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Posts from the ‘Studio Potters’ Category

Rhonda Boehm, Barossa Valley, Australia

Rhonda Boehm, Barossa Valley, South Australia

From time to time I come across lovely stoneware fired pieces by local potter Rhonda Boehm.

Rhonda Boehm (b ? – d 2005)  worked from a studio in the Barossa Valley, South Australia – and was most active during the 1980s.

Her work has a distinctive and honest quality to it – and is most often in muted mushroom pinks and bluish greys. Rhonda specialised in coloured clay slips and dry glazes over a carved whitish coloured clay body. Pieces were glazed on the inside with a clear glaze most often.

Some works have a botanical design, and others have precise and geometric patterns carved into the stoneware fired clay. There is something reminiscent of the hues of the Australian sunset and landscape in Rhonda’s use of colour and design.

The images below are pieces by Rhonda which have passed through my hands over the years.

The information quoted below is from the ever growing and hugely informative Australian Pottery >1960s Website and associated pages by Judith Pearce.

Rhonda Boehm ( -2005) owned a hairdressing salon in Nuriootpa, SA, before taking up pottery in the early 1970s under her married name, Rhonda Longbottom. She completed a ceramics course…. and set up a studio in the caretakers’ cottage of an old stone winery she renovated with her husband in Tanunda, SA. She also ran a successful gallery in the main building and was an active member of the Potters’ Guild of SA. In the mid-1980s, she divorced and began practicing under her maiden name. Work produced before her divorce is incised ‘Rhonda Longbottom’ or impressed ‘RL’ with the R inside the angle of the L. Work made after is impressed ‘RB’ with the R reversed. Some pieces may also have an impressed kangaroo. Others may be incised ‘Boehm’.

Rhonda Boehm, Barossa Valley, South Australia 1980s

Rhonda Boehm, Barossa Valley, South Australia 1980s

Rhonda Boehm, Barossa Valley, South Australia 1980s Read more

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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

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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Ilja Chapoff, Australia

Ilja Chapoff, (1912-1989)

Georg Ilya Chapoff, A 20th Century Potter’s work who you will rarely come across, but which I find captivating. The image below is the only example of his work I have come across, and  I haven’t been able to find any other examples online, in libraries or periodical magazines of the time.

Ilja Chapoff (b1912 Novorossijsk, Russia – d 1989 Australia). Was a talented craftsman who worked as a Potter, Painter and Carver/Sculptor (of both marble and wood). He worked in New South Wales and the A.C.T. (Canberra)…and taught classes in Sculpture in the Canberra region. I am guessing he immigrated to Australia around WW2.

I was able to find only 1 record of an exhibition he was involved in at the Society of Arts & Crafts of N.S.W in 1974 – but there were no images. His name is listed on the Australian Artists database, but that goes no further.

What an all round talent this man was.  I love the style of the pattern on this stoneware piece pictured here  – obviously a reference to Russian Easter Egg designs which Ilja would have known so well.

If any readers ever come across any information, or a piece by this Artist, please contact me, as I would love to see it and build up some sort of visual library of this work, before it slips from our history. Read more

Eric Juckert, Australia

Eric Juckert  1918-2004, Australia

Eric Juckert was a prolific Australian Studio & Commercial Potter and Artist/Painter who had studied with Una Deerborn in South Yarra, Melbourne. He worked as a potter and painter from around 1949 to 1992 in Victoria.   His pottery was also sold by the department stores Myer and David Jones under the trade name “Jacqueline”.

It is worth reading a well researched biography on his life on the Australian “Rameking” blog HERE  . A selection of his work showing the wide variety of styles he produced can also be seen at the local museum in Cowes, Victoria.

Juckert was a highly skilled potter, and well respected amongst his peers both nationally and internationally. I especially love his use of expert use of glaze colourants and surface texture. Even the smoothest of his glazes have a luxurious, tactile quality about them.

The pieces you will probably come across most often by Juckert in Australia are the small bottles with impressed circle designs, and the white “splatter” glaze commercial ware.

Eric Juckert Bud Vase

Eric Juckert Bud Vase with impressed circles and crackle glaze

Eric Juckert - Bud Vase

Eric Juckert – Bud Vase with impressed design

Eric Juckert - Bud Vase, Manganese Glaze

Eric Juckert – Bud Vase, Manganese Glaze, Impressed Circle Design

Eric Juckert Bud Vase Detail

Eric Juckert Glaze Detail

Eric Juckert Signature

Eric Juckert Signature

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Gem Pottery – Gemma DeRidder & The Carmelite Nuns

Carmel Pottery Adelaide, Gemma DeRidder

Carmel Pottery began around 1959 after the Carmelite Nuns at their Adelaide Glen Osmond Convent were taught the techniques of throwing, glazing and firing by a former graduate of the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts Thelma Fisher, who had learnt her technique from Kelly Koster of Kosters Pottery.

Koster had a precise and mathematical approach to throwing forms on the wheel, and this technique was passed down through Fisher to the Carmelite Nuns.

It was the simplicity of form, and sense of perfection about the pieces which first attracted me to the work of the Nuns. Originally 2 sisters were taught by Thelma Fisher – sister Gemma DeRidder and Sister St John.

Their work was sold from the convent as “Carmel” Pottery. Gemma went on to teach some of the other Nun’s the basic skills, and a productive pottery resulted. Gemma applied for a Churchill Fellowship to study ceramics further overseas during this period, but was rejected on the basis that she was a Nun.

Gemma left the convent in the late 1970’s to set up her own pottery under the name of Carmel-Gem in the southern suburbs of Adelaide. I’m not sure when the Carmel Pottery at the Convent ceased production, but It was still operating in the 1980’s.

In 2008 the beautiful convent and its massive grounds with olive groves was closed and later sold.

Gemma developed and experimented with techniques including a beautiful banding pattern by created by experimenting with combinations of oxides, which became a her signature style. Gemma also experimented with clay bodies by adding beach sand to achieve the perfect texture. She made a wide variety of wares including dinner setttings, canisters, sculptural pieces, vases etc.

Gemma DeRidder, Large Vase

Gemma DeRidder, Large Vase

Gemma DeRidder, Lidded Jar, Fish Symbol

Gemma DeRidder, Lidded Jar, Fish Symbol

Gemma DeRidder, Lidded Jar with Banding

Gemma DeRidder, Lidded Jar with Banding

Gemma DeRidder, Lidded Bowl, Chattering Pattern

Gemma DeRidder, Lidded Bowl, Chattering Pattern

Gemma DeRidder, Jar with Banding

Gemma DeRidder, Jar with Banding

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Allan Lowe, Australia – Simple Modernist Earthenware

Allan Lowe (1907-2001)  – Simple Modernist Earthenware. I am always drawn to the work of this mid-century Australian studio potter.

Allan was a painter before setting up a pottery studio at Merlyston, Victoria, in 1929. His keen awareness of colour on his pottery is probably due to that previous experience.

I love the use of strong colours which contrast so well with the cream coloured earthenware on these simply thrown utilitarian pieces below, typical of the work from Lowe’s studio. They probably date to the early 1960s.

The following bio for Allan is from Judith Pearce’s Australian Pottery site where you can see quite a few examples of his work: Read more