Monthly Archives: March 2010

Australian ceramicist Phil Elson



Porcelain bowl, Green celadon with red copper glaze by Phil Elson
Porcelain bowl, Green celadon with red copper glaze by Phil Elson
Porcelain Bowl Phil Elson



Australian ceramicist Phil Elson creates fine handthrown porcelain tableware, large bowls and teapots. He works exclusively in porcelain drawing on influences from both Eastern and Western traditions and has been  particularly influenced by the beautiful Shino ware of Japan. He has attracted buyers from Japan who appreciate the fine quality and design of his porcelain.
On a trip to Barcelona , studying Baroque ceramics,  Phil was impressed by the Modernist architecture, culture and its lasting vibrancy and he felt this somehow  inspired his pottery art to another level. In Phils own words,” It does seem to happen that you embark on a particular journey with a particular destination in mind, and probably some ideas as to what you will see and experience; perhaps even some idea of what you may bring back with you. The reality however is that the tides and currents have their way with you…your imagined experience is utterly different and turns life as you knew it on its head .”



Blue porcelain bowl - Phil Elson
Porcelain bowl  blue pigment with high nepheline glaze



“At a point in my journey my original intent and imaginings were overtaken as, in Barcelona, I was able to visit with ease the work of Picasso, Miro, Duchamp, Picabia. I was able to walk in the streets as they existed in Roman times. I stood, overwhelmed, in the stunningly beautiful buildings of the Modernist designs of  Montaner (Palau de la Musica Catalana), Cadafalch (Casa Amatller) and Gaudi (Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, Sagrada Familia). I loved how these buildings reached into the air; into the sky about them. They exuded a love of materials, a love of place, a love of life.”
Phil begin his quest to be a ceramic artist in 1981 at the age of 29.  After full time study for a few years he trained and worked with various potters until 1989 when he opened his first studio at Trentham. His current studio, Phil Elson Pottery, in  Castlemaine was opened in 2001.
Over many years Phil’s work has centred around the exploration of the bowl both as a functional form and an object of beauty…bowls of different shape, size and colour…a process he found to be wonderfully enriching as he pursued the evolution of form alongside the development of glaze quality and glaze colour. The sublime results are a testament to his dedication .



deep black shino bowl by Phil Elson
Blended porcelain bowl, deep black shino style interior glaze with iron shino style glaze exterior.
Phil Elson



Phil Elson ceramic bowl
 Phil Elson



Pale blue porcelain bowl by Phil Elson
Southern Ice porcelain rare earth glazes – Phil Elson



In Taoist philosophy they believed a slightly asymmetrical shape is more dynamic than a symmetrical  shape because the asymmetrical object is still striving for perfection.  As opposed to the symmetrical object that had already attained perfection and has no further to go.  ” Better to build near the summit but not on top of the summit.”
Phil Elson ceramic vessels
 Porcelain vessels – Phil Elson



Elegant porcelain bowl by Phil Elson
 Pale beige interior, pale blue celadon exterior – Phil Elson



Phil Elson Pottery---Showroom-Alexanderplatz,-Berlin-2012
 Phil Elson ceramics



Phil Elson throwing a bowl
 Phil Elson in studio



Elegant porcelain bowl - Phil Elson
Porcelain Bowl



 Pale Green Celadon glaze – Phil Elson



Shino glaze bowl Phil Elson
Bowl with grey shino interior, with iron speckled shino exterior.



modern ceramics by Phil Elson
Phil Elson ceramics





Phil’s website :




Enter the blue glaze yonder


The art of blue pottery:

A deep tradition exists for the alluring blue pottery. Archeological excavations on the Iranian and Central Asian  plateaus have uncovered turquoise blue glazed pottery that dates back to 224AD. These finds included “pilgrim flasks” and large bowls and grain storage jars..As Persia was a central trading hub the glazing technique were believed to have been  introduced from either Egypt or Mesopotamia. The Persian potters were highly innovative and pioneered numerous new techniques.
Painting decoration under a clear glaze was first attempted by Islamic potters in Syria, probably during the late 9th or in the 10th century. The colours used in underglaze-painting were limited to three: cobalt blue, turquoise and black. The decoration of most of these underglaze-painted vessels utilized floral designs and epigraphic patterns. Cobalt blue, or occasionally even turquoise glaze were also utilised for lustre decoration on wares produced in Kasham which was a pottery centre in Persia  Apart from vessels, Kashan potters also produced large numbers of tiles and mihrabs, some of which were made up of several lustre tiles.
Blue glazed ceramic tiles dating back to 900AD were also discovered in Multan in Pakistan and these had been used to construct a Mosque These Kashi  tiles were influenced by Persian designs and production techniques and are believed to have been introduced from Kashgar, China under the influence of the Chinese Mongols. It is believed they refined the blue glazing method by combining Chinese glazing techniques with Persian decoarative procedures.
Kashi Ceramic Tiled Mosaic
The blue glaze pottery methods then went on to Kashmir where its strict application for only temples, tombs and palaces were relaxed and it became widely used for pottery production. Eventually blue pottery techniques found there way down to Delhi and Rajastan during the reign of the Moghul Rulers in the 14th century. Rajasthan became a centre for blue pottery after the monarchs of Jaipur patronised the art. The technique had evolved to using ground quartz , Multani mitti ( fullers earth ), borax gum, cobalt oxide, sodium sulphate and other salt powders.. Legend has it that blue-pottery items were used by the Mughal kings to test their food, as they could tell by the change in the glaze of the pottery if the food had, in all probability, been tampered with or poisoned.

Ming Dynasty porcelain box

Ceramic Flask

This large bottle was made in Iran in 17th century Safavid Iran, probably at Kirman. Unlike much of the earlier Iranian pottery of this period, both the shape and the decoration using coloured slip and underglaze blue showcase elements of native Islamic design and tradition, rather than imitate Chinese designs.

The Wrath Of Khan.

The Great Ghengis Khan and his marauding Mongols, apart from the usual plundering and pillaging during their invasion of Persia in 1220, razed the key pottery manufacturing centres of Nishapaur, Ray, Kashan and Jorjan. As they traded pottery on the Silk Road along with the Persians, maybe they were vying for a trade advantage, along with getting information on their unique production techniques.

More blue. ( astro/numero babble )

The blue color is ruled by the planet Jupiter which has just entered a 7 year transit through Piceas. This only occurs every 84 years and it is an auspicious combination. As 3 is also ruled by Jupiter, along with the powerful 21, 2010 is destined to be a pivotal year, especially for spiritual, intuitive and artistic growth, particularly beyond the second half of the year.

450px-397px-Blue pottery.jpg

Dutch Deft Platter-1730

Dutch Deft  1730


Ardmore Pottery

Japanese Ceramic cup

Japanese Cup ( Chawan )

Roman cobalt blue glass aryballos –

( Sasson Ancient Art )

Fritware, underglaze painted in blue and turquoise, glazed. Iznik  1535 – 1540

Puebla Dish


Box Chinoiserie, Delft, Netherlands

Box Chinoiserie from Delft, Netherlands

Safavid Blue and white globular vessel

A Rare Safavid Blue And White Globular Footed Huqqa Base, Persia, 17th Century. photo Sotheby’s

German Ceramic Teapot

German teapot

 A. F. Simpson Vase –  

Moonlit landscape of Spanish moss and live oak trees, 1927

French Dish

Magda Smoleńska – floating water

Angela Mellor

 Turquoise glaze tall Chinese ceramic vase ( Ruby Lane )

see more  Vase Arts



Hellenic pottery through the ages.

Ancient Greek pottery  is one of the most tangible and iconic elements of ancient Greek art. The colored vases and pots of this unique era have survived in large numbers and are now highly prized as collectibles. Most surviving pottery consists of vessels such as amphorae, kraters (bowl for mixing wine and water), hydria (water jars), libation bowls, jugs and cups. Painted burial urns have also been found. Miniatures also were produced in large quantities, primarily for use as offerings at temples. The history of ancient Greek pottery is divided stylistically into three periods: The Protogeometric from about 1050 BC. The Geometric era of around 900 BC and the Archaic period  around 750 BC.  . The range of colors that could  be used in their pottery was restricted by the technology of firing: black, white, red and yellow were the most common .The fully mature black-figure technique with added red and white details and incising lines and details, originated in Corinth during the 7th century BC and flourished until the end of the 6th century BC. The  red-figure technique invented in about 530 BC, reversed this tradition, with the pots being painted black and the figures painted in red.

Dionysos in ancient Greek Pottery

Despite the technical limitations  the Hellenic potters faced with their early productions, it didn’t seem to effect their ability to create powerful artistic statements with their wares, depicting vivid figures filled with life and movement. The detail of their Geometric pottery is quite remarkable, albeit somewhat rigid but I feel  this led to a polarity in the sense that the images of their Gods became more realistic and life-like.

Geryon In Greek mythology, Geryon  was a winged giant made from three entire human bodies conjoined at the waist. Geryon lived on the island of Erytheia, in the far west of the Mediterranean.


Unlike the unusual deity’s of the Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Persians, the Greek Gods and Heroes were more based on an accurate human form, generally portrayed as  larger in size, more powerful and displayed as models of human perfection. Beginning in Attica, the Greek potters began painting narrative scenes from their Gods and Heroes like Apollo and Dionysus. This is the reason why pottery art improved so dramatically in the 5th and 6th centuries. Their devotion to their deity’s motivated them to create the most natural looking depictions of their God or Hero that was possible. The realism and dimensionality achieved were beyond that of any civilization hitherto. This era of Greek pictorial art was essentially the beginning of European Drawing and Painting. By the beginning of the 5th century , pottery-making in Greece attained a level of mass production that led to exports to Egypt, Palestine,  Italy, Spain, Sicily and other Greek colonies. The more ceramics became an industry the less pottery painting was represented as an important art form of ancient Greece. It is a stroke of fortune that their pottery had the durability to survived the ravages of time, unlike their wood and paper art, and stood up to become a priceless historical documentation.

Winged Godess Winged female figure holding a caduceus : Iris (messenger of the gods) or Nike (Victory). Detail from an Attic red-figure pelike, middle of 5th century BC.

Warrior with spear

Orpheous Greek Pottery Death of Orpheus, amphora, circa440 BC

Ancient Greece Bowl

Greek Pottery Museum_Palermo_Sicily Italy Phaon and Aphrodite.  Attic red-figure calyx-krater, 420–400 BC. From Agrigento.

Greek_ ceramic_Dionysos_winged_figure Greek ceramic Dionysus winged figure.

Greek Pottery MetMuseum Terracotta Krater Met Museum, NY.

Greek Pottery Olympic Runners

 Greek depicti0n of Olympian Athletes Competing  painted on a Panathenaic prize amphora.

Greek Jug 730BCThe geometric style is a style of Greek art that developed towards the end of the Dark Age, roughly between 900 BC and 700 BC. It developed in Athens and spread through the sea trade routes in various cities of the Aegean area. Evidence of this decorative style of art-have survived and are mostly represented by decorations on ceramic vessels and ceramic objects. It  is thought that the jars were originally dedicated to women, since their task was to collect water, while the kraters were dedicated to the men who poured the wine .

Heracles fighting the Hydra of Lerna on a hydria by the Eagle Painter, c. 525 BC      Heracles fighting the Hydra of Lerna on a hydria by the Eagle Painter, c. 525 BC, now in the Getty Villa, Malibu, CaliforniaEtruscan amphora of the Pontic group, ca. 540–530 BC. From Vulci
      Diomedes and Polyxena.  Etruscan amphora of the Pontic group, ca. 540–530 BC. From Vulci. Lourve E703.
The Mixing Vessel with Apollo and Artemis. 415-400BC ( Getty Museum )
A finely decorated Geometric vase, Dark Ages of Greece
Ancient Greek Perfume Bottle
Earthenware Heron shaped Aryballlos  perfume bottle. 550BC
( Cleveland Museum of Art )
Greek Oil flask
Terracotta Aryballos ( oil Flask ) in the form of cockelshells.
( The Met  NY )
 Ionian black-figure cup 550BC ( The Lourve )
Corinthian Oil Flask 629-590BC
( The Met  NY )
Ancient Greek cup
Ancient Greek Cup  730BC



pottery wizard master pottery extruder.

At the age of 21, David Hendley decided his career path was to be a professional potter. His clayart trajectory took him from Big Clay Pottery in California, to having a studio at Clay Suppliers in Dallas, to selling his wares on the art fair circuit across the U.S . He finally wound up at the Old Farmhouse Pottery in Maydelle Texas, which he set up as a pottery studio and shop in 1980. All the pottery he produces here is made in a wood fired kiln and he exploits clay extrusion techniques to great effect.

David’s pottery is both refined and amusing. His dancing vases look like they have been waiting eons to be liberated from their rigid symmetrical verticals. I’m not sure if  it’s his background as a musician or his wizard scorcery that gets his “apprentice” vases to look so animated. All pots are fired at 2400f , making a hard , durable surface with rich colours and David formulates and mixes all the clays, slips, colors, and glazes. The results he achieves are multi coloured glazes leaning towards an oriental style and each piece he creates is an original.

Lidded vase, white slip and cobalt-green glaze

Lidded vase, white slip and cobalt-green glaze

pottery  canisters

wood fired kiln stoking

Stoking the Kiln

Pottery Extrusion Class

Asymmetrical gourd bottles

Asymmetrical gourd bottles

dinnerware tenmoku plates

pottery  spire jar

A spire jar made using clay extrusion.

Wavy vase,  salmon slip


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