Peter Moore tried pottery in art class at school and enjoyed it so much that his parents sent him for classes at the St George Potters group in Arncliffe. The Saturday afternoon children’s class was intended to be a creative diversion for kids while their parents went shopping, but Peter was keen and the teacher was very good so Peter was soon churning out pots and finding 2 hours on Saturday wasn’t enough time for his new hobby. Peter’s parents gave him a potters wheel for his 15th birthday and he was soon selling pottery to family, friends and teachers at school. Moving into adult life things became busier and pottery was left behind. Thirty five years later he recognised the need for a hobby and decided to take up pottery again. The wheel was pulled out from storage and space was found for a workshop at the back of the garage. Peter also rejoined St George Potters Group to be part of a community of potters.
I enjoy making functional pots. I like the idea of making beautiful things that are practical and can be used in everyday life. I’m still experimenting with different styles and designs but I enjoy simple shapes mostly. Many years ago I attended a workshop on decoration and fell in love with brushwork designs using home made oxides and pigments. Living in China for many years developed an even greater appreciation of simple brushwork pictures of leaves and branches. At present I am learning to incorporate them with coloured slip backgrounds.
I’m also fascinated by the idea of taking simple natural waste items and turning them into something useful. My parents wood stove produces lots of ash which last year came from the replaced old family wharf. This was an opportunity to experiment with wood ash as a major ingredient in the glaze.
Traditionally Australian potters have used stoneware and fired to cone 8-10 (1280-1300 deg C). I was part of St George Potters Association when they built a gas fired kiln and loved the amazing colours and effects that cone 9 reduction firing produced. However that kiln was de-commissioned many years ago and living in a unit means a gas kiln at home is out of the question.
In recent years there has been a trend to cone 6 (1200-1220 deg C) to save energy and have less wear on electric kilns. In 2016 I was able to buy a second-hand Skutt electric kiln and I have decided to work in the cone 6 range. Oxidation firing in an electric kiln is very easy, but it is a great challenge to work with the glazes to produce interesting results. I continue to experiment with glazes looking for interesting colours and effects.