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Denise McDonald- Production Potter-Guest lecture at Northern Beaches Ceramics Saturday 19 September 2015

August 18, 2015


Denise McDonald is a professional potter with a career spanning 20 years. Now living in Sydney NSW she has developed a unique personal approach to create her functional forms in clay. Denise combines both slab and wheel formed elements to make really energetic domestic wares that capture a lovely sense of the plasticity of clay. The forms are coated in luscious glazes of Denise’s own formulation that  break and pool to highlight the impressed surface treatment. We have one of Denise’s Flannel flower pattern mugs at home, it’s a joy to use.


Denise has studied overseas at Dartington Pottery England (where Bernard Leach wrote some sections of A Potters Book) and here in Australia.

“I have been potting since 1996 when I enrolled in a Diploma of Arts – Ceramics course (Holmesglen College of TAFE – Melbourne). Since that time, most of my experience as a potter has been gained in small scale production studios, including Dartington Pottery in England, Tabletop Ceramics in Melbourne and Omelette Design in Sydney. This experience has given me a focus for consistent quality and functionality in my work which I endeavour to pass on to my customers.

I throw the majority of my forms either completely or in part on the potters wheel. I like the immediacy of working this way where every touch of the clay creates a new curve or bulge, every movement of the fingers has a consequence, every gesture can have its voice. Recently I have also been exploring slab building techniques incorporating vintage and antique relief designs impressed into my clay. My inspirations are wide ranging from the natural world to historical art and craft styles.”


Demonstration plan for Saturday the 19th September 

Northern Beaches Ceramics- C Block

Northern Beaches TAFE 154 Old Pittwater rd Brookvale

  • 9AM to 1PM
  • Images and video footage
  • Morning tea
  • Throwing and Hand forming Demonstration

“I plan to demonstrate my techniques where I combine slab building with wheel forming, illustrating that the wheel can just be a tool for very different work besides throwing (you don’t even need to be able to centre to do some of what I do on the wheel).”


While demonstrating Denise will share the experiences of running her business DM Pottery, her experiences with social media, going to craft markets, selling wholesale verses sale or return, pricing and the general day-to-day workings of life as a production potter.

View work website.

Purchase work at her Etsy shop

Stay in touch via Facebook page.


The workshop is demonstration only and non participatory. Watch and enjoy.

Contact Chris James to register for the day.

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