Functional Pottery in Australia

Dateline: 11/24/97

Australian pottery is said to have a characteristic of its own - an influence of the red earth, the 'gum' (eukalypt) trees, the hot sun and other colors and flavors of the Australian landscape. Some potters have even developed 'uniquely Australian' glazes.

One such potter is Brian Moore. At his Inglewood Hill Pottery he has developed a range of functional porcelain work from the 'humble' coffee mug to platters and jugs. These are decorated with 'Australian' glazes with names such as 'Outback or Desert', 'Broken Hill Blue', 'Broken Hill Green', 'Midnight Blue', and 'Evening Jacaranda'. Greg Daly is another well known Australian artist who has been experimenting with glazes for many years and has developed his own unique style. His wheel thrown stoneware and porcelain vessels serve as the carrier for the varied surface treatment he achieves with layered glazes in conjunction with lustres, gold and silver leaf, enamels and etching.

Leonard and Lucy Rose Smith are two potters working in Arcadia (!) in New South Wales. Leonard works with stoneware and fires his large vessels in a gas kiln with wood-ash glazes. Lucy Rose uses high-fired porcelain, her decoration is much more floral than that of Leonards.

Woodfiring seems to be a passion in Australia. Perhaps it is the open and secluded spaces that just offer the oportunity to build and fire a large wood kiln, without having to worry about neighbors. This may even be more so with salt and soda firing. Gail Nichols pottery is soda glazed and functional none-the-less. Her Portfolio of Soda Glaze Ceramics gives a good overview of her varied work, which ranges from wheel thrown platters to vases. Another traditional firing technique is that of pit firing, which Barry Hayes has brought to perfection. Barry has been working with that technique for many years, but also makes more functional stoneware vessels and pots.

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