Shane Gardner

Mystery potter #20: LE (?)

IE (?). Vase with relief medallions; and Shane Gardner. Salt-glazed jug.

There are a thousand stories on eBay and some of them bring true bargains to the watchful buyer. We bought this stoneware vase from a Sydney seller who was disposing of his personal belongings, accumulated over twenty years, “to sail around the world on my own and have the best time of my life”. It came with a handsome salt-glazed water jug which we were able to link through its ‘SG’ seal to the NSW potter Shane Gardner. The vase is unmarked on the base but the single handle ends in a coil of three medallions and I am guessing that the ‘IE’ (?) in the third medallion is the potter’s monogram

We were very pleased when we unwrapped this piece and not just because both pots had journeyed safely together through the post. It is 27 cm high and weighs over 5 kilos but a beveled rim refines the form and the weight gives solidity and balance to the baluster shape. The ribbed neck, which ends in a band of chattered decoration, has a shino glaze breaking to orange where it has been thinly applied. The body, by contrast, has been slip-decorated in a diagonal pattern like wrapped cloth, bleeding in places to copper red. Calligraphic brushwork applied to the neck and rim unites the decorative elements and lends an eastern touch.