Inside the Collection

In memory of Janet Mansfield, OAM, (1934 – 2013) Australian potter, author and publisher

Photograph Pot, salt-glazed stoneware, Janet Mansfield
A9113 Pot, salt-glazed stoneware, Janet Mansfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1982

Janet Mansfield, who passed away on 4th February 2013, had a major impact on Australian and international ceramics. Born in 1934 Janet trained in ceramics at the National Art School, East Sydney, in 1964, ’65, and exhibited widely in Australia and overseas.

Janet Mansfield had over 35 solo exhibitions in Australia, Japan and New Zealand, and was included in group exhibitions in Australia and many other countries. As well as working in her own studio, eventually in Gulgong, she established the Ceramic Art Gallery in Paddington, Sydney, and ran it for many years.

Janet Mansfield’s work is represented in major public and private collections and documented in international publications. Following a period as editor of the Journal Pottery in Australia (now the Journal of Australian Ceramics) from 1976-1989, she launched her own journals Ceramics: Art and Perception in 1990 and Ceramics Technical in 1995, continuing to publish them until transferring them to Elaine Olafson Henry in 2008.

Janet Mansfield wrote a number of books on ceramics, and in 2007 started her own publishing company, Mansfield Press. And she was a member of the International Academy of Ceramics since 1981, and president from 2006-2012.

Janet Mansfield was also in demand as a speaker, writer and juror. She started ceramics events in her local town of Gulgong, NSW, attracting hundreds of international visitors. The ninth event, Clay Push will be in April 2013.

Photograph Janet Mansfield with her work 2007
Janet Mansfield with her work in the Australasian art Museum in Fuping, China, 2007. Image: Courtesy Grace Cochrane

In 2007 Janet Mansfield was closely involved with the selection of a group of Australian and New Zealand ceramicists who were artists in residence in Fuping, China, and exhibited with them in the Australasian Museum of Ceramic Art built there at that time.

A member of the International Academy of Ceramics since 1981 Janet Mansfield received numerous national and international awards recognising her contribution to ceramics.

Detail of Plate, stoneware, salt-glazed, woodfired, made by Janet Mansfield
2003/18/3 Plate, stoneware, salt-glazed, woodfired, made by Janet Mansfield, Gulgong, New South Wales, Australia, 2000. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

This striking salt-glazed platter was a work shown in the Millennium Platter exhibition in Paddington at Janet Mansfield’s Ceramic Art Gallery in 2000, and For many years her work concentrated on salt-glaze and woodfired vessels and examples are held in the Museums collection
Her colleague, potter Owen Rye says:

The international contributions that Janet Mansfield made to the ceramics community are unprecedented and unsurpassed. Combining her love of the ceramics field worldwide with her affinity for words and language, Janet was able to change the world of ceramics publication and elevate it to a new level. This does not even touch on her many accomplishments and teachings as a ceramics artist. We have lost an international treasure. Her devotion to ceramic art, personal vibrancy, intelligence and generosity of spirit made the work of makers, thinkers and writers throughout the world feel more connected, thoughtful and meaningful.1

Anni Turnbull, curator, design and society with Grace Cochrane

Further reading

Cochrane, Grace The crafts movement in Australia: a history , University of NSW Press, Sydney, 1992.

Mansfield, Janet Contemporary Ceramic Art, Craftsman House, NSW, 1995.

5 responses to “In memory of Janet Mansfield, OAM, (1934 – 2013) Australian potter, author and publisher

  • It is through people with the knowledge, optimism, ability to succeed in so many fields in the arts that art history in Australia is served handsomely. Janet had all of these things.

  • I believe that Janet ran a press company that published a book

    “Alan Peascod Artist of Exceptional Talent”.

    Does anybody know where I might get a copy?

    • Hi Malcolm,

      I asked our librarian, Karen Johnson, who said:

      This is a very rare book.

      I have found only one available copy, which is for sale through Amazon US.

      Unfortunately, the bookseller concerned does not ship to Australia.

      I can suggest that you ask an American friend or relative, if you have any there, to purchase the book on your behalf, or else write directly to the bookseller in the hopes of negotiating delivery to Australia.

      The bookseller’s details are:

      David Merritt
      PO Box 10374
      Rochester NY 14610
      United States of America.

      I hope this helps!

      Sarah Reeves, MAAS

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