The workshop commenced on Friday evening, June 17th with an informative talk by John Tuckwell, ably assisted by his partner of 40 years, Gloria who was in charge of the slide show.
John told us is in his quiet, wry manner of his early days in Sydney’s west where he was involved in the automotive industry, dealing in car spare parts. During the “recession we had to have “in the early 1990’s he found himself needing to find a different direction and moved northwards onto acreage. There he found himself involved in making ceramic garden ornaments. He enjoyed the activity and Gloria encouraged him to enroll for a degree at ANU majoring in ceramics and there he encountered porcelain. He has had a marvelous and passionate relationship with the medium ever since.
For those who are unfamiliar with Johns work, John makes very fine, fragile looking vessels. The vessels are made of fine porcelain slip mixed with paper and are decorated with distinctive, abstracted swathes of colour. John describes his pots and their decoration as a personal and emotional response to the beauty he sees around him, especially in Cathedral Rock National Park near Armidale. We were all mesmerised by the delicacy of all the work on display and looked forward to learning as much as we could from John and Gloria who is also a potter (as well as a nurse) over the following days.
Saturday and Sunday were amazing days as we were introduced to new techniques and experimented with casting slips with paper mixed into them, laminating coloured slips into the thin set sheets of paper cast slip, and creating vessels of our own. Some of the participants created truly gorgeous pots. John Tuckwell was a wonderful teacher.