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Posts from the ‘Australia’ Category

Maigonis Daga

Maigonis Daga

Maigonis (Mike) Daga (1923-2001) was born in Latvia, and immigrated to Australia in 1948 as a refugee, where he attended the Adelaide School of Art studying sculpture.

From 1954-1964 he ran a successful commercial pottery studio in Adelaide, after which he re-located to Minneapolis in the U.S. opening a studio there around 1970. His sons continued to run the studio after his death until very recently. (The last record I can find of it operating is in 2008)

His earlier Australian work consisted of modernist, slip cast forms which this ewer style vase typifies, but he is more widely known in the U.S. for his sculptural animal forms on granite plinths. Some of these figurines have a modernist look to them, others a more traditional look.

His work is usually signed “Daga” to the base most often.

His Australian pieces are also very similar stylistically to those of Gunda Pottery made around the same time in Melbourne by fellow Latvian, Gundars Lusis…although I find the pieces from Gunda are a bit more streamlined and refined in their forms and finishes.

It was in the U.S. where Daga really refined his style.

The above was first published on my previous website retropottery.net on May 15, 2014 and has been coped without permission onto at least 1 other website I have found. 

Maigonis Daga Ewer Vase Read more

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Tuominen Pottery, Adelaide

Tuominen Pottery, Adelaide Australia.

Lauri Tuominen (b1949 -) worked here in South Australia as a potter for about 20 years during the late 1970s into the 1990’s.  I remember his gallery outlet as being very successful commercially and accessible to people who knew nothing about pottery…except for what they liked.

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery

Practically everyone I know locally has a piece of Tuominen pottery from this period. What wasn’t purchased personally was often given as a gift, wedding present or housewarming gift etc.

Occasionally I have see Tuominen pottery for sale now mistakenly attributed as “Arabia Finland” because of the Finnish designer at Arabia, Kati Tuominen.

Lauri was Finnish born and trained as, then worked as an art teacher here for 4 years before moving full time into being a full time potter. He did some further design study in Scandinavia in his early years as a potter. In his studio he employed 1 apprentice and 1 assistant.

His large variety of domestic stoneware pottery is characterised by dark subdued glazes in earthen colours, as is much of his one-off studio ware. There were other colours produced but these darker tones were the most popular and are the ones most often found these days at auctions, second hand stores, markets etc.

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery Large Teapot

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery Blossom Vase

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery

Lauri Tuominen Studio Pottery – Small Jug

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Derek Smith, Australia

Derek Smith (b 1931 – )

Derek Smith was a already an accomplished ceramic designer and art teacher in the U.K. when he moved to Australia in 1956.

He set up a studio and kilns while he was teaching at Bowral High School in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, near Sturt Pottery where Smith developed working relationships with the potters there at the time.

Smith was then invited to teach at the Tasmanian School of Art, and his exhibition at Domain House in Hobart in 1963 was the first exhibition of stoneware pottery in Tasmania.

Smith spent 2 years setting up the ceramics course the the Tasmanian School of Art 1962-64 before continuing to teach until 1973, while developing a studio practice in Beecroft NSW.

In 1973 he was invited to establish and manage a pottery studio within the Doulton Australia factory. There he managed a studio with 6 staff. Derek designed the forms. Some were hand thrown and some were made using moulds and a jolley machine to increase output and efficiency. During this time Smith also continued to produce his own studio work.

Derek Smith’s skill as a designer and ceramicist were well suited to commercial production however the relationship with Doulton however was relatively short lived – ending in 1976-7 when Doulton Australia was sold, and Smith set up Blackfriars Pottery in Sydney which became a one of the largest and most successful potteries in Australia at that time.

In the 1980s he returned to Tasmania and focused on studio and exhibition work at his new studio Mangalore.

Derek Smith - Doulton Australia Vase

Derek Smith – Doulton Australia Vase. Doulton stamp can be seen near the base.

I view Derek Smith’s work up there with the best of Australian ceramic design from this era. To me his work exemplifies the best of 1970s design – a blend of quality commercial and studio pottery. His forms are so skilfully designed and made, and his use of glaze, surface and texture add to the beauty of these forms.

Below is a piece of Smith’s work with the DS cypher which he used 1969-1973.  Sometimes you can find this popular form with the Doulton stamp too – meaning it was produced a little later when Derek was with Doulton.

Derek Smith - Doulton Australia Bottle

Derek Smith –  Bottle Form

There is also a FLICKR page which has examples of Derek Smith’s backstamps or cyphers HERE if you are looking to date or identify a piece of work by Derek Smith.

Derek Smith - Blackfriars Pottery, Lidded Jar

Derek Smith – Blackfriars Pottery, Lidded Jar – Photo Shapiro Auctioneers Sydney

Derek Smith 1976 Studio Piece

Derek Smith 1976 Studio Piece, photo Shapiro Auctioneers Sydney

Derek Smith, Studio Bowl

Derek Smith, Studio Bowl

Derek Smith - Tall Cylindrical Form

Derek Smith – Tall Cylindrical Form.Photo from Australian Pottery at Bemboka website.

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