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UPDATE: WPA rooms are closed until further notice

Update as of Monday 2:30pm 23 March 2020

The WPA rooms are closed until further notice.

Picking up of essential belongings: you may retrieve these ONLY between the hours of 10am and 12pm tomorrow (Tuesday 24 March). No other arrangements will be possible.

No clay sales. No dropping off ‘to be fired’ items.

One person allowed on the premises at a time. Thorough hand washing on arrival is vital. Preferably come wearing a mask and latex gloves. A limited number will be available so you may kit up outside of the premises.

Time allotment per person on the premises 5 minutes (includes hand wash time) Please prepare yourself for a swift turnaround.

If you have any WPA concerns, please contact a Committee member.

Kia kaha!

WPA Committee

COVID19 – WPA’S response and directives to members

There will be official emailed bulletins from WPA as matters progress. These are issued on behalf of the Committee from the email address veeanddave93@gmail.com.  

Please make a point of reading them. Neither party wants the embarrassment of being turned away from the rooms but you WILL be told to leave immediately if you arrive sick. Please, stay home if you have a cold or flu-like symptoms. Seek professional advice.

Even if you don’t show any of these symptoms but have recently returned from abroad absolutely keep away from the rooms if you have not yet completed the recommended full period of self isolation. Now that a LEVEL 2 has been declared it is important that those with compromised immune systems, who have had recent hospital treatment/operations and who are aged or frail to seriously consider not visiting the rooms at least until the alert level reverts to a LEVEL 1…or hopefully to an “all clear”. 

For now, CEC classes, the Tuesday Club, Kiln Loading Classes and Friday Family Night will continue (with appropriate physical distancing and/or masks and gloves) BUT be prepared for these to be cancelled at a moment’s notice.

If a LEVEL 3 Alert is broadcast, the rooms will be closed. An email notice will advise this.

If children are too sick to go to school they are too sick to come to the studio. 

Visitors: We ask that you refrain from bringing visitors to the rooms for the time being. If unaccompanied visitors arrive when you are at the rooms politely request them to leave and encourage them to make contact with the Secretary by ‘phone or email. (Hand them a newsletter which contains the relevant contacts).

There is a large poster displayed at the front door of the main studio (and smaller ones regarding entry requirements – prevention techniques and signing in) inside the main studio and in the kiln and glaze room entrances). Read, heed and encourage others to follow the simple rules. Literally, your life may depend on it!

As a precautionary measure the main studio layout has been adjusted so that there is an increased distance between wheels and at the social tables. Please don’t shuffle them back together! There is plenty of liquid soap in the dispensers and we have doubled our supply of paper towels to enable the proper drying of hands. (BTW, your hands extend right up to your wrists!) Make good use of the towels but don’t use them for other purposes!!! 

Tissue stations, with rubbish bags for used tissues, have been placed about the building. Make full use of them but DON’T move them from their positions. 

Wellington Potters’ Association Open Day 2020

open day flyer

As part of the Fired Up Festival of Ceramics, WPA will be holding an Open Day at the Rooms:


    Saturday 7 March, 10am – 3pm


We have heaps of great activities lined up, including:

  • 15 different ceramic artists exhibiting work for sale
  • demonstrations of throwing, hand-building and sculpture by our members
  • tours of the building
  • pottery activities for kids and adults to try
  • tea, coffee and food
  • A huge selection of WPA “keep cups” specially made for the Open Day, available to buy
  • And more!
Handmade ceramic keep cup
Some of the keep cups that will be on sale

We look forward to seeing you on the 7th!




Maintenance Blitz – 15th and 16th February

Come along any time between 10am and 4pm.

Jobs List: indicating expertise required and approximate duration (based on 1 person’s input)

  1. Remount exhibition and wheel throwing guides posters (ladder confident; pinning, good eye
    for style compatibility and spacing) 1.5 hours
  2. Garage: remove lectern and demolish; extract timber from racks; tidy, sweep/vacuum 1.5
  3. Build simple rack/shelving inside-right “mezzanine” of garage to house paint/painting gear
    2.5 – 3 hrs
  4. Move glaze room chemical cupboards to garage (strength) 30 mins
  5. Disassemble/cut up former glaze buckets iron shelving in glaze room (may require angle
    grinder [WPA has one] – for competent users only!) 1 hour
  6. Disassemble former damp cabinets (anyone good, but careful, at smashing stuff) 1 hour
  7. Resize and assemble glaze room cubbies (simple carpentry skills) 6 – 8 hours
  8. Rebuild shelves above wax pans (simple carpentry skills) 3 hours
  9. Replace and level hardboard cover underneath wax pans (simple carpentry skills) 1 hour
  10. Install shelves in glaze room toilet area (simple carpentry skills) 3.5 hours
  11. Tidy rear of building (stack bricks, tidy wood, repair seat) 30 mins, 30 mins, 1 hour
  12. Cut, re-bag, weigh and price NZ porcelain clay to smaller volumes (ATD) 1.5 hours
  13. Disassemble steel rack to left of main entrance; replace top board of table; re-jig layout and
    re-assemble steel racking; thorough clean of area (know which end of a spanner to hold
    (simple carpentry/ ‘engineer’ skills) 1 hr; 30 mins; 30 mins; 30 mins
  14. Design and build portable wooden ramp covered with non-slip material to offer ease of
    access to wheelchairs, etc outside side door exit to back driveway (planning and building
    skills) 3 hours
  15. Vehicle with trailer (or small truck) supplier, willing to take rubbish to dump. WPA will
    reimburse the tip fee. [required Sunday mid-afternoon]

Club night keep cup make-a-thon 7 Feb

Help WPA by making “keep cups” for sale on Open Day

Come along on Club night Friday 7th February for a throwing demo and make-a-thon. Clay will be provided and the club will fire them. We just need people to make, trim on 9 Feb, and glaze them on the 21 Feb.

There will be drinks and snacks provided – feel free to bring a plate.  There may even be a BBQ (depending on repairs to Peter’s grill).

We will have demonstrations by 2 amazing potters – Jenny Shearer and Vivian Rodriguez!  Not to be missed.  Handbuilders are welcome to come along too and make keep cups.

Help us make the open day a success, make some money for the club, and have a convivial Friday evening while you’re doing it.

Please note this event is strictly limited to WPA members.

Any questions email workshops@wellingtonpotters.org.nz


WPA Open Day 2020!


As part of the Fired Up Festival of Ceramics, WPA will be holding an Open Day at the Rooms:


    Saturday 7 March, 10am – 3pm


We will be having demonstrations of throwing, hand-building and sculpture; tours of the building, showing what we do; ceramic work for sale; tea, coffee, food, some “keep cups” specially thrown and fired for the event, that visitors can buy.  (Details about the keep-cup making event coming soon!)

WPA members are welcome to have some of their work for sale; cash sales only, with 20% commission going to the club. There will be limited space, so members who wish to sell their work can register below.  Note that if you do want to sell your pots at the Open Day, you are required to help to run the event, e.g. help set up the rooms, put your name on the roster, volunteer for a demo if needed, distribute fliers, etc.


  • Helpers for the day are needed, please email Kate Ford at wellingtonpotters@gmx.com.
  • Assistance is needed to help make “keep cups” for sale on the day – details to come


The Open Day will be open to the public – come along, and bring your family and friends!



First WPA workshop of 2020 now open for registration!

Making and Modifying Glazes – Saturdays Feb 1 & 8 2020

A hands on workshop taking place over two Saturdays where you learn how to make up a glaze safely and then how to modify it using simple additions or blends. Then the following Saturday have a look at the results and do some more.
There will be lots of weighing and sieving and recording and you will build up a small group of fired samples and tests.

Bring an apron (or overalls or lab coat), a notebook and pen. Materials, including fired test tiles will be available, however glazes come out differently on different clay so feel free to bring small samples of bisque fired clay you are currently using. You do not have to be a mathematician or scientist to enjoy the magic of glazes.   Please expect to pay an additional $5-10 for glaze materials and bisque test tiles (if needed)

  • Tips, tricks, best practices
  • safety
  • Q & A on glaze problems
  • making glazes easier to apply
  • interpreting glaze tests
  • getting the glazes the right thickness
  • simple (line) blend tests
  • colourant testing or converting your glazes to paint-on-able ones

Numbers strictly limited to 10 – register now and make payment (by bank transfer or EFTPOS at the rooms) to secure your spot!

Ceramicus 2019 is now closed!

Ceramicus has finished up for 2019, with great sales, amazing ceramic pieces & hundreds of people from far and wide who came to visit!

Ceramicus Awards:

Wellington Museum Premier Award for Excellence in Ceramics:
no.99, Jenny Shearer, Cactus Garden

Abbotts Glaze Award:
no.47, Chris Dunn, Te Whanganui-A-Tara

Artzone Award for Excellent in Hand-Built Ceramics:
no.91, Heather Payne, Power Stance

Vessel Award for Excellence in Wheel Thrown Ceramics:
no.108, Mal Sole, Wood-fired Vase, narrow throat

Nelson Pottery Supplies Award for Innovation in Ceramics:
no.19, Karin Amdal, Relic Teapot

Wellington Rubber Stamp Co Award for a First-Time Exhibitor:
no.110, David Tralli, Woman (Jug)

Penthouse Cinema People’s Choice Award:
no.19, Karin Amdal, Relic Teapot
(Awarded at the close of the exhibition, after a count of votes from visitors to the exhibition)

Ceramicus Raffle winners:

1st prize – Debbie ter Borg, 2 hours pottery tuition with Mal Sole
2nd prize – Brian Queree, Totem Woman by Elaine Marland
3rd prize – Kathy Juriss, Two bowls by Paul Winspear


Thanks to everyone who sponsored this event, volunteered, supported, voted and came along to 2019 Ceramicus, and to the NZ Academy of Fine Arts for hosting us.

The 15th anagama kiln fire opening – Anneke Borren

The 15th anagama kiln fire opening….was a success story, which we weren’t quite sure about during the firing itself.
It could be called ” the mystery of the shelf that disappeared!”
It wasn’t a hallucination, it wasn’t there; when Mal and Peter broke open the wicket (door) of the kiln at 10.30 that Sunday morning.
Some of the door bricks were heavily carbonised but no shelf.
Poking around the ashes, at the bottom of the kiln, no real sign.
The conclusion has to be that it vaporised?
Shit, the kiln must have been hot!
Well, we of the Firing Teams knew that.
The kiln drew right through, beautifully, during the last few sessions.
The flame out of the chimney was often high and concern was raised about the tree.
The tree still lives, but somewhat scorched and bare one side.
I often wonder what that tree tells other trees about the dragon kiln rearing its fury…
there must be a kink in the growth rings during these past 15 years!
It would make a lovely children’s story!!
It’s just as well that Graeme and June Houston (the farm owners on which the kiln stands) are entirely three dimensional in their continued hosting of this pottery extravaganza and take most things in their stride.
We are extremely grateful to them; it’s a big deal hosting that number of, mostly townies, on a working farm.
Graeme got into the clay this year himself, producing a pair of boots, as an emergency pair, we could cement them close to the door, and ask the firers to fill them.
Good idea, when, in my experience, it’s my ankles that take the brunt of the heat.
The system of the line from inside the kiln when being emptied, sneaking through the pit, up the steps to the shed, for identification and photography, worked well, thanks to you line people.
It took more than four hours to unload, and Peter and Mal were exhausted at the end of it.
Thanks heaps to them for being Trojans!
Some disappointments, but not as many as we feared.
Five people connected themselves through their pots into eternity; visually an interesting collapse.
The ” wadding” had become a problem, when the abundance of ash overflowed as glaze onto the wadding, which made it difficult to get off at times.
Big debate for next year; the Chester Nealie wadding versus the John Wineera recipe.
The loss of shelving has become a problem and we need to deal with it. This signals a likely increase in the firing charge for 2020.
From my professional potter’s viewpoint we need to make sure that the pots made by members relate in shape and form to the firing techniques of the dragon kiln…
not just in the type of clay used but also in a certain adaptation of form to the kiln.
The rim of a pot holds the shape of the pot together so very thin edges just deform; too thin at the bottom, same thing. Leave the bottoms of your shape free of glaze at least 5 centimetres. That way the drips stay on the pot instead of flowing onto the wadding, or worse, the shelves.
Try to leave a contrast with patterning and give the wood ash something to do.
So stacking is hugely important, and each pot put in, at the coal face (so to speak) needs to be evaluated in terms of where the wadding goes.
Stacking is a democratic exercise, trying to give each shape its own potential, and thereby, a better outcome.
So in the light of all that, the kiln disgorged some beautiful pots!
Mal and Peter and their small team are to be congratulated for their commitment, huge time giving and knowledge, but the learning never stops.
And in the atmosphere of ” random”, the pots attain their own timelessness.
For those who need figures…
About 380 pots were received from 75 potters.
And Mal had to race home to get a few more in-fillers.
The organisation around the firing gets better each year and, for me, the shifts are the highlight of participation.
We farewelled Alan Ross, the stalwart of the shifts organisation, and we thank him for the huge efforts he has made, right from the beginning, in the 17 years of the kiln being
dug out, made, repaired several times, and continued vigilance ahead.
Irreplaceable, Alan!!
Please stay as an observer, and keep singing (?) with Mal, and Peter!
I’ve included some photo snapshots I took on the opening day of the kiln…
which look like an archeological dig.
Consider yourself to have taken part in the clay history of New Zealand.

Read more about the 2019 Anagama firing and see photos from the day.