This luscious copper red vase is one of the pieces we handled hot from the kiln when we visited Tony Barnes at his Moonshine Pottery in Malmsbury, Victoria, earlier this year. Barnes is a potter in the true sense of the word. He works from a home studio in a tiny country town, making wheel-thrown functional domestic ware, and finding a ready market for it in local outlets and selected places further afield such as Bangles Gallery in Cobargo, where we first saw his work.
He has made a living as a potter for over thirty years but he is still fascinated by the technical aspects of his craft. He currently uses a fine porcelaineous stoneware clay, and copper red, cobalt blue, rutile and celadon glazes, striving after the perfect glaze-over-glaze effect on the interior of a dish or bowl, or the perfect brushwork decoration on the surface of a vase.
Our vase is 17 cm high, relatively small for its classic form, but he also works on a larger scale, with some significant pieces on display in the Convent Gallery at Daylesford. Now an exhibition of his current work called ‘Living with Clay’ is about to open at the Tin Shed Arts Gallery at Malmsbury. It will run from Saturday 23 October to Sunday 21 November.
Barnes marks his work with an impressed T in a square with a dot under the elongated right side of the cross bar. In an earlier version of the chop, the mark was reversed. Our vase is also stamped ‘Moonshine Pottery Malmsbury’ and ‘Handmade in Australia’.