by Woodfiring.net

  • Exhibition: «Burning Curiosity»
  • On View: 24 July – 11 September, 2022.
  • Location: Sturt Gallery & Studios – Cnr Range Road & Waverley Parade – Mittagong NSW 2575 – Australia
  • www.sturt.nsw.edu.au

Burning Curiosity – Tradition in transition – Three Approaches to woodfiring

This exhibition shows the work of three experienced makers each with over forty years of practice. Their work is diverse but also related, because each maker builds on ancient traditions to produce outstanding contemporary creative expression. Another thing that unites these makers apart from living near each other in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales, Australia for more than 40 years, is the fact that they all push the boundaries of their medium and that they have an energy and a burning curiosity to keep searching. 

Meg Patey is one of a very few makers in Australia producing reduced lustre pieces that draw on ancient Middle Eastern and Moorish heritage. Her decoration is based on highly skilled flowing brush work. The subtly vibrant colours of line and fill settle completely into the form and speak with an eloquence of beauty that is truly remarkable. She introduces wood into her gas kiln at a precise time to interact with the glaze and produce a shimmering burnished lustrous surface that refers to ancient techniques at the same time as standing on its own as an expression of her practice and decorative aesthetic.

Steve Harrison has been making for over fifty years, experimenting and developing materials and techniques with a lineage that stretches back to over 1000 years ago in China. This research and his training in classical pot making have combined with an encyclopaedic knowledge of wood firing and wood kiln design to lay the foundation for the work in this exhibition. As a result of a lifetime’s research invested by Steve’s into work, his results extend and complement a historical lineage to produce an expression of contemporary beauty with clear and valuable historical antecedents. The work in this exhibition builds on previous materials and glaze results and forms a new direction that expresses the trauma and loss of being caught in a catastrophic bush fire that destroyed his studio, kiln factory and other buildings, nearly taking his life and leaving just his house standing.

Sandy Lockwood draws on several traditions in making her work. She has developed wood firing and salt glazing techniques that originate in medieval Germany. Driving curiosity provides the energy behind her experimentation with materials and form as her work evolves. Her work is closely tied to the textures and weathered surfaces of nature, rock and earth. Sandys work exhibits a distinctive strength of form into which colour and complex textures merge and move to give an integrated and striking sense of vitality and presence. This work literally speaks from nature in a powerful way that invites the viewer into another world. Nature is visually complex and its colours and patterns are intricate and engaging and this is the foundation of Sandy’s visual vocabulary.


A place that both nurtures and celebrates creativity, Sturt Gallery presents an annual program of curated exhibitions, and promotes the works of over 300 of Australia’s finest emerging and established artists, designers and makers in our retail space. Open Monday to Sunday, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. For more information: shop@sturt.nsw.edu.au.

Text and photos from the organization

Big image on top: Sandy Lockwood. «Material Path», 7 × 31 cm. Woodfired saltglazed Stoneware.

Woodfiring.net thanks to Sturt Gallery for their collaboration in the preparation of this article.

Forbidden the total or partial reproduction by any means, without written permition. 

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