Burning Curiosity for Sturt

Nature has continued to both inspire and challenge us. Flash floods, landslides, mini tornadoes have tested all of us since the bushfires of a few years ago. Through it all, more and more of us are turning to mindful making and finding comfort in creativity and community. It is hard to believe after spending all last week in mud and gumboots, it was two years ago the Highlands were surrounded by bushfires.  

Sturt was founded by Winifred West as a beacon of hope on the ashes of the 1939 bushfire, and last weekend was special for the Sturt community. Sturt’s new exhibition, Burning Curiosity, honours the wisdom, courage and resilience of world-renowned Balmoral potters, Sandy Lockwood, Steve Harrison and Meg Patey who each have a lifetime of learning, understanding and deep respect for fire and nature in their practice. Each artist has a long history with Sturt helping shape its history. The Exhibition opened last weekend with artists talks and, a rare opportunity, the restored anagama kiln fired by our visiting potter from Japan, Kazuya Ishida as part of our historic Wood Fire Weekend.

Burning Curiosity exhibition in Sturt Gallery to 11 September

Sandy Lockwood, Steve Harrison and Meg Patey at their studios

Southern Highlands ceramicists Sandy Lockwood, Steve Harrison and Meg Patey at their studios.

Wood Fire Weekend

The Wood Fire Weekend was a treat for 30 pottery workshop students as they saw three of Sturt's kilns fired for the first time in decades. Many of the students had travelled from all over Australia especially for the weekend. Kazuya was on hand for the firing and joining him were Australian master potters, Woodfirer of the year, Steve Williams who also led an ash glazing workshop using the salt kiln, along with Daniel Lafferty and Kirk Winter who fired up the Olsen fast fire kiln. Other pioneering master Sturt potters such as Jan Kesby made the pilgrimage back to Sturt for the weekend.

Winter School Highlights

Almost 200 artists of all ages braved the unpredictable weather conditions to make the pilgrimage to Sturt’s annual winter week together in the Highlands and what a recharging and exhilarating week it was! Winter School Highlights

Winter School 2022

Kazuya Ishida wowed the Winter School students with his live potting demonstration at his artist talk in Frensham Dining Room and five-day throwing workshop as part of Sturt’s most successful and memorable Winter School. Throughout the week, students were truly uplifted by the warmth in each studio generated by so many creative spirits coming together for one unforgettable week of creative workshops. Beautiful friendships were made, and new skills learned, and we look forward to many more memories at Sturt to come.

Thank you to all our generous and wise tutors, our Friends of Sturt, our supporters and to all the wonderful, curious lifelong learners and helpers of all ages who sum up what the spirit of Sturt is all about. We also acknowledge the work of our Education Officer, Phoebe Middleton, who produced the event and gathered an unforgettable line up of talented, inspiring master tutors.

The Sturt Gallery Shop represents over 300 master makers and there are always unique and beautiful gifts to discover and is open every day from 10am-5pm. Winter is always an uplifting time to visit Sturt!

Kristie Phelan
Head of Sturt