AN EXHIBITION OF new ceramic work will open at Glen Innes’ creative hub The Makers Shed in June, featuring the work of local ceramicist and potter Anita Stewart.
Stewart has regularly exhibited work at The Makers Shed since the venue opened in 2018, and is well-known to locals as part of the Glen Innes Pottery Club, situated like the Shed on Grey Street. ‘Winter Clay’ captures some exciting new directions with the ceramicist’s form and style.
“Discovering clay for me was like a fish taking to water,” Stewart said.
“I studied Fine Arts in Western Australia for three years. Like many artists, I had been practicing before I actually decided to do formal training.
“At Fremantle Tech I did units in painting design and drawing, then in 1995 I travelled to the New England region and discovered the wonderful ceramics courses run by Max Powell at the Glen Innes TAFE.”
Stewart’s newest work features an array of fresh forms – evocative black tiles, ceramic ‘breasts’, and stylised platters – in addition to some classic styles she’s already well-known for, such as her vibrant citrus squeezers.
“The inspiration to create a new body of work usually comes when working on new forms at the wheel,” she said.
“For instance, the last federal election inspired my ‘message in a bottle’ series. Using the surface of the pot as a canvas I add multiple layers to create an image that speaks. The New England Landscape has also given me great inspiration for my work.”
According to Stewart, the Glen Innes Pottery Club was established about 30 years ago and has remained a vibrant part of the community.
“Lots of well-known potters have been a part of the club,” she said.
Winner of multiple awards for her ceramics, Stewart laughs when asked to define what it takes to be a practicing artist, adding that “stamina, determination and absolute passion” are essentials for anyone wanting to make a long-term career of creativity; although she believes people should never be shy of signing up for a workshop and having a go.
“It’s really nice teaching people how to work with clay because it’s a very tactile medium and they usually seem really pleased when they’ve created a functional and colourful work of art,” she said.
“The wheel can be a bit more of a challenge, but they are overjoyed when they manage to throw a pot on it.”
Winter Clay opens at The Makers Shed, 123 Grey Street Glen Innes at 2pm on Saturday June 19 and runs until August 28.