Marghanita da Cruz

Marghanita and Guilia, Nedlands, Perth, Western Australia

In 1982, Marghanita moved to Canberra to take up a job, as a Computer Programmer, with the Australian Public Service. After a year or so, working in a virtual industry where software and hardware were upgraded, and sometimes abandoned, within 2 years - she sought to balance the virtual with the substantial and took on Pottery.

This lead to a journey and interest in creating and in the creation of objects made from clay.

We rely on objects made from clay every momement of our lives. Whether it be roofing tiles to keep us dry, water and sewerage pipes, to keep us healthy, electrical insulators to help us communicate or vessels with which we collect water, filter it, cook, eat and drink.

Marghanita recently photographed a selection of her pottery from the last 20 years. See Retrospective

Potter in Agost, making Water JugsPotter making Water Jugs in Agost Spain, circa 1985

Complete pieces and fragments of Pottery, which are well over 5,000 years old, have been found all over the world. Often they are all that remains of ancient societies and their trade routes. Their decoration depicting everyday life and the refinement demonstrating the skills cultivated by the society. The construction and use of the pots relied on the society's knowledge of clay, glazes and firing techniques as well as the materials available to them.

The pots shown have been created from a variety of clays - which vary in colour, their ability to deal with temperature shocks, or to provide a delicate finish to an object.

Some have been constructed on electric wheels, coiling by hand, using a puki bowl and paddle.

These have in turn been glazed with metallic glazes which reduce to metallic colours using the Raku firing technique or an Earthenware glaze which runs, but would burn out at higher temperatures. The face has been fired with wood in the "mexican chiminy". The black firing has been acheived by introducing an oil into a wood fired kiln, the pit firing involves firing the pots in large pits with wood and using salt to acheive the pink kisses on the bodies. Others have been fired in gas kilns.

Mr Potter, Succor, Bardez, Goa, India

The resulting pots may be functional or only decorative. The blue dry glaze used on the tea pot and bown is not water tight and is toxic. The terracota body is porous but provides an excellent filter to purify water. The jug, though watertight is too solid to hold much liquid.

Pottery has provided livelyhoods and sustained communities for generations. Porcelain for example, was developed in a Chinese village where they discovered that burying bones slowly transformed them into fine "bone china". But this took time and was only of use to the next generation.

With its durability, a pot makes the perfect souvenir for a special occassion.

In 2005, Marghanita spent time in Goa, to understand her roots further and made an extraordinary personal discovery - her grandmother came from Succor a village of Potters in Bardez, Goa, India!