While this master craftsman has had many requests, he’s never taken on an understudy.
“I have thought about it, and believe me, I’ve had plenty of people ask. I’ve had that many bearded guys with top knots walk in asking me to teach them the art of pottery. Thanks to the hipsters and the foodies, there’s a resurgence of handmade products, which is great,” Ian says.
“It wasn’t always the case. In the naughties (2000s), being a potter was like being in the desert. I kept potting but it was hard to make a living out of it full time, so I did what I had to do to pay the mortgage and the bills, labouring, laying bricks, mixing mud, that sort of thing.”
Originally from New Zealand, Ian says he was chasing waves as a 21-year-old and hitchhiked across the Nullarbor in 1986 with nothing more than $100 in his pocket.
“I could see that tourism in Margaret River was growing, so that’s when I started pottery here, originally supplying the local art galleries.
Ian’s first job as a 17-year-old back in New Zealand was for a potter wedging clay, where he quickly developed his feel for the mud, spending hours watching his employer at the wheel.
“When I first started working in Margaret River, there were seven potters in the region but many fell by the wayside in the 2000s when glass was in vogue and pottery wasn’t. Now there’s just a few of us.”
Ian has a beautiful studio where visitors can view the gallery, purchase a piece or two and watch Ian at work in his studio through a window.
“My wife jokes when I’m working – don’t poke the grumpy potter!