Cheryl Vidulich

Mystery potter #29: Val Charles

Stoppered vessel

Stoppered vessel. Base

This handbuilt earthenware  vessel with triangular profile is actually a ten-sided prism. It is 27 cm high (34 with the  flat four-sided stopper, which echoes the irregular shape and angles in reverse).  The form is that of a decanter but I am calling it a vessel as it would not lend itself easily to functional use.

The stained and brushwork decoration, in shades of pale brown, orange and turquoise travels up the body and has an organic feel – we thought snakeskin at first, but this morning the colours suggest mangroves in a river flood plain to me.  This may be right, as the seller said that it had been bought from a gallery in Buderim, Queensland, in 1987.

The incised mark on the base is a V inside an open circle – ‘CV’ or ‘VC’. When researching the mark, I thought that I had an immediate hit with Cheryl Vidulich, a Queensland potter who features in the Pottery in Australia special Queensland edition (February 1986, volume 25, no. 1, p. 69). In 1986, she was based at Lushan Pottery, Proserpine in North Queensland. However, at that time, she was interested in chattering on thrown vessels, and in exploring shino glazes. I haven’t found any evidence yet that she was also making handbuilt pieces in the style of this vessel.

A number of potters have the initials ‘VC’ but I could not find any with a Queeensland connection.


This has now been confirmed as the work of the Sunshine Coast potter Val Charles.