Inaugural Clay at the Corner Exhibition

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Finely ground rock particles sound pretty dull, but add water and the result is clay, an infinitely more exciting prospect especially to a potter.

Clay at the corner

From roughly textured raku to fine porcelain; rich iron reds to pure white, clay comes in a wide variety of durability, textures and colour.

Dating back to 6500BC, pottery is one of human society’s oldest crafts. Initially clay was used to make storage vessels, cooking pos and for building as bricks, pipes and tiles. While still maintaining its functional use, gradually mankind’s imagination has expanded the ceramic tradition from the early religious icons to the rich and varied forms taken by modern ceramics today.

Modern machinery has vastly improved the task of the potter. Clay can be bought by the block in a bewildering array of types; glazes bought by the bottle. These are choices though, many potters still employ some of the traditional methods, perhaps preferring to mix their own glazes or colour their clays. As varied too are the methods of working that have developed as potters over the generations have explored their medium.

Members of the Nepean Potters Society each have their own individual styles and preferences as shown in this exhibition. Each potter has chosen a method of work or a favourite theme and developed several pieces to illustrate it. The result exhibition demonstrates the wide variety of the potters’ craft today.

Traditional functional forms are well represented in the fine porcelain wares of Bob Beattie with their traditional celadon glazes and Wendy Field’s elegant jugs, some of which show the ancient Japanese art of raku firing. Sue Beattie’s plates show quite a different decorative finish. Also functional but formed with moulds instead of on the wheel the work of Michael Grech are decorated with Japanese transfers. Also fitting the utilitarian mode, Helen Christof’s handmade plates are individually decorated.

There are many sculptural works, some of which could be called functional such as Julie Wall’s delicate waterlily lamps but most are purely decorative. They range from Doris Rainsford’s organic pieces, Mandy Gentle’s combination of moulding and hand building and Marianne Pollpeter’s chunky forms to Kathy Bell’s lifelike miniature birds and Jan Needham’s whimsical dragons. Christine Herbert makes both functional and sculptural work, differentiating it by working oxides into her clay to show subtle whirls of colour while Philip Thatcher’s work at this exhibition is presented with several basic pottery pieces which reflect his new learning path.

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