Janet's encouragement of so many people within ceramics is well known. However, one aspect that is perhaps less well known, was her interest in and support of the apprenticeship system within the crafts. She had at least two long-term apprentices and other shorter term ones, including myself.
I spent a period of six months working with Janet from March to September 1983. At that time she was already an established studio potter, recognised particularly for her salt-glazed work, not only in Australia, but also at international level. She had also begun to woodfire, and had built her first woodfire kiln at her studio at 'Morning View', the family's country property near Gulgong (some 300 kilometres north west of Sydney).
Having decided that I would like to work with a salt-glaze potter in Australia, I sent for some copies of Pottery in Australia, as well as The Potters' Directory & Information Book).1 Janet's work stood out for me, and as editor of Pottery in Australia – she was a good person to contact. I wrote to her and she invited me to come for a visit, on my arrival in Australia. Once in Sydney I made my way to Turramurra, from Dulwich Hill, where I was staying in a youth hostel. What I thought might be a fairly short visit, turned into a chat that lasted several hours. The outcome was that Janet invited me to come to work with her, and an acquaintance of hers in Chatswood agreed to let me stay at her house for a very reasonable rent.
I had come to Australia from Ireland, not as a student to learn pottery, as I had already spent five years at art college, and three years lecturing in ceramics at a third level regional technical college, but to gain further experience of salt-glazing, with the intention of establishing a studio of my own. I had worked with salt-glaze potter Jane Hamlyn in England for three months whilst arranging my visa for Australia. So I wasn't Janet's apprentice in any strict sense of the term. Instead it could be said that I worked with her as her assistant, mostly at her home studio in Turramurra, but we also spent several weekends at 'Morning View'.
Janet's interest in pottery had begun when, as a young mother and in a quest for a creative pastime, she attended a pottery evening class in 1963. This first experience was sufficient to make her want to learn more, and she enrolled to study at what was then known as East Sydney Technical College (now the National Art School), from 1964 to '65. She attended the College two days a week, and her teachers included such well know pioneers within the Australian Studio Pottery Movement as Peter Rushforth, Mollie Douglass and Bernard Sahm. These influential teachers, who were also practicing potters, inspired many of their students to become professional potters. Janet's fellow students included Alan Peascod, Wanda Garnsey, Margaret Tuckson and Peter Travis.
In retrospect, it could be said that in having the opportunity to meet, study, and work with these seminal figures in pottery in Australia – Janet was without doubt in the right place at the right time. The place – East Sydney Tech, and the time – the mid-1960s, could not have been better. The influence and impact this first involvement in pottery had on the course of her life, cannot in my view, be overstated.
As a student at East Sydney Tech Janet immediately embraced the wider world of ceramics, including joining the then recently formed Ceramics Study Group (which is this year – 2013 – celebrating its fiftieth anniversary). The group had been formed by students who had graduated from the college and wanted to stay in touch with each other, as well as keeping informed of current trends within ceramics. They invited their teacher Peter Rushforth to be its first Patron. It is worth trying to imagine the sense of excitement that there must have been at the time in finding a group of like-minded companions with a shared interest, or one could perhaps say a shared passion: the sense of discovery in learning of new techniques and approaches – at a time when little information was available, except perhaps for a limited number of books. There must also have been a tremendous sense of discovery with regard to the research for suitable materials to use in pottery, as these were not readily available in pottery supply stores, as in later years.
As Janet put it:
I think the reason many of us became involved in pottery in the first place, if it is not too romantic a concept – is the 'head, heart and hands' idea. In 1963 when I started, there weren't wheels to buy; there weren't kilns to buy; there weren't clays to buy or anything else you needed. There weren't underglaze colours, not in Australia anyway. So pottery was a matter of something that you needed to research; something that you had to think about; something that you had to put your brain to work on. Then there was the physical activity and winning the materials; preparing the materials; using the materials; making the kilns; stacking the kilns. All this was part of pottery. Then there was something that you could get passionate about as well. …2
Janet soon began making pots in the garage of the family home in Turramurra, and acquired a small electric kiln. Her long-time friend and fellow potter Judy Boydell tells the story that Janet next bought a pugmill, with the proceeds of an insurance claim following a burglary at her home, in which some jewellery was stolen. Judy recalls that Janet advised her to do the same, when her house was burgled not long afterwards!3
A back room of the house at Turramurra was converted for use as a workshop around 1970, and part of the back garden became the kiln site. Janet became a member of the Potters' Society of Australia (which had been established in 1956, now the Australian Ceramics Association) and contributed regularly to its magazine Pottery in Australia, eventually taking over the role of editor in 1976, a position she held until she established her own magazine Ceramics Art and Perception in 1990.
Having produced work fired in her electric kiln for a couple of years, Janet developed an interest in Raku, which was at the time (the early 1970s) becoming a very popular technique, particularly in the USA, where Paul Soldner is credited with developing what became known as American Raku. One of the main attractions of raku was its immediacy and the opportunity it offered for direct involvement in the process. There was the excitement of withdrawing pieces from the kiln whilst they were red hot and immersing them in organic matter to achieve specific effects.
After a time spent producing Raku work Janet decided that the main limitation of the process was that it was not possible to produce durable or functional pots in this way, and function was an ongoing concern from her very earliest work. While on a residency at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Colorado (USA), in 1975 she was introduced to the technique of salt-glazing, and subsequently developed an interest in this process 'finding in that aesthetic, scope for self-expression, for historical research and for experimentation into new ways'.4
In the US, Don Reitz who was instrumental in the revival of interest in salt-glazing concentrated on producing salt-glaze throughout the 1960s and '70s, developing a range of colours and surface effects that were completely new to the process. His work inspired many potters worldwide, including Janet, to explore the potential of the technique. Reitz produced a booklet in 1972, as a guide to others wanting to experiment with the technique. Janet also wrote a booklet on the subject for the Ceramics Study Group in the late 1970s, in which she explained her attraction to the process:
'… it seems right for my pots. The shapes and surface textures, the way the salt highlights the clay quality, the scratch marks as well as the handles and applied decoration, the use for which the pots are intended, the involvement of the firing – all add up to what is satisfying to me. Not only the making and decorating of the pots but the stacking and firing are a continuation of a creative activity in that every firing has an experimental quality which seems to me inexhaustible.'
Janet eventually went on to write a full-length book Salt-glaze Ceramics – an International Perspective, which was published in 1991. Janet wrote of her own work in this book, that she wanted to see the evidence of her ideas and
'the full revelation of the processes of salt-glaze. The pots should depict all the turbulent forces of the firing and look as though they had survived the heat and salt vapours and been enriched by them'.5
The back garden of the house in Turramurra, although surrounded by multi-story home units (which had gradually replaced the private dwellings in the area), nonetheless felt surprisingly secluded due to the existence of several mature trees. One of these overhung the chimney of the gas-fired, salt-glaze kiln, and didn't appear to suffer any ill effects, either from the sodium vapour or other cocktail of chemicals, that Janet used in 'fuming' the kiln. A few singed and discoloured leaves were the only evidence that anything untoward might be occurring in the vicinity. The mostly elderly occupants of the surrounding home units didn't appear to be affected either, and at the time I was there, seemed oblivious to the goings-on beneath their balcony windows.
As I recall it ferrous chloride, stannous chloride, or titanium dioxide, were introduced about an hour after the burners were turned off, as the kiln was starting to cool. The liquid was poured into a spoon from small brown coloured glass bottles, then thrown into the kiln through the spyhole. You had to remember not to breathe in as you did this, and then to get as far away from the kiln as fast as you could, before the 'noxious' fumes came billowing out. The effect on the work was an incredible iridescence, which was attractive in moderation, but could be overpowering if there was too much of it. I don't know whether this was a widely practiced salt-glaze technique or not, but I have never seen surfaces quite like those that Janet achieved in the gas-fired kiln in Turramurra. (I still have a small chunk of brick with a sparkling jewel-like surface, which was removed when we carried out repairs to the back wall of the kiln.)
Concerned that staring into the salt-glaze kiln to check the cones and draw rings might be affecting her eyesight, Janet decided to visit the optician, who asked if she had been looking at an eclipse of the sun. We went to a supplier of welding equipment straightaway and bought a pair of heavy-duty goggles. The next time we were firing, Janet put them on to look into the kiln, and as she turned away, she promptly walked straight into one of the poles holding up the roof of the kiln shed. The goggles were thereafter consigned to a box on a shelf in the studio.
Peter Rushforth's admiration for Asian ceramics, and particularly Japanese ceramics, meant that right from the start of her involvement in pottery Janet was exposed to this influence. Peter was one of the first Australian potters to visit Japan to study pottery in 1963. Janet visited Japan several times in her career, and it was during one of the earliest visits, a study trip that she organised and led for the Ceramic Study Group in 1979, that she first became aware of the effects it was possible to achieve through woodfiring. Around this time she and her husband Colin purchased their country property near Gulgong. It is an area rich in raw materials, including many fine clay seams in the immediate vicinity, and has an abundance of minerals suitable for making glazes.
In the small workshop she established in what had probably been the original homestead on the property at Gulgong, Janet threw on a kick wheel, and used blends of clays from the nearby Pugoon claypits. So for her 'firing with off-cuts from forests in the local area was an opportunity to be self-sufficient and seemed to be the natural thing to do'.6
At the time I worked with her, Janet already had her first woodfire kiln at 'Morning View' – a Bourry-box. The first Bourry-box kiln in Australia had been built by Ivan McMeekin at Sturt Craft Centre in Mittagong, in 1954. This design of firebox was particularly suitable for burning hardwoods, such as the many types of native Eucalypts, hence its popularity in Australia.
We completed the building of her second woodfire kiln – the Phoenix Fast-fire, during weekend visits to 'Morning View'. I remember being up on the corrugated tin roof of the kiln shed putting the last few layers of bricks on the chimney, on a particularly warm Autumn day. It was hot and thirsty work, and Janet kept passing up cans of XXXX beer to keep me cool. It reached a point where I realised that if I didn't get down off the roof soon, I was in serious danger of falling down! The follow up of this story is that during a strong storm a couple of months later, the chimney came crashing down, breaking one of the beams of the shed in the process. (The moral of the story – never drink beer when building a kiln chimney, if you want it to last!)
The Phoenix fast-fire design of kiln developed in the US, and full plans and building instructions were published in the Studio Potter magazine in 1979 (Vol. 7, No. 2). The availability of these plans encouraged many potters to build this type of kiln. The inaugural firing of the Phoenix at 'Morning View' was on the 24th April 1983. This was my first introduction to woodfiring. The firing team included Judy Bodyell, and I have vivid memories of Janet driving an open-backed truck up the steep hills at the farm in the pouring rain, with Judy and myself on the back, collecting dead wood for the firing. We fired the Phoenix three or four more times during the following months.
In an interview I recorded with Janet at 'Morning View' in 1997, when Robert and I were travelling in Japan and Australia, carrying out research for our book on contemporary woodfire practices, she outlined her reasons for building a succession of woodfire kilns. She found that there was not a sufficient build-up of ash on her work after firings in the earlier kilns – the Bourry-box and Phoenix fast-fire, and consequently 'decided that if she was going to woodfire as a serious pursuit, she should build a kiln specifically for woodfiring (the other two kilns were used for woodfire salt-glazing).7 It was for this reason that she built the anagama. Frank Boyden (Oregon, USA) visited Australia in 1987, and helped with the building of the anagama. He was also there for the inaugural firing in January 1988.
For Janet, a good firing in the anagama was one in which 'the work looks as though it has been through four days of high temperatures – extreme heat – and you can see the marks of the flame, the marks of the ash'.8
Other woodfire kilns followed:
A German designed 2.25m3 (80cu.ft) catenary arched trolley kiln, which was built in 1988 by Peter Korampai, a Hungarian potter and kiln-builder, was the next addition.
John Neely (USA) built 'The Gulgong Express' – a train kiln, as part of the ‘Fire up Gulgong’ event, held at 'Morning View' in 1993. This is a design that he developed.
In 1995 kiln-builder and author of The Kiln Book, Fred Olsen (USA), built a hybrid groundhog / anagama kiln ‘The Gulgong Racer’ – during the ‘Clay Sculpt Gulgong’ event, which also took place at 'Morning View'.
A factor which facilitated the building and retention of so many woodfire kilns at Janet's studio, was that the locally manufactured and relatively inexpensive house building bricks were made from a high alumina refractory clay, which were capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 1400ºC. (In other areas firebrick is an expensive commodity, which means that potters often demolish one kiln, salvaging any reusable bricks, before building another.)
Eventually there were eight woodfire kilns in the kiln shed at ‘Morning View’. Writing in the first issue of The Log Book, published in February 2000, Janet explained that all of these kilns had been 'gradually assembled for different needs, to accommodate different types of wood, or to experiment with ideas'.9
During the later years Janet seemed to prefer using 'The Racer' for her wood-fired work, and generally the large catenary arched trolley kiln for her wood-fired, salt-glaze work. She favoured the Racer as it was much smaller than the large anagama (about 1/3 the size), and consequently could be packed much more quickly and fired more frequently. The firings too were of a more manageable duration compared to the anagama, which was generally fired for from three to five days.
The big advantage of the catenary arch kiln used for salting was the ease of packing. The trolley was wheeled out, which eliminated the bending and stretching required in the other kilns, particularly the low-roofed anagama. In an article published in The Log Book in 2010 (issue 44), Janet described the complete rebuild of the catenary kiln that was carried out in 2009, and wrote enthusiastically of the second firing, which she had just completed.
Janet frequently spoke about what had first attracted her to pottery. It was the opportunity for total immersion, the fact that it fully engaged, that you could lose the self in ongoing research that could last a lifetime. This is certainly borne out in the manner in which her use of various processes evolved. Starting with electric-fired work; then making Raku; progressing from there to salt-glazing; then to wood-fired salt-glaze, and woodfiring. Within woodfiring too a progression can be seen in the type of kilns she used – starting with those that produce quieter effects on clay surfaces, and proceeding until she eventually concentrated in an area that many consider the ultimate in woodfiring terms – long duration firing in single chamber kilns, which can produce such extreme and dramatic effects.
While firings in most of Janet's kilns of necessity involved teams of people and were always enjoyable events, there was never any doubt that the goal was the successful firing of the kiln. Over the years while team members came and went and there were frequent visitors, a small core group of firers remained. Judy Boydell from Sydney was without doubt the stalwart of the firing teams.
Many potters who were, like Janet, at first attracted by salt-glaze and the opportunity it offered for direct involvement in the firing process, subsequently proceeded to develop an interest in woodfiring. These included Don Reitz, and Jack Troy, who explained in the preface to his second book Wood-fired Stoneware and Porcelain (1995):
In 1977, the year that my book on salt-glazing was published, the subject began to lose its hold on me. Even though learning about the genre and researching the project had been rewarding, my curiosity about the medium diminished after I wrote the book.
Having started woodfiring, Jack eventually ceased salt-glazing, as did many other potters. Janet, however, continued to work with both processes. One reason for this is that she always liked to make pots that had a function, to a greater or lesser extent, and for her salt spoke of function. She continued to make a range of straightforward functional salt-glazed, wood-fired pots throughout her career. There is, she considered, 'something about the lustrous quality of salt that is nice to use in functional work'. She also liked the fact that 'When you make functional work, you are part of a long tradition; this is especially so when working with salt-glazing and woodfiring'.10
At a symposium in London in 1995, Janet said of the two areas within which she worked:
'The word anagama does not merely refer to an Oriental-style kiln … but, for me at least, means a whole aesthetic style of work, and a philosophy of working embracing materials, processes, form, attitudes and ideals. The same can be said of 'salt-glaze' – it is not only a ceramic surface, but an aesthetic that requires attention to every detail'.11
The work Janet made specifically for salt-glazing mainly consisted of pots for use in serving food and drink – including bowls, mugs, jugs, covered jars, plates, and teapots – many with arched clay handles, as well as larger sized vases and jars. The pieces to be fired in the anagama tended to be of a more individual nature, and included a wide range of large jars or vases, which were thrown in two or more sections. The two main types were the broad-shouldered, narrow based jars with lugs at the neck, and in her later work – the bell-shaped jars. Both forms were acknowledged as her signature pieces.
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Janet could never have been described as a production potter. Her way of working was to produce series of pieces, which were similar but never identical. Her style of throwing was too free and fluid to make sets of pots. Most pieces (apart from plates and other flat ware) were lifted from the wheel just after throwing, which resulted in gently asymmetrical forms, making each unique.
At the time I worked with her the daily routine in the workshop was probably much the same as in any other, in some respects. I arrived early in the morning to prepare clay for us both. Janet would already have been up for some hours and in her office. We would decide on a particular type of pot to make – storage jars; wide dishes; teapots; vases; covered boxes; casseroles; mugs; jugs; various sizes of bowls – whatever might take our fancy on the day. I would weigh out the clay and we would then settle into throwing, with each of us making our own version of the pot that had been agreed – ten, twenty or more at a time. In addition Janet worked on her large jars and vases. Other days were spent turning, or assembling pots. The work was raw glazed, and single fired in the gas-fired, salt-glaze kiln. I made up the slips and (mostly liner) glazes that were used. At one stage Janet bought hundreds of raw, commercially produced floor tiles, which we packed in the second gas-fire kiln, placing sawdust and oxides between and around them to achieve surface variations. These were for the floor of her house in Paddington (Sydney), which was being renovated at the time.
The routine in the workshop was certainly never monotonous, and few days progressed all the way through to five or six in the evening without some interruption or diversion. There were frequent exhibition openings, either at the Potters Society of Australia Gallery in Darlinhurst, or one of the other galleries in Sydney. I particularly recall an exhibition of Gwyn Hanssen Pigott's work at The Blackfriars Gallery. There were visits to other potters, including Col Levy at Bowen Mountain, and Peter Rushforth in the Blue Mountains. We also travelled to venues throughout New South Wales, where Janet had exhibitions of her work, or was judging competitions for regional pottery groups. I accompanied her on many memorable and enjoyable occasions. As a twenty-six year old, just about as far from home as I could possibly be, I soaked up all of these experiences.
We also often found ourselves in amusing situations. We once went to a town on the coast, south of Sydney, where Janet was to judge a local pottery competition. When we arrived we were invited to a lunch at the bowling club, hosted by the mayor. I found myself sitting next to the chairman of some multinational corporation. A dozen oysters and a fresh lobster each, dessert, coffee, and as much wine as you liked – a good lunch. When we eventually got to where the pottery was displayed there were only twelve pots, and it didn't take long for Janet to select the winner. On another occasion we went to a town north of Sydney, again for Janet to judge a pottery competition. All went well until she announced the winner, and from then on the atmosphere changed to an icy coolness. Obviously her selection wasn't in line with the local popular choice! We didn't quite have to leave town, but things certainly became uncomfortable.
Janet was Editor of Pottery in Australia at the time, and had a home office adjacent to her studio at the back of the family home, in addition to the magazine's office above the Potters Society of Australia Gallery. She was also, even then, involved in many different aspects of the pottery world, both nationally and internationally. There were days when the telephone seemed to ring constantly, and frequent visitors, both international as well as from all over Australia. These were mostly potters or authors who happened to be in Sydney, and made sure to visit Janet. They were always provided with an impromptu but generous lunch, eaten in the back garden.
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The pots that Janet liked and responded to were those which showed how the clay has been used. She explained that with salt-glazing and woodfiring one can never disguise what has happened during the making and firing processes – salt-glaze accentuates marks made on clay, and wood ash enriches clay surfaces. With both of these processes there is active participation in the firing (not just leaving the kiln to work for you, but working with it) and the firing is a creative part of the activity. Janet considered that:
'It comes back to the type of clay that you use. Clay in both salt-glazing and woodfiring is of paramount importance, so you are looking to exploit the clay for what it will do well.12
Much of Janet's work, both the wood-fired salt-glazed and the pieces fired in longer duration firings was freely incised with patterns loosely based on flower motifs, especially Ipomea or 'Morning Glory' (a vivid purple flowering creeper). These linear patterns were accentuated and highlighted by the salting in the salt-glaze firings, and by ash in the woodfirings.
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Of all the workshops Janet conducted worldwide, one of the most significant must surely be the 'Woodstoke' event, when she worked alongside Peter Voulkos, Don Reitz, Paul Soldner and Rudi Autio – four legends of the ceramics world – at Dan Finch's studio in Penryn, California over a period of seven days in June 2000. During the workshop each of the five guests demonstrated their working methods. Janet was the only overseas artist participating, and the only woman.
While Janet's work was widely exhibited throughout her career, the many calls on her time and energy inevitably meant that she did not produce as much as she might have. In a tribute to her on the occasion of a major solo exhibition in his gallery in Sydney in 2006, John Freeland explained that although Janet had participated in more than 40 solo and group, Australian and international exhibitions, this was her first solo exhibition in Australia in over a decade.
Janet had two solo exhibitions in Japan: the first was at the Green Gallery in Tokyo, in 1988, and the second in Kyoto, in 1997. These were amongst the most important overseas exhibitions of her work.
Travelling to so many countries to participate in symposia which involved using completely different types of clay, and firing in a range of kilns, again very different from those at her own studio, often gave rise to new working methods and forms. It was finding herself in one such situation with clay that was virtually impossible to use for throwing, that the box forms that Janet referred to as 'rocks' (jewellery boxes) developed. Made within the past ten years, these pieces were a completely new departure in terms of the work she had produced up to that time, and are evidence of an ongoing adventurousness, a willingness to experiment and take risks.
In 2011 Janet wrote ‘I live in the country, enjoying the rural atmosphere, the open spaces and what nature can show you everyday.’13
'Morning View' was important to her not only because it was possible to woodfire there, and that there was a ready supply of clay, raw materials, bricks, and wood, but on another level she found the surroundings inspiring and had a deep affection for the landscape. In letters to me for many years after my time working with her, Janet would often mention how the paddocks at 'Morning View' were looking, the colour of the grass, depending on whether there had been rain or if the drought was continuing, descriptions of the wild flowers that appeared after rain.
As her involvement within the wider field of ceramics became more and more hectic and time consuming. 'Morning View' provided a refuge where she could concentrate on the aspect of her life, which probably gave her most satisfaction – the making and firing of pots.
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Throughout her career Janet was passionate about sharing her love of, and enthusiasm for ceramics with others. She was instrumental in the promotion and advancement of woodfiring, both in Australia as well as in an international context.
As a potter Janet never rested on her laurels but was constantly moving forward, researching and experimenting with new clay blends, slips, different types of kilns. It was the fact that there was scope for such ongoing exploration, intellectually as well as technically, that first attracted her to pottery, and continued to hold her interest throughout her career. In the two styles of ceramics in which she chose to specialise – wood-fired salt-glaze and anagama – she found both the inspiration and aesthetic potential for a lifetime's work.
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Gerry Williams, founding editor of the Studio Potter visited Janet at her studio in Sydney in May 1983, when he came to Australia to participate in the International Meeting on Apprenticeship in the Crafts. In his report on this event published in the Studio Potter (Vol. 12, No. 1, Dec. 1983) to which, incidentally he gave the title ‘The Road to Turramurra’, Gerry wrote of his meeting with Janet:
‘Turramurra station. I stepped onto the platform and crossed an overpass to the town on the other side... In the morning sunlight I saw my friend Janet Mansfield walking toward me and smiling.
Janet Mansfield lives in Turramurra and has, I think, one foot in the present and one in the future. Potter, editor, leader, she is like Australia – close to survival, outspoken, on the edge of change.’
I met Janet's father on just one occasion, in 1983. He told me a story that he had been introduced to a lady at a social gathering, who explained that she was a potter. He said that his daughter was a potter also. The lady asked what his daughter's name was – in case she might have heard of her. When he said Janet's name, the lady became very excited and exclaimed incredulously 'You are Janet Mansfield's father!' Mr Anderson said that it was at that point he realised 'Janet must be a good potter!'
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I have no doubt that if Janet had become involved in any other field besides pottery, she would have brought her many talents – as inspiring speaker, energetic motivator, organiser, enthusiastic promoter, tireless traveller, diplomat, ambassador, to bear on it, and would have played an equally significant role.
All of us within ceramics who have benefited in so many ways, both directly or indirectly from Janet's life in pottery, whether practicing potters or ceramic artists, authors or editors, collectors or curators, students or educators, will always be grateful that she went to that first evening class in pottery.
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Towards the end of my time working with Janet we had a two-day 'home sale' of pots, displayed on pallets in the back garden at Turramurra. This event had a dual purpose – an effort to sell Janet's pots that she considered were not of a quality suitable for showing in exhibitions, or to supply to galleries. It was also an opportunity to sell my pots, in the hope of raising some funds for my onward travels, as my visa for Australia was about to expire (I subsequently went to New Zealand – to work with woodfire salt-glaze potters there). We had some flyers printed and distributed them in the neighbourhood. We also put some billboards up on the highway announcing the event.
Janet also ensured that my work was included in some of the exhibitions that she was invited to show her own work in, during my time working with her. The most important of these was a four-person exhibition of salt-glazed work at Australian Craftworks Gallery (in The Rocks area of Sydney), in July 1983. The four were Malcolm Stewart, Kerry Selwood, Janet, and myself.
After I left Australia in September 1983, my contact with Janet and our friendship continued. At first it was mostly through exchanges of letters and cards, Janet's often sent from wherever she happened to be in the world – attending conferences, giving workshops, carrying out research for one of her books, giving lectures. There were also phone calls for birthdays and during woodfirings at Morning View. Starting in 1989 I visited Australia for most of the specialist woodfire conferences, and we met at these. Then, when I too became involved in writing and publishing, we met more frequently, at various international ceramics events.
Looking back from the perspective of over thirty years, one of the things that most amazes me is Janet's willingness to share her studio and kiln space so generously with a young, relatively inexperienced potter from the other side of the world. While I may have travelled to Australia to gain more experience of pottery – primarily in a technical sense, working with Janet, seeing every facet of her life as potter, editor, author, and much more, brought the realization that for a more fulfilled, integrated, and enjoyable life, being a potter could involve far more than the making and firing of pots.
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Coll Minogue is co-editor and publisher of The Log Book – international wood-fired ceramics publication with her husband Robert Sanderson (www.thelogbook.net). She has had three books on ceramics published, including Wood-fired Ceramics – contemporary practices, co-written with Robert. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000).
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References / Notes
 The Potters' Directory & Information Book was published in 1981 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Potters' Society of Australia.
 Coll Minogue and Robert Sanderson, Wood-fired Ceramics – contemporary practices, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000, p.76.
 E-mail correspondence from Judy Boydell, August 2013.
 Janet Mansfield, A Collector's Guide to Modern Australian Ceramics, Craftsman House, 1988, p.23.
 Janet Mansfield, Salt-glaze Ceramics – an International Perspective, Craftsman House, 1991, p.97.
[6 Minogue and Sanderson, op. cit., p.75.
 Ibid, p. 77.
 Ibid, p.75.
 Established in Scotland in 2000, The Log Book – International Wood-fired Ceramics Publication is edited and published by Coll Minogue and Robert Sanderson. It is now based in the Republic of Ireland. www.thelogbook.net
 Minogue and Sanderson, op. cit., p.76.
 Janet Mansfield, 'The Magic of Fire: Anagama and Salt', Ceramic Review, No. 153, 1995.
 Minogue and Sanderson, op. cit., p.77.
 Owen Rye, The Art of Woodfire – A Contemporary Ceramics Practice, Mansfield Press, 2011, p.102.