Known potter #4: Heather Priestly

Heather Priestly, Lidded pot

On the base of this cylindrical lidded pot with lug handles and slate-blue glaze is the inscribed signature ‘Heather Priestly’. This name isn’t mentioned in any of the published directories and indexes, but in 1998 a Heather Priestly who had been potting for over twenty years was teaching at Holmesglen Institute in Victoria and specialising in crystalline glazes. She had recently had an exhibition at the Victorian Ceramics Gallery in the Meat Market in North Melbourne.

I know this because in May 1998 she set up a website with examples of her work at This website is referenced in a message posted to the clayart discussion list by the North American potter Brad Sondahl. The website itself was taken down in 2002 and I had to use the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive to recover the pages.

The Internet Archive is a non-profit organisation founded in 1996 to ensure that content published on the Internet is not lost to researchers. To do this it takes regular snapshots of the entire Internet domain. At the moment the archived pages can only be retrieved if you know the web address but it should be possible in the future to search them as well.

I was chuffed to find the missing website because otherwise I would have had just a name inscribed on the bottom of a rather nice pot. Now I have enough information to find out more about the potter and her work if I need to do so.


  1. I’ve only just now discovered this entry after googling for Heather on a trip down memory lane.
    I was a diploma student of Heather’s in 96/97 and remember her fondly. She was a very good and patient throwing teacher at Holmesglen TAFE and it is good to hear from her response that she is still potting. She always pushed her students to do their best and inspired in me a great love of throwing.

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