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50 years experience
I have been working with clay for over forty-five years. Early inspiration came while teaching primary school children at Slade Point near Mackay. It was then I discovered clay as an art media that brought so much enjoyment to his students and of course myself. With a transfer to Toowoomba, a friend, Harry Hart, who was the Art Teacher at Mt Lofty High School and I formed Hartland Potteries where we taught, produced and sold pottery through regular exhibitions. Since moving to Sheldon in the Redlands, I discovered suitable volcanic clay on my property and this has driven my work in an entirely new direction. This clay is typically stoneware with high iron oxide content. At lower earthenware temperatures the clay fires to rich golden terracotta, while at higher stoneware temperatures, it takes on a steely quality that almost shrieks durability and hardness. “At the end of the day, I gain great joy in sharing with others the pleasure I get from simply working with clay.”
Over recent times, I have been assisting traditional Khmer Potters in Cambodia and offering foreign potters (potential and experienced) the unique experience of working with Khmer potters using traditional methods. I have discussed this enterprise with Khmer potters in Andon Gruessey Village in Kampong Chhnang and they have enthusiastically endorsed this project that could help expose their skills to the world. It will provide a much needed income to the village beyond the subsistence life most experience.
As a potter who has visited this place many times, I’ve gained so much from my association with these people, not only in exploring my own knowledge within that context, but also my development as a person. I’ve designed a tour to share that experience, particularly for potter/ceramicists who’d love to develop their current skills and experience new techniques within a unique environment among traditional potters and their extended family and community. There’s only one such place in Cambodia and it lies in one province, Kampong Chhnang, which literally translates as Port of Pottery. It’s called a port because of its location on the Tonle Sap River, gateway to Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wat and the mighty Mekong River.
We, at Windmill Pottery, offer a unique 10-day experience, including a 7-day pottery residency in Cambodia where foreign will have the opportunity of a cultural experience facilitated by a traditional approach to clay making as the Khmer potters have done for many generations.
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