Artists statement

Nankervis prefers the pre-Industrial Revolution method of firing pottery, involving heating the kiln by burning wood for five days, to the modern, quicker methods using gas or electricity. The distinctive surfacing in wood-fired ceramics is generated by the ash and volatile salts from the burning wood.
"Because the wood ash and salts blush the ceramic pieces in the kiln, the finished work tends to take on the nature of the firing process," he said. "One colleague has described the process as painting with fire."(https://www.strathnairn.com.au/studios/artist-in-residence/montessa-maack-ursula-burgoyne-jen-lyall-and-vicki-grima-5ndd6, accessed 09 July 2021)

Historical information

Tony NANKERVIS



Tony Nankervis taught ceramics from 1984 when the university was the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education from 1984. before moving to Southern Cross University (SCU) in 1994. He retired from full time teaching in 2004.


Nankervis was a pioneer of the long wood-fired ceramics technique in Australia: a technique he has been practising since the late 1970s Nankervis prefers the pre-Industrial Revolution method of firing pottery, involving heating the kiln by burning wood for five days, to the modern, quicker methods using gas or electricity. The distinctive surfacing in wood-fired ceramics is generated by the ash and volatile salts from the burning wood. "Because the wood ash and salts blush the ceramic pieces in the kiln, the finished work tends to take on the nature of the firing process," he said. "One colleague has described the process as painting with fire. There are particular qualities that only come from firing in that way, he said. "If you see some of these older ceramics, particularly from Asia, the surface qualities are discernible from the surfaces generated by post-Industrial fuels." (https://www.scu.edu.au/engage/news/latest-news/2004/leading-australian-potter-who-paints-with-fire-retires-from-lecturing-at-scu-after-19-years.php, accessed 09 July 2019)

Physical description

Three Lidded Woodfired Cylinders