Seizing the Clay
A familiar face who many would know from the wine industry, Peter Gibson, has recently rekindled an old passion and occupation of his Pottery/Ceramics. After viewing his beautiful work, it’s hard to understand how it was that he ever gave it up!
Peter explains, “It started at school where there were a couple of pottery wheels, (I was a boarder at a school in Sydney) and there wasn’t much to do on weekends, we were allowed to go into the art rooms so, I got some clay and started fiddling around and sort of taught myself. I struggled like buggery I might add, I made ceramic pieces for my major works for my HSC, they were pretty naive and clumsy now that I look back, but that’s what I did.”
After working in various jobs, from landscaping to farming, Peter quickly felt the urge to get back to his creative lifestyle.
“I applied for and was very lucky to get into the National Art School, in those days there were only around 18 students allowed in each year. I bluffed my way in and spent three years there fulltime, learning and honing my skills.
Eventually I set up a pottery studio in Sydney, I would be throwing a couple hundred pots each day, with that I supplemented it with a bit of part time teaching with TAFE, that’s how I ended up in Orange, they did have a very strong ceramics department here.”
Peter continued, “I ended up retired from teaching, we put a Vineyard in and got side-tracked with raising a family and running a Vineyard.. I got back into it in 2013, we created the cellar door and now I’m re-training myself, getting back to making some of the things I used to enjoy making and at the same time, my wife Deb is learning the ropes.”
“I just love pottery- It’s a really tactile thing, there’s a lot of skill in it and I suppose it’s like a lot of things, you’ve got to put the hours in and if you don’t practice you get rusty, so I’m reacquainting myself, I haven’t lost the skills completely I’m just tuning them up a bit,” Pete laughed, “I’m making close to what I used to now, I’m just having fun making what I want to make.”
“I was quite motivated again as a lady came to me recently wanting to learn the ropes of it all, I gave her some lessons and she was really excited, it was just nice to help her through it. Whilst I was showing her I had time to make a few things, and the next day I walked into the studio and thought.. I’m going to spend a day in the studio,” Peter smiled. “I do try and keep it for wet days, Orange is the kind of place that during winter you can get weeks of wet weather, and I’m far more productive then. The moment the sun is shining I’m pruning vines.
“What I’ve been making lately is a whole range of things for the cellar door, not only to sell, but for us to use, homemade water jugs just like making things that you can use, plates, bowls, platters, cups, functional objects. I’ve made a lot of other objects in the past though functional is what I generally go for.
“It’s lovely to give people things that you make, our motto around here is that ‘We grow and make things’ whether its wine, vegetables or fruit, it’s just a nice occupation.”
If you would like to follow Peters work find him at ‘1khighpotters’ on Instagram.