

which humans have little control - the Darwinian 'survival <strong>of</strong> the fittest: which appeals to Stephan.<br />

Midtael Stephan, Detaching. Chimney Series, 2011, woodfired recycled and blended clays, Shino glaze<br />

h.28cm, w.23cm, d.12cm; photos: Peter Whyte Photographic

Pro file<br />

Often disheartened and uninspired by the homogenisation <strong>of</strong> the environment through formulaeridden,<br />

insipid housing and franchises, which he feels leads to a certain loss, he embraces the converse<br />

that occurs in the firing, for he finds that the 'stories' <strong>of</strong> his work, which he 'reads' anew, have<br />

changed. He accepts the flaws, fractures, cracks, tears, scars, s<strong>of</strong>tening, fusing or healing that his work<br />

undergoes, with interest and intrigue.<br />

Detaching is an, imposing structure that alludes to factories or castles. It lists; its chimneys lean.<br />

Sections have dragged apart, forming flange-like folds, which are enlivened by a warm, peach-coloured<br />

sheen or viridescent edges. <strong>The</strong> upper ridges, bearing deposits <strong>of</strong> ash and other debris from the kiln, are<br />

sharp and ragged or sensuously s<strong>of</strong>t and smooth. Folds, fissures and faults intrigue and fascinate.<br />

Compression, Vagrant Series, is a compact, single-chimney form with an angled extension that<br />

suggests overflow. Glazed with a high alumina dry Shino, it is a warm terra cotta colour, suggesting<br />

earthenware pipes or bricks. <strong>The</strong> stacked slabs <strong>of</strong> the body have drawn apart and cracked with tension<br />

and heat. Ash has speckled a side <strong>of</strong> the chimney and one facet with greyish mottling, similar to birds'<br />

eggs.<br />

Chimney Form, Vagrant Series, derives from the idea <strong>of</strong> an object 'hanging around, without a<br />

purpose, yet, at the same time, with a past.' Such objects 'hang around' in Stephan's mind causing him<br />

to question why he creates such things and how they can possibly evolve from his imagination. <strong>The</strong><br />

answers elude him. This is a double-chimney form <strong>of</strong> which each facet or side displays different colours<br />

and textures. One facet has inky blotches and spattering, punctuated by cracks and scribbled lines,<br />

Michael Stephan, Quarried, 2011, RSF clay, Shino glaze, h.2Scm, w.20cm, d.ll cm; photos: Peter Whyte Photographic

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

a result <strong>of</strong> being close to the firebox and fired to Cone 12 (1320°C), while the opposing facet is <strong>of</strong> a<br />

burnt umber hue on which darker indentations suggest Palaeolithic markings or weathering. Tears and<br />

fusing are textured by ash. A third facet reveals a cavernous split whose gaping mouth is distorted and<br />

lop-sided. <strong>The</strong> side view <strong>of</strong> a slab, which has been wrenched from its neighbour, imparts tenuousness,<br />

while permitting a sliver <strong>of</strong> light to enter its mysterious interior. <strong>The</strong> fourth facet slopes dangerously and<br />

is forced adrift to show the inner workings. Ash has caused greenish, glassy coagulations that run and<br />

pool on jagged edges. <strong>The</strong> surface <strong>of</strong> the taller chimney is characterised by crawling and stripes <strong>of</strong> rust<br />

and opaque grey.<br />

Quarried is a s<strong>of</strong>ter, discreetly curved form, its single chimney set at a jaunty angle. <strong>The</strong> central<br />

vents relate to vascular or respiratory systems while the holes suggest eyes, knots or other anatomical<br />

phenomena. <strong>The</strong> rugged cavity in which the vents are held has been torn asunder by heat and natural<br />

forces, edges buckling and crumpling, wound-like. <strong>The</strong> surface has an unctuous skin and bears subtle<br />

milky greys, warm Shino tans and ash dappling, while light and air enter and escape through the central<br />

opening, enabling the pot to 'breathe'.<br />

Stephan believes that values, expectations and taste are challenged by good art. He does not wish to<br />

conform to established or traditional criteria. Chance, intuition, humility, awe and the anticipation <strong>of</strong> the<br />

unknown inspire his making.<br />

His works are eloquent monuments, solidly grounded yet lightly reaching upwards, quietly inanimate<br />

yet alluding to power and energy. <strong>The</strong>y are mysterious, ambiguous abstractions, yet reflective <strong>of</strong> life.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y are strong, commanding but sensitive statements from the heart.<br />

Jo Mcintyre Bornemissza, who lives in<br />

Hobart, is a former art teacher, artist,<br />

freelance writer and collector <strong>of</strong> ceramics.<br />

M ichael Stephan<br />

E: funstars@bigpond.com<br />

Go to http://vimeo.com/4826053 to<br />

view Glen Dunn interviewing Michael<br />

Stephan on his life and work. This is one<br />

<strong>of</strong> three 'stills-based' biographies that<br />

accompanied the exhibition Working Fire,<br />

Carnegie Gallery, Hobart, TAS.<br />

Right: Michael Stephan, Compression<br />

Chimney Series, 2011 . woodfired RSF clay<br />

high alumina dry Shino. h.29an. w.21cm,<br />

d.12cm; photo: Peler Whyte Photographic

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Janet Beckhouse and the<br />

Nature <strong>of</strong> Extravagance<br />

by Inga Walton<br />

In a pradice spanning some fifteen years, the distindive, opulent and occasionally unnerving works<br />

<strong>of</strong> Janet Beckhouse have captivated viewers with their deft integration <strong>of</strong> florid rococ0 1 styling<br />

and powerfully wrought naturalistic elements. <strong>The</strong> historical references to fanciful 18th century<br />

ornamentation are tempered by the manner in which Beckhouse resists the sentimental or sanitised;<br />

the lavish decoration never descends into kitsch. <strong>The</strong>se sculptures beckon to us with their unabashed<br />

pulchritude, yet there is something unsettling, macabre, and an almost sinister edge within the display<br />

<strong>of</strong> delirious excess.<br />

From a quasi-rural childhood in the Vidorian outer suburbs, Beckhouse was drawn to solitary pursuits<br />

and a self-direded exploration <strong>of</strong> the environment, which was both empowering and escapist. "Family<br />

holidays were always in the country, or by the sea. It always seemed comforting and real, in opposition<br />

to the urban environment where I felt alone and alienated. I was a classic 'middle child' and I never<br />

felt I fitted in or assimilated very well. I was a bit <strong>of</strong> a loner and didn't make friends easily. I felt more<br />

comfortable amusing myself, and enjoyed being left to my own devices," she admits. To some extent<br />

this formative expression <strong>of</strong> individualism and self-containment prepared Beckhouse for an artistic life,<br />

during which she has singularly pursued her own, sometimes turbulent, vision. "I realise that I'll never fit<br />

into the norms, but I'm also glad I've never had to conform in the way a lot people feel they must. <strong>The</strong><br />

'mainstream' doesn't <strong>of</strong>fer much to me; so as long as I am fulfilling my vocation, being true to my own<br />

heart, doing what is right for my soul and wellbeing, I'm satisfied."<br />

Beckhouse initially pradised painting and drawing, and it was a desire to transform her imaginings<br />

into three-dimensional forms that initially attraded her to clay as a medium. " I love its plastic qualities<br />

and the tadility <strong>of</strong> it. I wanted to see a flower burst forth, or a branch twine, and a leaf brown and<br />

curl. I wanted dimension and layers. <strong>The</strong> pierced pieces developed because <strong>of</strong> this. I wanted to see<br />

through the work, to create secret places and hollows, a sense <strong>of</strong> wonderment." Beckhouse still applies<br />

her glazes in a 'painterly' manner, building up layers slowly in consecutive firings to produce a luscious<br />

look akin to preserved fruit, and resplendent with lustre. A pr<strong>of</strong>usion <strong>of</strong> beautifully rendered handbuilt<br />

elements such as coral arms, tangles <strong>of</strong> vines and dense undergrowth, skulls, and a menagerie <strong>of</strong> exotic<br />

creatures are applied, which coalesce with hybrid and human forms.<br />

<strong>The</strong> allusions to charader and myth in many <strong>of</strong> the gravity-defying forms refled Beckhouse's<br />

anthropological and cultural preoccupations. "At university I became completely enamoured with pre­<br />

Columbian culture, particularly Mayan culture where human sacrifice was commonplace and considered<br />

essential for making the sun rise and appeasing the gods. Despite these morbid pradices I was drawn to<br />

the imagery and certain ceramic forms, censers and other ceremonial vessels - all heaVily embellished."<br />

This compelling mergence <strong>of</strong> the grotesque with the exquisite also embraces a more funereal asped <strong>of</strong><br />

gothic flourishes and the Classical theme <strong>of</strong> memento mori, which came into its own as an aesthetic<br />

Opposite page: Janet 8eckhouse, Holding It Together, 2010, stoneware, glaze, h.4Bcm, w.2Bcm; photo: Jeremy Dillon<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Janet Beckhouse<br />

I Have To Defend Myself<br />

2011 , stoneware, lustre<br />

glaze, h.27em, w. l8cm<br />

Phol0: Jeremy Dillon<br />

genre within Christian art and architecture. "When I travelled to Greece and Italy in 1988, European<br />

traditions also opened my eyes to what I thought were some bizarre practices at the time. In Kolindros,<br />

the northern Greek village in which I stayed, the bones and skulls <strong>of</strong> the deceased were boxed and<br />

stacked in crypts when the bodies had been exhumed after a period <strong>of</strong> time," Beckhouse relates. "In<br />

Italy I saw elaborately adorned sarcophagi in the Vatican, and elsewhere sculptures and crypts containing<br />

all manner <strong>of</strong> skeletal decoration - a poignant reminder <strong>of</strong> the fragility <strong>of</strong> the flesh; that life is for<br />

existing and creating and not to be frittered away."<br />

In recent years Beckhouse has been engaged in a Masters <strong>of</strong> Fine Art at Monash University, which has<br />

led her to focus more on figurative elements. "It was a challenge I gave myself, and the figures sprang<br />

from ideas <strong>of</strong> how I might express different feelings and emotions. <strong>The</strong>y are not literal interpretations<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Janet Beckhouse<br />

<strong>The</strong> Guardians. 2009<br />

stoneware. glaze<br />

h.60cm, w.2Scm<br />

Photo: Jeremy Dillon<br />

as the figures are <strong>of</strong>ten distorted, or have li mbs that grow back into the earth, or conjoin with the<br />

vegetation, expressing the desire to reconnect with the elements," she explains. "<strong>The</strong> works for Private<br />

Gladiator 2 were particularly inspired by these musings, especially the mermaids. I was thinking about<br />

the mercurial nature <strong>of</strong> these mythical beings, the freedom <strong>of</strong> the ocean, and what it might be like to<br />

live in such a wild environment. Male and female figures convey distinct energies in my work. I want<br />

them to be beautiful and enthralling, although some <strong>of</strong> the subject matter can be confronting or<br />

disturbing. "<br />

Beckhouse's forthcoming exh ibition, Dance <strong>of</strong> the Dissident Daughter, takes its title from her thesis,<br />

and its inspiration from a renewed feeling <strong>of</strong> wholeness w ithin herself. " All the works are metaphors <strong>of</strong><br />

personal feelings and experiences as a woman, my re-connection w ith that. It is a liberated expression,<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

one I felt that was denied to me over a period <strong>of</strong> time. This is part <strong>of</strong> a symbolic act, as an artist and<br />

as a person, <strong>of</strong> showing people who I am," she reflects. "<strong>The</strong> title is more broadly about the 'dance <strong>of</strong><br />

life', but also the experience <strong>of</strong> 'dancing to someone else's tune', the performance <strong>of</strong> being a person<br />

you 're not, and how destructive that can be to personal integrity." <strong>The</strong>re is a strong psychological aspect<br />

and a pronounced erotic frisson to the new pieces, which bristle with a sense <strong>of</strong> unease, ambivalence,<br />

and impending drama. "Some scenarios depict dire situations, but that is how my life has been, and<br />

Dissident Daughter, part autobiographical, part fantastical dreaming, is all a part <strong>of</strong> who I am. <strong>The</strong>re is<br />

struggle, and a violent, tormented side, but also the sensual aspect <strong>of</strong> being a woman, which is a lovely<br />

thing to reclaim and explore. I think that's maybe the point <strong>of</strong> art, to show your inside on the outside,<br />

indulgent as it may seem to some, but a driving need for myself at this time in my life."<br />

When Beckhouse retreats to her studio to ruminate on what extravagant and deliciously torrid tale<br />

she can bring forth, it is as though she has returned to the quietude and internal narratives <strong>of</strong> her<br />

youth . "Yes, my studio is my special personal space ... I'm very disciplined and persistent, <strong>of</strong>ten working<br />

on two or three pieces at a time. <strong>The</strong> works have to be made slowly over a period <strong>of</strong> days to allow<br />

the previous day's work to dry to 'leather hard' in order to support the new hand building. It is a finely<br />

measured art form requiring great patience, and it also varies depending on my passion or fervour at the<br />

time" . W ith an ambitious schedule to complete including new wall-mounted works and several large<br />

compositions, Beckhouse's focus is necessarily relentless, " Life and creativity are all-encompassing, and<br />

I could easily live a very reclusive life. But on the other hand, technical challenges such as a new clay<br />

body, a new construction technique, different glaze ingredients, thinking about how I can make my<br />

visions materialise and [finding] the time - I get so tired! " she exclaims. "I love this work and cannot<br />

leave pieces, or feel at peace, until they are completed ... the joy for me is in the making, being lost<br />

in the moment, absorbed by what I am doing. It contains both anxiety and meditation in the most<br />

beautifully balanced way. Ceramic art is fragile yet strong; it encapsulates how I feel about our <strong>of</strong>ten<br />

precarious existence, and the fragility <strong>of</strong> life in general. "<br />

Janet Beckhouse is based in Collingwood, Victoria and can be contacted on 0406 114 706.<br />

She exhibits with Skepsi Gallery, PO Box 1109, Glen Waverley, VIC 3150<br />

www.skepsionswanston.com.au<br />

Neon Pare, 1/53 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000; www.neonparc.com.au<br />

Dance <strong>of</strong> the Dissident Daughter, 18 May to 3 June <strong>2012</strong>, will be at Malvern Artists' Society<br />

Gallery, 1297-99 High Street, Malvern, VIC 3122; T: 03 9822 7813<br />

www.malvernartists.org.au<br />

Inga Walton is a Melbourne-based writer and arts consultant. Her previous contributions were<br />

about Piers, 4th Lord Wedgwood <strong>of</strong> Barlaston and Gregory Bonasera respectively; JAC,<br />

Issue 50/2, July 2011 .<br />

1 derived from it combination <strong>of</strong> the french words IOcaille, meaning stone, and coquilfes, meaning shell, due to the prominence <strong>of</strong> these objects as<br />

motifs <strong>of</strong> decoration within the aesthetic style. <strong>The</strong>re is also the suggestion that it is perhaps it combination <strong>of</strong> thE' words rocai{fe<br />

and barocco, an irregularly shaped pearl (possibly the source <strong>of</strong> the word 'baroque' as weiO.<br />

2 exhibited with works by Andr~ Ethier at Neon Pare (28 September - 22 October, 2011 ).<br />

Opposite page: Janet 8eckhouse, Siren - Come to Me. 2011, stoneware, lustre glaze, h.29cm, w .27cm, d.19cm<br />

Collection: Newcastle Region Art Gallery. NSW; photo: Jeremy Dillon<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Will you have salt with that?<br />

John Dermer shares his thoughts about skills, problem solving and his passion<br />

for ceramics<br />

In 2006 I received Germany's Salzbrand Keramik Award for salt glazing. <strong>The</strong> faceted bowl I submitted<br />

had a glaze surface that evolved from new directions I had taken as a result <strong>of</strong> a disastrous kiln blowout<br />

some years previously. Learning from this failure became an opportunity and, in this case, it eventually<br />

led to a beautiful curtain appearing in specific areas <strong>of</strong> the kiln pack. <strong>The</strong> curtain effect was both<br />

exciting and intriguing with multiple colours, tones and textures emerging.<br />

Recently, while endeavouring to solve a problem with a terra sigillata surface I had been using,<br />

another breakthrough led me to a new palette and direction. I have been using terra sigillata for 25<br />

years, both in its own right and also in the salt kiln. It can be extremely frustrating at times but my<br />

perseverance has been rewarded with some real gems emerging from the salt kiln. Both processes have<br />

caused me great pain and pleasure over the years. I am extremely passionate about both but the cost <strong>of</strong><br />

failures and new directions does take a heavy toll on emotions as well as the bank balance.<br />

Reflecting upon why I embarked on the path <strong>of</strong> a potter 45 years ago, I realised that it was basically a<br />

combination <strong>of</strong> two things. I had a fascination with the timelessness <strong>of</strong> this most ancient <strong>of</strong> crafts and a<br />

deep admiration for the skill and integrity <strong>of</strong> a few special craftsmen <strong>of</strong> the time: Peter Rushforth, Buzz<br />

Hughan and Reg Preston.<br />

Below: John Dermer, terra sigillata. h.2lern, w.32cm<br />

Opposite page: John Dermer, salt glazed, h.6O

Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

Being a potter is not an easy or idyllic existence, and the hurdles have increased in height and number<br />

over the years. <strong>The</strong> divisions within and across societies have deepened and we live in very troubling<br />

times. But I still believe very strongly that it is the simple pleasures in life which sustain communities<br />

and are most valued. It brings me peace <strong>of</strong> mind to create a mug, bowl, cooking pot, vase or exhibition<br />

piece that can be admired, used confidently every day, and passed down through the generations <strong>of</strong> a<br />

family. I enjoy the process; I accept the challenges; I still learn from my mistakes; I continue to push the<br />

boundaries; and I take pride in the product and the feedback.<br />

When I think about the things that have supported and sustained me in my career, I realise the<br />

significance <strong>of</strong> two fundamental issues. I am a firm believer in the importance <strong>of</strong> traditions, together<br />

with the acquisition <strong>of</strong> the skills that are necessary to continue them. Until the basic skills <strong>of</strong> a craft<br />

are practised methodically and mastered it is difficult or nigh impossible to sustain a livelihood, to<br />

understand the reasons for failures, to push the boundaries successfully in new directions or to adapt to<br />

market demands.<br />

Sadly, there has been a great decline, or almost total loss <strong>of</strong> skill-based training and education in<br />

ceramics. It is disturbing to hear graduates from many different institutions lament the fact that they<br />

have no experience <strong>of</strong> throwing. <strong>The</strong>re is a great danger that, although some <strong>of</strong> these students may<br />

have the drive and the initiative to seek out a mentor to redress this problem, a great deal <strong>of</strong> graduates<br />

will be unable to produce work <strong>of</strong> a legitimate or sustainable nature. Could this be a contributing<br />

factor in what appears to be the slow demise <strong>of</strong> this important branch <strong>of</strong> the Arts within its <strong>Australian</strong><br />

perspective? <strong>The</strong>re are very few dedicated ceramic galleries surviving in the country and many <strong>of</strong> the<br />

major galleries seem to overlook ceramics in their budget allocations.<br />

Below: John Dermer, salt glazed, h.26cm<br />

Below right: John Dermer, salt glazed, fire-box fired, h.22ern; (Warrnarnbool Art Gallery Collection); photos: artist<br />


Pr<strong>of</strong>ile<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> ceramics has had a proud record over many generations. We need to ensure that this is not<br />

lost but instead continues to be appreciated, valued and supported.<br />

What we need into the future are pots born out <strong>of</strong> passion, made with the head, heart and hands. To<br />

achieve this we need more individuals who have gained skills through systematic practice, observation,<br />

mentoring, problem solving and a basic understanding <strong>of</strong> all the processes involved. <strong>The</strong>se are the<br />

essentials that motivated, nurtured and sustained the traditional practitioners <strong>of</strong> the craft, whose work<br />

we admire and aspire towards.<br />

We need to maintain an evolution <strong>of</strong> honest, legitimate, proud and <strong>of</strong>ten groundbreaking pots as a<br />

legacy for future generations, and in order to secure a future for ceramics in our country.<br />

I challenge the institutions and the students attending them to question the direction in which some<br />

<strong>of</strong> the courses are heading. Are we providing a sustainable future for our craft?<br />

John Dermer will hold his 35th major annual exhibition on 24 and 25 <strong>No</strong>vember <strong>2012</strong> at his<br />

studio gallery in Yackandandah. <strong>The</strong> smaller annual Easter exhibition, his 33rd, will be held on<br />

7, 8 and 9 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2012</strong>, showcasing new tableware designs as well as exhibition pieces.<br />

John Dermer is happy to be contacted personally.<br />

T: 02 6027 1416; F: 02 6027 1798<br />

Kirbys Flat Pottery, 225 Kirbys Flat Rd, Yackandandah VIC 3749<br />

Gallery hours: 10.30am - 5pm every weekend and most Victorian school holidays or by<br />

appointment<br />

www.johndermer.com.au<br />

John Dermer. detail, terra sigillata; photo: artist

Collection<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bluestone Collection<br />

A Melbourne tale by Robyn Phelan<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bluestone Collection draws its name from the foundation stones <strong>of</strong> the city <strong>of</strong> Melbourne and<br />

actively challenges the current status <strong>of</strong> collecting contemporary craft in Victoria by public institutions.<br />

Throughout 2010, a small group <strong>of</strong> like-minded people gathered on the third Wednesday evening<br />

<strong>of</strong> every month to thrash out what the collection might be. We reviewed the constitutions <strong>of</strong> similar<br />

collections and spent many meetings defining our focus. Our vision for the collection is to promote<br />

current <strong>Australian</strong> craft and exhibition practice, and foster dialogue. Unlike many private art collections,<br />

the Bluestone Collection is not an investment portfolio.<br />

<strong>The</strong> decision to undertake incorporation came after advice from an accountant and colleague.<br />

Even though the 'model rules' is a nit-picky document, it did demand that we focus not only on<br />

ph ilosophical, aesthetic and curatorial passions but also that we define practical policies such as financial<br />

management, membership criteria, and winding up policy. This caused a substantial amount <strong>of</strong> exciting<br />

discussion before we had even purchased our first work.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bluestone Collection's mission is to support contemporary craft practice and encourage a high<br />

standard <strong>of</strong> exhibition work within Victoria. Our incorporation certificate arrived on 29 October 2010<br />

and states our objective as:<br />

• To develop knowledge <strong>of</strong> contemporary craft practice by actively examining and reviewing exhibition<br />

practice in Victoria<br />

• To acquire works on an annual basis by a rigorous selection process<br />

• To create a lasting collection <strong>of</strong> contemporary craft exhibited in Victoria over a minimum <strong>of</strong> ten years

Collection<br />

Our scope is that:<br />

• <strong>The</strong> collection is to be drawn from <strong>Australian</strong> artists exhibiting in Victoria within the calendar year<br />

that the acquisition is made.<br />

• <strong>The</strong> collection is limited to only those artists who have current <strong>Australian</strong> residence.<br />

Each month this pragmatic flow <strong>of</strong> conversation is interspersed with much debate about<br />

contemporary craft: exhibitions we have seen, ones that we must view, the state <strong>of</strong> play in the sector,<br />

our travels, and updating each other on our own progress. Evenings include many cups <strong>of</strong> tea and<br />

homemade goodies served in a range <strong>of</strong> ceramic cups, teapots, plates and bowls that fuel creative<br />

discussion. We keep a range <strong>of</strong> lists, minutes and rules etc. on Google Docs to enable access by the<br />

committee.<br />

Of interest to JAC readership may be our first acquisition: a ceramic sculptural piece by Sue Robey.<br />

Robey had been identified as a promising artist for the collection and we were excited to purchase in a<br />

very competitive environment from her solo exhibition Inhabit at Craft Victoria in March 2011 .<br />

As I write, we are on summer break and will meet again in February with our current nine members.<br />

We are in the midst <strong>of</strong> writing a media release to send to gallery directors and to promote our collection<br />

in suitable arenas. Our next functional leap is to invite another four or five members to become a<br />

'Stoner'. Meanwhile we wait in anticipation for a solo exhibition in early 20 12 <strong>of</strong> a very talented jeweller<br />

whose work is widely appreciated by the committee. I can't wait.<br />

Robyn Phelan makes sculptural ceramics, writes, and is passionate about contemporary craft.<br />

www.robynphelan.com.au<br />

Opposite page: Susan Robey, Splay. 2010. cera mic paperclay, coloured engobe, h.1Scm, w.16.5cm, d.8cm<br />

Photo: Philip Smith<br />

Below: Bluestone Collection members first meeting for <strong>2012</strong>; left to right: Rosanna Caldwell. Sarah Edwards. Robyn Phelan (on<br />

screen). Kevin Murray, Fiona Hiscock and Anna Davern; absent: Ali limb, Jeff Taylor, Roseanne Bartley; photo: Robyn Phelan

Collection<br />

Val and Michael Gregg in<br />

their Sydney home<br />

<strong>The</strong> Heart and Soul <strong>of</strong><br />

Collecting<br />

Elisa Bartels spends a memorable morning with Val and Michael Gregg<br />

<strong>The</strong> motivation behind collecting is varied; some see it as a financial investment; for others it's a passion,<br />

even an obsession . In an apartment located inside a beautiful old building in the heart <strong>of</strong> Sydney I met<br />

a collector who said it was genetics coupled with an early passion that started her on a journey <strong>of</strong><br />

collecting <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics.<br />

To enter the home <strong>of</strong> Val and Michael Gregg is a privilege and it took all my pr<strong>of</strong>essionalism not to<br />

clap my hands in glee as I slowly took in my surrounds. Every surface in their elegantly dishevelled home<br />

is covered in <strong>Australian</strong> and English ceramics, some dating back to the 1700s.<br />

Val will proudly tell you that she comes from convict stock. Her ancestor, a potter from Bristol, married<br />

another potter from Derby. A poor decision to steal a bolt <strong>of</strong> flannel cloth earned him a life-long<br />

holiday courtesy <strong>of</strong> her Majesty. A few years later, his wife joined him and they set up shop in Forbes,<br />

NSW making and selling pots in the 19th century. Maybe it was an ancestral tug that made Val, who<br />

was nursing at Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, notice a pale pink and black Martin Boyd c<strong>of</strong>fee pot in<br />

the window <strong>of</strong> a local gallery and subsequently part with a fortnight's pay. That was the start <strong>of</strong> her<br />

collection and her passion has never dimmed.<br />

100 THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

Val Gregg in her kitchen<br />

She met Michael when she was nursing in Brewarrina and together they continued collecting (mainly<br />

English) ceramics until Val declared, "I'm <strong>Australian</strong>, so why am I collecting English ceramics?" At<br />

that moment she passed the responsibility <strong>of</strong> the English ware to Michael and dedicated herself to<br />

acquiring <strong>Australian</strong> studio pottery. Most collectors impose rules on their acquisitive pursuits. This helps<br />

in making the collection coherent, similar to a story which can be read visually. For Val, each piece must<br />

be representative <strong>of</strong> a period in our ceramic history. <strong>The</strong> pieces must speak to her, but she was quick to<br />

point out that she doesn't necessarily like every piece. What is more important is that there must be a<br />

culturally defining quality present.<br />

To this end, the shelves are loaded with works from all eras, all jostling for attention. Kirsten Coelho,<br />

Jeff Mincham and Mel Robson sit easily beside Grace Seccombe and Marguerite Mahood and the<br />

early convict ginger beer bottle glances across from its shelf and feels very much at home. <strong>The</strong>re is no<br />

snobbery involving pieces having to be 100% handmade; some are purely decorative, such as the 1950s<br />

Taronga Park souvenirs <strong>of</strong> hand painted koalas and kangaroos by Grace Seccombe. Kitsch meets modern<br />

whilst saluting classical and it all works because it sings the story <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> pottery.<br />

<strong>The</strong> cohesion <strong>of</strong> Val's collection is arrived at by having a few rules. As well as each piece being<br />

indicative <strong>of</strong> an era, they must also illustrate Val's other loves: nature and people. Growing up in Wagga<br />

Wagga and years spent nursing in rural Australia has nurtured in Val a love <strong>of</strong> nature. She waxes lyrical<br />

about flannel flowers and they can be seen on numerous pieces. Others featuring kangaroos remind her<br />

<strong>of</strong> all the joeys she saved from their dead mothers when stationed in Brewarrina. In fact her favourite<br />

piece is one by Lynda Draper which is a kangaroo surrounded by flannel flowers.<br />

Val and Michael's collection includes many Aboriginal pieces. (She met Thancoupie in 1975 at a<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 101

1 Potter's mark on a lucie Rie pourer 2 Incised triangle on a Chelsea Porcelain Factory jug, s<strong>of</strong>t paste porcelain, 1745-49<br />

3 Display including work by Patsy Hely. Gail Nichols. Thancoupie and Carol Williams; photos: Vicki Grima<br />

celebration for International Women's Year and acquired some <strong>of</strong> her ceramic eggs.) It is their affinity<br />

with nature, their sense <strong>of</strong> belonging to the natural world, exemplified in their work that draws her.<br />

Colleding for over 50 years makes Val and Michael uniquely qualified to comment on the evolution<br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics. <strong>The</strong>y have seen ceramics evolve from the fundional to merely decorative and<br />

back to the functional. <strong>The</strong>ir shelves are brimming with works from a time when we looked abroad for<br />

guidance through to pieces which demonstrate a growing confidence in our culture and landscape.<br />

A colledion can be the eyes into the soul <strong>of</strong> the colledor. Val radiates an exuberance for life and clay<br />

which is refleded in the work amassed around her walls. She is just as comfortable fossicking in second<br />

hand shops as she is at gallery openings. Her aim is to leave a proud legacy for future generations. What<br />

to do with that legacy? It was when I asked this question that the smiles momentarily dimmed on their<br />

faces . Val and Michael are uncertain on how to proceed because they have seen other bequeathed<br />

colledions broken up and sold <strong>of</strong>f to acquire pieces that are <strong>of</strong> interest to the current administration.<br />

However, for the time being they show no signs <strong>of</strong> slowing down in their hunt for the next piece that<br />

continues to tell our ceramic story.<br />

Elisa Bartels is a ceramicist, writer and dreamer.<br />

http://elisabartels.wordpress.(om<br />

102 THE JOURNAL Of AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

Competition<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Association Photographic Competition<br />

Photographer: Michael Ciavarella; Rowley Drysdale, Michael Ciavarella and Andrew Bryant<br />

15 December 2011; Sunshine Coast Institute <strong>of</strong> TAFE<br />

Editor, Vicki Grima, set the challenge late in 2011 for the photographers amongst us to capture an<br />

image <strong>of</strong> a famous potter, the local potter around the corner or someone more personal, like you.<br />

A broad interpretation <strong>of</strong> the theme was encouraged. First prize: publication <strong>of</strong> the image (full page)<br />

in this issue, books to the value <strong>of</strong> $200 from our online shop or 2 years membership <strong>of</strong> TACA.<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 103

Com petition<br />

WINNER<br />

Photographer: Anthony Webdale<br />

Andrew Bryant, 4 January <strong>2012</strong><br />

Andrew's studio in Coolum, OLD<br />

<strong>The</strong> jury: JAC team members - Grant Ayre, Elisa Bartels<br />

Suzanne Dean, Ashley Fiona, Carol Fraczek and Astrid Wehling<br />

Photographer: Esa Jaske<br />

Malcolm Greenwood, 20 January <strong>2012</strong><br />

Greenwood's Mosman Studio, NSW<br />

Photographer: Andrew Gregory<br />

Martin Gregory, 6 <strong>No</strong>vember 2011<br />

Port Stephens, NSW

1 Photographer: Bill Powell, Bill Powell, September 2011, Beech Mountain Pottery, Beechmont, OLD 2 Photographer: Ian<br />

Hodgson, Vicki Scheeren; a totally blind member <strong>of</strong> Canberra Potters' Society, being assisted by Chris Harford, 29 <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

2011, Canberra Potters' Society, Watson ACT 3 Photographer: Marion Jonkers, Stephen Roberts, 28 March 2011, Stephen's<br />

studio, Palmwoods OLD 4 Photographer: Phil Maloney, Laura Higenell, 8 June, 2011; Craft Council <strong>of</strong> Newfoundland and<br />

Labrador in <strong>51</strong>. John's, Newfoundland, Canada 5 Photographer: l yn Bates, Grandson Jackson Bates (3 112), 30 <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

2011, Weipa, OLD 6 Photographer: Paul Symons, Janette Loughrey, 13 January <strong>2012</strong>, Janette's garden, Wollongong, NSW<br />


7 Photographer: le Quach, Arun Sharma, October 2011 , Victoria and Albert Museum, London 8 Photographer: AngeJa<br />

Walford, Gus (Iutterbuck, 31 January <strong>2012</strong>, JamFactory Adelaide in Gus's studio, Jam Factory, Adelaide 9 Photographer:<br />

lawrence Chan, Kelly Pearce, January 20 12, Forest lodge, NSW 10 Photographer: Cagla Mi.ircioglu, (anbora Bayraktar, 28<br />

January <strong>2012</strong>, SeA, Rozelle, NSW 11 Photographer: Mich ael Moynihan, Fiona Fell, 3 January <strong>2012</strong>. lismore Art Space, NSW<br />

To see all 27 Shoot the Potter entries, go to http://tinyurl.com/shootthepotter<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAM ICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 107

Looking back<br />

I asked some <strong>of</strong> Australia's top potters to respond to three questions:<br />

What is it about clay that has sustained your interest and passion over the decades?<br />

W hat has been t he most significant change you have noticed in the last<br />

20/30/40/50 years?<br />

Was there ever a time/incident when you seriously considered giving up on ceramics?<br />

To edit down from 6000 words to the short excerpts shown here was a difficult task.<br />

I attempted to capture the essence <strong>of</strong> their responses below.<br />

Ros Auld<br />

I see my ceramics as sculpture and painting as<br />

well as functional pottery. It can be everything.<br />

It has become an important part <strong>of</strong> my life and<br />

identity.<br />

Stephen Benwell<br />

One way to gauge the importance <strong>of</strong> the<br />

<strong>Journal</strong> is to imagine if we had gone through the<br />

last 50 years without it! Impossible to imagine!<br />

Sandra Black<br />

<strong>The</strong> endless process <strong>of</strong> reinventing one's<br />

practice as styles, sales and trends in ceramics<br />

change ... has resulted, at times, in exhaustion,<br />

depression and burnout. However, something<br />

will always happen - a great glaze firing, a<br />

passionate collector calls by to purchase, a<br />

student will thank you for the class you taught.<br />

a fellow artist compliments you on your work, or<br />

a major gallery purchases for a collection. Finally<br />

the magic <strong>of</strong> the medium never fails to seduce as<br />

it flows through one's hands on the wheel. One<br />

gets lost again in its possibilities.<br />

Les Blakebrough<br />

I came to [ceramics] when it was beginning<br />

to go through this huge transition and ... I was<br />

swept along in a groundswell <strong>of</strong> great interest.<br />

... through the '80s [ceramics] began to lose<br />

direction, and this continues. One big dilemma is<br />

that in the 21st century there seems neither the<br />

time nor inclination to train in the skills needed<br />

to make handmade work. Lots <strong>of</strong> art schools<br />

have abandoned ceramic courses altogether and<br />

Australia is no exception .... the whole subject<br />

needs to be re-invented for a new outlook to<br />

surface. <strong>No</strong>, [my commitment to ceramics wasl<br />

never in question. I think the die was cast back in<br />

my days at East Sydney Tech .<br />

John Dermer<br />

... deep within me there is still a passion<br />

and stubbornness to pursue that 'magic pot'; I<br />

continue to want to push the boundaries. I take<br />

pride in the product and receive encouragement<br />

from mentors and support from my wife. All the<br />

people who have mentioned how much joy my<br />

work has brought them have helped me maintain<br />

the discipline to continue when I may well have<br />

just said "it's all too hard" .<br />

Pippin Drysdale<br />

Throughout my early years I had a wonderful<br />

group <strong>of</strong> collectors who gave me gratification<br />

and invested in me and .. . gave me the<br />

confidence to keep evolving. I had some great<br />

mentors like Jeff Mincham, Daniel Rhodes and<br />

Toshiko Takazeu who reinforced my commitment.<br />

When one commits to major exhibitions every<br />

two years this keeps you on your toes, because<br />

you have to develop a body <strong>of</strong> work that<br />

108 THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

Looking back<br />

expresses a journey. I have never for one minute<br />

wanted to toss the towel in on such a privileged<br />

life style. I simply eat, drink and dream it.<br />

Victor Greenaway<br />

In 1962 I was 1 5 years old living in a relatively<br />

isolated region in a Victorian country town when<br />

I first became interested in ceramics. Pottery in<br />

Australia published its first issue in that same<br />

year and I was immediately connected to the<br />

pottery world. For the past five years I have been<br />

living in Italy and through the same magazine,<br />

fifty years on, I am still kept informed about and<br />

connected with the ceramic scene in Australia.<br />

Patsy Hely<br />

For me [what has sustained my interest and<br />

passion in ceramics over the decades] is the<br />

connection between clay and use. Although I am<br />

interested in all sorts <strong>of</strong> objects made from clay,<br />

I want my own work to be situated within the<br />

domestic and the everyday.<br />

I think there is [now] much greater freedom to<br />

make what you feel compelled to make. When I<br />

started in the early '70s, that was much harder.<br />

[I seriously consider giving up on ceramics] all<br />

the time. I don't love clay, in fact I wear gloves<br />

most <strong>of</strong> the time when I'm using it, except when<br />

I'm painting. I worry about there being too many<br />

'things' in the world, about the effect <strong>of</strong> making<br />

and firing on the environment.<br />

Col Levy<br />

Dear Vicki,<br />

I really have nothing to say.<br />

Ataraxia!<br />

Sandy Lockwood<br />

<strong>The</strong> challenge ... is that ceramics is unique<br />

because it still demands interaction with the<br />

material at a high skill level as well as a strong<br />

background in technology that covers many areas<br />

from chemistry to firing kilns. This ... takes time<br />

to learn, and lots <strong>of</strong> practice to master. Whilst it<br />

is important that ideas are expressed using clay,<br />

it is better if such ideas are expressed with high<br />

levels <strong>of</strong> technical skill.<br />

But in spite <strong>of</strong> the incredible difficulties today<br />

<strong>of</strong> livi ng as a maker, I still feel my life path is with<br />

clay. Limited opportunity for employment does<br />

however allow me to be what I consider a full<br />

time practitioner, a precious freedom to explore,<br />

develop and create. I have so much more to do.<br />

Janet Mansfield<br />

With a need to promote ceramic art and<br />

present it to an appreciative audience, the early<br />

members <strong>of</strong> the Potters' Society <strong>of</strong> NSW (now<br />

TACA) held regular exhibitions <strong>of</strong> their work.<br />

<strong>The</strong> collectors at that time were mainly<br />

academics and intellectuals who understood the<br />

aesthetic <strong>of</strong> the handmade and the continuing<br />

history that pottery represents.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 1970s were boom years with specialist<br />

groups <strong>of</strong> artists presenting exhibitions and<br />

hosting a wide range <strong>of</strong> events. <strong>The</strong> Potters'<br />

Society <strong>of</strong> Australia was at the forefront <strong>of</strong> these<br />

activities, initiating conferences that brought<br />

international visitors to Australia and helping to<br />

establish the careers <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> potters. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

activities have continued to today and will go<br />

forward into the future.<br />

Milton Moon<br />

50 years! 60 years ... more in fact!<br />

Some memories stand out. Harry Memmott<br />

and Merv Feeney will never to be forgotten, at<br />

least not while I'm still alive. Harry was a friend<br />

and a neighbour. Merv was ... more than that.<br />

He was our teacher, unpaid <strong>of</strong> course, as many<br />

<strong>of</strong> the best are. Merv could throw like a dream<br />

and any skill I have is down to him. Many <strong>of</strong><br />

today's potters aren't as fortunate.<br />

I make pots for much the same reason poets<br />

weave words into linked lines, and painters make<br />

marks in space taking US into the cosmos <strong>of</strong> the<br />

mind to wonder at the mystery <strong>of</strong> it all.<br />

Too many pots? <strong>No</strong> matter; I'm told they make<br />

good road metal.<br />

Gail Nichols<br />

Clay is an international language. I am<br />

fortunate to have been connected with a<br />

community <strong>of</strong> clay people around the world.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir support has helped enormously to sustain<br />

my interest and passion.<br />

<strong>The</strong> range <strong>of</strong> commercially available ceramic<br />

materials ... has now contracted due to decline<br />


Looking back<br />

in the <strong>Australian</strong> ceramic industry and hence a<br />

sharp drop in demand for raw materials. Perhaps<br />

this will drive ceramic artists to source their own<br />

materials and that, in turn, will revive demand for<br />

technical knowledge and skills training. We'll see.<br />

<strong>The</strong> change I've undergone from a maker<br />

<strong>of</strong> pinch pots at a mum's pottery class to an<br />

international traveller, exhibitor, author and<br />

educator is probably the most significant<br />

development I've noticed personally. <strong>The</strong> fact that<br />

I'm not alone on this journey reflects well on the<br />

opportunities and capacity for artistic growth in<br />

this country.<br />

<strong>No</strong>, [I have never seriously considered giving up<br />

on ceramics]. <strong>The</strong> cycle <strong>of</strong> anticipation as work<br />

is made and then fired, followed by post-firing<br />

depression after the kiln has been unloaded,<br />

is a process I've been through countless times<br />

and it continues. I've never reached the point <strong>of</strong><br />

wanting to walk away from it all. Clay has taught<br />

me to pick myself up and keep going.<br />

Jenny Orchard<br />

... clay is the best material for making art I<br />

know <strong>of</strong>.<br />

Thirty years ago, ceramic practice in Australia<br />

seemed dominated by craft values and brown<br />

earthiness. Back then I was influenced by ideas<br />

<strong>of</strong> architecture and design, colour and form, the<br />

ability to express ideas through the medium, and<br />

a kind <strong>of</strong> light-hearted re-imaging <strong>of</strong> what was<br />

possible.<br />

<strong>No</strong>tions <strong>of</strong> the material belonging to a<br />

historical craft and utilitarian tradition still<br />

hold strong, but ceramics has now burst the<br />

boundaries <strong>of</strong> categorisation and joined the art<br />

world in a chaotic cacophony <strong>of</strong> meaning and<br />

imagination.<br />

Peter Rushforth<br />

When I commenced my work as a potter in<br />

the late' 40s, the dominant influence for many<br />

<strong>of</strong> us was the philosophy <strong>of</strong> Bernard Leach and<br />

Soetsu Yanagi who had a belief that the potter<br />

could contribute to the 'Kingdom <strong>of</strong> Beauty' in<br />

everyday living. Many <strong>of</strong> us chose to work in<br />

stoneware, which had no tradition in this country.<br />

... those who now enter the field <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramics have access to an incredible amount<br />

<strong>of</strong> information on the subject. <strong>The</strong> journal <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> (Pottery <strong>of</strong> Australia) has<br />

contributed greatly with its continuous flow <strong>of</strong><br />

articles on the many aspects <strong>of</strong> ceramics and, in<br />

particular, the work that is being developed in<br />

Australia. Inevitably there are great contrasts in<br />

the aims <strong>of</strong> people working with clay ranging<br />

from functional to non-functional work with<br />

<strong>of</strong>ten the arbitrary designation <strong>of</strong> 'craft' and 'fine<br />

art'. <strong>The</strong> value <strong>of</strong> such work to me is that people<br />

have the opportunity to fulfil the instinct to make<br />

and create using their hands, and to contribute<br />

to the cultural life <strong>of</strong> the community.<br />

Owen Rye<br />

My ceramics birthday also happened in 1962<br />

so I feel an unusual affiliation with the magazine.<br />

I chose [ceramicsl after being mightily impressed<br />

by seeing Ivan McMeekin throwing a pot.<br />

Apart from the seeming magic <strong>of</strong> that, I had no<br />

awareness <strong>of</strong> what was involved in what was<br />

then known as pottery.<br />

Also, at a time when there were virtually no<br />

clay bodies available to buy, and little knowledge<br />

<strong>of</strong> glazes for stoneware, the magazine began<br />

to disseminate technical information about<br />

materials, kilns and firing. <strong>No</strong>w, when everything<br />

has been available for many years, with<br />

instructions, technical knowledge has become<br />

almost unnecessary. A great omission in ceramics<br />

education over the years has been teaching the<br />

detailed history <strong>of</strong> our pr<strong>of</strong>ession; fortunately<br />

it is contained within the pages <strong>of</strong> our national<br />

magazine.<br />


Looking back<br />

Surviving the Challenges<br />

David Walker sums up the <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics industry over the last few decades<br />

How. when and why did your current<br />

business start?<br />

<strong>The</strong> Walker name has been synonymous with<br />

ceramics in Victoria for more than 125 years<br />

when Edgar E. Walker founded the <strong>Australian</strong><br />

Tessellated Tile Company in Mitcham in 1885.<br />

Even in the early days they supplied potters with<br />

fine quality clays, glazes and ceramic materials.<br />

Walker <strong>Ceramics</strong> was established in 1955<br />

by Ge<strong>of</strong>frey and Constance Walker producing<br />

glazed porcelain functional ware, and later<br />

moving to floor tiles, electrical and acid-pro<strong>of</strong><br />

porcelains and salt glazed tiles. In the 1960s,<br />

Walker <strong>Ceramics</strong> manufactured its first filterpressed<br />

white earthenware bodies for commercial<br />

potteries and art suppliers as well as coarser<br />

stoneware and porcelain bodies, <strong>of</strong>ten to a<br />

potter's individual specifications. <strong>No</strong>.1 stoneware<br />

was originally made for Harold Hughan to suit<br />

his particular firing and aesthetic requirements.<br />

Bodies were developed as customers requested<br />

different effects for their work.<br />

What have been the most significant<br />

changes you have seen in that time?<br />

From the coarse earthy bodies and white<br />

earthenware bodies matching the English<br />

standard bodies <strong>of</strong> the '60s, the direction<br />

changed in the '80s to fine white stoneware and<br />

even finer plastic translucent porcelain.<br />

Potters required bodies suitable for fast<br />

production for throwing, jigger and jolley, slab<br />

building, pressing and casting. Bodies that<br />

formed eaSily, dried easily without warping and<br />

cracking, took colours and glazes well and had<br />

good fired strength for domestic functional use.<br />

With this drive for good quality functional<br />

ware came the demand for highly decorated<br />

ware. <strong>The</strong>re was a movement away from oxide<br />

decoration towards brighter, more colourful<br />

decoration. Many colours were imported from<br />

America but were found to be not always<br />

suitable for stoneware temperatures. Stains were<br />

developed specifically for the <strong>Australian</strong> market<br />

as clay-based underglazes. <strong>The</strong>se colours were<br />

bright vibrant and generally intermixable to give<br />

the ceramic artists a huge palette <strong>of</strong> colours with<br />

which to decorate.<br />

What changes have you seen in clay bodies<br />

in the last few decades?<br />

Through the early 20th century potters were<br />

restricted to mixing clay themselves or using<br />

production bodies from ceramic industries that<br />

were willing to sell to interested potters.<br />

<strong>The</strong> '60s were driven by coarser, fireclay-based<br />

bodies, which produced amazing results under<br />

both reduction and oxidation firing. <strong>The</strong>n with<br />

the addition <strong>of</strong> iron oxides, manganese dioxides,<br />

basalts, reef clays, sandstones and granites, a<br />

THE JOURNAL Of AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 111

Looking back<br />

Bendigo Pottery d ay baY'; photo: Oavid Walker<br />

myriad <strong>of</strong> fired finishes were possible.<br />

As more educationalists wanted to teach<br />

the finer art <strong>of</strong> ceramics, along came white<br />

earthenware and school earthenware/stoneware<br />

bodies to make teaching the next generation <strong>of</strong><br />

potters easier.<br />

<strong>The</strong> last few decades have been about fine,<br />

white plastic bodies for all temperatures with a<br />

recent move back to more open coloured bodies.<br />

What changes have you seen in raw<br />

materials in the last few decades?<br />

In order to be assured <strong>of</strong> ongoing consistency,<br />

the artisan pottery industry has always been<br />

restricted to raw materials that were used in bulk<br />

quantities in both ceramic production and larger<br />

industries.<br />

Ball Clays from Axedale, Rowsley, Heyfield,<br />

Campbellfield, Scoresby, Bacchus Marsh; china<br />

clays from Oaklands, Pittong, Stawell, Broken Hill,<br />

Weipa, Kingaroy; fireclays from Hallam, Ferntree<br />

Gully, Ipswich, Dinmore ... all these clays have<br />

been used by large industries, hence they were<br />

mined and stockpiled in very large quantities<br />

to ensure ongoing consistency. <strong>The</strong> source <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Australian</strong> plast ic kaolin in the Gulgong region<br />

has closed at least 80% <strong>of</strong> available pits - luckily<br />

we have a couple left that give us the ability to<br />

produce some <strong>of</strong> the white plastic stoneware and<br />

porcelain bodies .<br />

Australia has two <strong>of</strong> the world's best and<br />

largest feldspar deposits in Mukinbudin and<br />

Pippingarra in Western Australia, but it is now<br />

more economical for our supplier to import from<br />

India.<br />

Since the opening up <strong>of</strong> the <strong>Australian</strong> market<br />

to worldwide competition and the corresponding<br />

decline in <strong>Australian</strong> ceramic businesses using<br />

these materials, many materials have become<br />

uneconomic to mine and/or process locally, so<br />

there is now a limited range <strong>of</strong> raw materials<br />

from Australia.<br />

What changes have you seen in the market!<br />

industry in the last few decades?<br />

Through the buoyant '60s, '70s and '80s, a<br />

large number <strong>of</strong> successful individual potters<br />

and potteries producing high quality ceramics<br />

developed a following by the <strong>Australian</strong> public.<br />

This promoted interest in the next generation <strong>of</strong><br />

practitioners so there were many universities and<br />

TAFEs throughout Australia providing courses to<br />

develop the special skills required to succeed in<br />

this industry. <strong>The</strong>se pr<strong>of</strong>essionally run courses,<br />

as well as structured" apprenticeships" , ensured<br />

that there was an ongoing knowledge base for<br />

the next generation. Fortunately there is still<br />

a strong core <strong>of</strong> courses w ith dedicated staff<br />

(though still too few!).<br />

Long term pr<strong>of</strong>essionals have fine-tuned what<br />

they supply and also the structure and style <strong>of</strong><br />

their marketing; and while the quantities are not<br />

there, the quality <strong>of</strong> what is <strong>of</strong>fered is still being<br />

appreciated.<br />

I am proud to be part <strong>of</strong> an extremely resilient<br />

craft industry and I admire all the artists who<br />

have survived the challenges over the past twenty<br />

years. We must all produce the best quality<br />

product we can and provide it to our clients in<br />

such a way that they appreciate the quality <strong>of</strong><br />

time and effort used in producing it. We need to<br />

" sell" a part <strong>of</strong> ourselves in each and every piece,<br />

as each piece stands on its own once it leaves<br />

our care.<br />

www.walkerceramics.com.au<br />


Moving forward<br />

Craft to Consumer<br />

Ingrid Tufts, designer and maker, discusses expanding her reach in retail<br />

<strong>The</strong>re will be readers who have huge amounts <strong>of</strong> experience in<br />

making and so I write this with the acknowledgment that my<br />

practice is only beginning. Although I make both produdion<br />

work and exhibition work, I am focusing here on how I market<br />

my production work.<br />

I am lucky that I have come to this vocation at a time when<br />

there is plenty <strong>of</strong> interest in the handmade and the locally<br />

made. In Melbourne, at least, we are lucky to have a public<br />

that is interested in, and informed about, design. We also have<br />

a wonderful array <strong>of</strong> materials and tools readily available. In<br />

childhood I had great encounters with clay and my first piece<br />

still exists - it is something I love. As a child I experienced a<br />

freedom with clay that was not apparent in any other medium.<br />

<strong>The</strong> plasticity seemed to <strong>of</strong>fer unlimited potential.<br />

My work is predominantly fundional ware in high-fired<br />

porcelain but I <strong>of</strong>ten get nostalgic for earthenware and find<br />

some terracotta to work with. I like to explore the reprodudion <strong>of</strong> imagery, to experiment with colour<br />

and to discover collaborative ways <strong>of</strong> working. I am also trying to understand my materials better.<br />

I studied part time at Box Hill TAFE where I received a great design education and learned pradical<br />

skills from inspiring teachers, but I came to a point where I had to decide between further education<br />

and going back to the studio. <strong>The</strong> studio won and I feel like I am now doing my own apprenticeship.<br />

I call myself a designer and maker. It's an accurate<br />

description <strong>of</strong> what I do, as my practice involves<br />

prototyping, making and marketing. Whilst making is<br />

the focus and the most enjoyable part, I find the whole<br />

Ingrid Tufts, Play<br />

Teapot and Teacups<br />

1, porcelain<br />

. Andrew Barcham

Ingrid Tufts, Remembrance Bottle, Tray and Beakers, 2009, porcelain, thrown, altered; photo: Andrew Bareham<br />

process very creative and satisfying. My production work is made to have a life in the world, to be used,<br />

and so the question <strong>of</strong> how to get it out there is one that I consider <strong>of</strong>ten.<br />

Although my making practice is now my vocation, I also like to work on things that don't necessarily<br />

earn income, like volunteer teaching and other community projects. I also work two days a week<br />

outside <strong>of</strong> my studio in a job which <strong>of</strong>fers travel and contact with people that I would not otherwise<br />

have. This exposure to non-studio life influences my work. It also allows me to take risks in the studio<br />

projects, giving me breathing space in my practice.<br />

About two and a half years ago I started more seriously to make production work. My first experience<br />

<strong>of</strong> retail was renting a cubicle in a shop. Some <strong>of</strong> the works I created at this stage were kind <strong>of</strong> strange,<br />

but it gave me a good chance to think about how my work might be displayed in a retail setting and<br />

how work could be marketed. <strong>The</strong>re was no pressure to sell. For me, just having my work in a retail<br />

setting was enough.<br />

About that time I applied to take part in the Melbourne Design Market and my involvement<br />

continues. It is held in a car park <strong>of</strong> Melbourne's Federation Square twice a year and it's either stiflingly<br />

hot or bitterly cold. It provides an opportunity to communicate with customers and it is always frantically<br />

busy. It is here that some <strong>of</strong> my most valued retailers found my work, as designers and makers interact<br />

with those with an interest in, and knowledge <strong>of</strong>, design.<br />

It seems that most <strong>Australian</strong> states now have a design festival. Design Made Trade, part <strong>of</strong> Victoria's<br />

annual State <strong>of</strong> Design Festival, is a trade show for designers to meet retailers, galleries, industry and<br />


-- -- ._----------<br />

Moving forward<br />

Ingrid Tufts, Say what you mean, 2009, porcelain. whee!thrown. decal decoration; photo: Andrew Bareham<br />

media. I initially participated through Craft Victoria in 2010. Some great opportunities arose, like<br />

participating in the Home Beautiful Product <strong>of</strong> the Year awards. This year I took a stand myself as I have<br />

decided this kind <strong>of</strong> marketing is really valuable to me. It enables me to present my whole range <strong>of</strong><br />

work in a clear way that makes sense to retailers and galleries.<br />

I have a small selection <strong>of</strong> retailers and galleries who carry my work. Trade shows, markets and media<br />

have been important in building these relationships, and websites like the <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Directory<br />

have also been important in promoting my work. I have let this happen quite organically, which has<br />

enabled me to keep up with retailers needs. At first I was a little shy about my work, but I am now<br />

much more inclined to discuss work with my retailers. Galleries and retailers like Beaver Galleries in<br />

Canberra and Potier in Melbourne have been instrumental in building my practice, as they have been<br />

supportive from the beginning.<br />

A good deal <strong>of</strong> getting my work out there has been due to media participation. I really appreciate<br />

the exposure <strong>of</strong>fered by magazines and blogs and I am always happy to send photos or work for<br />

photographing to editors.<br />

It's difficult to ignore the impact <strong>of</strong> digital media on the promotion <strong>of</strong> my work. Magazines editors,<br />

retailers, customers and stylists tend to visit my website at some point, so it's important it is kept up to<br />

date. One priority at the moment is to shed some light on the process, so to this end I have been setting<br />

up blogs that relate to the various facets <strong>of</strong> my work and trying to write about what goes on in the<br />

studio.<br />

Aside from my own range <strong>of</strong> production work, I work on commissions for commercial clients and<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 115

Moving forward<br />

collaborate with other artists. <strong>The</strong>se include the Donna Hay General Store, restaurants such as Cumulus<br />

Inc through Craft Victoria, and cafes such as Dead Man Espresso in Melbourne. Clients commissioning<br />

handmade work are passiona te about what they do - <strong>of</strong>ten c<strong>of</strong>fee or food - and so these commissions<br />

may involve coming up with new works or modifying existing designs to meet their requirements. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

is a need to negotiate and educate clients so they understand the process, but are not burdened with<br />

the minutia <strong>of</strong> making.<br />

We are really lucky to have support from organisations such as Craft Victoria's New Craft Program, as<br />

participating in the program has allowed me to work with a great range <strong>of</strong> commercial clients and with<br />

exciting upcoming artists such as Michaela Bruton and Katherine Bowman.<br />

One <strong>of</strong> my more commercial collaborations has been with botanical artist Arnolda Beynon in the<br />

creation <strong>of</strong> the Beynon + Tufts range, a collaboration which came about from the desire to create<br />

handmade tableware with <strong>Australian</strong> botanical illustrations. <strong>The</strong> range needed to be locally designed and<br />

handmade and, where possible, made with local materials.<br />

It's the collaboration with artists that provides great learning opportunities, especially those from other<br />

disciplines. <strong>The</strong> exchange <strong>of</strong> ideas and feedback is great. as is getting a glimpse into processes involved<br />

in working with other materials. It is working with artists that interests me and enriches my work.<br />

I marvel at the many and varied ways <strong>of</strong> being a potter there are these days. Over the years, the ways<br />

<strong>of</strong> selling pottery may have changed, but we still share the passion and joy that comes with making pots.<br />

www.ingridtufts.com<br />

www.ingridtufts.wordpress.com<br />

Ingrid Tufts and Michaela Bruton,<br />

Craft Victoria Beakers, 2010, porcelain, wheelthrown<br />


----------------------------------------~---~~--<br />

Moving fo rward<br />

•<br />

,••••<br />

t, ,<br />

.'<br />

•<br />

..'<br />

Viti<br />

Steve Williams reports on Aboriginal<br />

Ceramic Design at Great Lakes TAFE Art<br />

and Design School in Tu ncurry NSW<br />

Alison Page, Executive Officer, Saltwater Freshwater Arts<br />

Alliance and Manager <strong>of</strong> the National Aboriginal Design<br />

Agency, holding a Bush Lemon cup designed by Damien<br />

Aidan; above left: Yili Graphic. logo by Cheryl Heikennin<br />

'Yili' is a Gathang word for bush or leaf. It is also the identity and brand for Aboriginal Design Training<br />

established as part <strong>of</strong> a pilot design program at the Great Lakes TAFE Art and Design School in 2010.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Certificate 4, one-year foundation design course for Aboriginal artists generated product prototypes<br />

in partnerships with a number <strong>of</strong> local manufacturers. Completed prototypes included a range <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramic vessels that were presented and marketed under the Yili brand, with great response from<br />

market testing.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Great Lakes TAFE Art and Design School introduced the Aboriginal design program in support<br />

<strong>of</strong> the local Aboriginal community and Tobwabba Art. Beginning in 1992, Tobwabba Art is a 100%<br />

Aboriginal-owned artist collective providing employment and income for twenty-two Aboriginal artists<br />

and staff~ Tobwabba is a Gathang word meaning 'place <strong>of</strong> clay' ... some added magic for ceramic<br />

production. <strong>The</strong> design course provides opportunity for emerging and establ ished artists to explore the<br />

design process and contemporary product design in local and international markets.<br />

Alison Page, designer, ABC New Inventors panel member and Executive Officer Saltwater Freshwater<br />

Arts Alliance, worked closely with <strong>No</strong>rth Coast TAFE in preparing for and mentoring on the program.<br />

Alison is a descendant <strong>of</strong> the Walbanga and Wadi Wadi people <strong>of</strong> the Yuin nation and is passionate and<br />

enthusiastic about the future and opportunities for Aboriginal designers and artists. Alison heads up<br />

the recently formed National Aboriginal Design Agency (NADA), which aims to establish joint ventures<br />

between Aboriginal artists and manufacturers to create design products such as lighting, furniture, and<br />

architectural hardware. NADA is a potential employer for students who graduate from Aboriginal design<br />

courses, as they provide royalties and fees for design services.<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> was a 3D focus within the one-year design program. Students came to the 3D studio nine<br />

weeks into their course with well-developed drawings and refined 2D designs. <strong>The</strong>y had screen-printed<br />


1 Jan Leon, Platter; detail. porcelain, slipcast, clear glaze, diamAScm<br />

2 Jan leon and Denise York, cups, prototype, porcelain, slipcast<br />

tallest h.9cm, screen-printed wallpaper<br />

3 liam Simon, porcelain cups, tissue transfer, fluxed pigment print<br />

tallest h.8.5cm, wrapping paper prototype<br />

Photos: Scott Calvin<br />

4 Pauline Grothkopp applying shellac to clay master prior to mouldmaking;<br />

photo: Steve Williams<br />

Opposite page: Pauline Grothkopp. porcelain cups, slipcast, clear glaze<br />

h.9crn, embossed paper: photo: Scott Calvin<br />

their designs onto a range <strong>of</strong> products including wallpapers,<br />

wrapping papers, table runners, bags and cards.<br />

<strong>The</strong> school worked closely with local signage manufacturers<br />

Jensen Timberworks and Plastiglass who produced relief<br />

surface panels from refined 20 designs using a CNC<br />

(computer numeric cutter). <strong>The</strong>se panels were used as print<br />

plates to produce embossed papers for blank stationarylcards.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y were also used to produce moulds for casting platters.<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> drinking vessel design ... how should we begin?<br />

... perhaps establish an environment for ideas and making<br />

that encourages learners to leave behind (for a moment)<br />

what they expect and what they 'know' a cup to be. I was<br />

keen to set up an environment where students could explore<br />

surface and form w ithout referencing any particular visual<br />

expectation. All students had explored and shared culture to<br />

generate stories and had a wealth <strong>of</strong> 20 designs, so we had<br />

fertile ground for 3D translation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> design brief given to students asked for drinking<br />

vessels for sight-impaired or blind people. This jolted students<br />

and created a thinking shift, leaving to one side any surface<br />

treatment utilising colour. An uncoloured relief surface<br />

emerged as a solution . <strong>The</strong> result was an inviting relief<br />

surface where light creates tonal values - white on white on<br />

white using clear glaze on porcelain. <strong>The</strong> cups have been<br />

described as having a contemporary, sophisticated feel.<br />

Students shared in the development <strong>of</strong> two different cup<br />

bodies and chose five relief surface designs from which<br />

masters were made. <strong>The</strong> vessel bodies were slightly leaning<br />

and oval, referencing the organic qualities <strong>of</strong> a tree, and<br />

provided a considered place for the hand. Forms were also<br />

influenced by discussion and exploration <strong>of</strong> traditional vessels<br />

such as coolamons and bangalow palm baskets. Master<br />

forms were created by transferring their designs onto solid<br />

clay blanks using brushed shellac and methylated spirits and<br />

sponging the surface to wash away the surrounding clay. <strong>The</strong><br />

brushed shellac areas remain in relief - the more sponging,

1 Pauline Grothkopp and Jan l eon, porcelain cups, slipcast, h.9cm<br />

lyn Davis, screen-printed wrapping paper prototype; photo: Scott Calvin<br />

2 Sonny Paulson applying shellac to clay master prior to mould-making<br />

3 Denise York, Pauline Grothkopp and Jan leon. CNC Weathertex<br />

panels. diam.2Scm; photos: Steve Williams<br />

the greater the relief. Students shared in, and documented,<br />

the production <strong>of</strong> one working mould from one master.<br />

Mould making and production was then outsourced as would<br />

be the case for larger production and market.<br />

All vessels were slipcast using a porcelain body, clear glazed<br />

and fired to 1300°C. Students stayed in touch with the<br />

process and supported production, but were not responsible<br />

for production and quality - an experience that parallels that<br />

<strong>of</strong> the designer, ie. to have knowledge <strong>of</strong> manufacturing<br />

materials and process, design within parameters, but not<br />

necessarily to make.<br />

Some <strong>of</strong> the 2D designs were transferred as a printed<br />

surface onto vessels using tissue transfer techniques and a<br />

fluxed black pigment. <strong>The</strong> cups were glazed on the inside<br />

with the outside surface <strong>of</strong>fering a two toned stone feel.<br />

Yili was <strong>of</strong>ficially launched, complete with product swing<br />

tags, at an exhibition at Manning Regional Art Gallery<br />

in Taree NSW in December 201 1. In speaking at the<br />

launch, Grace Cochrane, writer and former senior curator,<br />

Powerhouse Museum Sydney said, "Yili has produced a range<br />

<strong>of</strong> well-designed and made works in a range <strong>of</strong> materials that<br />

are very contemporary in their appearance, and yet are drawn<br />

very distinctly from a sense <strong>of</strong> cultural identity."<br />

In 2011, the school also explored another innovative<br />

project with local manufacturers, Kwikstitch. As an industrial<br />

embroidery business, they have generated stitched piecework<br />

for a range <strong>of</strong> products. In addition to providing ongoing<br />

training to some <strong>of</strong> the 2010 Yili students, we have run a<br />

series <strong>of</strong> 'taste <strong>of</strong> design' workshops to introduce younger<br />

Aboriginal students to design. encouraging pathways into<br />

what is sure to be a new and bright industry in this country.<br />

Steve Williams is Head Teacher <strong>of</strong> the Great Lakes TAFE<br />

Art and Design School, TuncurrylForster NSW, Creative<br />

Industries Faculty, <strong>No</strong>rth Coast TAFE; T: 02 6555 0616<br />

See pages 58-63 for the article by Gail Nichols on<br />

Steve Williams, Playing Loose.

Moving fo rward<br />

Digital and Analogue<br />

Hayden Youlley jumps at the chance to work with Rod Bamford an d<br />

his 3D ceramic printer<br />

Experimentation with three-dimensional printing and a vast array <strong>of</strong> materials<br />

reveals countless possibilities in both manufacturing and consumer habits.<br />

As the technology advances and becomes more affordable, the possibility<br />

<strong>of</strong> consumers, artists and designers owning personal 3D printers (that allow<br />

them to purchase objects online or create them with personal s<strong>of</strong>tware and<br />

print them out instantly) is becoming very real. Today, 3D printing machines<br />

can create objects using metals, plastics <strong>of</strong> different strength, hardness and<br />

flexibility, stone-like materials (in full CMYK colour), food, concrete and<br />

ceramic.<br />

Rod Bamford has spent eighteen months building a 3D ceramic printer. For<br />

the last four months, I have been helping him experiment with it in order to completely understand the<br />

process, and then to push its capabilities to its limits.<br />

Rod Bamford is a lecturer in the School <strong>of</strong> Design Studies at the College <strong>of</strong> Fine Arts (COFA),<br />

University <strong>of</strong> NSW. His work traverses the fields <strong>of</strong> art and design, drawing on experience in the field <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramics, digital media technologies and related media. Rod's research typically explores the relationship<br />

between natural and technological experience.<br />

He was drawn to this project because he is fascinated by the idea <strong>of</strong> combining apparent opposites -<br />

digital modelling and analogue clay.<br />

To start his 3D printing experiment, Rod went online to purchase the plans and parts to build the<br />

Rapman 3D printer from an <strong>Australian</strong> company, Benson Machines. <strong>The</strong> Rapman 3. 1 kit version is an<br />

affordable starting point for 3D printing experiments. It took 3-4 days to assemble the kit, but many<br />

more were spent experimenting to get the quality <strong>of</strong> print required; the Rapman's 'hackable' structure<br />

lends itself to redesign and experimentation.<br />

• ><br />

~;~ AIT S FIo?£ lrv1 HV I ~~<br />

-- ~ ~<br />

. ,<br />

~ BITS FIi?DM BY 1...,'-'><br />

==- ~<br />

Top right: 3D printer with clay extruder print head<br />

Above left: Preparing a G code file for printing<br />

Right: G code print paths<br />


Above: Rendered 3D model <strong>of</strong> scanned subje

Moving forward<br />

digitally using the CAD s<strong>of</strong>tware, the file is<br />

exported into a format that the 3D printer can<br />

read . This file is then placed into the 3D printer<br />

s<strong>of</strong>tware so that it can dissect what you have<br />

designed into layers and paths for the print head<br />

to follow. We started the experiment by printing<br />

something very simple - a 3cm-tall, hollow<br />

cylinder.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 3D ceramic printer uses compressed air<br />

and a rotation device, called an auger, to push<br />

clay from a syringe through a needle in the print<br />

head. This can move both left and right and back<br />

and forth, controlled by a computer and motors.<br />

In our case, the computer was controlling the<br />

print head to move the needle in a perfect circle<br />

to print the first layer <strong>of</strong> slip <strong>of</strong> our 3D cylinder<br />

onto the print bed .<br />

<strong>The</strong> print bed is then lowered by another<br />

motor on a different part <strong>of</strong> the printer, ready<br />

for the next layer <strong>of</strong> slip to be printed directly on<br />

top <strong>of</strong> the first. This process was repeated until a<br />

height <strong>of</strong> 3cm was reached .<br />

With this print process nailed, we decided to<br />

attempt a scale replica <strong>of</strong> a 3D scan <strong>of</strong> Rod's<br />

son's head, complete with baseball cap. This<br />

was challenging, because gravity can cause the<br />

clay wall to collapse eaSily under its own weight,<br />

especially where the design involves layers that<br />

overhang the layers beneath.<br />

Above: BFB Rapman 30 printer<br />

Below left: Completed 3D print section <strong>of</strong> Fuddling<br />

Manoeuvre; back. side showing reinforcement<br />

Below right: Completed 3D print section <strong>of</strong> Fuddling<br />

Manoeuvre; front

Roderick Bamford, Fuddling<br />

Manoeuvre. 2011, bone<br />

china clay waste; Hyperclay:<br />

Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong><br />

Object touring exhibition<br />

Photo: courtesy artist<br />

We considered using forced air-drying, or possibly using a second print head that can print support<br />

material around the object, but the solution Rod eventually settled on was more immediate and visually<br />

interesting: dicing the object into 4 separate prints and re-orientating each on the print bed to avoid any<br />

overhangs, and then piecing them back together by hand. This fascinating process produced immediate<br />

visual and tactile results.<br />

Rod's work is experimental because the technology is still developing, and little research has been<br />

done in the field so far. His printer is becoming increasing reliable with each experiment, and it is<br />

exciting to consider what this technology cou ld make possible for ceramicists.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 3d prints <strong>of</strong> Rod's ceramic works are currently being exhibited in a touring exhibition, Hyperc/ay:<br />

Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong>. It's a provocative exhibition <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> ceramicists who use clay in new and<br />

exciting ways, challenging and re-imagining the material.<br />

For more information please visit www.object.com.au/exhibitions-events/entry/hyperclay_<br />

contemporary _ceramics/.<br />

Hayden Youlley majored in ceramics in a Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Design at COFA, University <strong>of</strong> NSW.<br />

Since completing his degree he has started producing his own tableware designs.<br />

His work is about combining a range <strong>of</strong> techniques in concept and form development with<br />

handcrafting or limited batch production to achieve an aesthetic <strong>of</strong> quality and integrity. 3D<br />

modelling and 3D printing in plastic are an integral part <strong>of</strong> his design process and when given<br />

the opportunity to work on something so experimental with boundless potential, he jumped<br />

at the chance.<br />

www.haydenyoulley.com<br />


Pantjiti Lionel<br />

Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong> from<br />

the Desert<br />

A report on the 2011 <strong>Ceramics</strong> Festival by 10 Herbig and Franca Barraclough<br />

Over the last 10 years, the development <strong>of</strong> ceramics in Central Australia has been slow but now involves<br />

a broad cross section <strong>of</strong> people within the ceramic artist community. Many prominent ceramic artists<br />

have been drawn to this harsh, quirky and beautiful part <strong>of</strong> Australia, and some have inspired others<br />

to take up this superb medium. Despite the growing number <strong>of</strong> established ceramic artists living and<br />

working in Central Australia, there continues to be a lack <strong>of</strong> representation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 2011 <strong>Ceramics</strong> Festival, initially conceived by Franca Barraclough, was developed and<br />

implemented by Barraclough and Jo Herbig (Exhibitions Officer, Araluen Arts Centre) and supported by<br />

Red Hot Arts Central Australia. <strong>The</strong>ir aim was to stimulate, support and celebrate the Central <strong>Australian</strong><br />

ceramic sector with a weekend <strong>of</strong> workshops, seminars and exhibitions that showcased emerging and<br />

established traditional and contemporary ceramic artists. It was held at the Araluen Cultural Precinct.<br />

During the developmental phase <strong>of</strong> artistic content, two workshops took place. Artists and curators<br />

drove to Ernabella to participate in a weekend workshop with Pantjiti Lionel and Ernabella Art Centre<br />

manager Ruth McMillan. It was a valuable experience for all to spend time with Pantjiti in her country<br />

and to see this gifted artist in action. A second workshop took place at Central Craft in Alice Springs to<br />

give artists and curators an opportunity to meet and spend time with Patsy Morton, who lives mainly<br />

THE JOURNAL Of AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 125

out bush at Arungi on her homeland, <strong>The</strong>se workshops were<br />

an important and significant opportunity to ensure cross<br />

cultural exchange, inclusion and connection between all<br />

participants.<br />

<strong>The</strong> festival opened on Friday 18 <strong>No</strong>vember 201 1 in<br />

Alice Springs with two exhibitions: Sequences and Cycles:<br />

Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong> from the Desert at the Araluen<br />

Arts Centre's Sitzler Gallery, and Surface, an exhibi tion <strong>of</strong><br />

emerging ceramics at the Central Crah Gallery.<br />

As part <strong>of</strong> the festival, a Contemporary <strong>Australian</strong><br />

2 <strong>Ceramics</strong> Seminar was held on 20 <strong>No</strong>vember with Prue<br />

Venables as keynote speaker. She spoke eloquently on<br />

various national ceramic artists and in general about the<br />

state <strong>of</strong> the contemporary <strong>Australian</strong> ceramic sector, Other<br />

speakers included Pip McManus, Mel Robson and Julie Taylor.<br />

Discussion between audience members and the speakers<br />

was lively throughout the seminar with topics ranging from<br />

funding and support to a wider discussion on sustainability<br />

and the value <strong>of</strong> handmade domestic items,<br />

1 Jo Herbig and Prue Venables at the<br />

Sequences and Cycles exhibition opening<br />

2 Pantjiti lionel, Eagle Katjara, terracotta<br />

with slip, sgratfito and terra slgillata, h.15cm<br />

A long awaited ceramics workshop specifically for budding<br />

new ceramicists aged 8-15 years provided an opportunity<br />

to explore the human face as a sculptural form. For many<br />

participants this was the first opportunity to play with clay, an<br />

activity that produced an assortment <strong>of</strong> inspired clay masks,<br />

Sequences and Cycles: Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong> from<br />

the Desert was born from a desire to see a pr<strong>of</strong>essional<br />

3 Amanda McMillan (left) and Pip McManus at the Ernabella Workshop<br />

4 Patsy Morton at the Central Craft Workshop<br />

5 Pip McManus at the Central Craft Workshop<br />


Above: Mel Robson , Sticks and Stones 2, detail, porcelain, slipcast, decals, various dimensions<br />

Below: Installation view <strong>of</strong> Sequences and Cycles: Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong> from the Desert. Sitzler Gallery<br />

Araluen Arts Centre. <strong>No</strong>vember 2011 ; photos: courtesy Araluen Arts Centre<br />

exhibition <strong>of</strong> established contemporary Central <strong>Australian</strong> ceramic artists and celebrate their talent by<br />

creating a space for the creation <strong>of</strong> new work. Participating artists were selected for their artistic merit<br />

and their ability to cultivate fresh and innovative work and their potential to push the boundaries <strong>of</strong><br />

their own notions <strong>of</strong> ceramic art. Those chosen included Pip McManus, Mel Robson, Patsy Morton,<br />

Pantjiti Lionel, Amanda McMillan and Suzi Lyon .<br />

<strong>The</strong> original concept for this exh ibition was cultivated in the early first stages <strong>of</strong> artistic engagement<br />

and dialogue. Three <strong>of</strong> the artists initially approached were simultaneously exploring the potential for<br />

clay to follow a full cycle and return to the earth through degeneration and disintegration. This specific<br />

focus was provoked and informed by current environmental situations. 'Sequences' and' cycles' unified<br />

the processes involved and so informed the decision to choose this as a thematic exhibition concept.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se words also apply to the degeneration and regeneration <strong>of</strong> everything, from the formation <strong>of</strong><br />

sedimentary rock to the healing <strong>of</strong> the human body. A cycle is an interval <strong>of</strong> time during which a<br />

characteristic, <strong>of</strong>ten a regularly repeated, event or sequence <strong>of</strong> events occurs. As animals, humans are in<br />

THE JOURNAL Of AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 127

4<br />

1 Installation view <strong>of</strong> Sequences and Cycles: Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong><br />

from the Desert, Sitzler Gallery, Araluen Arts Centre, <strong>No</strong>vember 2011<br />

2 Patsy Morton with her work at the exhibition opening<br />

3 Pip McManus, Water, ceramic. Ernabella terra sigillata slip, steel<br />

weathered jarrah, h.17cm, w.24cm, d.l OCm<br />

4 Amanda McMillan, Untitled (diptychl, recycled clay, earth, bush!ire<br />

ash, plastic and water, on board, each h.91.Scm, w.91 .Scm<br />

Photos: courtesy Araluen Arts Centre<br />

a constant cycle <strong>of</strong> renewal; just like the earth, A sequence is<br />

linked by development from one place to another. Sequences<br />

can relate to time, to layers <strong>of</strong> the earth, or, indeed, to the<br />

notion <strong>of</strong> order as opposed to chaos. Applied to living things,<br />

the basic fundamental structure responsible for what (and to<br />

some degree who) we are, is related to sequencing.<br />

Clay was used by these contemporary artists to produce<br />

objects <strong>of</strong> art reflecting the sequences and cycles which they<br />

experience whilst living in the desert. All have a relationship<br />

with the desert, its seasons, its births and deaths and its everchanging<br />

landscapes.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir exhibition artwork contained a deep reverence<br />

for nature, which not only celebrated nature's cycles<br />

and the resulting formations but dared to question the<br />

permanent nature <strong>of</strong> fired ceramics in relation to this era <strong>of</strong><br />

environmental degradation. Suzi Lyon, Pantjiti Lionel, Amanda<br />

McMillan, Patsy Morton, Pip McManus and Mel Robson<br />

have visually articulated what is on the minds <strong>of</strong> many, cross<br />

culturally, worldwide.<br />

Jo Herbig and Franca Barraclough<br />

Curators <strong>of</strong> Sequences and Cycles: Contemporary<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> from the Desert

Potters Marks<br />

Potters Marks<br />

John Dermer<br />

Elaine Bradley<br />

Peter Rushforth Steve Williams Susie McMeekin<br />

Tania Rollond<br />

Michael Stephan<br />



---------<br />

Event<br />

Packer Civic Gallery, University <strong>of</strong> SA, touching on the use<br />

<strong>of</strong> traditional skills and design techniques over a period<br />

<strong>of</strong> 150 years. It w ill examine aspects <strong>of</strong> the historical and<br />

contemporary influences that European and Asian culture and<br />

technology have had on the development <strong>of</strong> South <strong>Australian</strong><br />

ceramic practice. Within this exhibition there will be a particular<br />

focus on Bennett's Pottery, a fifth generation commercial<br />

pottery and the only one still in operation in South Australia.<br />

Graduates, a selected survey <strong>of</strong> graduating students<br />

work from tertiary ceramic courses across Australia, w ill also<br />

be located within the West End precinct, providing a great<br />

opportunity to catch up with the work produced by recent<br />

graduates.<br />

A short stroll down <strong>No</strong>rth Terrace from the Triennale will<br />

bring you to the heart <strong>of</strong> the cultural boulevard where you<br />

can take in a fantastic suite <strong>of</strong> exhibitions. Flinders University<br />

Art Museum, City Gallery, will be presenting Highlights from<br />

the 2011 Indigenous Ceramic Art Award and Earthworks,<br />

Contemporary Indigenous <strong>Australian</strong> Ceramic Art. Next<br />

door, the South <strong>Australian</strong> Museum will be presenting an<br />

exhibition <strong>of</strong> contemporary Indigenous ceramics from Ernabella<br />

Arts Inc. Adjacent is the Migration and Settlement Museum<br />

showing an exhibition that invites immigrant ceramic artists<br />

to consider their cultural roots through their responses to<br />

particular personal cultural artefacts.<br />

Dotted amongst these venues is an array <strong>of</strong> cafes and<br />

eateries <strong>of</strong>fering delicious food and havens to stop for rest and<br />

sustenance.<br />

<strong>The</strong> exciting array <strong>of</strong> exhibitions also extends outside the<br />

city area . Sites will include Aptos Cruz in stunning Stirling, just<br />

twenty minutes away through the beautiful Adelaide Hills. This<br />

gallery will be featuring <strong>The</strong> Great Eight a national selection<br />

<strong>of</strong> ceramic artists plus a feature exhibition <strong>of</strong> works by Milton<br />

Moon, a well renowned South <strong>Australian</strong> ceramic artist.<br />

Bus tours will be available to take conference delegates<br />

to regional exhibitions and wineries through the picturesque<br />

Adelaide Hills. Clearly there is so much on that you might need<br />

to extend your stay.<br />

Masamichi Yoshikawa. Installation view. 2011<br />

porcelain, Chigasaki City Museum <strong>of</strong> Art. Japan<br />

1 Judrth Thompson, Catalogue. Sk4n!Jdroovian Funk - PecU/N3( Adelalfk CeramICS 1968-1978<br />


Event<br />

Subversive Clay:<br />

the 13t~;a¢ Le ~a~~ Conference<br />

--- -<br />

aka the 2nd <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Triennale<br />

Gentle Reader,<br />

Just a quick note to tell you that from 28 September to 1 October <strong>2012</strong>, Adelaide will host the<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Triennale, Subversive Clay.<br />

<strong>The</strong> last time Adelaide held such an event was in 1993 when the 7th National <strong>Ceramics</strong> Conference<br />

had 'Celebrating the Maker' as its theme, prompting one to wonder just what has happened in the<br />

meantime to have transformed a gathering celebrating such a benign occupation into one hosting<br />

a potentially dangerous substance. Is clay the new plastic explosive? Or, instead <strong>of</strong> Molotov and Guy<br />

Fawkes, will we get the cast <strong>of</strong> the Big Bang <strong>The</strong>ory, with Sheldon following everyone about obsessively<br />

calculating food-safe liner glazes while interstate delegates try to throw themselves in the Torrens River,<br />

only to find out that it's actually just a toddler's wading pool, but a bit browner and with algae?<br />

<strong>The</strong> whole idea <strong>of</strong> subversion is pretty chic these days, especially in the arts. Just look at the Saatchi<br />

exhibit, promoted with much hype (literally spin - it included DJs), at the Art Gallery <strong>of</strong> South Australia<br />

in late 2011 . <strong>The</strong>re were riots in the streets and folk entirely changed their worldview after witnessing<br />

these exhibits. God, talk about your subversives ... there were even tweets! (<strong>The</strong> real subversion was<br />

taking place behind the scenes on the opening night, where the then Premier <strong>of</strong> South Australia and<br />

Minister for the Arts the Hon. Mike Rann was in the process <strong>of</strong> being deposed by some factional<br />

powerbrokers in a typical Labor party putsch.)<br />

Mind you, Adelaide is the perfect place to host an event exploring the subversive potential <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramics, as it was home to a style <strong>of</strong> work - Skangaroovian Funk - that did address political issues,<br />

both in the sense <strong>of</strong> Realpolitik (Mark Thompson's famous 1979 piece Ma Don Na about the downfall<br />

<strong>of</strong> Don Dunstan, a previous premier <strong>of</strong> the state and someone who served as an early mentor to Mike<br />

Rann - SPOOKY ...) and social issues such as gender and sexuality, which are political by virtue <strong>of</strong><br />

parliament's legislative role in running our lives.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n there is the question <strong>of</strong> whether the simple act <strong>of</strong> working with clay, or any craft medium,<br />

might be seen as being subversive. And if so, to whom, and how? Was Bernard Leach actually a closet<br />

28 Sep - 1 Oct <strong>2012</strong><br />


Trotskyite, with A Potter's Book being a 'little brown book' designed<br />

to encourage radical socialist rural collectives, cleverly camouflaged as<br />

galleries and tea rooms in Wiltshire, Devon and the Southern Highlands<br />

<strong>of</strong> NSW?<br />

(Who knew the import <strong>of</strong> the tenmoku casserole, before the<br />

revolution ... but then the fascists came, w ith their porcelain and their<br />

whiteness, cleansing the world <strong>of</strong> the stain <strong>of</strong> iron. <strong>The</strong> serried ranks <strong>of</strong><br />

bowl, bottle and beaker - mute, chaste, silent and photogenic, not to<br />

mention hygienic. In the seventies, Austral ians used to point Percy at the<br />

porcelain - not now. Verboten. But I digress.)<br />

We are used to thinking <strong>of</strong> clay as a building block <strong>of</strong> society, and<br />

those material associations to bricks and crockery are with us always.<br />

This is why positioning clay as high art is always going to be a big ask.<br />

It's mimetically challenged and its simulacrum valve is on the blink,<br />

because the primary function <strong>of</strong> clay is not to imitate but to be.<br />

One strategy for subverting clay is to use it in an unexpected way or<br />

in an inappropriate manner, and I dare say there will be much <strong>of</strong> that<br />

on display in Adela ide. I have it on good authority that the conference<br />

organisers are happy to receive ceramic cheques, as are the local hotels,<br />

cafes, bars and taxis . For the wood-firers, a large anagama will be<br />

built in Rundle Mall and Forestry SA has agreed to supply a few metric<br />

tonnes <strong>of</strong> sustainably harvested timber. Carbon <strong>of</strong>fsets will be<br />

available at the desk.<br />

Mark Thompson<br />

(Australia, born 1949)<br />

Ma 'lrdon*na, 1979, Adelaide<br />

synthetic polymer paint, decals on<br />

earthenware. porcelain, h.l02.2cm<br />

w.3 1cm, d.26cm, South <strong>Australian</strong><br />

Government Grant 1980<br />

Art Gallery <strong>of</strong> South Austral ia<br />

For those who choose to restrict their activities to the relatively safe environment <strong>of</strong> the gallery,<br />

lecture theatre and workshop, the good news is that all the major conference venues are w ithin<br />

spitting distance <strong>of</strong> each other. We have a small but perfectly formed cultural precinct, and I'm happy<br />

to announce that within these boundaries ceramics w ill be precincting culturally for all it's worth. Clay<br />

will be found on plinths, on walls, and - if the images <strong>of</strong> the keynote artists' work are anything to go<br />

buy - underfoot and on folding chairs as well, which I suppose might be described as underbum. It'll be<br />

a blast.<br />

In closing, I'd just like to say that I'm very glad to have had this opportunity to let you know about<br />

the Austra lian <strong>Ceramics</strong> Triennale and to sing the praises <strong>of</strong> Adelaide, known variously as 'the City <strong>of</strong><br />

Churches', the 'Athens <strong>of</strong> the South' and even 'Florence on the Torrens' . I look forvvard to vigorously<br />

subverting with each and every one <strong>of</strong> you in the not so distant future.<br />

Irreverently yours, Damon Moon, Willunga <strong>2012</strong><br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN C-£RAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 133

Well Read<br />

<strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> <strong>No</strong>t Making:<br />

<strong>The</strong> New Artist/Artisan Relationship<br />

by Michael Petry<br />

Published by Thames & Hudson, 2011<br />

208 pages, hardcover, $75<br />

ISBN 9780500238820<br />

Available from www.amazon.com<br />

When I first heard the title, <strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> <strong>No</strong>t Making, I had to read this book. As one who struggles<br />

with the idea <strong>of</strong> making stuff, for a world that is already full <strong>of</strong> stuff; at a time when sustainability is the<br />

catchword <strong>of</strong> the day and we are, each in our own way, considering the size <strong>of</strong> our footprints, a book<br />

prepared to reconsider the role <strong>of</strong> the artist as separate from making, seemed like a godsend.<br />

This is not that book.<br />

This book is a big, hyper-glossy c<strong>of</strong>fee table number in which Michael Petry cites" .. a resurgent<br />

interest in the beautifully designed and produced object ... on an ever larger and more spectacular<br />

scale ... "<br />

<strong>The</strong> catch lies in the subtitle, Th e New Artist I Artisan Relationship, explained in the introduction,<br />

When Art Meets Craft. " ... we increasingly see those who are named 'the artist' ... directing from the<br />

sidelines, while those with specialist expertise do the heavy lifting or fine detailing."<br />

Setting aside my disappointment in its content, and striving to keep an open mind in the face <strong>of</strong> yet<br />

another tome reinforCing (whilst pretending to interrogate) the art craft divide, I ploughed through the<br />

five, material-specific chapters.<br />

Petry refers <strong>of</strong>ten to the 'new' approach <strong>of</strong> artists employing artisans to help realise their ideas, whilst<br />

referencing work from the 60s to the 90s and as far back as the 1920s. New? Hardly. And as for any<br />

'controversy' surrounding notions <strong>of</strong> authorship, surely this became old news with the canonisation <strong>of</strong><br />

Duchamp?<br />

At each step <strong>of</strong> the way, Petry fleshes out the flashy images with banal snippets <strong>of</strong> history that <strong>of</strong>fer<br />

nothing new to the fields <strong>of</strong> either art or craft, 'the smelting <strong>of</strong> metal ores is one <strong>of</strong> the oldest known<br />

craft processes' etc.<br />

Most interesting are the interviews at the back <strong>of</strong> the book in which artists and artisans discuss their<br />

working relationships and reveal, in candid moments, some <strong>of</strong> the feeling they have for one another.<br />

Nevertheless, this book is destined to gather dust (yet another unnecessary object) at the back <strong>of</strong> my<br />

bookshelf while I go on waiting for some genuinely new and thoughtful research to emerge on the<br />

theme <strong>of</strong> not making.<br />

Review by Dee Taylor-Graham<br />

134 THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

Australia Wide<br />

act<br />

As always, it has been a busy start to the year in<br />

the world <strong>of</strong> clay in Canberra.<br />

<strong>The</strong> new studio for the Canberra Potters' Society<br />

artist-in-residence program currently has its first<br />

tenant. Anne Masters, who recently completed<br />

a Masters degree at ANU and was awarded the<br />

short residency as part <strong>of</strong> the Emerging Artist<br />

Support Scheme. In the Watson Arts Centre<br />

Gallery until 28 <strong>April</strong> is the touring exhibition,<br />

Hyperclay: Contemporary <strong>Ceramics</strong>. From 10<br />

to 27 May, painter Angharad Dean and ceramic<br />

artist Caroline Reid will present new work. June<br />

will see two CPS exhibitions - the annual Winter<br />

Fair and the <strong>2012</strong> Student/Teacher Exhibition.<br />

For full detai ls about residencies, exhibitions,<br />

classes etc. go to www.canberrapotters.com.au.<br />

In February, Strathnairn Arts Association hosted<br />

its first artists-in-residence for <strong>2012</strong>, Markus<br />

and Ute Bohm, ceramicists from Germany. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

showed their work in the Homestead Gallery in<br />

March. Go to www.strathnairn.asn.au for the full<br />

program <strong>of</strong> exhibitions and workshops.<br />

Belconnen Arts Centre is one <strong>of</strong> several galleries<br />

presenting ceramics as part <strong>of</strong> mixed exhibitions<br />

in <strong>2012</strong>. Open Your Eyes, 30 March to 22 <strong>April</strong>,<br />

will showcase a vibrant selection <strong>of</strong> works by six<br />

Canberra artists from Israel, Japan, Indonesia,<br />

Spain, Nepal and Poland. <strong>The</strong> original and<br />

poignant exhibition Maria Crinigan's Tragedy,<br />

27 <strong>April</strong> to 13 May, will feature sculpture by<br />

Rosina Wainwright which focuses on the plight<br />

<strong>of</strong> pioneer women; while ceramicist Jacqui Malins<br />

will forsake clay to present drawings which<br />

provide a visual complement and an emotional<br />

contrast to the history <strong>of</strong> early Ginninderra settler<br />

Maria Crinigan.<br />

Before signing <strong>of</strong>f, as a regional rep for JAC<br />

through the reign <strong>of</strong> three editors, may I say<br />

how much I enjoyed catching up with those<br />

editors and other friends at the splendid<br />

50th anniversary celebration at Manly Art<br />

Gallery. Thank you to all who helped with the<br />

organisation and festivities on the day. <strong>The</strong><br />

speeches were pertinent and the cake was<br />

delicious.<br />

Cheers, Jane Crick<br />

E: janecrick@dodo.com.au<br />

nsw<br />

Congratulations to <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong><br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> on its 50 inspiring years. What an<br />

influence it has been on <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics!<br />

Newcastle Studio Potters is also celebrating<br />

a milestone. Back to Back Galleries will be<br />

celebrating twenty years <strong>of</strong> exhibiting ceramics<br />

in <strong>2012</strong>. <strong>The</strong>re are a number <strong>of</strong> celebratory<br />

shows planned including a tile show with past<br />

members being asked to join in, and another<br />

bowl exhibition, Bowled Over Again, opening<br />

in September. Go to www.newcastlepotters.<br />

org for details.<br />

Further north, Julia Stewart made her mark with<br />

an exhibition, Fragile at Serpentine Gallery,<br />

Lismore. Julia's delicate work was made using<br />

cellulose fibre to create moulded porcelain pots.<br />

<strong>The</strong> decline <strong>of</strong> bat habitats and resultant disease<br />

issues are described in the extremely fine slipcast<br />

strawberry figs. Octo babies continued the<br />

environmental theme in the work <strong>of</strong> Advanced<br />

Diploma student Cynthia Manietta where 25 cast<br />

baby-faced octopi seemingly spread themselves<br />

like star fish taking over everything in their way<br />

(population growth). Taking this theme further,<br />

Cynthia 'tagged' 36 muscles like endangered<br />

species and printed an image <strong>of</strong> dead fish into<br />

bowls. Jenny Moore, another TAFE graduate,<br />

posed theological questions on slipcast vases<br />

with biblical texts from Genesis on one side, and<br />

images <strong>of</strong> Charles Darwin on the other,<br />

A highly successful commission for a 16th<br />

century European-inspired bar, measuring 1<br />

metre high by 10.2 metres long, has been<br />

fabricated by Jane Randall-Smith and is a fine<br />

example <strong>of</strong> more than 680 handmade tiles<br />

illustrating a bounteous Basket <strong>of</strong> Fruit inspired<br />

by Carravagio and Sleeping Dog by Gerrit Dou.<br />

<strong>The</strong> bar complements the other crafted elements<br />

in this Spanish bodega-style restaurant, Rustica,<br />

overlooking Newcastle Beach.<br />

PS Great exhibition at Manly!<br />

Sue Stewart<br />

E: sue@ceramicartist.com.au<br />

qld far north<br />

Cairns Potters Club (C PC) received an interesting<br />

exhibition report from Cairns Regional Gallery for<br />

Melting Pot 2011 , the 10th Biennial National<br />


Australia Wide<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> Exhibition held 29 July - 18 September.<br />

<strong>The</strong> exhibition had 8253 visitors, including 23<br />

school visits. <strong>The</strong>re were 336 comments in<br />

the visitors book -143 from overseas visitors,<br />

129 from interstate and 64 locals commenting<br />

positively on the pr<strong>of</strong>essional works and the<br />

excellent diversity <strong>of</strong> the display. <strong>The</strong> artist<br />

with most comments was Judy Richards with<br />

her work, Sisters Under <strong>The</strong> Skin . Of the 54<br />

exhibits (four from interstate), both ceramics and<br />

glass, 18 were sold, with the club earning 33%<br />

commission on sales. Despite the hard work, it<br />

appears to be well worth the effort as it helps<br />

people realise that creative ceramic artworks are<br />

still being made in the Cairns region and that the<br />

club is there to help all ceramic artists. Another<br />

National <strong>Ceramics</strong> Exhibition is planned for 2013<br />

with hopefully more participation from interstate<br />

artists. For more information, go to<br />

www.cairnspottersclub.net.<br />

Lone White<br />

E: lone@tpg.com.au<br />

qld south east<br />

<strong>The</strong> Gold Coast Potter's Association has a new<br />

website, www.goldcoastpotters.com. as well<br />

as a Facebook page. Our annual fundraising<br />

Empty Bowls event is on in June and we would<br />

appreciate donations <strong>of</strong> ceramic works for our<br />

online worldwide auction! Every cent raised from<br />

the auction goes to feeding the homeless and<br />

needy. Contact Lyn via email, romeo-whisky@<br />

bigpond.com, for details.<br />

Congratulations to Megan Puis, winner <strong>of</strong><br />

the Bribie Potters' Clay Creations 13th annual<br />

competition and exhibition for Best Wheel<br />

Thrown Work.<br />

After joining fifty selected ceramic artists<br />

worldwide in Ganjin, Korea in 2011, Michaela<br />

Kloeckner has now been invited to the Ceramic<br />

Symposium to be held in Switzerland in May.<br />

Check it out at www.toepferschule.ch. Michaela<br />

has also been accepted to exhibit at the Pacific<br />

Rim International in Seattle in March.<br />

Kathryn Mitchell is a young emerging ceramic<br />

artist now based on the Gold Coast. W ith five<br />

stockists in OLD, selling at local arts markets, and<br />

her new online store, <strong>2012</strong> is set to be a busy<br />

year for Kathryn. She also exhibits at the GC<br />

Potters Gallery, Clay Art Benowa. Check her out<br />

at www.kathrynmitchellceramics.com. Together<br />

with Michaela Kloeckner, Kathryn will participate<br />

in <strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> Spain in June, a group show at<br />

19 KAREN Contemporary Artspace in Mermaid<br />

Beach; www.19karen.com.au.<br />

Nerang Respite clients (many with severe<br />

disabilities) recently won the Monte Lupo<br />

National Ceramic Art Award with their large clay<br />

mosaic mapping out the 'street where I live'.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir motto is terrific - We may not have it all<br />

together, but together we have it all. Well done!<br />

We mourn the passing <strong>of</strong> two much-loved art<br />

patrons. Ruth Lyons, who passed away recently<br />

aged 90, was the driving force behind the Gold<br />

Coast Arts Centre and the International Ceramic<br />

Art Award. Art identity and 'capitalist hippy' Di<br />

Searle passed away on 27 December. She did<br />

much to help many in the arts and crafts to<br />

establish their careers through her galleries and<br />

personal encouragement.<br />

Entries close for the 8th Gold Coast International<br />

Ceramic Art Award on Friday 15 June. Go to<br />

www.ceramicartaward.com for entry details.<br />

Happy potting, Lyn Rogers<br />

E: romeo-whisky@bigpond.com<br />

qld townsville<br />

<strong>2012</strong> is going to be a big year for the <strong>No</strong>rth<br />

OLD Potters' Association (NOPA). Our 40th year<br />

anniversary celebration coincides with hosting<br />

the Townsville Ceramic Awards 9-25 <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

<strong>2012</strong>, with Janet Mansfield as judge. A call for<br />

entries is now being advertised. Planning for<br />

workshops and building a soda kiln will ensure a<br />

memorable year ahead.<br />

On a less joyous note, NOPA received news<br />

that our local Barrier Reef TAFE is no longer<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering classes in ceramics and sculpture. This<br />

is particularly distressing as approximately five<br />

years ago, James Cook University, Townsville,<br />

ceased to <strong>of</strong>fer cerami cs. Early members <strong>of</strong> NOPA<br />

were instrumental in establishing the Certificate<br />

and Diploma courses at TAFE back in 1976. We<br />

are now liaising with the TAFE in an endeavour<br />

to continue delivering award ceramic classes<br />

through our workshop.<br />

Sharon Jewell<br />

E: sharon-jewell@hotmail.com<br />


Australia Wide<br />

sa<br />

JamFactory <strong>Ceramics</strong> Studio welcomes two new<br />

associates this year, Alison Smiles (after study<br />

in the UK) and Ulrica Trulsson, who has just<br />

completed a mentorship w it h Vipoo Srivilasa. <strong>The</strong><br />

ceramics studio also welcomes Peter Sharrock to<br />

the Indigenous Mentorship Program. He hopes to<br />

develop a range <strong>of</strong> slipcast work for retail as well<br />

new pieces for exhibition. <strong>The</strong> program gratefully<br />

acknowledges the assistance <strong>of</strong> ArtSA. Christina<br />

Gollan and Daisybell Virgin had pieces exhibited<br />

as part <strong>of</strong> the 2011 Indigenous Ceramic Art<br />

Award at the Shepparton Art Museum.<br />

February brought wonderful and highly<br />

anticipated exhibitions <strong>of</strong> new work to Adelaide.<br />

At BMGART, we enjoyed Stephen Bowers'<br />

Larks Tongues in Aspic and Simone Fraser's<br />

New Work, whilst at Jam Factory exhibitions by<br />

Penny Byrne, Art <strong>of</strong> the Possible, and Pippin<br />

Drysdale Desert Crossing featured. Tamara Hahn<br />

exhibited a new body <strong>of</strong> porcelain work called<br />

Connections in the JamFactory Atrium, and<br />

Angela Valamanesh will exhibit new work from<br />

26 <strong>April</strong> to 27 May at Greenaway Art Gallery.<br />

Preparations continue for what promises to be<br />

an enthralling and engaging <strong>2012</strong> <strong>Australian</strong><br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> Triennale (ACT) in Adelaide. See pages<br />

130-131 in this issue <strong>of</strong> JAC for details <strong>of</strong> the<br />

exhibitions on during the Trienniale.<br />

<strong>The</strong> JamFactory was abuzz with preparations<br />

for the <strong>Ceramics</strong> Auction to raise money to<br />

support the ACT. <strong>The</strong> night was a huge success<br />

with all platters selling. Thank you to all who<br />

painted a platter. Special thanks to Stephanie<br />

James-Manttan, Wayne McCara who organised<br />

the wonderful catering, Prue Venables, David<br />

Pedler and all the associates, members <strong>of</strong> the<br />

studio, and volunteers from UniSA, ACArts and<br />

JamFactory who donated their time. Thanks also<br />

to JamFactory and CraftSouth for their generous<br />

assistance, and Jeff M incham, most excellent MC<br />

for the night.<br />

Future SA reports will be written by Sophia<br />

Phillips. Please email Sophia with any news or<br />

updates; E: sophia@sophiaphillips.net<br />

tas<br />

Our annual exhibition last <strong>No</strong>vember was a<br />

great success - perhaps not in terms <strong>of</strong> sales<br />

but definitely in terms <strong>of</strong> the number, variety<br />

and quality <strong>of</strong> the exhibits. <strong>The</strong>re appears to be<br />

a general consensus that a themed exhibition<br />

works well. It was certainly a pleasure to read<br />

the individual artist statements alongside each<br />

exhibit, showing how each <strong>of</strong> us related to the<br />

.. Lasting Impression" theme. <strong>The</strong> Tasmanian<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> & Pottery Supplies Award for Excellence<br />

went to John Watson (yours truly) for Last<br />

Retreat. Derwent Ceramic Supplies Highly<br />

Commended Award for a functional ceramic<br />

work went to Cath Wyllie for Seascape. Derwent<br />

Ceramic Supplies Highly Commended Award for<br />

a non-functional ceramic work was awarded to<br />

Dawn Oakford for Vespers and the Artery award<br />

for the People's Choice went to Dorice Griffiths<br />

for Leaves.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Empty Bowls project was a great success,<br />

with 180 bowls made by polytechnic students<br />

and TCA members filling two tables. Four<br />

varieties <strong>of</strong> beautiful soup, made by ten chefs,<br />

filled the bowls and donations <strong>of</strong> bread, fruit<br />

and beautiful cello music made it more than just<br />

a bowl <strong>of</strong> soup. <strong>The</strong> ceramic component <strong>of</strong> the<br />

project was co-ordinated by Jude Maisch, one <strong>of</strong><br />

our long-serving committee members, and the<br />

event generated $3500 for the Save the Children<br />

East Africa Appeal and a local food service to<br />

homeless people.<br />

As I write, our workshop program is about to<br />

start with one from Michael Stephan, whose<br />

radical approach attracted much interest at last<br />

year's Woodfire Tasmania event. A visit to the<br />

studio <strong>of</strong> sculptor Stephen Walker is shortly to<br />

follow. Our annual exhibition this year will be an<br />

anniversary, entitled Forty Years in the Making.<br />

John Watson<br />

E: john@dmink.net<br />

vic<br />

It was exciting to see the quality and variety<br />

<strong>of</strong> work presented for the Stonehouse Gallery<br />

Tertiary Ceramic Student Encouragement<br />

Award in February <strong>2012</strong>. This is an annual<br />

award with two students from each Victorian<br />

tertiary institution selected to participate. Once<br />


Australia Wide<br />

again, Anna Maas was the judge and as well<br />

as speaking about the work at the opening.<br />

Anna spent time talking to and mentoring<br />

each student. <strong>The</strong> overall winner was Michelle<br />

Jackson. <strong>The</strong> award has been extended by the<br />

sponsorship <strong>of</strong> ceramics suppliers with awards<br />

for ceramics excellence going to Michael Barrett<br />

(Clayworks Award), Cinda Stevens (Potters<br />

Equipment Award), Marlize Myburgh (<strong>No</strong>rthcote<br />

Pottery Award), Tania Jeffery and Helen Plesar<br />

(Tetlow Kilns and Furnaces Awards), Matthew<br />

Briscoe (GE&GE Kilns Award) and Jacqui-Rae Cai<br />

(Walker <strong>Ceramics</strong> Award).<br />

<strong>The</strong> Pottery Expos at Federation Square and<br />

Warrandyte have proven to be great selling<br />

venues <strong>of</strong>fering excellent exposure for Vidorian<br />

and visiting potters. <strong>The</strong> Federation Square<br />

Expo in December was well attended, sales<br />

were good and it was a great opportunity to<br />

interad with the buying public, both new visitors<br />

and many return customers. Several tertiary<br />

colleges showcased their students work and<br />

a number <strong>of</strong> students had their own displays.<br />

Holmesglen TAFE graduating students took the<br />

opportunity to exhibit their final folio <strong>of</strong> work.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Warrandyte Expo on the riverbank at the end<br />

<strong>of</strong> February is a completely different, but highly<br />

successful venue. Held over two days it has more<br />

<strong>of</strong> a festival atmosphere with visitors enjoying the<br />

music, adivities and the walk along the river.<br />

A ceramics exhibition, <strong>The</strong>n and <strong>No</strong>w, to<br />

be held in the Whitehorse Art Space, w ill run<br />

through March to 14 <strong>April</strong>. Curated by guest<br />

curator Sue McFarland, the exhibition will<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>ile the development <strong>of</strong> creative pradice by<br />

ceramicists represented in <strong>The</strong> City <strong>of</strong> Whitehorse<br />

and <strong>Ceramics</strong> Vidoria Colledions. For more<br />

information, go to www.boxhilltownhall.com.au .<br />

<strong>The</strong> Studio @ Flinders is calling for expressions <strong>of</strong><br />

interest for their winter and spring exhibitions.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir Melbourne Annual Easter Teapot<br />

Exhibition will run from 31 March to 22 <strong>April</strong>.<br />

If you would like to participate in the exhibition,<br />

email art@studi<strong>of</strong>linders.com.<br />

Glenn England<br />

E: glennenglan@optusnet.com.au<br />

wa<br />

In the pre-Christmas weeks, the ceramics<br />

community was full tilt. Guildford Village Potters<br />

celebrated their 3D-year history with a lovely<br />

exhibition, including work by Carol Watson,<br />

Cathy Day, Helen Whitehead, Val Paton, Bernie<br />

Wakefield, Anne Fowler and Helen Dundo.<br />

Similarly, Clay Feet marked their tenth year with<br />

a show at the Old Bakery Gallery, Maylands,<br />

opened by founding member, Andrea Vinkovic,<br />

with work by former and current members -<br />

such as Jillian Archibald, Elaine Bradley, Pauline<br />

Mann, Narda McMahon and Gill Treichel.<br />

Fremantle Art Centre's big weekend annual<br />

Christmas event, Bazaar, included the CMWA<br />

stall with Sandra Black, Cher Shackleton, Di Sigel,<br />

Sheryl Chant, Jackie Masters, Natalie Adon and<br />

Greg Crowe. Other CMWA folk with stalls were<br />

Pip Gordon, Stewart and Trish Scambler, Fleur<br />

Schell, Karen Davey, Njalikwa Chongwe and<br />

Mel Sharpham. In December, numerous artists<br />

opened their studios with great success - Sandra<br />

Black, Janis Heston, Cher Shackleton and Stewart<br />

Scambler among them, one comparing the bustle<br />

to 'the running <strong>of</strong> the bulls' on occasion - not at<br />

all a bad complaint!<br />

Stewart Scambler has been working on the<br />

restoration <strong>of</strong> the Joan Campbell bollards (local<br />

Fremantle landmarks). <strong>The</strong> projed includes glaze<br />

matching and remaking a quantity <strong>of</strong> tiles.<br />

<strong>The</strong> CMWA committee is preparing for the<br />

hotly anticipated POTober in Odober <strong>2012</strong> with<br />

guests Malina Monks, Merran Esson and Royce<br />

McGlashen, plus a smorgasbord <strong>of</strong> local talent.<br />

Curtin University has finally closed leaving WA<br />

with no university degree courses including<br />

ceramics, apart from units for trainee teachers<br />

at ECU . Some Curtin equipment was donated to<br />

Fremantle Arts Centre for the new ceramic studio<br />

to open there in <strong>2012</strong>.<br />

Jenny Dawson received two major commissions<br />

for ceramic murals, one in Port Hedland (for<br />

Rio Tinto), the other for Maddington railway<br />

station in Perth. Both projeds were created in<br />

collaboration with Indigenous artist Sandra Hill.<br />

Elaine Bradley<br />

E: lalab@iinet.net.au<br />


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SA<br />

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north terrace adelaide<br />

bamfurlong gallery<br />

main st hahndorf<br />

browns <strong>of</strong> burnside<br />

shop 7/447 portrush rd glenside<br />

the pug mill<br />

17arosest mile end<br />

TAS<br />

derwent ceramic supplies<br />

16b sunderland st moonah<br />

VIC<br />

artisan books<br />

159 gertrude st fitzroy<br />

avenue bookstore<br />

127 dundas place albert park<br />

bendigo art gallery<br />

42 view st bendigo<br />

brunswick bound<br />

361 sydney rd brunswick<br />

clayworks<br />

6 johnston crt dandenong<br />

craft victoria<br />

31 flinders lane melbourne<br />

macedon ranges potters<br />

33 yellow gum blvd sunbury<br />

national gallery <strong>of</strong> victoria<br />

180 st kilda rd melbourne<br />

new leaves<br />

cnr anslow and collier SlS woodend<br />

northcote pottery supplies<br />

142-144 weslon st brunswick east<br />

potier<br />

29 mills st albert park<br />

potters equipment<br />

13142 new st ringwood<br />

readings books<br />

309 Iygon st carlton<br />

readings books<br />

112 aeland st st kilda<br />

red hill south newsagency<br />

shoreham rd red hill south<br />

rmit bookshop<br />

330 swanston st melbourne<br />

shepparton art gallery<br />

70 welsford st shepparton<br />

the brunswick street bookstore<br />

305 brunswick <strong>51</strong> fitzroy<br />

WA<br />

fremantle arts centre<br />

1 finnerty 5t fremantle<br />

geraldton regional art gallery<br />

24 chapman rd geraldton<br />

graham hay<br />

robertson park artists studio<br />

northbridge<br />

jacksons ceramics<br />

shop 4, 30erindale rd balcatta<br />

perth institute <strong>of</strong> contemporary<br />

art<br />

perth cultural centre james street<br />

northbridge<br />

potters market<br />

56stockdalerd o'connor<br />


lopdell house gallery<br />

418 titirangi rd waitakere city<br />


Please contact the <strong>of</strong>fice if you<br />

have a suggestion for a new<br />

stockist; T: 1300 720 124<br />

E: mail@australianceramics.com<br />


Books & DVDs<br />

OntheShelf<br />

More books are available on www.australianceramics.com<br />

1. <strong>The</strong> Art <strong>of</strong> Woodfire<br />

- A Contemporary<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> Practice<br />

by Owen Rye<br />

This book illustrates the<br />

work <strong>of</strong> more than 24<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> ceramic artists.<br />

Owen Rye discusses his<br />

perspective on woodfiring,<br />

its technical<br />

aspects and the aesthetic<br />

possibilities.<br />

AU <strong>51</strong>10<br />

2. Slab Techniques by Ian<br />

Marsh and Jim Robison<br />

Covers all the basics. such as<br />

making your slabs, joining<br />

techniques, simple building<br />

methods. use <strong>of</strong> supports,<br />

creating textures, decorating<br />

with slips and ways to avoid<br />

disasters during firing.<br />

AU 539.95<br />

3. Introducing Pottery<br />

<strong>The</strong> Complete Guide<br />

by Dan Rhode<br />

OHers a complete course<br />

in pottery, explaining all<br />

you need to know to get<br />

started from where clay<br />

is found to preparation<br />

for use and in·depth<br />

description <strong>of</strong> methods <strong>of</strong><br />

making.<br />

AU 545<br />

4. A Potter looks for God:<br />

<strong>The</strong> Energy <strong>of</strong> Evolution<br />

by Bernard Sahm<br />

Hardback; 215 pages; 8&W<br />

and colour illustrations; A<br />

series <strong>of</strong> essays which tackle<br />

some <strong>of</strong> the deep spiritual<br />

questions, along with his views<br />

about human beings accepting<br />

personal responsibility for their<br />

actions.<br />

AU 530<br />

GLAZES<br />

co ....<br />

tIW C/DIW '<br />

DVD<br />

DVD<br />

5. <strong>The</strong> Electric Kiln<br />

by Harry Fraser<br />

Written tor the craft<br />

potter, studio, amateur, or<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional, this book is<br />

a comprehensive guide to<br />

the selection. installation,<br />

use and maintenance <strong>of</strong><br />

electric kilns in studios<br />

and schools.<br />

AU 539.95<br />

6. Glazes Cone 6<br />

by Michael Bailey<br />

This illustrated book<br />

provides many base glaze<br />

recipes for the popular<br />

temperature 1220-1240"(<br />

and ranging from shiny<br />

to matt tt explores the<br />

chemistry behind glaze<br />

formulation, special effects<br />

glazes, single firing and<br />

brush·on glazes.<br />

AU S40<br />

7. <strong>The</strong> Leach Pottery<br />

1952<br />

OVO, 32 minutes.<br />

B&W with narration by<br />

American potter Warren<br />

Mackenzie; 17 minutes<br />

<strong>of</strong> bonus footage taken<br />

at the pottery in 1952;<br />

14 page booklet by Shoji<br />

Hamada.<br />

AU S40<br />


ITEM; lD 2D 3D 4D sD 6D 7D sD<br />

8. Ben Richardson •<br />

Fire Works OVD and<br />

booklet<br />

This DVD and 38 page<br />

booklet. published in<br />

<strong>April</strong> 2010, examines,<br />

challenges and celebrates<br />

Ben Richardson'S<br />

dedication to making<br />

site·specific. wood· fired<br />

ceramics; 24.5 minutes.<br />

AU 545<br />

All prices include GST and postage<br />

within Australia.<br />

Name __________________________ __ Address ___________ _____ _<br />

_______________________________________<br />

Postcode _______ Count/)' ____________ _<br />

Phone _______________________ Email _____________________________________ _<br />

Cheque (AUI on~) D MasterCard D Visa D<br />

Card Number DDDD DDDD DDDD DDDD<br />

Expiry Date D D D D Total 1 ____<br />


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> CeramICs ASSOCIation<br />

PO Box 27d Waverley NSV~ 2024<br />

T 1300 no 124, E rnail@a ... stra!'='HlCNdrr"c"com<br />

.v\'vv. austral d('!(t."faml(~ com

Classifieds<br />



By using state <strong>of</strong> the art digital printing technology, Decal<br />

Specialists can produce high quality Custom Ceramic Decals<br />

from original artwork. <strong>The</strong> decorative possibilities with<br />

Custom Decals are only limited by your imagination!<br />

Check out our website: www.decalspecialists.com.au<br />

T: 1300 132 771: E: enquiries@decalspecialists.com.au<br />


Sydney inner city pottery supplies: Keane's Clay - discount<br />

on 5 bagsll0+ bags; Southern Ice Porcelain; Museum Gel;<br />

Chinese Decals; Wide range <strong>of</strong> tools, glazes, underglazes;<br />

Kerrie Lowe Gallery, 49 King St, Newtown 2042<br />

T: 02 95504433 E: lowekerrie@gmail.com; Mon to Sat,<br />

lOam - 5.30 pm; Thurs until 7 pm.<br />


<strong>No</strong>rthcote Pottery Supplies sells a range <strong>of</strong> quality pottery<br />

materials including clay. glaze, tools and equipment for<br />

the student, hobbyist and pr<strong>of</strong>essional. We run a range<br />

<strong>of</strong> classes and workshops for those interested in furthering<br />

their skill and knowtedge in ceramics. We oHer a firing<br />

service, studio access and residency program, as well as<br />

housing SMALLpieces, a space showcasing contemporary<br />

<strong>Australian</strong> ceramics. 142-144 Weston Street Brunswick East<br />

3057; T: 03 9387 3911; F: 03 93874011<br />

www.northcotepottelY.com.au<br />


Gold Coast China Painting Supplies is one <strong>of</strong> Australia's<br />

largest suppliers <strong>of</strong> china painting products. We supply<br />

on-glaze paints, painting mediums, lustres, gold, brushes,<br />

tools and specialty decals. Please contact Sandra to discuss<br />

requirements, technical information or to request a full<br />

product listing; T: 07 5597 0859; E: sandra@goldcoastchina.<br />

com.au; lNWW.goldcoastchina.com.au<br />


Quality supplies and friendly service; A wide range <strong>of</strong> clays<br />

and colours, kilns, wheels. slab rollers, pug mills, extruders,<br />

all sorts <strong>of</strong> accessories, materials, glazes and tools.<br />

Shop 13/42 New St, Ringwood VIC 3134<br />

T: 03 9870 7533; F: 03 9847 0793<br />


Sound technical adVice. kiln repairs and maintenance;<br />

Clayworks', Walker's and Keane's clay; pottery equipment<br />

and tools; delivelY to your door; short courses and regular<br />

specialist workshops; friendly personal service.<br />

Potters Neecs Gallery, 75 Curtis St, Oberon NSW 2787<br />

T: 02 6336 041 1; F: 02 63360898; M: 0418982 837<br />

E: info@pottersneeds.com.au; .WWW.pottersneeds.com.au<br />


One <strong>of</strong> Australia'S most experienced kiln and furnace<br />

manu-faourers; Australia's largest range with 40 standard<br />

sizes, custom sizes on request; Clean, efficient electric and<br />

gas kilns and furnaces; made in Australia. environmentally<br />

friendly. 12 George St, Blackburn VIC 3130<br />

T: +61 (0)39877 4188; F: +61 (0)398941974<br />

E: info@tetlow.com.au; WVIIW.tetlow.com.au<br />


All underglazes at one low price <strong>of</strong> S32.45 per 500ml bottle,<br />

including Bright Rocket Red. We stock over 150 different<br />

coloured Chrysanthos underglazes, one strokes and Cafe<br />

colours as well as a stunning range <strong>of</strong> Fantasy Crystal Glazes.<br />

All products are lead free and suitable for school use. Please<br />

contact us for a colour chart; 17 A Rose St, Mile End, SA<br />

5031; T: 08 8443 4544; E: pugmill@pugmill.com.au;<br />

'NWIAI.pugmill.com.au.<br />

_<br />


Manufacturers and exporters <strong>of</strong> high quality pottery<br />

equipment. Venco manufacture a range <strong>of</strong> pug mills with<br />

output capacities, suitable for schools and studios through<br />

to high capacity industrial units. Venco pottery wheels are<br />

world regarded for quality and reliability.<br />

T: +61 (0)893995265; F: +61 (0)894971335;<br />

WI/IMI.venco.com.au<br />


A full range <strong>of</strong> ceramic supplies - clays, glazes, colours, raw<br />

materials, tools, brushes, equipment, kilns. wheels. books<br />

and kiln furniture. We are manufacturers <strong>of</strong> Walker Ceram·<br />

ies, Feeneys Clay and Cesco clays. glazes and colours. Go to<br />

our website for full product information including methods<br />

<strong>of</strong> use, application and faults and remedies, our Pottery &<br />

Ceramic Handbook. Melbourne price list, Canberra price list<br />

and Feeneys Clay price list. At Walker <strong>Ceramics</strong> and Feeneys<br />

Clay, our aim is to use. from <strong>Australian</strong> sources, the best<br />

quality raw materials to produce our own range <strong>of</strong> bodies,<br />

glazes and colours for all aspects <strong>of</strong> ceramic production.<br />

Walker <strong>Ceramics</strong> and Feeneys Clay, m 1 Research Drive,<br />

Croydon South VIC 3136; T: 03 B761 6322; f : 038761<br />

6344; Toll free : 1800 692 529/1 BOOOZCLAY; E: sales@<br />

walkerceramics.com.au. orders@v.Jalkerceramics.com.au<br />

www.walkerceramics.com.au<br />

GROUPS<br />


Come and join uS at one <strong>of</strong> our monthly meetings where we<br />

invite guest demonstrators covering a range <strong>of</strong> aspects relat·<br />

jng to clay. Become a member and gain access to our library<br />

<strong>of</strong>fering up-ta-date books, magazines and DVDs, plus our<br />

woodfired kiln at Oxford falls. We publish a monthly newsletter<br />

and we are an ideal forum for experienced potters, as<br />

well as beginners and students wishing to learn more and<br />

network; E: csgsecretary@hotmail.com<br />

www.ceramicstudygroup.org.au<br />



ceramic mass production and artworks. Ceramic design<br />

service also available. Contact Somchai T: 02 9703 2557<br />

M: 0401 359 126; E: eatandclay@gmail.com<br />



Banksias to Beach Arts Festival July <strong>2012</strong><br />

Our biennial Arts Festival is happening once again from 14<br />

- 29 July. A list <strong>of</strong> tutors and timetables is available on our<br />

website. All who participated in our first festival in 2010 had<br />

nothing but praise for this exciting event. For more details.<br />

phone: 07 3408 9288, email: festival@bribieartcentre.com.<br />

au or www.bribieartcentre.com.au<br />

THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 143

TOWNSVILLE CERAMIC AWARDS <strong>2012</strong><br />

Entries are invited to the Townsville Open Awards to be<br />

exhibited at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville 9-25 <strong>No</strong>vember<br />

<strong>2012</strong>. Award, to the value <strong>of</strong> S I 0,000, with a major<br />

award <strong>of</strong> S5,000 to be judged by Janel Mansfield. Closing<br />

date for entries is 8 Odober <strong>2012</strong>.<br />

E: nqldpotters@yahoo.com.au<br />


Join a growing group <strong>of</strong> artisans and gain access to more<br />

customers online. <strong>The</strong> WHG website works like a digital col~<br />

our magazine with your website, email, postal address and<br />

phone numbers so customers can contad you direct. Introductory<br />

<strong>of</strong>fer: S250 per year, includes 4 product images and<br />

40 words; contact Phillip on 0417 580 658; E: wildgrain@<br />

hotmail.com; www.wildgrainhandmadegallery.com.au<br />



Providing ceramic artists with digital and traditional<br />

photographic imagery, as well as graphic design to print or<br />

eledronic media; an Associate AIPP (<strong>Australian</strong> Institute <strong>of</strong><br />

Pr<strong>of</strong>essional Photographers) with over 30 years experience<br />

in various advertising, corporate and government projects;<br />

previously (for eleven years) inaugural manager <strong>of</strong> the<br />

photographic/multimedia unit at the Powerhouse Museum in<br />

Sydney; Drummeyne NSW 2047; T: 02 9181 11 88<br />

M: 041 1 107744; E: greg@gregpiper.com.au<br />

www.gregpiper.com.au<br />



Affordable, designed for structural integrity, lightweight;<br />

also for hire. Roger Fenton, St Ives NSW<br />

T: 02 9488 8628; F: 02 9440 1212; M: 04 17 443 414<br />



at Moonshill, Tarago, near Goulburn<br />

26 & 27 M ay <strong>2012</strong> (Sat & Sun) - Saggar and Smoke: two<br />

related one day workshops; low temperature fi rings tor s<strong>of</strong>t<br />

and ,ubtle colours; S88 for one day, $165 for both.<br />

800kings are essential. Contact Jane, T: 02 6161 0806<br />

E: janecrkk,@dodo.com.au; www.janecrick.netfirms.com<br />


Classes for beginners to advanced with Gary Healey<br />

clay/projects chosen to ,uit skill levels; Balwyn, Victoria<br />

TIf: 03 98 163012; E: ashglazes@gmail.com<br />

www.garyhealey.com<br />



ClaY'<strong>No</strong>rkers invite all former members <strong>of</strong> the cooperative<br />

to join in a celebration <strong>of</strong> 30 years <strong>of</strong> making and selling<br />

ceramics. <strong>The</strong> exhibition will be held 30 Oct - 2S <strong>No</strong>v ' 12<br />

Cnr St Johns Rd and Darghan St, Glebe NSW 2037<br />

TIf: 02 9692 9717; www.clayworkers.com.au<br />


Contemporary <strong>Australian</strong> ceramics and pottery supplies<br />

located in inner city Sydney. <strong>The</strong> gallery features functional<br />

ware, vessels, sculpture and jewellery by emerging and<br />

pr<strong>of</strong>essional ceramic artists; 49-<strong>51</strong> King <strong>51</strong>. Newtown NSW<br />

2042; E: lowekerrie@gmail.com, V\fV\I\N.kerrielowe.com<br />



<strong>The</strong> Diploma <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> is a skills-based course delivered<br />

by specialist staff in a well resourced studio. Studies in<br />

all aspects <strong>of</strong> ceramic process and design, and first hand<br />

experience with firing a wide variety <strong>of</strong> kilns, as well as<br />

diverse arts business strategies. provides students with<br />

a solid foundation from which they can build careers as<br />

independent arts practitioners. Contact Judith Roberts,<br />

T: 03 9212 5398; E: judith.roberts@chisholm.edu.au<br />


Holmesglen Chadstone Campus; Diploma <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> scope and vision <strong>of</strong> our Diploma <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Course at<br />

Holmesglen is to prepare students for a career in ceramic art<br />

We provide a pr<strong>of</strong>esSional, well equipped studio environment<br />

and the staff are recognized, practiSing artists. Our aim<br />

is to inspire individual development and encourage ongoing<br />

levels <strong>of</strong> inquiry.<br />

Kim Martin, Course Coordinator <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> and Visual Arts,<br />

T: 03 9564 1942; www.holmesglen.edu.au<br />


Newcastle Art School <strong>of</strong>fers a range <strong>of</strong> flexibly delivered<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> programs. All aspects <strong>of</strong> ceramics are explored -<br />

technical, practical and theoretical, and individual learning<br />

programs are developed for each student Dedicated staff<br />

include Paul Davis, Sue Stewart, Helen Dunkerley and Jo<br />

Davies, all pr<strong>of</strong>essional exhibiting ceramists.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Department has well equipped studios, a<br />

gallery and specialist library on site. <strong>The</strong> campus is located in<br />

the cultural precinct and is within walking distance <strong>of</strong> seven<br />

galleries. See WWIN.newcastleartschool.com.au. Contact Sue<br />

Stewart, heather.f.stewart@tafe.nsw.edu.au or Paul Davis,<br />

paul.davis42@tafe.nsw.edu.au<br />


<strong>Ceramics</strong> as a major study is <strong>of</strong>fered on the Bendigo campus<br />

in the Bachelor <strong>of</strong> Visual Arts course at La Trobe Visual Arts &<br />

Design. Honours is <strong>of</strong>fered to high achieving students wishing<br />

to develop their practice to an advanced level,<br />

allowing entry into post graduate Masters or PhD by<br />

research within ceramics. Contact Tony Conway,<br />

T: 03 5444 7217; E: a.conwayClatrobe.edu.au<br />


Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma Courses in<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong>. Courses require application.<br />

Enquiries: John Stewart, T: 02 6623 02t8<br />

E: john.stewart@tafensw.edu.au<br />


Hornsby and <strong>No</strong>rthern Beaches College <strong>of</strong>fer accredited<br />

qualifications from Certificate to Advanced Diploma levels as<br />

well as short specialist programs for both the beginner and<br />

advanced ceramicists. For more information,<br />

E: nsi.ceramics@tafensw.edu.au. For general course and<br />

program enquiries call 131 674 or go to<br />

WtNW.nsLtafensw.edu.au<br />


Certificate and Diploma courses in ceramics - full and<br />

part-time attendance; now <strong>of</strong>fering Advanced Diploma<br />

online. enr Kingswayand Hotham Road, Gymea NSW<br />

T: 02 9710 5001; F: 02 9710 5026<br />

vvvwv.sit.nsw.edu . aulceramic~gymea<br />

' 44<br />


<strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Tri .....<br />

Adelaide, South

Congratulations<br />

Staff and students <strong>of</strong> Chisholm Institute Diploma <strong>of</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> congratulate<br />

JAC for 50 years <strong>of</strong> support for the ceramic arts. Students have been inspired<br />

by the rich parade <strong>of</strong> images and articles. We also appreciate the particular<br />

support for emerging artists. through the publication <strong>of</strong> education practice<br />

around the country. www.chisholm.vic.edu.au<br />

•<br />

'.<br />

<strong>Australian</strong><br />

National<br />

University<br />

Great informative articles<br />

and <strong>of</strong>fering wonderful<br />

support to <strong>Australian</strong><br />

ceramicists for 50 years.<br />

Thank you! from the<br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> Workshop @ ANU<br />

www.anu.edu.au<br />


50 years - a proud achievement, congratulations!<br />

www.bennettsmagillpottery.com.au<br />


<strong>The</strong> only ceramics magazine dedicated to <strong>Australian</strong> ceramicists.<br />

Keep up the good work!<br />

www.blackwattle.net.au<br />


GROUP Inc.<br />

Congratulations JAC on your 50th year<br />

<strong>of</strong> giving clayaholics their regular shot <strong>of</strong><br />

enthusiasm, inspiration and information .<br />

www.ceramicstudygroup.org.au<br />

A superb publication -<br />

well done on turning 50!<br />

Keeping ceramics alive and exciting -<br />

all the very best to JAC!<br />

www.decalspecialists.com.au<br />

www.sit.nsw.edu.au/ceramics.gymea<br />

ALL<br />

HAND<br />

MADE<br />

GALLE RY<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong><br />

<strong>Ceramics</strong> has played a valuable<br />

part in showcasing <strong>Australian</strong><br />

studio ceramics over the last<br />

50 years. Well done to all. from<br />

Helen Stephens !<br />

holmesg en<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> is an inspiration<br />

to teachers and students alike.<br />

Well done!<br />

www.holmesglen.edu.au<br />


Fantastic achievement! All the<br />

best for the future.<br />

www.japancrafts.com.au<br />

www.allhandmadegallery.com<br />

146 THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

---------<br />

Congratulations<br />


Congratulations to Vicki and her team for a wonderful publication that has improved over the years, and gets<br />

better and better. Well done to all! I appreciate being part <strong>of</strong> that team when high quality photography is<br />

required.<br />

www.gregpiper.com.au<br />

KEANE<br />


What a milestone!<br />

Congratulations to all who<br />

have worked so hard over<br />

the many years to keep the<br />

magazine alive and kicking for<br />

us all to enjoy.<br />

www.keaneceramics.com.au<br />



Consistently and superbly<br />

showcasing ceramics -<br />

well done'<br />

www.kerrielowe.com<br />

Many thanks for 50 years <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramic education. Looking<br />

forward to the next 50!<br />

www.latrobe.edu.au<br />

ooaD DO<br />

0 OO~ Congratulations on your huge<br />

Gallery achievement and all the very best from<br />

our team to yours, cheers!<br />

www.manningham.vic.gov.au/gallery<br />

.:::=' ,.,=11<br />

• ••••• 100."1 I;OUT<br />

••••• UI."IUll1<br />

Top class achievement! Keep up the good work.<br />

www.northcoast.tafensw.edu.au<br />

Thanks for 50 great years <strong>of</strong><br />

support and congratulations<br />

from the <strong>Ceramics</strong><br />

Department, National Art<br />

School.<br />

www.nas.edu.au<br />

•<br />

~<br />

·;.;..:Discoveringltaly _<br />

Congratulations to <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> on 50<br />

years <strong>of</strong> fantastic eHorts to<br />

educate, conned and document<br />

the ceramic community in<br />

Australia!<br />

www.planetfurniture.(om.au<br />

Congratulations on 50<br />

fabulous years! <strong>The</strong> world <strong>of</strong><br />

ceramics lives on with your<br />

journal.<br />

www.porthackingpotters.<br />

blog.pot.com<br />

VICTOR<br />


Discovering Italy is very pleased<br />

to be able to congratulate JAC<br />

on 50 fabulous years.<br />

www.victorgreenaway.com<br />


Congratulations<br />

-----<br />

During the last 26 years <strong>of</strong> your 50 we have taken many <strong>Australian</strong> ceramic<br />

artisans to meet fellow artists in Japan and Burma and we look forward to helping<br />

you get behind the scenes on future tours.<br />

www.toursgallery.com<br />

~- ~-i:~ sa b b i a ga l I e ry<br />

Sabbia would like to wish<br />

everyone at <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> heart<br />

felt congratulations on<br />

the amazing achievement<br />

<strong>of</strong> 50 years <strong>of</strong> quality and<br />

important publishing.<br />

www.sabbiagallery.com<br />

Potters<br />

Needs<br />

Congratulations! Your<br />

magazine has played an<br />

important role in the ceramics<br />

community over the last 50<br />

years.<br />

www.pottersneeds.com.au<br />

Happy Birthday from one<br />

great team to another.<br />

www.pugmill.com.au<br />


<strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> - the place to be seen!<br />

Congratulations!<br />

T: 08 9337 6888; E: julie@thepottersmarket.com.au<br />

O'Connor, Western Australia<br />

Congratulations to the <strong>Journal</strong><br />

on reaching such an important<br />

milestone - those 50 years plot<br />

so much <strong>of</strong> Australia's craft<br />

history.<br />

www.sturt.nsw.edu.au<br />

Congratulations on your 50th anniversary and continuing support <strong>of</strong><br />

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www.5uncoastclayworkers.org.au<br />

TctIO\\ Kilns<br />

& I-urnaccs 1_11_1<br />

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Congratulations JAC on all<br />

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CENTRE<br />

To all the team and<br />

contributors over the years -<br />

WELL DONE!<br />

www.workshoparts.org.au<br />

BON<br />



TOURS<br />

congratulates <strong>The</strong> <strong>Journal</strong><br />

<strong>of</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> for<br />

50 years <strong>of</strong> informing and<br />

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148 THE 10URNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRIL <strong>2012</strong>

quality pottery supplies and services<br />

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Join us in<br />

Congratulating<br />

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<strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong><br />

on their<br />

50th Anniversary<br />

Manufacture, Sales, Service & Spares<br />

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THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRIL <strong>2012</strong> 1<strong>51</strong>


At Perc Tucker RegIOnal Gallery, 9-25 <strong>No</strong>v 20 12<br />

Celebrating 40 yea" <strong>of</strong> the NO Polle,,' As,n Inc<br />

Olih-ChiHSU<br />

(IItMn) A dweII;ns<br />

in irI/inire txi8h&lef$<br />

Up to $5,000 in acquisitions :::= ..........<br />

Entry form .. availablf' nnw<br />

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Entfies AST '35 Bunda" Rd Sun"" _ Q 42' 7<br />

OTY 07 558' 6567<br />

gaIIeryOtheart:SCenlregc.com.au<br />

GALLERY www.theartscen"egc.oom.au<br />

Entries ore invited to the Townsville Open Awards<br />

Judged by Janet Mansfield<br />

Award" $10,000<br />

Closing dote for entries, 8 October <strong>2012</strong><br />

Entry forms available from<br />

<strong>No</strong>rth Queensland Potters' Assn Inc<br />

PO Box 5033, Townsville, QId 4810<br />

e. nqldpotters@yahoo.com.au<br />

t . (07) 4771 5044 Or (07) 4724 3827<br />

152 THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

<strong>Ceramics</strong> I Production I Design<br />

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in our purpose built facility.<br />

This program qualifies you to work as a studio<br />

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Contact us today<br />

1800 811711<br />

www.baliarat.edu.au cRlcos P ........... <strong>No</strong>.oo103o<br />

University <strong>of</strong> Ballarat<br />

Learn to succeed<br />


Until 17 <strong>April</strong> <strong>2012</strong><br />


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T: 02 9550 4433 F: 02 9550 1996<br />

E: lowekerrie@gmail.com<br />

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Mon - Sat lOam - 5.30pm Thurs until 7pm<br />

Join <strong>The</strong> Austranan <strong>Ceramics</strong> Association<br />

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Kiln repairs. maintenance and<br />

restoration by Ian <strong>The</strong>yers.<br />

a licensed industrial electrician<br />

Sound technical advice<br />

Friendly personal service<br />

Wonderful range <strong>of</strong> clays­<br />

Clayworks, Walkers and Keanes<br />

Pottery equipment and tools<br />

Short pottery courses<br />

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New exhibition space -<br />

Potters Needs Gallery<br />

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Potters Needs is operated by<br />

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Potters<br />

Needs<br />

O Uke<br />


NEW <strong>No</strong>.3<br />

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0· - ..<br />

venco<br />

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cliMn work tables and seat also available<br />


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training facilities<br />

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Beginners and<br />

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<strong>The</strong> facilities include:<br />

> Raku kilns<br />

> natural gas and LPG kilns<br />

> electric kilns<br />

> wood fired kilns<br />

> an extra large trolley kiln for sculptural work<br />

Courses include:<br />

> Nationally accredited qualifications<br />

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> NSI's open studio practice provides access to the NSI studios<br />

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<strong>No</strong>rthern Beaches College<br />

154 Old Pittwater Road, Brookvale NSW 2100<br />

For more information about the ceramics training facilities<br />

and services available, email: nsi.ceramics@t afensw.edu.au<br />

For general cour~~ , a.np program enquiries:<br />

Call 131 674 or gO'fo www.nsLtaf ensw.edu.au

COLOURS Rockwood Pigments, Cesco,<br />

Walker <strong>Ceramics</strong>, Clayworks, Deco,<br />

Chrysanthos CLAYS<br />

Bendigo, Bennetts,<br />

Blackwattle, Clayworks, Feeneys, Keanes,<br />

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wheels, slab roliers,<br />

ACCESSORIES Brushes, corks,<br />

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THE IOURNAl OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMICS APRil <strong>2012</strong> 157

CLAYS<br />

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Southern Ice, Walker<br />


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•• . -<br />


•<br />

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Venco wheels, pug mills, slab rollers, Talisman sieves, raku tongs<br />


30 years potting experience FREE catalogue & price list<br />



T: 02 9829 5555 F: 02 9829 6055 Mon - Fri, 8am - 4pm Sat, 9am - 12pm<br />

www.blackwattle.net.au<br />

...................... , .................. ..... ................................................ ................................................ ....... .


A Division <strong>of</strong> Cronulla School <strong>of</strong> Arts Inc.<br />

50th Anniversary <strong>of</strong> the<br />

Port Hacking Potters Group<br />

presents the<br />

Inga Svendsen<br />

47th National Pottery Competition and Exhibition<br />

at the Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and Arts Centre<br />

Gymea NSW<br />

22 September - 3 October <strong>2012</strong><br />

To be judged by Greg Daly<br />

For entry forms and information:<br />

PO Box 71 Miranda 1490 T: 0407 229 1<strong>51</strong><br />

Email: pottersgroup@hotmail.com<br />

ENTRY FORMS DUE BY 14 SEPTEMBER <strong>2012</strong>

Under the Surface:<br />

creativity and mark making "<br />

A two-day workshop with Shannon Garson<br />

Sat 4 + Sun 5 August <strong>2012</strong><br />

Maleny Arts & Crafts Group<br />

38 Maple St, Maleny OLD<br />

TACA is <strong>of</strong>fering a winter workshop with<br />

Shannon Garson in her beautiful hometown<br />

<strong>of</strong> Malenv on the Sunshine Coast hinterland.<br />

Participants will use drawing and surface<br />

techniques to explore ceramics as a form <strong>of</strong><br />

self expression.<br />

: '<br />

.I<br />

, , . . --<br />

~<br />

I<br />

$290 per person ($270 members <strong>of</strong> TACA)<br />

Fee includes a delicious vegetarian lunch at<br />

Shannon's home and a visit to her studio.<br />

www.shannongarson.com<br />

For further information and bookings: <strong>The</strong> <strong>Australian</strong> <strong>Ceramics</strong> Association<br />

T: 1300 720 124 F: 0293693742 E: mail@australianceramics.com www.australianceramics.com<br />

We've got you Govered!<br />

Teatowel $15<br />

Potter's apron $30<br />

Delivered fresh to your door.<br />

13007<strong>2012</strong>4<br />

mail@australianceramics.com<br />

www.australianceramics.com<br />

,60 THE JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN CERAMI CS APRil <strong>2012</strong>

Feeneys<br />

Clays<br />

WALKER<br />

~<br />

Clays Glazes Colours<br />

Cesco<br />

Glazes & Colours<br />

Greg Dalv, First Light, 2011, lustre-glazed earthenware<br />

d,am.72cm, d 7cm; photo: Stuart Hay<br />

Service and Supplies<br />

03 8761 6322 1800 692 529<br />


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