It has been a long-standing desire of CCPS management committees, to photograph the CCPS ceramic collections. However, not until this year have we been successful in investing in professional photographs to document our collections. In so doing, it has enabled a comprehensive cataloguing process to get underway, one that will be an invaluable asset to CCPS.
Claire Halon and Jean Miller, with the assistance of Carole Saint, have headed a group of members to cross reference, identify, research and measure each of the 300+ pieces in our collections. This has been no mean feat. Many hours have been dedicated to checking and double checking to ensure the details match and are accurate. Many thanks to the members who have dedicated time to these important jobs.
In 2019 Gosford Regional Gallery will once again display ceramic work. This time it will be from our collections; an exhibition called Significant. We have had a terrific opportunity to collaborate with Dr Grace Cochrane on this project. Grace is “an independent curator, writer and consultant, from 1988-2005 she was the curator, later senior curator, of Australian decorative arts and design at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Author of The Crafts Movement in Australia: a History (NSW University Press, 1992), for 40 years she has talked about the crafts and design in lectures and at conferences in Australia and overseas, has written for a range of journals and publications, and examined submissions from many PhD and Master’s candidates” (https://au.linkedin.com/in/grace-cochrane-b50b11117).Grace has started work on curating the collections for the Significant exhibition. The cataloguing and photography have proved invaluable in this process.
Claire has chronicled the process of compiling the catalogue information, as well as asking for information regarding some unknown details and/or gaps in our collection - see below.
Judith Barrett (b.1927, Australia)
CCPS Member, workshop presenter
Bowl, Fruit Bowl for the Birds, 1984
stoneware, white glaze, gas fired, 15 x 57 x 30cm
Winner CCPS Acquisitive Prize, 1984 theme Something for the Birds, judge Michael Keighery
CCPS General Collection
“I awarded the prize to Judy Barrett because her bowl captured a sense of flight and also has a nice sense of whimsy, which would make its use something of an occasion.” Michael Keighery (CCPS Newsletter, July 1984)
The Cataloguing Process
Step 1. January – July 2018
Photographing the collections
Initial photography completed on 16,17 & 18 January 2018
The process involved photographer Stephen Cummings of Lightplay, assisted by Lesley Weber, Jean Miller, Carole Saint, Charo Sparkes, Joy Nagy, Marienne Stollery, Lou Whiting and Claire Halon.
Works were removed from the cabinets, placed in order, photos were taken, pots returned to an unused table where they were given collection numbers and brief identification details, returned to the cabinets, and new works set out. This rotation meant the process worked efficiently. At the same time, a spreadsheet of the works was developed, using the basic information available for each piece.
The combined sections of the collection were photographed in the following order:
1. Joan Matthews Collection – 155 pieces
As there was already a catalogue of this collection, it was the most efficient place to start, as the pieces were arranged from 1 – 155 (with a few variations) which worked well for recording on the spreadsheet, and it gave an opportunity to prepare other sections.
2. The Penny Riley Collection – 23 pieces
Some had names and descriptions, others presented as numbered but un-named pots. Brief, obvious features were listed, for identification later.
3. The CCPS Collection – over 150 pieces (to be catalogued)
Before this process commenced in January 2018, there had been no records found of purchases or donations, so each piece required close scrutiny, checking for maker’s marks, etc. Workshop or demonstration purchases or donations were slightly easier to process. However some pieces still remain ‘unknown’, except of course for the physical qualities. Identification is an ongoing process.
At this point I congratulate those members who were involved with the CCPS Newsletters, especially the 1970 – 1990 period. My knowledge of CCPS has been heightened as a result of reading all of the Newsletter Reports on excursions, workshops and demonstrations - a treasure trove of information, and extremely useful in identification of many of the ‘unknown’ pieces.
It was the July 1973 Newsletter, describing a planned excursion to Peter Dobinson’s pottery at Allendale, that secured my favourite piece of information: “The Society has already decided to buy a pot from him to start a collection”. It was early August 2018, two months ago, when I finally identified that pot. Peter Dobinson’s stoneware blossom jar is now Number 1. in the CCPS Collection.
4. Award Winners – 8 pieces (names and most details available)
The Rest of the CCPS Collection – gathered as closely as possible into cohesive order, such as Founding and Life Members and demonstrators.
Many of the pots in this category have been donated, many with details of origin, others with none. Online sites such as Bemboka have proved to be a rich source for identification. Lack of an identifiable Potters Mark is the biggest issue. I urge all CCPS Members to sign every pot that they make to allow for any future identification.
Several pots ‘escaped’ the photography queue, and will hopefully be photographed on September 21.
Step 2. August – November 2018
Having classified most of the 300+ pots in the collections, the next task has been to link the photographs to the pots. Having the spreadsheets to work from, and the jpeg number of each photograph, the basic classification has proceeded slowly, but has nearly been completed. I have completed the task of linking the jpg number to the CCPS pot number and description, ready for the next step.
Carole Saint has provided a great deal of assistance in the sorting and printing of catalogue - standard templates. Kylie Rose McLean sorted the details required when she was preparing material to send Gosford Regional Gallery for advertising purposes. Mandy Francis has been importing each image to match the catalogue information. She is making great inroads into this process. Following this, there will be a tidy up of the individual pot details.
The Final Details
One of the final activities to complete is the measurement of each item. This is not an activity that I want to do alone. My request is for some willing CCPS Members to donate a few hours, over one or two weeks, and probably on a Monday or Tuesday at the end of Drop In, or in early October in the school holidays when there are no classes. My plan is that we have a few pairs of steady handed members, with a knowledge of the metric system, working to complete the measuring - one to measure, the other to record. There will be a demonstration of the process to follow, and the pots will be set out ready for the activity. It should not take long for the 300+ to be done in an assembly line production.
Once this has been completed, we will be well on the way to having quality details of our valuable collections, and will be ready to publish the details for a variety of purposes. The main purpose is as a resource for members so they can interact with the collections, and cross reference all the details. We will also be able to provide our exhibition curator, Dr Grace Cochrane, with detailed information.
This work has been motivated by the CCPS Collections Exhibition, Significant, to be held at Gosford Regional Gallery from 9 February to 24 March 2019. The CCPS Sub Committee of Lesley Weber, Kylie Rose McLean and Claire Halon, are working to deadlines to realise this exhibition. We need all the preliminary work finished this month (September), decisions regarding content to be decided in October, and in November/December GR Gallery details, signs etc need to be finalised. We have no time to waste, but the three of us feel that this exhibition, curated by the experienced Grace Cochrane, will be very special.
One of my main objectives in taking on the position of Collections Curator with Jean Miller in 2015 was to build up our collection of pots made by Founding Members and Life Members. With our 50th year in mind, it was time to fill in the gaps. If you know the details of the two works below, or have a pot made by any of the following potters, or you know the location of any, please contact me with the details. We are keen to purchase pieces or have them donated to our collection. It would be an achievement to complete this task before our 50th year is over.
Founding & Life Members
Penny Carr - Founding Member
Noni Convary - Founding Member
Marion Hanks - Founding Member
Irving Silvey - Founding Member
Topsy Thomas - Founding Member
Miriam Mullard - Founding Member
Penny Riley - Life Member
Veronica Bliim - Life Member
10 September 2018 (updated October 2018)
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Central Coast Potters Society is a non-profit, community organisation of like-minded volunteers who love clay.