Portage Ceramic Awards

Brendan's piece has been selected for the Portage Ceramic Awards.  Established in 2001 and administered by Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery, The Portage Ceramic Awards is the country's best-known barometer for developments in the field of ceramics.
The exhibition is at Te Uru from 11th November 2016 to 5th February 2017 for more info go toTe Uru Website. For more info click here.


52 Teapots Project Click here to see the result.

“For the potter the teapot is an iconic object with infinite possibilities of how the different parts can be bought together, handle, lid, spout, body, foot…At the beginning of the year I set a goal to make a teapot a week. Each teapot would be unique and over the twelve months I wanted to utilize all the making techniques that I have acquired over my 28 years as a potter. Although the show is over you can sitll come along to our home based studio and gallery to see how the project went.”

Canterbury Potter Association Exhibition and Workshop

Brendan has been busy in October demonstrating and giving workshops in for the Canterbury Potters Association and Wellington Potters Association. He also selected the Canterbury Potters show when he was down there. "It was rewarding catching up with different potters around the country. With the renewed interest in clay around the world it's a good time to be a potter". He is now back in his studio getting back on top of his teapot project.The lidded containers photoed above will be part of the Canterbury Potters Association Exhibition which opens on 2nd November and runs till 13th November at the Canterbury Museum's visitors lounge.




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Kiwis in Gulgong

I was lucky to be part of a team of six New Zealand potters who were invited to be special guest artists at the Clay Gulgong conference this year. We were given the unusual brief of working on a group sculpture. Before leaving NZ, after many emails and some maquette making, we settled on a theme of migration. For the main structure we used Matt McLean’s technique and knowledge to build two large triangular-based slab- built towers. Working with Matt was one of the things I was looking forward to. At the scale I normally work a bag of clay will last most of the day, but in Gulgong we grabbed bag after bag of clay, bashing out large slabs with our feet and finishing them off with a fence post as a roller. It was a project full with energy and fun. For me some of the best moments in the piece are from the times we found ways to bring elements by the different members of the team into the structure. The stretched slabs with holes made by Lauren Winstone closed off one opening and changed the form. Steve Fullmer’s whales swam up through one structure giving it movement while at the same time helping to strengthen the form. It may not be a completely coherent sculpture but it is audacious in its scale and there are moments of clarity. I do hope it has a good firing. 

Hopefully some of the the army of figures that Jim Cooper made will make it out to the kilns on the farm and they will find a home next to the finished towers. Being part of the conference and getting to know everybody on the team was a great experience. Moyra Elliott (camp mother) did a great job getting Creative New Zealand funding, driving the planning and picking a diverse group of potters who got on and worked well together. Lauren Winstone, with her Elam training is an intelligent maker and one to look out for. The first workshop I ever attended at the ASP in the 1980s was Steve Fullmer’s, and his work is still as fresh and masterful as it was back then. Matt McLean, with his direct technique and the way he considers every aspect of a piece, even how it appears to the viewer as the project progressed, was enlightening. Chuck Joseph, longtime friend and generous spirit, made piece after fabulous piece until the light failed, and blew us all away with his thoughtful Denis Glover-type poem about our experience at Gulgong. Hopefully this will be published in the Yarrobil magazine. 

One of the best things for all of us was getting to know the wild man of New Zealand ceramics, Jim Cooper. Jim is not only great fun (he had me and Chuck in painful fits of laughter), he is a unique talent. Behind his disheveled facade he is a sensitive and intelligent artist with a unique voice. Although his figures stood apart from the main sculpture, at its presentation he stunned the crowd with a powerful poem that tied together the themes we explored in the work. Also without Louise Rive and Robin Fullmer, who did much unheralded work, it would not have been such a successful expedition.
I was very proud to be a part of Team NZ. From the large sculpture to the well-attended “Suitcase Exhibition” we worked hard and had lots of laughs, and we definitely added something extra to the conference. Every evening there would be a group of Aussies telling us how much they were enjoying the energy of those mad Kiwis.

Hopefully some of the the army of figures that Jim Cooper made will make it out to the kilns on the farm, Morning View  and they will find a home next to the finished towers. Being part of the conference and getting to know everybody on the team was a great experience. Moyra Elliott (camp mother) did a great job getting Creative New Zealand funding, driving the planning and picking a diverse group of potters who got on and worked well together. Lauren Winstone, with her Elam training is an intelligent maker and one to look out for. The first workshop I ever attended at the ASP in the 1980s was Steve Fullmer’s, and his work is still as fresh and masterful as it was back then. Matt McLean, with his direct technique and the way he considers every aspect of a piece, even how it appears to the viewer as the project progressed, was enlightening. Chuck Joseph, longtime friend and generous spirit, made piece after fabulous piece until the light failed, and blew us all away with his thoughtful Denis Glover-type poem about our experience at Gulgong. Hopefully this will be published in the Yarrobil magazine. 

Trophies in the Suitcase Show

Suitcase show that was first held at the conference in Gulgong is now in the Mansfield Gallery in Sydney 
Trophies in our modern society can be markers or weigh points as we move through life.  In this series of work, however, I am referencing the current obsession with being a winner, getting awarded, being the best.  From the “Player of the Day Award” to the “Oscars” we only seem to value the winning.  Even art shows, where people express so much that is personal and unique, have been turned into competitions.

Home Owner Award

Extremely Excited Award

Reclining Award

Trophies in the Suitcase Show

In this series of works, I am making awards to celebrate the mundane and the obvious. The viewer is invited to interact with the object.  The wheeled pieces can be pulled backwards and forwards by the handle.  Its toy like qualities celebrating a milestone.  They are on wheels so you can drag them around with you as a reminder of these mundane (but important to the individual), achievements.  They could equally be interpreted as a reminder that you are better than others or that they are a personal celebration of your achievements, no matter how small.  Everyone is a winner!

Glorious Victory Trophy

Award for Being Exactly Average

Best Despite Everything Cup

Trophies in the Suitcase Show

To add to their unlikely rational to exist in the first place they are constructed using contrasting clays, techniques and clashing colours. Thrown and hand pinched porcelain vessels, thrown wheels, wire cut gruntly solid blocks, and then some brightly coloured houses and knobs.As a craftsman I often make objects that only reach their potential when people use them, teapots, bowls, cups.  They mean nothing if the viewer does not use them or at least visualize using them.  This impulse in me has meant that when I am working on pieces that have a more sculptural intent I still want there to be a latent invitation in the work for the viewer to interact with it.  This potential interaction, animates the reasoning and whimsy behind the work.

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