Friday, December 30, 2011

Woodfiring movie to start the New Year

German potter, Markus Bohm will be at Sturt, Mittagong along with Steve Harrison on the 7th January 2012 for the Australian premiere of the DVD movie "Laid Back Woodfiring"  made about the building and firing of a wood fire kiln in Germany by Steve.
The event is open to all at the
Sturt Clubbe Hall,Frensham School, Cnr Waverley Parade and Range Road, Mittagong
at 1.30pm.
Markus says "In 2009 Australian potter Steve Harrison came to Alt Gaarz, Germany, for a very special kiln building workshop: building, loading, firing and unpacking a bourry box kiln within one week! A beautiful movie was made about this event by the professional film maker Andreas Münz."

For more information please have a look at
To confirm place and time, contact details for Markus (while in Australia)
 Markus Boehm

 web   :
 mob   : +61 4 1671 5579

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Successful Day

Members who took part in the stall in Cronulla Mall today will all be very happy with the results.
We also sold more raffle tickets for the Christmas Hamper and drew the winning ticket which will be announced in the next newsletter.
Congratulations to our new member, Fran who already has some sales, well done.
Setup and ready to go... along with a few handmade Christmas aprons and stockings for some extra colour

Thursday, December 8, 2011

See you in Cronulla Mall on Saturday

Members will be holding a stall from 8:30am to 4pm in the Mall at Cronulla this Saturday 10 December 2011.
We will also be selling tickets for the Christmas Hamper - the profits of which go to the Sylvanvale Foundation for People with Disability, the local charity which we support.

Christmas tree decorations by Anna Ryland

Bowls by Gail Sadleir
Hope you can come along and bring your friends to buy that gift or Christmas decoration or just to say 'Hi'.....

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Meeting

Wednesday night, 7 December will be our last meeting for 2011.  Come along and enjoy a bite to eat and share with your pottery friends.
  Please bring a plate of food, something for a Kris Kringle lucky dip and something to go into the raffle hamper which we run each year to raise funds for Sylvanvale - the local charity foundation for people with Intellectual Disablity.
Hope you can join us.
Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends and see you in the New Year.  Perhaps at our excursion to the Toolijooa Pottery mid January 2012! (details at the meeting or contact Joe).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Slips Revisited with Joe Simone

At the November meeting Joe took us through a brief history of the use of slips from the earliest Terra sigillata to English Slipware, Italian Majolica and Japanese Slipware.  Each country and culture brings its own interpretation on the way in which slip is used.  As contemporary potters we have all of these styles to choose from to inform our own work.
One of the earliest forms of slip was Terra sigillata used by the Greeks for their classic Red and Black ware.  Joe has used terrasig as the finish for many of his own “Pod” vessels. (See our Members Gallery tab for more of Joe's work).
Joe has also produced good results with terrasig in reduced atmosphere saggar firings known as Black Firing.  Other variations can be gained with modern body stains added to terrasig  for a full colour range

In this image Joe is drying brushed on slip with a heat gun in preparation for a scraffitto design through coloured slip.
Slips are applied at the leather hard stage and may be brushed, poured or sponged on for different effects.
Designs can be made with slips by masking areas of the pot in various ways with paper or tape.
Layers of coloured slips can give a marble effect if the slips are made using the same clay body.

Here Joe is demonstrating the techniques of inlay and slip trailing.
Native American Indian or Pueblo pottery used slips to show very intricate designs and these pots are hand made without a wheel.
This example is from the website:
Members had the opportunity to experiment with the coloured slips Joe had brought along, using his leather hard tiles. 

Here Gail (also in our Members Gallery) brushed on the blue, scraffitoed clouds, slip trailed the flowers in multiple colours and sponged on the ground.

Thanks Joe for a very interesting and informative demonstration.  We will all have another look at slips and how we might use them.

Taken from Port Hacking Potters Group Newsletter, November/December 2011.  
Copyright PGPG 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

TAFE Gymea Ceramics Students Market Day

The students of Gymea TAFE Ceramics studio will be holding a Market Day in the College grounds on Thursday 24 November from 10am to 3pm.  If you are in the area go along and support them.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Recipients of the Port Hacking Potters Award for Gymea TAFE Students 2011

Each year the Port Hacking Potters sponsor an award for students attending Gymea TAFE Ceramic Design Studios.  The sponsorship also includes monies from the Sutherland Shire Arts Council which the Potters Group administer.
This year there were two recipients, Kristy Craig and Shannon Duffy who are undertaking the Diploma in Ceramics.  Congratulations to you both!
Kristy Craig - Diploma II High Achievers Award 2011 - work titled "Pop"

Shannon Duffy - Diploma I High Achievers Award 2011 with her bowls decorated as a tribute to the painters, Braque, Barbier and Van Gogh.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

November Meeting - see you there?

The November meeting will see our Secretary, Joe Simone take us through the traditional method of slip application with a few variations you might not have seen before.  Come along at 7:30pm and see what you can learn, have a cuppa and share with other potters before the business meeting.  Visitors welcome.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

TAFE Students and the Master Class exhibit together

Members of our group who undertook the Master Class at Gymea Ceramic Design Studio earlier this year will be included in the end of year Exhibition at the Muse Gallery at Ultimo Campus.
Opening night is Monday 31st October at 6pm and the show will continue until 3rd November 2011.  Its an easy walk from Central Station via the underground tunnel and then there are no parking worries. Hope to see you there...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Fun with Clay

Members of the Port Hacking Potters enjoyed a little hand building at the September meeting with a little demo by Anna to get them started. The theme was the Nativity Scene, some made Angels and some made Wise Men.

Anna brought along a batt full of thrown bases (see photo)
Then explained to the meeting that the idea came from an old pottery book which illustrated how to make a Chess set.  

Taking this idea and a little imagination it is possible to make a Nativity scene with Angels, Wise Men and Shepherds as well as the central figures of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus and then the animals.
Anna started us off with an angel and then handed around her completed set so that members could see how they were put together.  The thrown bases are hollow which keeps the figures light and the additions of thin coils can give the appearance of clothing and facial expressions.  Very few tools are needed but Anna made good use of a small hand extruder with its varied dyes.  To allow more people to get going a tea strainer was used to push clay through with a spoon to simulate hair on the figures - including some wooly sheep.

Everyone had a go and the creations at the end of the night were amazing!  John will do a bisque firing and work will be returned to their makers.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Two events in one weekend - come along and support the Group

Members of our Group will be involved in two big events the weekend of 17th and 18th September 2011.
We would love to see you there.  If you are a member of the Group come along and see what your fellow members are doing lately.  If you are not a member yet then make yourself known and we will tell you more about our group.
First will be Saturday afternoon, 17th September at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery for the official opening of the exhibition, Bon Appetit, in the Community Gallery where several of our members are part of the Circle of Clay Friends - come along at 2pm and enjoy afternoon tea with friends as well.

 The second event is on Sunday 18th September 2011 at Menai.  Four of our Group have a market stall at Menai Community Market (look for their Facebook page) being held at Parc Menai from 9am to 3pm.  Lots of other stalls and entertainment so come over and check it out.  We will be selling all types of pottery from bowls and platters to vases and porcelain jewellery.
Wheel-thrown lidded container

Handformed brooches

Friday, August 26, 2011

September Meeting - 7th September 2011

President’s Report for September

Hello everyone. 
Latest news from the School of Arts is that Jimmy Bruce from the Arts theatre is the new President of the School of Arts and Stephen Glover is the Senior Vice President.  This year and next year will be very big years for all those involved in the School of Arts with the building project commencing.

If you are thinking of using the little CESCO kiln please hold off for a little while.  There is a problem with it and John and I are going to investigate.  Ian Lamb gave a very informative demonstration at the last meeting and I have written you a report on his tips and pieces of advice.  Basil took photos so we hope you enjoy. 

This month Anna is going to give a practical demonstration and you can become involved if you wish.

Looking forward to seeing you at the September meeting.  Bring a friend if you would like to, and think about the 50th Anniversary of the group as we will be discussing the results of the survey and forming a committee.  Until then…. Gail
Anna will get you started on making your own Nativity Scene

Ian Lamb's Demonstration at August Meeting

An example of one of Ian's beautiful bottles.
Ian Lamb gave a wonderful demonstration on throwing and provided some useful tips. 

To  warm up before throwing he recommends throwing 65 pots each with 500 gms of clay in one hour.  Not you?  Then just try a few bowls. 

Measuring tool to throw bowls of the same size
Here are Ian’s points to remember – a) weigh each ball of clay and throw to the size and shape you want in order to gain uniformity in the size of the bowls, b) attach a wire or measure to the side of the wheel to ensure the height and width of the bowl is the same.  You could use a kebab stick etc. Consolidate the rim and d) make sure the bottom “corner” of the bowl is rounded to allow the user to get the last bit of food easily.  Use one bowl as a reference when making a large number of bowls.

Sometimes we get caught up in concentrating so hard on what we are trying to achieve that we are tense.  Ian suggests quite often it is useful to continue to breath and relax a little.  It is important to know where your hands are in relation to the pot you are throwing and determine the speed of the wheel at the different stages of production.  Wedge your clay or use a pug mill.  You as the potter must know beforehand what it is you are going to make.  You cannot decide half way through the throwing if you want to be successful.  For inexperienced throwers mastering the cylinder is essential.  Most of our forms come from this shape.
A smallish bottle

Here is a recap when throwing the cylinder to create a bottle shape - weigh your clay and centre it.  Pull it up to the height you want and thin the walls.  Work out where the shoulder of the pot should be, remove the excess water from the inside and then squeeze in the neck. With your fingers on the inside, pull up the clay further and this will give height to the neck of the bottle.  Shape the shoulders to make them rounded and continue to collar in.  Pull up the neck again by pushing in with the fingers of the right hand but control she shape with the thumb and 2nd finger of the left hand.  Adjust the speed of the wheel –take your time and breathe.  Old plastic credit cards are useful to shape the neck and can provide a means of decoration on the pot.  Further decoration can be added once the pot is drier.
Ian’s tips for making bottle forms are a) know where the clay is so that you are able to shape the form to make a bottle, b) make a cylinder and ensure that there is thickness at the base for support, enough clay in the middle to allow you to “belly” out and that the top is not too thick and heavy.  Remember, know what you are making before you begin.
When you are centring clay you may have noticed that men have an advantage with their strength over women.  Don’t despair ladies, all you need to do is to use your arm by pushing into the groin or anchoring it to the wheel and pushing the clay to centre.  With the left hand on the outside after centring, push the fingers of the right hand in and push down.  Swap over the left hand into the centre and use the right hand on the outside to open up and pull the clay away from the wheel.  If you are throwing really big bottles throw the neck as a separate piece and attach on the wheel later.  Of course everyone has their own way of centring and opening up the clay but if you are having trouble you may want to try Ian’s method.

throwing a larger bottle, starting with a cylinder

Shaping the bottle base
Ian demonstrated throwing a large blossom pot.  He used a very large amount of clay but did not centre it all in one piece.  He centred the first piece and then added more clay to this piece and centred then continued until he had the amount of clay he wanted.  He pulled up the clay to form a cylinder as described above.  For his pot, he suggested that 1cm thick walls would support the pot.  He indicated that you must control the top so that it does not get too wide before you begin to collar in.  When the pot is as tall you as had already decided on, you can begin to shape the pot.  This will automatically thin the clay.  Continue to collar in the top but don’t forget to use water and slow down the wheel.  Ian’s pot was up to his elbow before he began to shape the pot and collar in.  A commercial rib or credit card can be used on the outside to shape the pot while the left hand is on the inside pushing out.  Continue until you have the shape you want and then know when to stop.  A mirror in front of the wheel at an angle can be set up to determine the shape.  It saves having to get up and walk away from the pot to look at it.  When you are satisfied with the shape take it off the wheel and allow it to dry enough before you add the neck.
To throw the neck, Ian measured the top opening of the bottle. He took an approximate amount of clay, centred it and opened it down to the wheel before pulling it to form a cylinder.  Keep the neck narrow and in this case the rim of the neck is on the batt.  Form a gallery on the top so that this can be attached to the bottle.  Cut the neck off the batt and this could be allowed to dry a little if it is very soft or very wet.
Shaped bottle base ready to take the neck which is thrown separately

When attaching it to the bottle, moisten the top of the bottle you threw.  Place the neck over the opening and with hands on the inside ,push down and roll the gallery under the rim of the top section of the pot. 
Throwing the neck upside down with a gallery for joining to the base

Joining the neck to the bottle base

When this is attached continue to shape the neck of the bottle.  Ian says that he never has trouble with the neck cracking away from the bottle.  You can at this stage trim excess clay from the lower section of the pot.  All done.  Did you remember to breathe?
Completing the joined neck

Well done Ian, A GREAT DEMONSTRATION WITH SOME USEFUL TIPS.  It is not easy to try to explain the process if you were not at the meeting.  I hope that it makes sense and that Basil’s photos clear up any misunderstandings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Talk and Demonstration at Hazelhurst with Michael Keighery

Check out the link below for more details;  being held at Hazelhurst on Sunday 11 September 2011 10am to 3pm cost $20 which includes afternoon tea.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Competition Sponsors Launches New Underglaze Colours

Blackwattle Pottery and Ceramic Supplies have been regular sponsors of the Port Hacking Potters National Pottery Competition and recently launched a new range of underglaze colours called "BUG Colours" Their showroom is at 20 Stennett Road Ingleburn, Ph 02 9829 5555 check them out and let them know you saw it here on our blog.

Friday, August 5, 2011

TAFE and Uni get together to exhibit at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery

There was an item about this show in the members newsletter - here is the official invitation to the opening.  Hope you can get along...  note that the opening is on Friday 19 August at 6pm but as it is in the main gallery (isn't that great!) it will run until 9 October so you can visit several times ...

Hazelhurst Regional Gallery August 20- October 9 2011
Official Opening August 19 at 6 pm, RSVP by August 15
In Clay showcases the works of teachers, artists and designers who have a connection to the Ceramic Design Studio at Sutherland TAFE College, Sydney Institute. Ceramic classes, initially taught by just one part-time teacher, commenced at Gymea TAFE campus in 1966. Today it is one of the largest Sydney based training centres for ceramic practitioners. For the past forty - five years the studio has trained ceramic artists and designers who have gone on to become nationally and internationally recognized for their skill, creativity and innovation.
As a key event in TAFE NSW - Sydney Institute’s 120th Anniversary Celebration, this exhibition highlights the significance of ceramics within TAFE NSW, as well as the cultural landscape of the Sutherland Shire and the evolution of contemporary ceramic practice in Australia.
Exhibiting artists include Somchai Chareon, Toni Warburton, Trisha Dean, Walter Auer, Michael Keighery, Lynda Draper, Steve Harrison, Aedan Harris, Bunty Mitchell, Catherine Fogarty, Claudia Citton, Dianne Brock, Inga Svendesen, Janette Loughrey, Julie Batholomew, Lesley O’Sullivan,  Marian Howell, Michael Williamson, Peter Workman, Robyn Donoghue, Ross Webb, Sara Zitner, Terrance Henningsen,

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Sydney Teapot Show 2011

The Sydney Teapot Show is an Annual Event at the Inner City Clayworkers and this years event opens on Friday night at 6pm.  It runs from opening night - Friday 29 July until 28 August 2011.
Some of our members are involved in one way or another so make the trip over to see some amazing teapots.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Members Gallery

Please check out the new addition to our blog - along the top you will see a new TAB titled MEMBERS BLOG.

Just click and scroll to see examples of work by our members.  More images will be added as members submit them.

Monday, June 27, 2011

July Meeting

Our July meeting will be hosted by our Vice President, Jamie.  We hope to have a demonstrator, a wheel throwing demonstration by one of our members.  If that doesn't happen then we will be showing a DVD of the work of Peter Rushforth.
There is always time at supper to speak with other members and ask your pottery questions. Bring a plate of food to share and enjoy some company of other potters.
See you there at 7.30pm Wednesday 6th July 2011.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gymea TAFE Term 3 2011 Master Class

Any one who has completed a TAFE Diploma or Adv Dip or equivalent might like to consider the Master Class being run in Term 3 at Gymea.  Those of us who did it first term got a lot out of it.  Contact Cath Fogarty asap before 30th June.  Details follow:


WHEN: Every Thursday from 21 July – 15 September 2011
From 10am – 2.30pm, participants work with the support and guidance of Michael Keighery
From 2.30 – 4pm, participants continue to work independently in the ceramic studio environment.

Minimum participant number 11, maximum number is 14.

COST: $504 (If we have more than 11 participants, the price per person will decrease)
The price includes 5 bags of clay ranging in quality from raku to porcelain, the use of pre-prepared glazes, slips and access to kilns.


For further information or to register your interest, please contact Cath Fogarty, Acting Head Teacher, Ceramics on 9710 5048 or email

Postscript: 30 June 2011 - Unfortunately we didn't get the 11 participants needed to run in Term 3.  Look out for this opportunity in 2012.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

2012 Is Our Golden Anniversary - How will we celebrate?

All members, past and present are asked to help us plan our celebrations of 50 years of potting.
A committee will be formed and we are asking for ideas on how our celebration should be held.  We could have a reunion, a dinner, a special workshop, a charity fundraiser event?  Please get in touch and let us know what you would like to see happen to celebrate 50 years of friendship amongst those who love to make with clay.

Please email us with your response -

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

June Meeting

Looking forward to more tips on glazes from John Sadleir?  Have you a piece glazed in a way you would like to replicate?  Have a good glaze recipe to share?

Come along Wednesday night, 1st June 2011, 7:30pm upstairs at the Cronulla School of Arts, entry off Surf Lane Cronulla. 

Should be fun :^)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Great Demonstration by Donna Davis

Members at the May meeting enjoyed Donna's friendly style and were inspired by this wonderful slab work. (those attending took home a template and ideas for another form which used a block of wood and a roll of foam!)

This interesting shape takes a little patience

When fired, the vessels look like this
 We got to see some home made tools for beveling edges and scratching up:

and images of her other work including this bowl with a wonderful gold glaze inside,

and these Sushi plates
For more of Donna's work check out the following link to the Ramona Open Studios Tour which Donna takes part in each year:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blue Room and Sale at Gymea TAFE this Saturday

If you can, call by and check out the student exhibition and sale on Saturday 7th May 2011
10am to 4pm at Gymea TAFE College, corner of The Kingsway and Hotham Road.
There is some wonderful young talent making some wonderful pots.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Demonstrator from the USA at our May meeting

It is hoped that all our locally based members will come along to our May meeting (Wednesday, 4 MAY at 7.30pm in upstairs meeting room, Cronulla School of Arts, Surf Lane Cronulla).  Why?  To make welcome Donna Davis.  Donna is from San Diego (USA) and majored in Art at UCLA and has been working in clay since 1990. Her work is sold in the USA and she also teaches ceramics and takes part in the Ramona Artists Open Studio Tour every year.
 Come and make her welcome and share some supper afterwards with fellow potters and if you can, stay for the business meeting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New site to track ceramic competitions

The Australian Ceramics Association has implemented a new listing on their website.  To be able to find suitable competitions to enter, just go to their website (link in our side panel) and look for their link on the left hand side of their home page.  Here is a direct link:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Raffle drawn

Our Easter Hamper raffle was drawn by a volunteer at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery and the winner was Basil P. Congratulations and enjoy sharing all that chocolate.