The Australian auction and on-line sale of donated studio ceramics towards the OXFAM Nepal Earthquake Appeal completed over the weekend and raised AUD$40,000. Fantastic achievement by Vipoo Srivilasa and his associates. It was a huge effort and Vipoo was sending half-hourly updates by the end of Sunday. He’lll be taking a wee nap now I expect. Thanks to all from here who responded.

However the energy goes on. Jane Sawyer in Melbourne (WCC and Director of Slow Clay) is co-ordinating a more specifically targeted appeal on behalf of the World Crafts Council – Australian Branch.

They are fundraising to send money directly to the particular pottery towns that have been badly damaged with the aim to help the potters rebuild their houses and studios and return to work making their beautiful wares. WCCA knows direct action can help enormously and so they have created a direct pathway for long term help for potters and have even identified the families most in need already. It is not inconceivable that this might make a big difference to the future continuation of these potters’ beautiful pottery heritage – with your help. In NZ we do not have a branch of the WCC any more so it behoves us to support Australia’s work in this area. Easy – bank to bank online. Please donate if you can:

Account title: World Crafts Council Australia Inc
Bank: Commonwealth Bank Australia
Branch: BSB 063-111
Account number: 1086-1862
Be sure to label your transfer with the word ‘Nepal.

Email at if you have any questions or if you would like to help out with organising future fund-raising activities. If you want to be updated about the Nepal situation or a future emergency affecting craftspersons, you can also send your details here.


Update on Ross Michell-Anyon from the Wanganui Chronicle newspaper… with thanks to Raewyn.

Bobbi Mitchell-Anyon is looking forward to seeing her husband – Wanganui artist Ross Mitchell-Anyon – return to his “gorgeous self” after his 12-metre fall on April 21.

Mrs Mitchell-Anyon has been at her husband’s bedside at Wellington Hospital for the past month and told the Chronicle that he would now be moved to the acquired brain injury rehabilitation centre in Porirua.

“Ross is now at the ’emergent conscious’ stage and he has been smiling at me today which always makes me feel good,” she said.

“The rehabilitation will be a long road and they will gradually start to stimulate him into full consciousness – the process is estimated to take about nine months but I am confident he will make a full recovery.

“It is a wonderful facility and they have great expertise and a very high success rate.”

“I am being very well cared for, too, and Ross’ two sons who live in Wellington have been fantastic – and so have the rest of the family.”

Mrs Mitchell-Anyon said she read newspapers and the cards people have sent to her husband.

“The support from people has been fantastic and so heartening to me. I really enjoy reading the messages to Ross and I look forward to the time when he can respond as well.”


So, clearly this is going to be a long haul for Ross. Cards and notes to c/o 90 Mortimer Terrace, Brooklyn, Wellington.

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This extra reminder came from Vipoo Srivilasa.  It’s a most worthy cause and there are some interesting works on offer in the auction and in the sale. He cannot cope with all that is offered as loading etc is taking all his time but it happens in a few days and we can all help by trying for the biggest audience possible for this worthy event. So please, get behind this and send to everyone possible so that all his great efforts and energy has a useful reward to help Nepal. Many thanks from me.


I am organising a fund-raising project called Clay For NEPAL to raise funds for the Nepalese people affected. All proceeds will be donated to OXFAM Australia: Nepal Earthquake Relief Appeal.

The project has two parts, open and close at the same time.

1: An online AUCTION: submit your bids on unique ceramics art by well-known ceramicists from around the world.

2: A BUY NOW STORE, offering more affordable items for immediate purchase at a set price.

OPENS  Friday 15 May at 6am AEST
CLOSES  Sunday 17 May at 9pm AEST
visit and follow the link

It is a great opportunity to acquire great works by renowned artists. See a list of artists who donated their work below.

I would also greatly appreciate it if you could help us promote the project and direct people to our website

Thank you very much  for your support,


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News from Richard Stratton over there in Denmark, at Guldagergaard, on the residency he won via the Portage Awards.

….life is very busy here at the moment. Many comings and goings. Paul Scott is in residence , working on a show for The Castle here. He is first, then is Justin Novak’s (my American fellow-Resident with whom I share accommodation) is coming up shortly .

Nina Hole is making one of her kiln/sculptures and is almost finished, it is going to fired by the end of the week.

Fred Olsen also popped in and helped me drink some good Danish beer. He, years ago, built a fabulous cross-draft wood kiln that is used by visiting potters a lot. It is a very large, good looking kiln that has produced some beautiful results.

As you can guess the network machine here is in high gear. It’s a great opportunity to meet all these people first hand, such a rare occasion in New Zealand.

Well, my own work has taken a dramatic shift , gone is the colour, the print, and the press moulded additions, 

I’m doing just monochromatic colour and carved forms. Its basis of influence is taken from my abode, the black and white flint nodules that litter the ground all around here and with the added mix of Vorticism for good measure. Wait and see!”

And we’ll do just that with great interest. This sounds like just what a good residency opportunity provides – good facilities, time away to really work on the work and opportunities to meet a cross-section of interesting artists and visiting professionals. Here are some of Richard’s images plus some of mine from previous visits…


The Olsen Kiln


The Olsen kiln


Richard’s room


Paul Scott work


Justin Novak work


The terribly famous Alfred University now offers glaze formulation online.

Open to students around the world. Everyone is welcome, especially undergraduate students from other schools who can take the course for transferable credit. That will not apply to we down here.
Taking place twice this summer. May 18-June 26 and June 29-August 7 2015


 Whanganui potter, Ross Mitchell-Anyon, who has been in hospital following a 12metre fall from a ladder, on April 21st, is ‘condition unchanged’ in Wellington Hospital.


 Sunday May 3rd was a memorial event for Peter Stichbury at the ASP in Onehunga. Diane and their three daughters were present as were some grandchildren and well over 100 from the ceramic community, so there was crowded standing room only at the back. It was a fine occasion with memorable talks from a variety of presenters and suitably rounded out with a performance by The Porcelaines.


The Portage Ceramic Trust Museum was opened last Saturday, 2nd May.   Called Te Toi Uku it is situated in Ambrico Place, New Lynn, near where the Crown Lynn factory was sited and a kiln has been preserved. It is home to an extensive collection of Crown Lynn ware and memorabilia. Crown Lynn grew during World War ll when no crockery could be imported. The company produced thousands of mugs and plates for the military and tableware for domestic use. Crown Lynn closed in 1989 blaming the combined effects of lost import protection, as well as trade union resistance to changes in working conditions and continuing losses.

Much of the current collection was made by the late Richard Quinn who was dismayed at the prospect of what was left of Crown Lynn, being buried by bulldozers under new building destined for the site. Beginning with swaps for beer with various workers from the site, after the doors closed and over 13 years, he went in many times and rescued moulds, shards, whole pieces, written records and recipes and bits of machinery. In the later years he dug over the site by night to source his ‘treasures’ carrying them back to his home in bundles on his back very often, as he did not own a car. To this is added a collection of ceramic-making and clay processing machinery held by the former Waitakere City Council.

Among the thousands of items in the Crown Lynn collection are the swans, in all shapes and sizes, the crockery the company designed and made for Bellamy’s restaurant in Parliament, its famous railway cups and saucers, and a limited edition collector’s mug made to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

It’s not open for public viewing at this stage but can be for research by appointment while much of what has been preserved is catalogued and can be accessed online via or


 The Nepal Earthquake.
Aussie ceramists Vipoo Srivilasa and Adriana Christianson have organised an online ceramic AUCTION and a BUY NOW STORE to raise funds for the recent devastating earthquake in Nepal.

Both events OPEN on Friday 15 May at 6am AEST
Both events CLOSE on Sunday 17 May at 9pm AEST
All funds collected, less any event expenses (only eBay and Paypal fees), will be donated to Oxfam, Nepal Earthquake Relief Appeal.

‘We have been overwhelmed by the generosity shown from artists around the world. However, we CANNOT ACCEPT ANY MORE DONATIONS of ceramic work. At the moment, the help we need most is in promoting the project and trying to get it out to the world in every way we can. If you could help us to promote the project, that would be fantastic. Please share our website’

you can contact us via email

Thank you very much for your support.


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Whanganui potter Ross Mitchell-Anyon has been in hospital following a 12metre fall from a ladder, on April 21st, while bringing the sprinkler system, in one of his heritage buildings in Whanganui, up to scratch . As you might imagine, the situation was serious. Ross was taken from Whanganui Hospital to Wellington Hospital the next day as he needed more specialised care and a ventilator. He is still there although moved now from ICU to a Neurological ward as he is now breathing unassisted.

Bobbi, his wife says ‘It’s going to be a long journey but he’s on the mend’. She continues, “He’s out of danger. He keeps trying to wake up and opening his eyes, but it’s extremely tiring and he goes back to sleep” She said he was going in and out of consciousness. “It’s a very exhausting time and he needs all his rest, which is so unlike him”.

However I have permission to post this now so that a wider range of the ceramic community can know the good news. He will soon be able to see cards etc so if you wish to post something to him please send it to the following address from which Bobbi will collect and read to him.

90 Mortimer Terrace, Brooklyn, 6021 Wellington. No flowers please – hospital rules.


Those who know the Frank Lloyd Gallery in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, Los Angeles will regret that it has just closed its doors there. Originally bought from Garth Clark when he moved to New York it was in La Brea Avenue near Melrose in West Hollywood but soon, under Frank Lloyd, moved to Bergamot Station, a walled in gathering of galleries and cafes and a museum – about 25 businesses in all, in Santa Monica. Not easy to get to without a car (little is in LA) but some of our more intrepid managed it. It was a gallery that, while not fully specialising in ceramics did show them regularly along with sculpture, paintings, prints and drawings. Frank Lloyd regularly wrote an interesting blog on his interviews and ruminations and occasionally produced high quality publications on his artists. There were usually Voulkos and Mason works in the stock room (he, like may galleries in USA also did re-sales of pre-owned works) as well as Ken Price, Adrian Saxe and Gustavo Perez and it was there I saw my first pieces from the Canadian, George Jeanclos and his poignant and powerful narrative works, often contemplations on death and dying, eliciting the fragility of life and made in undecorated, extremely thin, grey terra-cotta. I recall their effect on me still.

Lloyd has moved his base to Pasadena – even harder to get to but for the determined it can be found at, 131 North San Gabriel Boulevard, Pasadena, Ca91107. However it’s necessary to email or telephone because the exhibitions programme is largely dispensed with as he now works full-time on being the representative for the estates of Peter Voulkos and Craig Kauffmann. After being around the LA art scene for twenty years he’s pulling back.

However if you do get that far be sure to visit The Norton Simon Art Museum which is a privately endowed art museum that is strong on Impressionist paintings and early to mid-20th C work in particular, but plenty of other works including drawings by modern masters and in the very lovely grounds is a great selection of mostly mid-20thC sculpture including a number of works in clay by John Mason. However these are primarily sculpture rather than ceramics if you get my meaning.

That’s not to say there is no clay in LA. Not as rich in ceramics as New York is currently but LA galleries represent some of America’s hottest – Arlene Schechet and Kathy Butterly at Shoshanna Wayne and at Edward Cella is Adam Silverman and Brad Miller while L.A.Louver shows Richard Deacon’s ceramic works alongside his other sculpture. AMOCA (American Museum of Ceramic Art) will soon mount a 300 piece collection exhibition. Out in eastern suburban Pomona, AMOCA holds classes, gives lectures and generally acts as a social centre around ceramics. It’s not unlike any Society here except much bigger and with a lively exhibition programme – usually several at the same time – and a large collection of ceramics – American mostly, and strong on 50s/60s, but some international.


London has long had a design week and a fashion festival and now it turns a spotlight on potters, glass blowers, textile artists, metalsmiths and an assortment of other artists and artisans during London Craft Week, May 6 to 10.

Craft exhibitions are to be held at luxury department stores including Fortnum and Mason, Fenwicks and Selfridges and at institutions such as The British Library.

The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Crafts Council is partnering for the exhibition, “What is Luxury?”, and the Council will present the headline event, Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects. Collect is now in its 12th year and is currently held in the Saachi Gallery on The King’s Road in Chelsea. It showcases contemporary craft and object art from galleries across the world and is currently considered the most prestigious event for object art in Europe.

Among some of the non-traditional offerings for this year’s Craft Week is that attendees will have opportunity to visit the studio of designer and tattoo artist, Mo Coppoletta and another artisan, Vacheron Constantin will offer watchmaking demonstrations.


The London Craft Week falls hard on the heels of the Ceramic Art London event at The Royal College of Art. This is a unique showcase for 80 contemporary studio ceramists from well-known and established makers through to newly emerging graduates from Royal College and artists from Europe, Japan and Korea. There is also an integrated series of talks, lectures, films and demonstrations to enhance understanding and enjoyment of studio ceramics. This includes lectures by theorists, Martina Margetts who considers how and why the language of ceramics in Britain has spread its influence around the world with a focus on contemporary practice. And Kyra Cane talking about the different ways potters and ceramicists use drawing to support and develop their work. Then talks by artists, Richard Slee, Kate Malone, Jean Nicolas Gerard, Sasha Wardell and Gareth Mason to mention just some and the films are by Goldmark Gallery that made the great one on Takeshi Yasuda that he showed us last year. This time they are on Korean traditional potter Lee Kang Hyo and Frenchman, Jean Nicolas Gerard.

As we know some folk who are attending these events we’ll await, with pleasurable anticipation, some news or report from this.

Then, on top of all that, next month, throughout the UK is Craft and Design Month with events across the country.


All that interest has helped to propel the craft sector and its army of applied artists and small manufacturers into a position of some economic influence. Figures compiled last year by the Crafts Council showed there were 11,620 craft businesses in the UK, with 43,000 employees. Most startling of all, once the economic contribution of craft professionals working in non-craft industries was added, the overall value of craft skills to the British economy each year was £3.4bn. That’s a lot of corn dollies…..

“Craft”, it appears, is the new food, following the trend for artisan, hand-crafted food. The buzz term in brewing nowadays is not ‘real ale’, but ‘craft beer’.

Annie Warburton, the UK Crafts Council’s creative programme director, said: “At one level our lives are increasingly virtual. The return to making and working with our hands is in part a reaction to that. There’s also an increased awareness of provenance. People are aware of the ethics of where things come from and how they are produced. Then there is the sense of wellbeing that comes with making things yourself.” Hope some of that positivity rubs off here…


Finally, now that Top Gear has bitten the dust and petrol heads with posh accents will no longer grace our screens, there is the enormously exciting news that the BBC has turned to pottery as its new competitive reality programme! There have been highly rated programmes on sewing and allotment gardens, others on best amateur hair stylist and a-cappella singing groups and the Great British Bake-off final apparently hit the top viewing spot. So the BBC has turned to pottery and will hold a competition series that pits learner throwers against one another. Looking for ‘Britain’s best budding potter’, there will be a six part series featuring 10 contestants and called The Great British Pottery Throw and we shall see, before our very eyes, ‘budding artists transform a lump of clay to glazed pottery’. Judges include Keith Brymer and Kate Malone.

Watch for it on a programme coming to you…


Finally, a quote from Garth Clark….

Authoring a book is an exhausting, frustrating, hair-pulling and insanity inducing undertaking.

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Stratton’s View from Denmark

Richard is now in Guldagergaard, (pronounced Gooliagoor or something pretty similar) which is in the town on Skaelskor – a harbour town on the south west coast of the biggest island of Denmark, about four hours by road from Copenhagen. Skaelskor faces the mainland part of Denmark that’s joined on to Germany these days.

Richard won the Residency at Guldagergaard from then judge, Paul Scott, two Portage Awards ago. We set it up sitting in my back yard when Paul was here and we were talking about what might benefit NZ ceramic practices. After discussing and making a case for the advantages that come from residencies and such exchanges, Paul simply telephoned Guldagergaard (he is a regular teacher there) and bingo, one residency to add to the rewards of entering the Portage – if you’re lucky. Stratton was our first winner but last year he could not go so its availability lapsed for the last competition. I went there again last year and it was reinstituted and it will figure in the prizes again for this year’s Portage.

Finally Richard is there. Guldagergaard is set in a beautiful park that is steadily becoming bedecked with large scale outdoor ceramic sculpture made by former residents. The studios and kilns etc are in the former stables there. The entire complex was once a grand estate. Here is Richard’s image… taken from the front steps of the residence and office building toward the old stables.

stratton writ and image

His notes…

Well it has been over a week since I exited the train after a twelve hour journey from Germany, no Kroner in my pocket and pulling a 50 kg case behind me.

Since this time I have assimilated into an Artist in Residence at Guldagergaard.

Guldagergaard is based in a small township of Skaelskor, about a 15 minute bus ride south of Slagelse as the crow flies.

When you start here, life becomes a bit surreal, you live, eat and work at Guldagergaard, along with other visiting artists and the studio assistants. The latter can usually outnumber the artists.

A usual day consists of starting at 9am and breakfast, then all day studio work till 7pm, break to eat a communal dinner, then back to work or watch a movie.

As you can imagine, the work that you make drives your studio time. One thing is that you have to bring almost everything in the way of tools, with you as well as an Ipod or something similar as everybody uses one in the studio.

Regarding the setup: Kilns of all types and sizes and the plaster room is fully functional with extractor fans and lathes. There are technicians and staff to help you with those new techniques that you are wanting to try, from print to 3d printer.

This place pulls you out of your comfort zone which is a good thing. Here you cannot just run to the local pottery supplier to peruse the shelves for that perfect stain. It’s all Ebay and online and not cheap.

This leads to a sort of dazed, what am I doing here? kind of thing but the feeling only lasts a couple of days.

I have heard stories of other residents not leaving the premises for a month, only stepping out to the local supermarket for their supplies when it is their turn to cook. Residents take turns to supply and cook dinner so that cross cultural eating takes place and you can also get a taste of ‘home’. Skaelskor is not known for its night life.

The other artists, assistants and staff make this place what it is. They become your network and family.

My studio partner and housemate is Justin Novak from America, he is leaving this week for another residency in Rome but he is a regular here at Guldagergaard as I am sure I will be as well.

So, we’ll look forward to another billet-doux from Denmark in due course – maybe with more pictures and see what work he, and others there , are doing.

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Peter Stichbury 1924 – 2015

Yesterday, we lost a lovely man in the passing of Peter Stichbury, just five days after his 91st birthday. Last of those seen as pioneers from the late 1940s, Peter, along with Roy Cowan and Mirek Smisek, was unfailingly generous in his teaching and his sharing of accumulated knowledge. The highly regarded recipe for his mix of clays and other materials, trod with linked arms and bare feet then pugged and left to mature for as long as we could keep our hands off it, was de rigueur at most evening pottery classes and used by many of the domestic-ware makers of the day. It was an agreeably textural, responsively plastic, useful stoneware body that coloured nicely in reduction and took kindly to whatever glaze was applied. Like the man, it was well-mannered, moderate and temperate, and adaptable to almost any situation

Following war service, teacher and art specialist training, his first job was as Assistant Art lecturer at Ardmore Teacher’s College. It was while he was a student at Auckland Teachers Training College that he first learned something of clay when he learned of and attended evening classes at Avondale College. There he followed Pat Perrin and Len Castle as students to R.N. Field who introduced them to Bernard Leach’s, A Potter’s Book published in 1940 and which rapidly gained reputation as the ‘potters bible’ for its influential essay, ‘Towards a Standard’ and the useful practical information contained within its pages. Stichbury and Castle were part of a small group which included fellow student, Patrick Motley, a fettler at Crum Brick and Tile and who suggested they might slip some pieces into the pipe kilns there – at the time, salt glazed. They placed their work on top of the utility ware near the kiln’s crown where the pots received the best possible doses of industrial salting. It was an exciting time as information on salting clays was slowly acquired and disseminated among the seriously interested aspiring potters who oriented around the Avondale classes. Castle experimented with a silicaceous clay from Westmere Beach while Stichbury extracted clay from Pigeon Mountain at Pakuranga.

It was Peter Stichbury who was first, in 1957, to receive a fellowship from the Association of NZ Art Societies, precursor to Creative NZ, to study in Saint Ives, England. Taking Diane, his wife, he arrived in late September and where he learned many extra throwing skills from William Marshall who was in charge of the production wares for the catalogue and who was the most skilled thrower at Saint Ives. He did not stay the full time with Leach at Saint Ives, as I learned some years ago when I interviewed him for an English organisation working on information from former Leach apprentices. Not much enamoured of Leach himself he preferred to go with Diane to work for Michael Cardew, by then at Abuja in Nigeria. There he became Cardew’s first western student finding he was given more freedom to throw as he pleased. Cardew’s total dedication to setting up what was to be a new national industry and his charismatic personality helped cement Stichbury’s future direction. The articles he sent from Nigeria to Helen Mason, then editor of the NZ Potter magazine, which began life in 1958, were catalytic in increasing the knowledge and information available to readers and the fine pots – his own and those of Cardew and Ladi Kwali – which returned with him to this country, served as exemplars for the increasing numbers of students and budding potters.

He set up the pottery department at Ardmore to which he was appointed to a full lectureship and where he taught student teachers, many of whom, in the 60’s and 70’s became potters instead of teachers as soon as their two years of compulsory service was up. Stichbury stayed there his entire career as head of the department and made his fine tableware for much of that period. He also made signature large platters that he decorated on-glaze with Karekare iron-sand and for which he gained a considerable reputation.

In 1968 he invited Cardew to come and who followed Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada earlier in the decade. Cardew conducted workshops using the Stichbury clay recipe and the pots were fired, with help from Neil Grant at Ardmore. Many have entered institutional collections and sit there beside Peter’s.

He became, what was then a principal accolade – ‘full-time’ – in the late 60s and Diane joined him in 1970 with both caring for their three daughters, Phillipa, Rebecca and Catherine. However he never stopped teaching, giving frequent weekend workshops in his home studio set among the trees in their large garden down a long right-of-way off Great South Road in Manurewa. He also held regular classes for the ASP over a number of years and gave workshops throughout the country. He also served as an officer and President for the ASP and the NZ Society of Potters and remained an honorary member of both organisations.

Stan Jenkins chronicled his life on film along with one on Castle and on Smisek and these were made for the Department of Education and still available. He developed other interests and made superb musical instruments, cellos and violas, for his daughters and his pottery was included in a small collection gifted to Queen Elizabeth in 1974 when she visited here. There was an image of those pots in the NZ Potter magazine I recall, (Peter’s Len’s, Mirek’s, Margaret Milne’s, Graeme Storm’s…. more….)    I wonder where she keeps them?

With the new century Peter slowed down for the first time and eventually hung up his turning tools some years ago when they sold their property after many good years and moved to smaller quarters, closer to town and family. He was awarded Member of the NZ Order of Merit in 2002 for services to pottery.

He will be missed, for his quiet but steadfast purpose and his intelligent perceptions on pots and on life, his love of his family which he always kept foremost and his generosity in everything he came to. Our sympathies must go to Diane and to his daughters and extended family. There is a private ceremony this week but a more public event will take place at a later time.

Cider Jar with tap, 1951 stoneware, salt glazed 260h x160 widest dimension.

Cider Jar with tap, 1951
stoneware, salt glazed
260h x160 widest dimension.

Vase, late 1950s stoneware, salt glazed 310h x 135 w

Vase, late 1950s
stoneware, salt glazed
310h x 135 w

Peter Stichbury stamp.

Peter Stichbury stamp.

Plate, 1969 Stoneware, tenmoku with iron sand decoration 360mm Dia.

Plate, 1969
Stoneware, tenmoku with iron sand decoration
360mm Dia.

Peter unstacking his kiln, late 1960s Photo - Steve Rumsey.

Peter unstacking his kiln, late 1960s
Photo – Steve Rumsey.



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