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Handcrafting is back: Bunbury Studio Potters sees massive increase in members post COVID-19 lockdowns

Holly PrenticeSouth Western Times
The Bunbury Studio Potters has seen a massive rise in participation since the COVID-19 lockdowns
Camera IconThe Bunbury Studio Potters has seen a massive rise in participation since the COVID-19 lockdowns Credit: Holly Prentice

If a Bunbury pottery studio is any indication, pottery is booming in the South West following COVID-19.

The Bunbury Studio Potters have more than tripled its members since lock downs and are about to launch an annual exhibition.

The studio is often filled with potters experimenting with different styles and techniques
Camera IconThe studio is often filled with potters experimenting with different styles and techniques Credit: Holly Prentice

The groups has been a long term tenant of the Stirling Streets Art Centre, however a combination of increased hours and interest in the art medium have bolstered their numbers.

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Beth Ivanac and Robyn Weidenbruch are the two longest serving members of the club, working together since 2011.

The two said they’ve seen a massive increase in interest in the club, with their members numbers increasing from 20 to 65 members

Beth Ivanac and Robyn Weidenbruch have been involved with the potters for over a decade
Camera IconBeth Ivanac and Robyn Weidenbruch have been involved with the potters for over a decade Credit: Holly Prentice

They believe an increased interest in home made crafts and hobbies spurned on by the lock downs has resulted in more people getting interested in taking up pottery.

“I think there’s been a resurgence in homemade and more natural things, and more original things.” Ms Ivanac said.

“I think lock down helped, but also the change in the studio helped as well. We negotiated with the Stirling Street (Arts Centre) to allow us to open for weekends, which we didn’t have. It opened a lot more for people who either have children or are working during the day,” Ms Weidenbruch said.

The club is a “cosy little community” where members trade knowledge and techniques going beyond basic pottery.

Ms Ivanac’s latest pieces for the exhibition feature a technique called Raku, a style inspired by ancient Japanese pottery in which smoke and combustible materials are used to colour the clay.

Some of Robyn Ivanacs works are made by burning copper wires and flowers into the clay
Camera IconSome of Robyn Ivanacs works are made by burning copper wires and flowers into the clay Credit: Holly Prentice

Other potters within the group experiment with different mediums of burning and colouring the clay with natural fibres and flowers, reflecting the mix of artistic background and skill the group prides itself on.

Lessons are available for those wanting to learn the basics before joining the club, with two lessons being held every semester.

The group is currently finalising their pieces for an annual exhibition where the pieces will be available for purchase, which historically has been a massive success for the Arts Centre.

“Last year you couldn’t move. There were so many people who came to the opening,” Ms Weidenbruch said.

During the exhibition, the club will be holding an Open Day on August 20, a chance for people to get a hands on experience with the clay and scope out the centres facilities.

The annual exhibition opens with a grand opening on August 12 at 5.30pm and will run until August 25 at the Stirling Stree Arts Centre.

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