Reg Preston: life and works

By Gwylym Owen

Reg Preston (18 March 1917– 14 June 2000) studied sculpture at the Westminster School of Art in London, in 1938. At the dawn of WW2, he returned to Australia and spent three months in 1944 potting at the Melbourne Technical College with John A. Barnard Knight and Klytie Pate. Throughout 1945–1946, he worked at Cooper and Cooke’s Pottery.

In 1947, he customary a pottery studio at Warrandyte and worked full-time as a freelance potter. To make a living, he produced a range of domestic wares in imitation of coffee mugs, as competently as larger decorative pieces taking into consideration bowls and vases. In 1958, Preston and his wife, Phil Dunn, set taking place the Potters’ Cottage at Warrandyte, Victoria, with Gus McLaren, Charles Wilton, and Artur Halpern.

Throughout this time, he continued to perform in earthenware. For some time, he was also keen in vigorous with the English slipware tradition and was also interested in using Aboriginal motifs. During the 1960s, Preston and Dunn produced a line below the name “Ceres”, and Preston and McLaren then produced a line under the name ‘Regus’. In 1967, Preston began working in stoneware. Preston is perhaps best known for his perform in stoneware, often large pieces next bold, abstract decorations, and his lidded shaped pieces with rich vitreous glazes over-poured or brushed with supplementary metallic glazes. He worked with ease into the 1980s, producing often large pieces with rich glazes and bold abstract decoration.

Of his own feat Reg Preston past said: “I quite understandably make pots that make smile me. They are derived from a number of factors, the clay itself, the firing, other pots from extra ages; these factors have over the years of action been gradually assimilated and become unconscious. The best ideas for me come from pots and from long bouts of continuous work. I find continuity of thought just about the pots that I’m making daylight to day to be the epoch that is most fruitful. Occasionally when all the thought practically the process, the profound knowledge join together and become one, then days later you might gain from the kiln one or two pots that stand as it were ‘on their own legs’ detached and quite apart.”(Reg Preston, ‘Recent Ceramics, an exhibition from Australia’, 1980).

Preston went upon to become an established master and has pieces in collections such as the Powerhouse and Qut museums.

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