Company of Potters

Curated by Damian Skinner, developed and toured by Objectspace.

Between 1973 and 1984, the three kilns at Ian and Sheryl Smail’s ‘Nodsdale’ property on Auckland’s north shore were used to fire pots by a number of leading New Zealand ceramists. This exhibition explores the creative and social relations that linked these kilns, the pots fired in them, and the makers closely associated with the Smails; Chester Nealie, Liz Schwier, Warren Tippet, Bronwynne Cornish, Len Castle, Denis O’Connor, Nick Waterson, and the Smails themselves.

The first of the three kilns built at ‘Nodsdale’ (the Redvale property named for Sheryl’s nickname, Nod) was in 1974; a baby oil-fired brick kiln of ten cubic feet, with a single cylinder shearing-shed motor that Ian had re-purposed.

This kiln was in frequent use and used especially for salt glazing. The second kiln, built in 1975 or 1976, was a stoneware kiln, about 30 cubic feet and replete with vacuum cleaner blowers, the construction of which followed the connection of electricity to the property. The third was a wood-fired kiln completed by 1978.

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