Canberra Potters'

Society Inc.





















Watson Arts Centre is an ACT Government facility managed by Canberra Potters' Society Inc. CPS is supported by the ACT Government



More members' event reports:


October 08 members' event report by Jane Crick with photos by Bridget Anderson

Avi Amesbury

With her most informative and stimulating presentation Avi Amesbury demonstrated one of the abiding tenets of her practice - the importance of a truly professional approach to all aspects of that practice.

From the beginning Avi's work has involved the use of materials collected from the land. She finds use of these collected materials gives her a means to explore the multi-layered relationships between landscape and experience. Avi graduated from ANU in 2002 and while studying there began to use natural clay slips on porcelain. The natural clays gave her an amazing palette of colours with which to work as she made her personal interpretations of landscape. Recently Avi has been incorporating volcanic ash into her porcelain and again the collected materials have given her an unexpected and intriguing response. Avi showed us some stunning images of her work and brought several examples for us to handle and discuss.

Another important development which occurred during her time at ANU was an overseas student residency when she became aware of the possibilities offered by modern technical communication. She has continued to be fascinated by internet communication and it is now an integral part of her work in the field of ceramics.

Thank you, Avi, for a visually exciting and thought-provoking evening.

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August 08 members' event (2) report by Jane Crick with photos by Ian Hodgson

Bungendore Field Trip

On 17th August 2008, a beautiful Sunday, fifteen members and friends travelled to Bungendore to visit the many art galleries in the town and particularly to meet two members in their studios.

Rick Beviss welcomed us to Bungendore 10 Pottery in the morning and spoke of the enjoyment he got from making pots and the equipment necessary for making them. Rick makes all his own tools from found objects - I'll never look at bicycle brake levers the same way again - and also makes all the wooden and cane handles for his favourite tea pots.

Rick discussed his glazes and the firing of his Brereton gas kiln.

Several of us enjoyed massive and delicious sandwiches at Logan's Cafe, a new eatery in town, and then we all met again at Pam Barker's home on Weeroona Drive.

Pam gave us a tour of her studio and gallery and then generously invited us into her home to see some wonderful pots from her own collection, both her own work and that of many other potters of renown. Whilst we enjoyed a most refreshing cup of tea, Pam told us of her days studying at the School of Art with its first intake of ceramic students. Under the guidance of head of workshop Alan Peascod (other tutors included Hiroe Swen, Bill Huff-Johnson and Janet DeBoos) the new graduates were encouraged to set up the Canberra Potters' Society to enable them to continue to practice.

Pam said that it was a golden age for ceramics and they were lucky to be able to take advantage of the opportunities which were presented.
Thank you, Rick, and Thank you, Pam, we had a great day.




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August 08 members' event (1) report by Jane Crick with photos by Maryke Henderson

John Henderson

On 1st August 2008 John Henderson, a respected practitioner of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, brought a large number of ceramic items from his personal collection to show members of CPS.

John took great care in the set up of his display so that he could tell us the procedure for presenting a tea ceremony from entry to the tea house, through the decoration of the tearoom, the preparation of the tea and the very important choice and appreciation of the tea bowls.

John illustrated his comments with examples of pots for each stage. Some of the wares were specifically made for special occasions, such as the gold and silver tea bowls for the first tea of the season, and some were found objects, which John likes to include as a personal statement. Examples of these included a small Delft candleholder that John used as a lid rest and an Imari wheelbarrow used as an incense holder.

John was very generous in allowing members to handle and examine his valuable pots and I am sure that his generosity was appreciated.


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May 08 members' event report & photos by Bridget Anderson


Cathy Franzi - Production Throwing


A familiar smiling face around the studios, Cathy Franzi introduced us on a Friday night to her world of production throwing. For those of you who were unable to make it to this members’ event, production throwing is the act of throwing repeat items.

Cathy amazed us with her skill on the wheel - quickly pulling up form after form with incredible speed. Cathy informed us she averages 100 pots a week, including sixty different shapes!

Cathy began production throwing in Adelaide (16 years ago) and at present is throwing for Bison in Pialligo with whom she has been throwing for about 6-7 years.

Although Cathy made it all look rather easy with her flawless throwing, repetition potting is a particular skill, taking a lot of practice.

Stepping us through her process we learnt that measurement of the weight of clay is important, judgement of size and the feel of the clay beneath your hands.

Also let’s not forget economy of movement - you don’t want to spend any more unnecessary time on a piece!

Cathy’s tools:

* 2 circular bats stuck together with a removable square insert. You can then also use a round bat again on top of these bats. These bats proved very useful when throwing multiple forms.

* A curved rib (as pictured) is Cathy’s main tool which is good to smooth edges, shape and to cut and trim.

* A de-airing pug mill is essential – it is important to get the right consistency of the clay.

To begin reproducing a form you have to know how to throw and then move onto repeating that form… this can take a long time to perfect! To help get you started Cathy passed this important information on:

To copy a piece, first you need to know the shrinkage of the clay –

X = wet measurement;  S = shrinkage;  P = finished measurement

X = (100 x P) / (100 – S)

Second, understand the shape.

Cathy’s good book recommendation is ‘Functional Pottery’ (click here for a review).

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April 08 members' event report from Ian Hodgson

Stefan Jakob

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Stefan is a Swiss potter, who originally trained as a plumber, which no doubt explains his expertise with tin snips. He then switched to social work, and finally, about 12 years ago, to full time ceramics. Stefan’s speciality is raku and, in particular, kilns that he manufactures to his own design, using an Ikea 40 litre pedal rubbish bin. The kilns burn wood, and in half an hour, with just a shoebox full of kindling sticks Stefan can get his kiln up to 1000ºC. It takes another 15–20 minutes to get the glaze well and truly runny and then the pots are taken out of the kiln and put into a bin of sawdust, where they cool rapidly in a smoky atmosphere. This gives a black surface to unglazed areas of the work and the classic black crazing of crackle glazes, as well as the dazzling colours of the multitude of other raku glazes.

 The evening was well attended by about 30 members and friends, who were well rewarded with a most entertaining talk and slide show, and the demonstration firing—a real fun night. Many thanks to Stefan Jakob for his generosity in making this a free event. I don’t know how many people went to his workshop as a result of attending the evening, but I look forward to seeing the results of the inevitable surge of interest in raku, over the next few months and, perhaps, in this year’s members’ exhibition.

Stefan told us there are over 1500 Ikea raku kilns in Switzerland, most made from kits put together in his workshop. Twenty-two were produced at the Strathnairn workshop, and more will be made in Sydney and Perth before Stefan heads home. Maybe one day there will be 1500 in Australia. It would be nice to think so. Good luck Stefan, and thank you!


February 08 members' event report from Lisa Baier:

Janette Loughrey

Wow!  What a fantastic way to commence our members’ events for the year 2008.  A substantial amount of members gathered at the Potters’ Society to observe Janette Loughrey, potter and teacher from Wollongong, demonstrate her inimitable techniques in earthenware underglaze design and decoration on Fri 15 Feb.  

Janette began the evening with an interesting and diverse slide show of her work whilst presenting a brief synopsis of her own journey into the realm of ceramics.  Janette also brought a wonderful selection of mugs, plates and bowls for us to hold, study and admire enviously! 

The demonstration (which lasted for two hours) was captivating! Janette, whilst selecting from a palette of underglaze colours, displayed the many ways in which she achieves the surface decoration on her ‘ceramic bits’ (name of her business) - from the blending and layering of colours, the use of various brushes, latex and paper resist, coloured slip contrast, paper decals, sponge stamps etc.  Janet was extremely magnanimous in sharing with us some of her trade secrets that took her years to figure out and graciously answered many questions that were asked throughout the evening.

I would like to thank the members’ events co-ordinator, Jane Crick, for your hard work behind the scenes in organising this stimulating and enriching occasion.  Thanks also to the participation of the members whose attendance makes an event like this truly successful.



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This information last updated 17/09/11