Tony Barnes

Known potter #40: Tony Barnes

Tony Barnes. Copper red vase, 2010

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.

Tony Barnes. Copper red vase, 2010, Base

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’.

Winter break

Recent acquisitions
Last week David and I took advantage of our winter break for a trip away. We had business to do in both Sydney and Melbourne, so we decided to make it a round trip, with a stopover in Canberra to visit family.  We visited a number of galleries along the way, picking up old purchases and leaving a small trail of new red dots in our wake.

Highlights were getting a preview of the John Kuczwal lustre fired ceramics exhibition at Sturt, seeing our John Perceval ramekins at Shepparton Gallery, handling pieces hot from the kiln at Tony Barnes’ Moonshine Pottery at Malmsbury, stumbling on a cabinet full of Petrus Spronk bowls in a corridor at the Convent Gallery in Daylesford, finding the Greg Daly exhibition still open at Skepsi, discovering a Peter Harris at the Chapel St Bazaar, and seeing Wilsons Promontary from Zak Chalmers’ Valley Plains Pottery at Leongatha South on our way home.

We arrived home with a car full of boxes that I am still unpacking and cataloguing, and two cats delirious at finding themselves home again after a week boarding at Brogo. Illustrated in the picture above are works by Tony Barnes, Zak Chalmers, Andrew Cope, Peter Harris and Ray Rogers now added to our collection.