Pottery is probably the oldest craft practised by man. It depends upon the ability to reach high temperatures in a ‘kiln’. At 800-1000°C filaments of glass begin to form to bind the constituents together. At 1300°C a mix of plastic clay, silica and feldspar will form a glassy rock as hard as granite. The ‘glaze’ on the surface of the pottery is actually coloured glass that is harder than steel.
The Pottery and Gallery is open seven days a week from 10 am to 5 pm.
Happs Pottery began in Vasse in the 1960s. The current workshop and gallery, was established in 1978. It was built as the workshop of Erl and Ros Happ, three generations of family and many interested friends. Clay and glaze materials were processed on site and a large, sooty, two chamber trolley kiln fired with diesel oil was at the heart of it all. When you walked in you saw potters at work, clay being prepared, pug mills, a ball mill, dust everywhere and lots of ware in preparation. In those days we divided our time between the pottery, the vineyard and the winery according to the season. Erl’s involvement in the pottery came to an end about 1985 when his sons Myles and Jeremy became active potters. Ros continues to arrange the flowers twice a week.
The workshop has contracted into the area ‘out the back’ where Kim Potter can occasionally be found throwing, glazing and firing. The main part of the building has been transformed into a gallery. We are fortunate to enjoy the opportunity to host ‘artists in residence’. Among these is the very talented, highly skilled and absolutely meticulous local artist Sue Hood who sets up her easel in the heart of it all. Sue makes herself available to interpret the works of our artists to the casual visitor. Sue is an artist of the old school. You will have no difficulty in recognising what her paintings represent.
Below are profiles of the artists participating in our vibrant gallery:
Alison Brown is a friend and a true artist in everything that she turns her hand to. A potter for over 35 years, she is passionate about life and her arts. From ceramics she has been making all her life, to a range of glass ware and jewellery which she started in the last 10 years, she brings something special to everything that she creates. I have a healthy respect for her energy, which sees her involved in the community in arts at every level. I feel it is a privilege to know her.
Greg Crowe is one of very few people who work in wood fired, salt glazed pottery any more… its hard work for the potter but the results that Greg brings to our gallery are spectacular. I consider that Greg is one of the most talented in Western Australia, so it is a privilege for us to represent him in the south west region. There is nothing better than appreciating the simple beauty of this form of traditional ceramics – and holding one is like holding a piece of history.
Gary Hambleton worked here one summer when he was back from Nepal with his lovely wife and child. They returned to Tara’s home and then decided to move back to WA to bring up their growing family of now three children. Gary has been a potter for over 35 years and I was glad that he is happy to supply us with his very functional and beautiful range of pottery. His pots are enhanced with traditional glazes and his ‘Splash’ range is very popular for its reflection of colour and simplicity.
Elizabeth Lyon studied Art at Fremantle Tech in the 70’s. She established Cedar Shed Pottery in Darlington where she was living before moving further south to set up her studio in the donnybrook area for 11 years. More recently she relocated to Bunbury where she still enjoys producing the wonderful shapes and glazes that have motivated her since the day she first sat at a potters wheel.
Victoria Malone loves the pleasure of creating organic forms and the tactile feel of clay. The creation of unique glazes is extremely important to her and she spent two years developing a Turquoise glaze that reflects her image of the ocean. She is currently investigating crystalline glazes which fascinate her and has recently built a gas fired Raku Kiln producing some amazing results.
Kim Potter served as an artist in residence at Happs for over 25 years, we are glad that Kim continues to make his understated stoneware pottery with us. Kim makes gorgeous and fine functional wear that has delicate decorations on it. Now living in Margaret River, Kim will make his smaller pots at home and his beautiful big round platters and bowls here at Happs Pottery. Occasionally you will find a pot that is inspired by his other passion, fishing – intricate fish etched onto the glazes of chun and cobalt blue.
Karen Younger is awesome and I felt very lucky when she said that she was happy to let us present her work to the pottery loving public! Working from her home studio in Capel, Karen makes gorgeous functional stoneware pottery including items that can be used and should be used everyday. Her patterns are very simple allowing the nature of glazes to do their thing and the dragonfly pattern is one of my favourites.
One of the many Happs pottery displays
Debbie Beckett as a small tot can remember going to see her Grandma and always brush past who ever ventured to greet her, race up into her sewing studio and adorn herself, in what were taken to be, sparkling jewels, which of-course, were all her inexpensive cast offs left for me to wear. Deb recalls that, once dressed I would always give my Gran a big cuddle. Driven to create beautiful things I taught myself the “Millefiori” technique creating colourful and elaborate patterns with the hand-formed medium of Fimo clay. This continued for over two decades but in recent times I have ventured into using gem stone and pearl beads brought back from holiday destinations to once again introduce colour and texture into my designs. ENJOY
Namaya Fox comes from a long line of glass artists who have obviously inspired him, Namaya has been making and developing his art form for some years. His bright pendants are glorious with colour and swirls and shapes, and it is amazing to see how his skills have developed over the last three years. He did a week of glass work demonstrating at Happs during school holiday and has recently taken up residency at the ArtGeo Gallery in Busselton, and you can visit and even talk to him!
Jenefer Talbot is from Fremantle, was visiting one winter weekend and I commented on the gorgeous red earrings that she was wearing. After discovering that she made them, I asked if she was interested in letting us sell her range and of course the answer was yes. Her jewellery is exquisite and we always look forward to new items when they arrive! PS Strawberry Box Creations is a name her daughter came up with because Jenefer stores her beads in the punnet boxes when she is finished eating the strawberries!
Dawn Brittain has been a renowned active artist in the region for over 40yrs, tutoring at Busselton TAFE for 9 yrs before retiring to work from her Studio in Anniebrook. She is producing work that is diverse in medium, style and size and has received many awards and held many group as well as solo exhibitions.
Susan Hood Sue’s paintings can be found on the walls through the gallery and upstairs. A lifetime painter, and so very modest, we are pleased to have her works which are constantly changing and evolving. Her experimental techniques for interpreting the local timbers are really quite amazing, and she is a regular at Bunbury’s prestigious “South West Survey,” Busselton’s “Signature South West” and the Vasse Primary School annual exhibition. She has also regularly won prizes for her paintings which amazes her but not us!
Mandy Evans is an artist in everything that she pursues. She regularly turns her hand to something new and different and is currently studying Digital Technology and web design at Murdoch University. The summer of 13/14, Mandy has hooked up with Artezen Café in Dunsborough, and streaming live when she is at Happs as the artist in residence for January. Her prints and cards are found in the gallery, and if you are lucky you can pick up an original painting from either Happs or Artezen. She is also working on making hydroponic gardens that will be both practical and gorgeous!
Sarmarie Higgins personality is instantly captured by her works – bright and colourful. Another of our life artists, she has a range of works that push the frontier when it comes to new techniques and presentation. We are happy to present a full range of her works including Ice Blocks, coasters, placemats, and cards. The new Acrylic Prints are highly desirable for any part of a home.
Leonie MacLean is an artist of many talents and works in several media including digitally enhancing her nature photography, and making jewellery. We have a range of her hand made cards and prints which offer a look into the world up close, and in particular, she has a strong interest in the orchids which abound the region, and she knows her orchids! Leonie has been an active campaigner and president of the Margaret River Artisans Association, and lives on a beautiful property just down the road in Yallingup.
Colin Pratt was one of our very first exhibitors at the Capes Art Market, when at the beginning of his ‘retirement’ he immersed himself in ancient encaustic artworks. Using beeswax that he colours with ground up rocks, ochres, and other secret ingredients, the gift cards that he makes are all individual works of art. Also a passionate community minded person, Colin and wife Nita (who works at the Gallery) will often be found helping out and in the case of ‘Sculpture by the Bay’, running events.
Justin Webb walked in off the street and after a terrific conversation about artwork brought out a few of his items. Inspired by what most people see as scrap metal on farms, he as sees animals, flowers and people. After a stint at Boranup Gallery as artist in residence and handy man, Justin has moved back into the country where he continues to make his sculptures – his dragonflies remain my favourite!