This 44 cm high bottle is thrown from three-and-a-half kilos of brown stoneware clay. The ribbed and grogged body is glazed in two overlapping layers. The first is a thin layer of brown. The second is a speckled grey glaze that opens to a wide underskirt on one side. Several finger widths at the base have been left unglazed, making a feature of the curved and overlapping glaze layers. The potter has impressed his initials – FJM – in a large square on the unglazed surface. I know nothing about this potter and my database has given me no clues. I only have a handful of potters with the initials FM and they all have their own distinctive marks or styles. I am guessing that this piece was made in the 1970s by someone sourcing their clays and glazes from local materials, as many did at that time. The finish is not perfect. There is a curious circular indentation in the base which must have occurred before firing as it is chiselled and scored. The size and weight would have made it a challenging piece to throw. These are also what lends it its appeal. The large bottle shape makes for a good decorator item and the weight lends it stability on the floor.
This turns out to be by Frits Jan Massée, who first worked as a potter at Dromana in Victoria, then moved in the early 1990s to Womboota in NSW. For more about him, see his entry in Australian Potters’ Marks.