Michael Potter

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Nelson Mail, November 20th, 2014

Potter by name and nature

Since 2008 Craft Potters have been contracted by Otago Polytechnic to provide the facilities and tutors for a two year fulltime, as well as
part-time, Diploma of Ceramic Arts course, which is supervised by the Otago Polytechnic.
This year, Michael Potter and Tanya Wagner will graduate. Potter came to the course with a background as a photo journalist, something which has come back again in his ceramic works. He makes pinhole cameras in clay. ‘‘My final year project is based on ceramic pinhole cameras,’’ he says.
‘‘I have taken photos with them and have then printed the photos, in the form of decals, onto ceramic picture frames.’’
Using the ceramic pinhole cameras, he has taken photographs of other pots that he made, mainly amphoras and udu drums.
Potter chose pinhole cameras because of his passion for photography and working as a professional photographer for a newspaper in Australia.
‘‘A pinhole camera is the very simplest of cameras that can be made from any light tight box with a hole in one side and a sheet of photographic paper on the other.’’
After four years of part-time study, including online study directly from Otago Polytechnic, and studio practice at Craft Potters in Hope, Potter is full of praise for his tutors.
‘‘We have been privileged to have such a large group of professional potters in the Nelson region to call on as tutors,’’ he says.
‘‘We have had exposure to a diverse range of some of the best potters in the country, so it’s great to study in the spiritual home of New Zealand ceramics.’’
His way of thinking about form and space has been influenced heavily by tutor Christine Boswijk.
‘‘I have been lucky to have been tutored by Christine Boswijk who has had a big influence on me as a potter,’’ he says. ‘‘Her vast experience and knowledge has been invaluable, not only to the way I make things but the way I think about form and space.’’
Ross Richards, who passed away this year, and Darryl Frost were also influential tutors, as well as the other tutors on the course, who each brought ‘‘their own unique vision to us as students’’. ‘‘They have all helped me realise a dream of honouring my family name and becoming a potter.’’
Craft Potters Nelson, Ranzau Rd,Hope. Email: craftpotters@ts.co.nz.
Otago Polytechnic: otagopolytechnic.ac.nz.
The graduating students will exhibit at South St Gallery shortly until the end of December.