The Bay Harbour News recently published this article, written by Renate, after our very successful exhibition.
WHEN THE Mt Pleasant Pottery Group was founded in 1960, it was known as the Betty Crocker Potters.
This was because members used commercially-supplied materials from Smith and Smith, rather than digging them out of the ground as purist potters did.
The group once operated out of a hut across the road from the Mt Pleasant Community Centre.
As the club expanded over the years, it typically had an active membership of about 60 to 80 and exhibitions were big affairs. Over time, the club acquired considerable assets, including a gas kiln, salt-firing kiln and a large wood-firing kiln.
Believed to be the oldest pottery club in Christchurch, the group celebrated its 50th birthday before the earthquakes.
The February 22, 2011, quake rendered the former Mt Pleasant Community Centre clubrooms unsafe, so for a number of years it was a very difficult time. Class activities continued to a limited extent in a member’s private studio in association with workshops held as part of the Otago Polytechnic Diploma in Ceramic Arts distance learning.
The group will forever be thankful to Shona Clarkson for keeping these activities going.
Finally in 2016, a then very small but dedicated group of members relocated to the Phillipstown Hub as it was unable to secure rooms in the newly-rebuilt community centre. Members occupied a classroom-sized space and a kiln shed.
Since then, the club has steadily been re-growing and presently runs five regular classes, children’s classes, club days, raku firings, weekend workshops and more. One of the regular highlights used to be the yearly exhibition at the Mt Pleasant Community Hall with an out-of-town exhibitor who would open the evening. The group had not held an exhibition for a number of years, but felt it was time to reintroduce it to the yearly calendar to celebrate the group’s achievements, its creative members and a beautiful craft.
The exhibition was held last month at the Mt Pleasant Community Centre with guest potter Neil Hey, who put his works on show.
PROGRESS: Renate Galetzka giving a demonstration of engobe decoration at the Mt Pleasant Pottery Group.
The Secretary and Members - Mt Pleasant Pottery Group.