Potter Peter Rushforth's legacy ends

Potter Peter Rushforth's studio at Le Var on Shipley Plateau.
Potter Peter Rushforth's studio at Le Var on Shipley Plateau.
Le Var at Blackheath.

Le Var at Blackheath.

An era of artistic creativity at Blackheath ends next week with the sale of esteemed potter Peter Rushforth's cottage, studio and gallery.

Le Var, on Shipley Plateau, was the mountain retreat of Mr Rushforth and his wife Bobby for more than 30 years. He found inspiration in the beautiful setting with surrounding bush, tall stands of sheltering trees and picture-postcard views across to the distant Kanimbla Valley.

Mr Rushforth, widely regarded as the father of "studio" pottery in Australia, used timber from trees on the property to build his own cottage studio complete with handmade, wood-fired Japanese kilns. There is also a gallery and a guest cottage on the five-and-a-half hectare site.

Mr Rushforth was for many years a teacher at East Sydney Tech and was the first president of the Potters' Society of Australia.

In his youth, he served in World War II and was stationed with the Australian Army when it fell to the Japanese in 1942. He spent the rest of the war as a POW in Changi.

When he was released in 1945, he had decided to embark on art as a career and enrolled at Melbourne Technical College where a fellow potter introduced him to Chinese and Japanese stoneware art.

He eventually became the first full-time teacher of ceramics at East Sydney (now the National Art School). When he retired from the tech in 1978 he moved to Le Var.

He said of his home: "Pots may evoke qualities of the environment where the potter lives. Form may speak of gentleness, of harmony, of peace or otherwise. At Shipley, the valley and the mountains are an ever changing scene of mists, clouds, blue sky and sometimes, snow and rain. To me the scene is exquisitely beautiful."

Selling agent Adele Colman from Richardson and Wrench said the property was one of the loveliest on Shipley Plateau.

"It's just got a lovely feel about it and it's got a sense of quiet creativity."

Mr Rushforth last fired his kiln at Le Var in 2012. Ill health has forced the 94-year-old into alternative accommodation.


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