Janet Mansfield

Janet Mansfield (1934-2013) was born in Sydney, NSW. She became interested in pottery as a young mother, attending evening classes, then studying ceramics at the East Sydney Technical College (now the National art School) from 1964-1965. Setting up her studio at Turramurra in the north of Sydney, she began making thrown domestic stoneware, handbuilt garden pots and thrown and assembled sculptural pieces.

Students from ESTC had set up the Ceramic Study Group in 1963 with Peter Rushforth as patron. Mansfield became president of the group from 1968-69 and later a life member. This was the first of many senior positions she occupied in national and international craft and ceramic organisations over the years, including president of the Australian Potters' Society from 1985-86 and of the International Academy of Ceramics from 2007.

In her professional practice she used grants to study in Japan and the UK, and to research salt glazing. In 1977, she moved with her family to 'Morning View', a property near Gulgong, NSW, where she continued to make salt-glazed and anagama wood-fired vessels using local Gulgong clays. With Gwyn Hanssen Pigott and Peter Rushforth, she is one of Australia's most revered wood-firers and her work is represented in major public collections in Australia and overseas.

She was also a significant publisher and author, having written several major books on Australian and international ceramics as well as numerous journal articles. After editing Pottery in Australia from 1976-1989, she established a new international journal - Ceramics: Art and Perception - in 1990, followed by Ceramics Technical in 1995. These were published in Paddington, NSW, where she also ran the Ceramic Art Gallery on Glenmore Road until her retirement in 2005. (The task of editing the two journals has now been taken over by Elaine Olafson Henry.)

In 1987, she was awarded an Order of Australia, and she held many other national and international awards for her contribution to the arts and to ceramics.

Throughout her career she was passionate about sharing her love of clay with others. From her base in Gulgong she invited international artists to share their insights with Australian practitioners at nine triennial events - Woodfire (1989), Fire-Up (1992), Claysculpt (1995), Hyperclay (1998), Clayfeast (2001), Clay Modern (2004), Clay Edge (2007), Clay Energy (2010) and Clay Push (2013). She died on 4 February 2013, just before this last event was held.

Her work is marked with an impressed 'JM'.

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