Glen Eira City Council presents Stories in clay: Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery

Celebrating one of Australia’s most innovative, significant and vibrant post-war potteries, Glen Eira City Council’s Gallery presents Stories in clay: Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery (AMB), from Saturday 2 November until Sunday 15 December.

The exhibition recognises the creative achievements of the Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery (AMB), established in 1944 by artists Arthur BoydJohn Perceval, and philosopher and artist Peter Herbst.

Located at 500 (now 502) Neerim Road in Murrumbeena the pottery was aimed at meeting post-war demands manufacturing functional domestic ware, until the focus of the studio changed by the late 1940s when colourful, experimental and vibrant one-off earthenware pieces began emerging.

Decorated with angels, beasts, portraits, and Australian flora and fauna motifs, Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery were producing unique coffee and tea sets, bowls, carafes, plates, jugs, decanter sets, vases, and applying tiles to coffee tables.

“The AMB Pottery produced some of the most original ceramics ever made in this country. The artists who worked there weren’t influenced by tradition or by the styles of the of the times, and felt free to create whatever forms, shapes and designs they wanted. Magic was made at the AMB and we are all so much richer for it”, Colin Smith said.

Curated by Diane Soumilas, the exhibition features works by major Australian artists Arthur BoydJohn PercevalNeil DouglasYvonne Boyd and associated potters on loan from the National Gallery of VictoriaHeide Museum of Modern ArtShepparton Art Museum, and many private collections. A selection of earthenware tiles and ceramic sculptures by Arthur Boyd, John Perceval’s expressive ceramic angel sculptures conceived at AMB Pottery, bowls and other related works are included in this exhibition.

“I remember after school, catching the tram with my brother and sister to The Murrumbeena pottery where John and Mary (my father and mother) were working. The pottery smelt of glazes and clay dust and because of the kilns it was warm. Neil Douglas was decorating lovely Australian scenes with kangaroos. My mother was turning pots by, what seemed like, the 100s sometimes. John had a strong presence and I remember watching him create things with such a confident, direct action. There was humour and seriousness in what he was doing whether it was throwing or decorating, he was making jugs and mugs and plates at that time,” daughter and artist Celia Perceval said.

“This exhibition provides an opportunity to view mid 20th century pottery by major Australian artists such as Arthur Boyd, John Perceval and Neil Douglas who produced vibrant and extraordinary one-off earthenware pieces in the collaborative and creative environment at the AMB Pottery. This period of exciting experimentation with the ceramic medium is captured in the exhibition” The Council’s Curator Diane Soumilas said.

A dynamic series of public programs have been scheduled during the exhibition. For further information and to book, visit www.gleneira.vic.gov.au/gallery