Shirley Kennedy

Mystery potter #35: Kennedy

Kennedy. Stoneware vase

Kennedy. Stoneware vase. Base

It has been hard to find time to add a new post, as I am spending every spare minute in the garden. Autumn is the planting season on the far south coast. Spring is very windy here and it can also segue fast into summer.  New trees need as much time as they can get to establish themselves. I’ve planted a small oleander hedge along the south fenceline, and now I’m preparing the ground for a silver birch copse.  The cats, of course, are with me all the time.

For several days now, I have had this spherical stoneware vase sitting on the counter in the gallery. We bought it on eBay in 2006. The 12 cm high body is unglazed except for  a complex interlayering of dipped and trailed  glazes and white slip over the tiny flared neck and shoulder.  It is incised ‘Kennedy’ on the base.

My current favourite for this mystery potter is Shirley Kennedy, a potter who settled in Burrungar in the Tweed Valley, NSW, in 1977 and, I think, is still there today. An article in Pottery in Australia (vol. 19, no. 2, 1980, page 41) says that she specialised in stoneware. There is a picture of a set of bottles made of Walkers No. 9 clay, with a dolomite and iron glaze, and another of a bowl made of Feeney’s stoneware clay, with a barium glaze.

Some of the potters who visit the gallery have strong memories of the clays that were available from suppliers in the 1970s and 1980s, their colours and textures and how well-suited they were for particular forms and glazes.  I wonder if they could tell me if my vase is made of Feeney’s stoneware clay, with a dolomite and iron glaze?