Leonard Smith on fri 26 nov 04
I went to the opening of Steve Harrison's new exhibition at the Legge
gallery in Redfern just 5 minutes from the centre of Sydney on Tuesday
night, and I came away reminded why I like pots so much.
For once, Steve's simple bowls took pride of place in a major contemporary
art gallery. On the ground floor, in the front room, on 15 individual
pedestals, sat 15 glorious bowls each one a revelation in itself. More
pleasing was to see half had already sold by the time I got there.
For those of you who don't know Steve, suffice it to say he is one of
Australia's pioneer wood firers and lives in a rural village to the south of
Sydney where he makes these pots. Steve has the most enquiring mind I have
ever met and I wasn't surprised when he set himself the task of sourcing all
his materials, for this work, from the area he lives in. He has gone to
extraordinary lengths to survey materials around him, and been rewarded with
some astonishing finds including a white stone that when crushed and ball
milled is a natural porcelain body, with almost unbelievable translucency.
Needless to say he has made and fired all the bricks for his kiln on site,
and one stage to source bone ash purchased a heifer from a local farmer and
calcined the bones. I'm unsure what happened to the meat but Steve is not a
Well I'm sure I given you the flavour of the effort that has gone into
producing this work and what gives it its character. These are the most
beautiful pots full of vitality and life. Pots that even if they were used
everyday would still reveal themselves for what they are "The Real Thing"
They are also pots that can be put on a pedestal and hold their own.
The link below shows a few of these but the best ones are yet to be
Steve's exhibition essay is included in the latest edition of Australian
If you live anywhere near Sydney this is an exhibition you shouldn't miss.
Rosedale Street Gallery
2A Rosedale Street
Dulwich Hill NSW Australia 2203