• Stephen Bird (b.1964) Last Muster of the Tasmanian Aborigines at Risdon with paint tin, 2012, hand-painted and glazed ceramic form, 20 x 37 x 36cm. MAG&M Collection - Purchased through the Roger Pietri Bequest 2015

MAG&M is working towards uploading its permanent collection online. In total, we have over 6,800 items across five collection areas, so we are progressing this upload in stages. 

First up - highlights from MAG&M's ceramics collection. This selection of works were purchased or donated over the past decade and include some of the most significant ceramicists working in Australia today.

Christopher James (b.1964)

Bowl (Wild Place series), 2021, wheel thrown, satin matt glazes

Bowl by Christopher James is part of the artist’s Wild Places series which represents several years of processing the elements and essence behind places of meaning in his life. It combines clays and glazes of his own formulation, and conveys the energy and feel of the wild places that inspire him.

“When I think about the environments that provide me with the greatest senses of adventure, exploration, pleasure and calm, some common links appear. Two of the main features are wind and water and the way the two combine as fluid or solid to create the potential for adventure and exploration.”

Bowl joins two other earlier works by James, both from 1991, in the MAG&M collection - a large Saggar fired spherical piece and a smaller wood fired lidded container. This new work from 2021 celebrates thirty years of making and representation, and updates our holdings of the artist’s work. 

Bowl has been kindly gifted by the MAG&M Society and was donated directly from the artist’s studio. James is currently head ceramics teacher at Northern Beaches TAFE and influential artist and educator, working as a professional potter since 1986.

“I am excited by the idea that we can accelerate the processes of nature with the ceramic process. I like to think of the firing process as a compression of time. We create crystals, rocks and glazes in hours rather than millions of years.”

Bowl (Wild Places series), 2021, wheel thrown, satin matt glazes, 26 x 26cm diam. Collection: Manly Art Gallery & Museum – Gift of MAG&M Society 2021

Vipoo Srivilasa and Sai-Wao Foo

Parking Deity, 2020, porcelain, cobalt oxide, gold lustre and mixed media

Parking Deity (increase your luck in finding a parking spot near a popular restaurant and lower a chance of encounter a  parking inspector)

2020, porcelain, cobalt oxide, gold lustre and mixed media, 47 x 21 x 14cm

This work, in ceramics and mixed media, is a cross-media collaboration based on the artists’ cultural and personal obsessions with food, and the role it plays in identity and sense of place. Parking Deity featured in the Ceramix exhibition at MAG&M (May-June 2021) and was purchased through funds provided by Northern Beaches Council.
The artists come from two societies famously known for their cuisine – Thai (Vipoo) and Malaysian-born-Chinese (Sai-Wai). Part of a larger body of work, their installation Have You Eaten? serves as a shrine to good meals and the love and care that can be expressed by being able to nourish your body and soul. The artists explain their lively creative process:

“As a pair of type-A personalities, we have a tendency to egg each other on. We’re possibly a little bit competitive and we both like working to a plan with the flexibility to run with an idea or theme if it is taking shape. The best thing about working collaboratively was being able to take on more ambitious ideas, pushing our practices beyond what we can achieve individually.”

A Thai-born Melbourne-based artist, curator and arts activist. Vipoo works predominantly in porcelain but also creates work on paper, mixed media sculptures, bronze statues and designs large scale public art. His work is a playful blend of European historical figurines and Asian decorative art practices with a healthy dose of contemporary culture, often exploring cross-cultural and migration experiences.
Collaboration is an important part of his art practice. He has been using clay to engage and include different communities into his creative process for the past 10 years. As a Thai-born Australian artist, a cross-cultural experience is in his blood and it is Vipoo's passion to share this experience with others. Cultural diversity helps him understand the conflicts and contradictions in race, religious and sexual discrimination from personal, regional and global points of view. It is the reason why he is actively involved in organised cultural exchange projects between artists internationally.
For more than 20 years, Vipoo has exhibited both internationally and throughout Australia. He was awarded a Bachelor of Art (Ceramics) from Rangsit University, Bangkok, Thailand in 1994 which he followed with a Graduate Diploma of Arts (Ceramics) three years later at Monash University in Melbourne, and in 1998 was awarded a Master of Fine Art and Design from the University of Tasmania, Hobart. 

Vipoo Srivilasa is represented by Olsen Gallery, Scott Livesey Galleries and Edwina Corlette Gallery.

Sassy Park

Sailor Pete's Crew, 2021, 2 hand painted moulded figurines, various clays

Sassy Park, Sailor Pete's Crew, 2021, 2 hand painted moulded figurines, various clays, 20 x 6 x 6 cm approx. signed and editioned

Two small figurines of Sailor Pete by artist Sassy Park, featured in the Ceramix exhibition at MAG&M (May-June 2021), were purchased through funds provided by Northern Beaches Council.

Sailor Pete is depicted in a film by Sassy Park with her collaborator and musician Mara Schwerdtfeger whereby Sailor Pete is a character at home in Kings Cross, Sydney. From the humorous proposition that a ceramic figure is invested with feelings and emotions, the film follows Sailor Pete as he wanders his neighbourhood in the style of a flâneur. With his own theme music and starring role, the yearning of this landlocked sailor is transformed as he chances upon the beauty that surrounds him. Kings Cross provides the setting where love, magic and significance lie at hand.

Accompanying the film are a pair of pots with projections and music composed in response to the simple scenes of beauty Sailor Pete encounters on his journey. Tropes of cinema, ceramics and sea faring are given a witty, low-fi and affectionate approach. The work ultimately explores themes of object agency and how we impart our own desires and life into inanimate objects.

Sassy Park is a graduate from the National Art School in Sydney with a Masters degree in ceramics. Previous degrees and awards include a Bachelor of Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts in painting, N.S.W. Travelling scholarship, N.E. Pethebridge Ceramic Award and the Mansfield Ceramics Art and Perception Magazine Award. In 2020, Sassy Park received second prize in the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize with Garden Play Set and was a finalist in the Tom Bass Prize for Figurative Sculpture (2020 and 2018) and the McClelland National Small Sculpture Prize (2020). Residencies include Hill End Artist Residency and the 2020 Onslow Storrier studio residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France, yet to be undertaken.

Ceramics is a medium especially suited to memorialising the intimacies of the everyday. Sassy Park's work plays with the accepted ideas of ceramics and art genres to express ideas of vulnerability and fragility. Her figures painted with slips and underglazes express an empathy that draws the viewer in, to look more closely and engage with the object. Using scale and humour, Park's figures reflect equally on questions of history and its representation as with the small moments of life.

Juz Kitson

'Temporal Fluidity No 6', 2019, Dehua porcelain

MAG&M’s most recent acquisition is by contemporary ceramic artist Juz Kitson, who grew up on the Northern Beaches and was the inaugural winner of the 'Express Yourself' Theo Batten Youth Art Award in 2005.

Working out of her studios in regional NSW and the historic town Jingdezhen, the 'porcelain capital' of China, Kitson's work explores the relationship between the ephemerality of humankind and the varied mix of flora and fauna in our environment. This piece, part of her most recent series of work, looks at the grand themes of evolution and extinction.

Kitson (b.1987) graduated from The National Art School in 2009 and has exhibited both nationally and internationally in solo and group exhibitions.

Alison Milyika Carroll

Ngayuku Walka #2, 2018

terracotta form with terra sigillata, slips and sgraffito

MAG&M Collection - Purchased 2011

Item C0344

During NAIDOC Week 2021, we celebrate a work in our ceramics collection by Alison Milyika Carroll. Alison is a Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara artist and leader from the Pukatja Community, APY Lands. Her career in the arts spans over four decades. She is currently the Chair of Ernabella Arts, Australia’s oldest art centre, established in 1948. Alison is also Director of Ku Arts, a position in which she offers strong cultural and strategic leadership. As an artist, Alison works across multiple mediums including ceramics.

Often, the patterns and line work seen in her artwork are inspired by woman’s ceremonial painting on the body or landmarks seen in the Anangu Pitjantjatara Yankunytjatjara Lands. Alison relishes her role as a teacher to emerging artists and cultural leaders. She actively develops and advocates for opportunities for young people in the community, so that they remain connected to culture and ensure strength and pride of their identity and their art centre for years to come. In 2020, Alison was presented with the prestigious Red Ochre Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Australia Council for the Arts First Nations Awards 2020. She is represented in Sydney by Sabbia Gallery, and her work is held in collections worldwide

Simone Fraser (b.1951)

Impression Series #5, 2014

dry glaze, mid-fired ceramic vessel, 33 x 16cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased through the Roger Pietri Bequest 2015

Item C0369


Honor Freeman (b.1978)

Flood tide, 2012

slip cast, wheel thrown and hand built porcelain, 28 x 46 x 36cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased through the Roger Pietri Bequest 2015

Item C0372


John Dermer (b.1949)

Bell form, 2013

salt glazed porcelain with oxides, wheel thrown, 32 x 25cm

MAG&M Collection - Gift of MAG&M Society 2014

Item C0365


Fairlie Kingston (b.1954)

Collaroy, 2010

Ceramic relief tile

MAG&M Collection - Purchased 2017

Item C0334


Peter Rushforth (1920-2015)

Plate with blue glaze, c1980

Chun glaze on tenmoku underglaze, 5 x 43cm

MAG&M Collection - Gift in the name of Anthony Schoer by daughter Alyson 2012

Item C0349


Neville French & Belinda Fox

Tilt 12, 2017

porcelain with inlaid and brushed slips, wood ash, limestone glaze and acrylic, 3 pieces, 30 x 32 x 20cm

MAG&M Collection - Gift of MAG&M Society 2017

Item C0398


Barbara Campbell-Allen (b.1954)

Long awaited rain, 2018

woodfired stoneware, earthenware slip, ash glaze, 39 x 45 x 33cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased 2019

Item C0422

Like much of Campbell-Allen’s oeuvre, Long Awaited Rain embodies several stories. In one, it is a literal interpretation of rain snaking down a fogged-up window. In another it evokes a dream of water in Australia’s parched interior. Thirdly, its ovoid shape references the high art of Constantin Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse (1910). Originally carved in marble, then cast in bronze, Sleeping Muse represents a head stripped of superfluous detail, just as Campbell-Allen’s piece suggests geological features rather than being a literal interpretation of the Flinders Ranges and the massifs of Central Australia that inspired it. Kata Juta and Uluru are best known as red-rock behemoths but in downpours their colours range from indigo to storm grey. To create the watery runnels streaming down its misty-white surface, Long Awaited Rain was fired in a hot zone at the front of the kiln under layers of ash. Barbara Campbell-Allen trained at the National Art School, Sydney, later at the Gippsland Centre for Design and Art, and gained a M. Visual Arts. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Australia and overseas and received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for service to the creative arts. Barbara works with the demanding practice of anagama woodfiring not only because of the striking effects it produces, but also for the challenge of working within its rigorous framework. The choice of clay and firing cycle, how the kiln is packed and whether pots are exposed to the flames or protected, and the timber used (eucalypt, willow and blackwattle) all affect the outcome. An anagama firing needs constant attention. Campbell-Allen often takes the early-morning shift. ‘Having that calm period alone with the kiln is very satisfying,’ she says. ‘The lengthy firing breeds patience … there is nothing to do but wait.’

Crafting ceramics is as old as human civilisation and inextricably linked to the earth, particularly in Non-Western cultures who regard their relationship to the land as integral to the social order. In anagama-fired works like Long Awaited Rain, Barbara Campbell-Allen also shows how human endeavour and the natural world come together responsibly.

Dr Susan Steggall, MAG&M Society Member


  • • Barbara Campbell-Allen, ‘Variable or Vagary. Exploration of the dynamics of pot placement in an anagama kiln’, Pottery in Australia, Issue #34/2. Winter, 1995, 54-56; ‘Anagama firebox Colour’, Ceramic Technical, No.12, 2001, 60-66;
  • • Barry Lopez, ‘Effleurage: the stroke of fire’, About This Life. Journeys on the Threshold of Memory, The Harvill Press, London, 1998.
  • • Catalogue of Exhibition: Cracker. Colours of Australia, December 2018-February 2019, Rochefort Gallery.
  • • Susan Steggall, ‘Nature with a hint of architecture’, Pottery in Australia, Vol.41, No.1, 22, 2002; ‘Introduction’, A Way of Happening, Society of Women Writers, 2006.

Julie Bartholomew (b.1956)

Impression Series #5, 2014

porcelain with white matt and red copper glazes and decals, 28 x 24.5cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased through the Theo Batten Bequest 2016

Item C0394


Guan Wei (b.1957)

Blue Like Sky 1, 2014

porcelain vase, hand-painted, 44 x 29cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased through the Roger Pietri Bequest 2015

Item C0371


Rupert Jack (b.1951)

Kaltu Kaltu, 2017

stoneware with sgraffito, 17 x 26 x 14cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased 2017

Item C0396


Cathy Franzi (b.1964)

The Sanctuary, North Head, 2014

porcelain, englobe, glaze, sgraffito, raku, clay and oxides, 32 x 55 x 42cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased through the Theo Batten Bequest 2014

Item C0364


Stephen Bird (b.1964)

Last Muster of the Tasmanian Aborigines at Risdon with paint tin, 2012

hand-painted and glazed ceramic form, 20 x 37 x 36cm

MAG&M Collection - Purchased through the Roger Pietri Bequest 2015

Item C0368