History

Wellington Potters’ Association (WPA) was established in 1958, when a meeting of all Wellington potters was called by the Wellington Potters’ Group. The meeting was held in Miss Doreen Blumhardt’s Craft Room at Wellington Teachers Training College on 27 February 1958. The first committee was elected at a meeting on 16 May 1958 at which the constitution was adopted.  The committee elected comprised:

  • President: Miss Doreen Blumhardt.
  • Vice-President: Mr J L Steward.
  • Secretary: Mrs I D McInnes.
  • Treasurer: Mrs A Rose.
  • Committee: Mesdames Helen, Lee Thomson, Muriel Moody and Miss D Hall.

Wellington Potters’ Association incorporated on 29 May 1958 with Common Seal and letterhead designed by Doreen Blumhardt. The initial membership was 76 and the annual subscription £1.

Brief timeline:

1959:    Inaugural exhibition at Willeston Gallery.

1969:    Library established.

1980:    First permanent home opened on 18 October 1980 in the old dilapidated laundry of the disused Alexandra Maternity Hospital, Hanson Street, Newtown.

1983:    Jean Hasted designed WPA logo.

1986:    Requested to vacate Hanson Street rooms as property to be demolished.
Negotiated sub-lease with Musical and Drama Society (MADSOC) to occupy downstairs room at 130 Grant Road, Thorndon, on Town Belt.

1996:    MADSOC assigns its lease to WPA.

1997:    Major renovation work at a cost of $10,700 was undertaken on the basement of the building to make it usable.

1998:    14 February 1998 WPA acquires ownership of 130 Grant Road, now called The Wellington Potters Centre.

2001:    Eleven members visit Japanese potters in Sakai City, Wellington’s Sister City.

2002:    Return visit to Wellington of Japanese potters from Sakai City.
‘Form, Fire, Fusion’ joint WPA/Sakai potters exhibition at Michael Fowler Centre.

2004:    Major ceramic sculpture by member Anneke Borren presented to Mayor of Sakai City during his visit to Wellington.
Anagama kiln construction commenced on June and Graeme Houston’s property at  Horokiwi.
WPA contracts to provide pottery classes for local colleges.

2005:    WPA contracts with Otago Polytechnic to run its Diploma in Ceramic Arts course.

2006:    Exterior of building tiled by members.
First Anagama firing.

2008: WPA signs 10 year lease of Town Belt land with WCC

Rooms are reconfigured. with mezzanine optimised for DCA students, and cubbies and drying shelves re-shuffled

WPA 590th anniversary party at Kosmos Taverna in Pirie Street

2009: Vivian Rodríguez becomes the first Potter in Residence

2010:  A group of Wellington potters visit Sakai City for a combined exhibition with Sakai Potters Association, taking 20 pots made by members

Polystyrene insulation is installed by intrepid volunteers in a working bee

Mad Hatters Kiln at Horokiwi (a long-throat wood-firing kiln, adjacent to the Anagama) has its first firing

2011: WPA decides to change to mid-fire clay and firings

The DCA contract with Otago terminates, due to low prospective enrolments and financial concerns

2012: a new roof is installed over the entrance to the upstairs studio

8 new Cowley wheels are installed, replacing the ageing Talismans

The “Potters Olympics” are held at the AGM in October

2013: WPA gets a Facebook page, and internet banking is introduced.

Pottery sale and fundraiser is held at the rooms

WPA holds a midwinter dinner

Window is installed in the downstairs glaze room

2015: WPA contributes to the Empty Bowls project, supporting the Downtown Community Ministry.

Mezzanine spaces (previously set aside for the DCA) are available for rent

2016: a new ventilation system is installed in the kiln room, and running hot water is installed in the kitchen, bathrooms, sluice rooms and downstairs bathroom

The WPA Bisque Pottery collection is catalogued and re-housed, and the Pottery collection catalogue updated

New shelving is installed in the Library

The WPA Video Library is transferred from Video onto DVD by Vera Burton

2017: WPA contributes to Empty Bowls Project, supporting DCM

WPA gets a new Post Office Box number, PO Box 850, after the Marion Street Post Office closed following the earthquake)

WPA has a potluck dinner for volunteers
2018; Regular Tuesday morning sessions are held at the rooms, hosted by Mal Sole and Vera Burton

A revised membership and fee structure is instituted, and after a doubling of the membership a moratorium on new members is instituted for 5 months from June-October 2018

An online calendar for WPA is created.

A new Woodrow kiln is installed and FE1 decommissioned, a new Frema slab roller is installed, and an electronic scale is installed in the kiln room

There is a major renovation of the main studio, painting walls, new cubbies, storage and shelving.

WPA registers for GST, and an Eftpos machine is installed.

A new 10 year lease is approved by WCC

2019: WPA hires commercial cleaners.

New Shimpo wheels are purchased, replacing most of the Cowleys

A new induction process for members is instituted

A survey on workshops and classes is undertaken.

2020: Urgent maintenance is need on the WPA rooms, and a Special General Meeting is held in February to change the rules around the fee structure and prepare to increase fees at the AGM.

Glaze room cubbies are created and are available for hire by members.

A “potter’s mark” becomes compulsory for club firings.

WPA Open Day is held in March; a “Keep Cup” evening is held to make cups for sale.

Fluorescent lights in the main studio are replaced by LEDs

March 2020 the rooms go into Lockdown for COVID19

The WPA Newsletter becomes on online newsletter.

Nicole Gaston resigns as President

2021: Special General meeting held to elect new President and Secretary

Rooms closed for roof replacement over January & February

The landline is removed from WPA

New policies (Code of Conduct, Social Media Policy, Assisted Membership Policy) are approved

WPA website is refreshed

Membership about to go over 500; a moratorium on new members is instituted from 14 April to October