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

Skip to: Alex de Vos

Cathy Franzi

Chris Harford

Maryke Henderson

Rick Beviss

Velda Hunter

Verney Burness

General course details

Special Courses

High School students & children's courses

Children's school holiday programme



After more than 20 years of potting I have come full circle, starting out in the world of domestic stoneware, then for a number of years being immersed in low-fired Raku and now returning to the wonderful permanence of stoneware/porcelain for everyday use with a new understanding. I have a bowl at home that I use every morning: I made this bowl 15 years ago and it brings me pleasure each time I eat from it. My wish is to somehow impart this pleasure to people who use my pots.

Chris, as well as being our Resident Potter and Administrator, teaches handbuilding and wheelwork to our adult's classes. Click here to view some of his work.

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My interest in medieval history is reflected in the forms and decorative techniques used for my work. I use sgrafitto to decorate the forms based on Byzantine pottery, though I use stoneware clays for their strength, a result of working in Canada for a year. The other main technique that I use is salt-firing. The glaze is formed by adding salt to a kiln at stoneware temperatures. My liking for fantasy creatures is also reflected in the dragons and gargoyles that frequently form decorative or design elements of my work.

I have been an active children’s teacher for the Canberra Potters' Society (CPS) since 1988. I also teach a couple of extended day programs in local primary schools.

Alex teaches some of our Saturday children's classes, including the class aimed at High School students, as well as the school holiday programme. Click here to view some his work.

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Cathy Franzi is a full-time studio artist and was awarded a Doctorate of Visual Arts (Ceramics) from the Australian National University School of Art in 2015. Through her ceramic practice she explores ways to represent Australian flora and the environments they inhabit.

Cathy brings a depth and breadth of ceramic experience to her teaching. She has worked with potters in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, been a production thrower for large potteries, and participated in conferences and workshops in most ceramic genres. She aims to share her fascination with the wealth of cultural and historical ideas that ceramics contain.

Cathy Franzi’s work is held in public collections, including Canberra Museum and Gallery, the ACT Legislative Assembly Art Collection and Manly Art Gallery and Museum. In 2013, a work from her solo exhibition ‘Painting the Hills of Canberra’ was included in the Canberra Centenary Time Capsule. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Australian Postgraduate Award, the Nelson Nichols Scholarship in Ceramics and most recently in the 2016 North Queensland Ceramic Awards. Currently she is a Visiting Fellow in the Research School of Biology, ANU as part of the 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s College Artist Fellows Scheme.

Image: Cathy Franzi, Silver Banksia, 2016. Porcelain, 38.4h x 19.5w x 11d cm. (Scott Brickwork Acquisitive Award, 2016  Biennial Nth Qld Ceramic Awards)

Photo: Andrew Sikorski-Art Atelier.

Cathy teaches adult and children's classes, both during term-time and the school holiday programmes.


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Maryke Henderson, the Doug Alexander Award winner at the 2006 Members’ Exhibition, has taught for many years in educational establishments, workshops and from her own studio when she lived in the New England region of NSW. After many years of professional potting, Maryke undertook full-time studies at the ANU School of Art, graduating in 2005.

Maryke teaches some of our handbuilding and wheelwork classes.

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Rick Beviss trained in painting and design at the South Australian School of Art and Western Teachers College in Adelaide during 1967-70. He taught art and technical studies, and a range of life skill subjects, in high schools throughout country and city South Australia until 1981, including the establishment of and teaching in an Adelaide-based school for compulsive truanting secondary age children. In 1985 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (ceramics) from Bendigo College of Advanced Education.

 Rick later worked in a number of Federal Government agencies managing conservation funding programs, and trained small groups of indigenous people in contemporary land management, living in remote and regional areas throughout Australia. He concluded this work at Kakadu National Park as Principal Training Officer in 1995. During this time he continued to make ceramic objects using both wheel and hand building techniques.

 In 2000, Rick developed the old Bungendore Fire Shed into a café, gallery and two studios. He worked there as a full-time potter until 2010, making a range of domestic ware reflecting his intense interest in Japanese, Chinese and Korean pottery, and the Leach/Hamada tradition.

Rick teaches handbuilding and wheelthrowing to adult classes.

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Passionate about ceramics since 1989, and Doug Alexander Award recipient in the CPS 2013 Members’ Exhibition, Velda imparts her enthusiasm for clay, teaching Introductory Wheel-Throwing and Hand-Building courses, specialised short courses and in the Children’s Holiday Programme.  

Velda creates her own white-on-white tableware and ornamental pieces on the potter’s wheel and with numerous hand-building techniques. Softly-altered pot forms are slip-trailed with decorative curlicues, arabesques, leaf designs and, at times, gold lustre. She has a sense of fun and tops some with cheeky creatures. Her large works are direct and immediate; she uses the vessel as an artist’s canvas with brightly coloured, multilayered images of native flora and fauna.





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Since graduating from the ANU School of Art Ceramics Workshop, Verney has become a valued member of our teaching staff.

Verney teaches both adult and children's classes.

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This information last updated 25/06/16