Manly, New South Wales, Australia 1920 – 2015
Shipley, New South Wales, Australia
Materials & Technique: ceramics, vases, stoneware with 'Chun' glaze stoneware: wheel-thrown, glazed
Peter Rushforth’s Blossom jar is typical of the work of one of Australia’s major ceramic artists, showing his fine and educated sensibility as a potter, with the expressive quality of his work unfolding in the process of making. This almost spherical jar with its small flared lip has been shaped on the potter’s wheel and produced in a two chamber wood-fired kiln from which comes the chun glaze, with its rich opalescence and extraordinary depths of optical blue. Accidental surface variations and breaks and trickles in the glaze, caused by the high temperature of the kiln and its swirling flames, enhance the classic simplicity.
The blossom jar reflects a life and spirit where Chinese and Japanese influences underlie the artist’s own distinctive personality. Peter Rushforth’s real inspirations are the working environment, the seasons, affinity with inherent qualities in clay, local materials, the mercurial actions of the kiln flame and a search for beauty.
Rushforth commenced training as a potter at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and continued his studies at the National Gallery School in Melbourne and the National Art School in Sydney. A former Head of Ceramics at the latter, a member of the Crafts Board of the Australia Council, a foundation member and part President of the Potters Society of New South Wales and patron of the Ceramics Study Group of New South Wales, Peter Rushforth is regarded as a fine mentor and a master of ceramic art and education. Since the 1950s he has travelled extensively in the United Kingdom, Denmark, the United States of America and worked in Japan. He now works as a full-time potter at ‘Le Var’, Shipley, overlooking the beautiful Kanimbla Valley in New South Wales. Here, the natural bushland setting and spectacular Blue Mountains shape the vigour, colour and feeling of his ceramic forms.
David Williams 2002
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002