Tag Archives: Makers

End of an era

THE STONEHOUSE Gallery and Shop closed on August 31, 2023.
The Makers’ Gallery, which has been operating for 51 years, operated by a collective of local artists, has found it increasingly difficult to run the gallery in recent years due to a diminishing membership.
“It was a heartbreaking decision,” said painter and ceramicist Jenny John.
“It had become increasingly difficult for the small number involved to be both artists and run the gallery.
“Despite sustained efforts to attract new members, we were not successful,” she said.
While the Warrandyte arts scene has made a significant comeback in recent years with spaces such as the Now & Not Yet Café’s NaNY Gallery and the regular Pop-Up Exhibitions hosted by Warrandyte Community Association and Warrandyte Artisans, Stonehouse Gallery and Shop was the only dedicated gallery space in Warrandyte.
Yarra Ward representative Councillor Carli Lange said she was “heartbroken to hear the Stonehouse Gallery is closing”.
She told the Diary she was unaware of the future of the building:

“Planning permission would be required for any change to the use of the land from a shop or alterations to the existing building.
I wish all the talented artists who display and sell their work from the Stonehouse Gallery all the very best with their arts and culture careers, and may they know their talented work will be very much missed.”

Established by eight like-minded potters in 1972, the Stonehouse Gallery has been the heart and soul of creative Warrandyte.
This collective of passionate and diverse artists and craftspeople has been an amazing supporter of the broader and upcoming arts community.
Owned and run by member artists, the Stonehouse Gallery showcased and sold quality Australian fine arts and crafts. Originally located at the eastern end of town, at the old Selby’s Store, now the Yarra Store, on the corner of Tills Drive, the gallery moved to its home, the old Gospel Chapel at 103 Yarra Street in 2005.
Over the years, member artists and consignees represented a wide array of creative arts and craft disciplines.
They supported and inspired each other.
The Stonehouse Gallery has influenced and changed many lives.
At the celebration of the arts collective’s 50th anniversary, former member, Marg Perry, encapsulated the essence of Stonehouse.

“We have supported one another through family joy and happiness, tragedy and heart ache, illness and celebration. We have shared our successes and our failures.
Some members have moved on quickly, others have stayed longer…. each person leaving their imprint on our lives and hearts.
Our gratitude is endless to those eight women who had the courage and the foresight to take the risk and place their hopes and ideals on the line, to make a name for themselves and for us, for the pottery world and all the wonderful creative arts people whose work is on display, worn, admired and loved by our customers and supporters.
Some of us wondered how long we would stay — whether twenty or forty years, it seemed like half a lifetime or the blink of an eye, depending on where you are looking from.”

Like the clay that has passed with care through the hands of its many talented cooperative members, Stonehouse craft has evolved as each generation has picked up where the previous one left off.
Times and place may have changed in the past fifty years, but the spirit of Stonehouse continues: a group of creative women dedicated to making fine Australian Art and Craft, determined to directly connect the maker with the collector.
This journey was chronicled in the book Stonehouse Gallery celebrating 50 years (2022, Focus Printing) by Cliff Harding. Staffed by the member artists, a visit to the gallery was not only an opportunity to peruse and purchase beautifully crafted jewellery, textiles, glass, ceramics, and paintings but also a chance to interact with the makers directly.
From the early days, the Gallery hosted monthly exhibitions by local and member artists.
Many were embellished with magically evoking titles such as: All Smoke and No Mirrors; Celebrating our First Christmas; Journey to India; The Carpet Bus; Planes Trains and Elephants; Arabian Nights; Tuscany Re-visited; and Birds of a Feather.
Since 2017, the Gallery has also hosted the Melbourne Teapot Exhibition.
The Stonehouse Gallery rescued this quirky and enchanting annual exhibition from its creators, Studio@Flinders, when that gallery was forced to close in 2016.
The property was sold in late 2022.
And while the Stonehouse Gallery artists may no longer use the space, there are hopes, the building will continue to operate as a gallery.

Countdown to The Pottery Expo 2023

POTTERS AND ceramic enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting The Pottery Expo as it returns to the banks of the Yarra in Warrandyte for its 23rd year.
Ceramic artists across Victoria, New South Wales (NSW), and Western Australia (WA) have been working in their studios preparing for Australia’s biggest ceramics festival which comes to the banks of the Yarra on February 25–26.
The exhibitors will present work that uses various making and firing techniques, including hand building, wheel throwing, raku, gas and electric firing, and a range of clays from fine porcelain to stoneware, terracotta and earthenware.

New for 2023

There will be a special exhibition of guest artists from WA featuring influences from the WA coastline and local flora and fauna, with work ranging from large-scale and sculptural work to fine-detailed pieces.
Clay Connections, a three-day Pop Up exhibition by Valley Potters, will be in the Warrandyte Artspace, 168 Yarra Street, starting Friday, February 24, from 10am with the official opening Friday evening as part of the new Twilight Trail event.
The exhibition comprises works including sculptural, functional and decorative pieces.
Warrandyte Art Space Coordinator Denise Keele-bedford explains:

“Each artist derives inspiration for their work from different places, such as their surroundings, their loves, their passions, and their imagination.
As each pair of hands has different experiences and works with the malleable clay in their own way, each piece is unique and holds a piece of the artists DNA and soul within it.”

Twilight Trail Friday night will feature a new event for The Pottery Expo and be part of the walking tour and exhibition openings in Warrandyte ceramic galleries.
It begins at 5:30pm at Stonehouse Gallery, which recently celebrated 50 years, then continues to the official opening of the Clay Connections exhibition.
The final stop is Warrandyte Pottery Studio Gallery for the opening of a new exhibition by ceramic artist Josephine Cassar.
This is a free event. however, bookings are essential.
Follow The Pottery Expo on Facebook and Instagram for more booking information.
The Pottery Expo Throw Down will be held at the expo on Sunday — hosted by Northcote Pottery Supplies.
Potters are invited to get ready to show us their best on the wheel as they respond to the challenges set by the judges.
A highlight will be an installation by artist Danni Bryant, who works mainly with the ceramic medium.
For The Pottery Expo, Danni is creating a site-specific work responding to the surrounding landscape by the river.
Comprised mainly of raw, high-fired porcelain, the work is stark and bright, inviting curious viewers to look closely at its intricate nature.
Ballan ceramic artist Larissa Taylor will also feature a site-specific sculpture with suspended and hanging figures.
On Tuesday, February 28, WA Potter Bernard Kerr will be running a special one-day workshop at the Warrandyte Neighbourhood House for potters focussing on creating large pots, using coil and throwing methods with slip decoration techniques.
For more information, contact Jane Annois on 0422 942 216.

Expo favourites

Children’s clay activities return, presented by Warrandyte Pottery Studio and Clay Talk Montsalvat and supported by Northcote Pottery Supplies.
There will be live music sponsored by Warrandyte Community Bank featuring Rick Ozimo with Black Cat Bone, Neeko and Cath Rutten with Velvet Lounge.
Saturday features artist talks and presentations.
The Cups to Go stand will again offer an enormous range of cups by the potters for sale right by the coffee and food vans.

Entry to the expo is free, and visitors can enjoy delicious food by Scrumdiddely, PoppySmack, coffee, drinks and snacks from Now and Not Yet, wine, beer and more by Hops and Vine.
For more information, visit the website www.potteryexpo.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Pottery parking

By JAMES POYNER

WARRANDYTE can often seem like the victim of its own success as hundreds of out-of-towners flock to the riverbank, cafés, and restaurants on sunny days.
Traffic frustrations are often exacerbated during “events” where the usual influx of visitors increases significantly.
In recent years, the Pottery Expo has suffered from this success, with its hundreds, possibly thousands, of visitors struggling to find somewhere to park and congesting local streets.
“While a great local event, the influx of visitors and, often, careless parking causes significant egress difficulties for locals throughout the weekend.
“This is particularly applicable for Webb Street residents,” said a nearby resident.
The Diary raised these concerns with Pottery Expo organisers.
Jane Annois provided the Diary with the following statement.

“We always work with Manningham Council to manage the parking and find the best possible solutions.
In the past, we have used signage and bollards on Mitchell Avenue and Webb Street, advising NO PARKING.
The problems have greatly decreased, and last year we received no complaints, but thanks for our efforts.
Unfortunately, the issue of an impatient parker moving a bollard is beyond our control.
This year in consultation with Manningham Council, the Pottery Expo has engaged with a local traffic management company to recommend a strategy for dealing with traffic flow over the weekend.
Their recommendations specifically target parking in the Webb Street/Mitchell Avenue area, and we will be implementing their recommendations.
We have signs indicating parking areas in Warrandyte and will have bollards and No Parking signs on Webb Street, and Mitchell Avenue will have No Parking signs.
We have formalised the use of parking at the Warrandyte Café [Police Road] specifically for Potters.
This process will be managed and will therefore ensure that upwards of 80 parking spaces will be available to the public.”

Ms Annois also advised that public transport options were listed on the Pottery Expo website and official flyers and that the organisers “have a social media/ information campaign to promote the use of the existing public transport system”.
“The system is in place and perfect for the needs of the public travelling to Warrandyte,” she said.