The Pottery at Old Toolijooa School.

Who's there? What do they do?

Leaf dish
It's only a small scale "cottage industry" venture,
operating since 1988. We began with a small electric kiln (6 cubic feet), bought in a burnt-out state and rebuilt from the ground up. Some years later we built a larger gas-fired fibre kiln (27 cubic feet), and later still a smaller test kiln (2 cubic feet). And eventually, a wood-fired kiln too.

Who makes the pots? Just two of us, man and wife. Not a lot of qualifications as potters go... four years at Tech College, part time (and it was fun, too). But countless thousands of pots made and sold since then.
We're both getting older and slower now, but we try to keep up.


Old school residence built
                1871   Potting takes place in a separate workshop building, about 100 square metres floor area, adjacent to the old School residence. We think of it as a workshop rather than a "studio". Three pottery wheels, pugmills, slab roller, extruders, various kilns and all the usual hardware. Lots of shelves. One end of the building is separated off as a display room. We don't often think of it as a "gallery".  We fire an occasional batch of terracotta items, but most of the work is stoneware, fired to cone 9 or 10.

Opening the kiln door after a new firing is rather like
opening a Christmas present. Some pots probably
 better than expected, others not so good.

Glazing all these pots may have taken several days,
 with details of glaze application  carefully
 recorded in the kiln log book. Which glaze,
dipped or sprayed or both, how much glaze
 by weight or by volume.... and so on.

The idea of course is, if the fired glaze is outstandingly
good, we'd like to do it again. And if it's not so good (too
thin, too thick, underfired, or whatever else) then write
comments in the log book, so we can do better next time.
Open kiln door after new firing
For some years we were puzzled by the number of customers who asked "Do you sell in shops?" (No, we don't. Just keeping up with things here at home keeps us busy).  Why did they keep asking this? It dawned on us that, maybe, this was a polite way to ask "Are your pots good enough to be sold in a shop?"

Well, we know we're good. We admit it ourselves. So we rummaged in the cupboard and brought out a selection of prize ribbons, and hung them on a stand in the display room.Surprise, surprise! Nobody ever asks any more, "Do you sell in shops?"

The pots get better every year, but the horizon keeps retreating....

Prize ribbons