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Don Porter

Current works available for sale from Don are shown here.

Don Porter’s Artist Statement

I’ve always had an easy and comfortable relationship with creating artworks and learning about art. Throughout my school years I consistently chose art as a subject and was exposed to a wide range of mediums, techniques and approaches to design.  I had some very inspiring teachers. During this time I worked with clay, but most notably had an all too brief opportunity to try my hand on a potter’s wheel.  It was like magic to me.  With the power of the wheel and guidance from my hands a form rose from a ball of clay. 

As happens my young life took me away from art and into several professions leading eventually to teaching.  It was here that I had the good fortune to be offered the chance to teach a recreational pottery class as part of my other teaching duties. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands! This gave me access to a workshop, materials, kilns, and again, a potter’s wheel. I had only my high school experience to guide my teaching, and so, for the next year, I enrolled in Simone Fraser’s recreational class in throwing at the ANU Art Centre. The more I used the wheel, the more time I wanted to commit to it, and this class gave me the skills and the courage to enrol in an Associate Diploma in Ceramics at the Canberra School of Art ANU.

Art school really opened my eyes to the world of ceramics. I learned a vast number of ways of making from many incredibly skilled professional artists. Artists like Ian Jones, Janet DeBoos, Les Blakebrough and many others.

After four years at art school by ability to continue pottery was curtailed by other commitments. Also, I no longer had access to a workshop and so discontinued practicing my art.

Now that I’m older I have had fewer commitments and more time to return to my art.   For the past 6 years I’ve been a member of the Canberra Potters Society.  Before I even started taking CPS classes I built my own workshop and bought a wheel.  I’ve taken many classes and attended many workshops at CPS.  

Over time I found a form that I wanted to explore and refine. The teachers at the potters’ society influenced and still influence my development.  

My interest in Raku was piqued by one of my teachers, who taught glazed Raku. I had never done any raku before.  I started to learn about Raku techniques and was keen to know more, so I enrolled in a weekend workshop on Naked (or Smoked) Raku.  This workshop, run by Tim Andrews, a Raku potter from Devon in England, was amazing.   

Glazed Raku was unpredictable enough, but Naked Raku takes unpredictability to a whole new level.  After the complex process of creating a Smoked Raku piece you are left with a form covered in a mask of glaze over slip and it’s not until you slowly chip away this mask that the effect of the smoke on your creation emerge.   It’s so incredibly exciting!

I knew now where I wanted to go with my art. I have now built my own wood fired Raku kiln and have been exploring Raku for several years.

I’ve really enjoyed my return to ceramics. It focuses my mind. Making is very engaging, classes and time working in my garden workshop are dear to me and the development of my art is very rewarding. I continue working to master the medium through technique, execution and design.