About the author

I’m totally turned on by the medium of clay and the broad practice of ceramics.  Over the years, I’ve been involved in education, curated exhibitions, written articles, run workshops, held solo shows, participated in conferences and forums and presented lectures.  Generally – my clay addiction has enabled me to travel the world.  I’ve seen a lot of fabulous pots and met many fascinating makers and collectors.  Throughout – I continue to run my own workshop here in Hobart, Tasmania, specialising in limited edition, slip-cast porcelain products, as well as exhibition pieces and one-off commissions. Check out Earners and Learners to see more of my work!

Nowadays however, my research interest is fully engaged in finding traditional clay cooking pots from around the world.  Working clay pots that are still made to use on an open fire with local produce.  I’m intrigued to know how they are made and used and the stories that are embedded in their brittle walls.

This journal is dedicated to this exploration.  To the sourcing of local foods and the ingenuous uses that clay is put to in cooking it – to playing with fire.

And my island home on Bruny is the repository for the pieces collected to date.

Here they will be put to work.

Penny Smith

Published articles related to ceramics:

1. Boxing Clever: The Lesley Alcorso Editions published in  Ceramics: Art & Perception.    Boxing Clever describes the specially  commissioned limited edition range of boxed ceramic vessels by the Alcorso Foundation.  The Alcorso Foundation depends on the generosity of artists who support their foundation by donating their work, in the furthering of the Foundation’s entrepreneurial support for the arts in Tasmania.  Check out the Artist’s Honour Page.

Slip cast porcelain beakers with rubber and wooden ‘saucers’.  Huon Pine and Blackwood box made by Linda Fredheim.  Photographs by Peter Whyte.   Produced in 2009.

2. Read the full article:  MUTANT HYBRIDS ARTICLE 67A83BF6-7760-4CD3-98AD-E806F0E9FE50



31 Responses to “About the author”

  1. This is the hottest blog! Thank you for including me Penny. Your face to the work in Handmark that I always pause for, the light has finally switched on. The site offers so much to be inspired by, just reading about and enjoying your insatiable quest for inspiration that nature holds. If Patrick Hall is your brother, I can just imagine what growing up was like in your household, how exciting your world must have been…lots of secret, tiny hiding places. ABD

  2. Hi Allegra! Sure is a small world, especially when you live on Bruny! Great to hear from you – you should know as well as any the magic of the miniature……

  3. Margaret Lea Wallace Says:

    Penny, I am a neighbour of yours in Apollo Bay Road. I would love to visit your wonderland of clay and firepower if you would find that welcome.

  4. sallee warner Says:

    Hi Penny, The name of the book is Ceramics before Farming by Peter Jordan and Marek Zvelebel from the Book Depository.

  5. love this pic of you, is that a Peter White shot?

  6. Hi Penny, we will be travelling through around the 9th Oct and would dearly love to see you both and share the magical culinary Clay wonderland you have created on Bruny. Warm wishes Fleur, Richard, Heidi and Harry

    • Hello you guys!! What great things you’re doing yourselves. Sadly we won’t be here on the 9th – off to Thursday Island for ten days to join family who have just moved up there. Another time………

  7. Hi Penny, love your ceramic work and recipes! I stumbled upon this website when looking for inspiration for cooking with clay, for a pagan themed popup restaurant/exhibition i am doing in sydney.
    In the classic tassie way i then saw that you did work for my grandparents foundation, the Alcorso foundation! Great coincidence!
    I was wondering if i could ask you some questions about cooking with clay? if you could drop me an email that would be really great.

    thanks a lot!


    • Hi Dominique! Coincidences indeed!! Nice to hear from you especially with your connections with Claudio and Leslie. Both John and I knew them and often worked together with them – wonderful people and a real asset to Tasmania – both sadly missed. They really helped put this State on the map in terms of the arts, particularly the relationship with art and food. Will email you and lets continue to talk……….

  8. Hi Penny, Happy to have found your blog! It was so nice for Ion and I to meet you on the Friday Night. Look forward to speaking further with you! Milly

  9. Hi Penny,

    I’d like to talk with you about a new series of Food Safari we’re making for SBS TV. (I’m particularly interested in your clay pots for cooking.)

    If you’re happy to talk, could you shoot me an email letting me know what number and might be a good time to call.


    Jacinta Dunn
    Producer, Kismet Productions
    02 8969 6111

  10. Looking forward to talking to you soon…….

  11. Hi Penny,
    I love the image of the shell turning to trash drawing attention to the Great Pacific Gyre Garbage Continent. I am curating a show in the states and would like to draw attention to the Garbage floating in the pacific. I would like to ask if we could use your image for a poster on the internet as well as to inspire artists to create works from trash? The show is going up at Studio Bongiorno, in San Jose, CA in June this year.

    • Hi Robin,
      Many thanks for the positive comments, and I’d be delighted for you to use the image. You might also be interested in another story I wrote about more recently on the ghost net artworks that are being produced in the Torres Strait, far North Queensland. Ghost nets are the name given by the Islanders to the commercial fishing nets that are dumped indiscriminately and just left to cause a huge amount of environmental damage. However, local Islander artists are transforming this lethal waste into fabulous artworks that highlight their stories on an international stage.

      Check out my last blog story for further info on ghost nets: https:/brunyfirepower.wordpress.com/2015/02/

  12. Margaret Lea Wallace Says:

    Hi Penny, Sent a text by phone, and tried to follow up with an email. It bounced. So I hope this is attached to your new email contact. Wondering when you are next going to be on the Island. Love to catch up. Also bring you up to date on my work. Hope life is treating you well.

    • Hi Margaret – currently in UK visiting family and will be back in Tas early November and will be back on Bruny soon after – would love to catch up.


      On Wednesday, August 12, 2015, brunyfire wrote:


  13. Margaret Lea Wallace Says:

    That’s lovely to hear, Penny.

    Your pages about to go to graphic designer in the next couple of weeks. But here are a few images that are not suitable resolution for printing. I can replace the outdoor shots myself while you are away, if that is OK with you. But there are three or four critical ones I will not be able to reshoot. Maybe you have the original images on your computer?
    I can email them through to you while you are away, so that you can advise, if that is welcome. Otherwise, it will have to wait until you get back – that will mean extra cost – but it need be that’s what we will do.
    Just let me know how you want to deal with it. x

  14. Meredith Reid Says:

    Hi Penny. I was reading your article about the shack at Moorina Bay/Cape Queen Elizabeth on Bruny Island and noted a few points: Gerry was Brian “Gerry” Reid, not Brian Gerald. Secondly, since the shack is becoming more and more publicized there is an increasing number of visitors and unfortunately that also means more graffiti and damage. Maybe a note could be added that if people are going to go visit “The Leather Goblet” they should *please* try to look after it as Gerry’s family get quite upset every time they return to find more damage, such as the “well-meaning” scout group who decided to paint the interior WHITE-over all that gorgeous old timber-without consulting any of the families or surviving builders. Thank you 🙂

  15. Dear Meridith – many thanks for your corrections they’ve been duly amended!

  16. Julie Lang Says:

    Hi Penny! Julie from Vermont here….we met in Vietnam over breakfast in Hanoi. Please send me an email if you are still up for sending recommendations for traveling Tasmania style! i also did a video of my Vietnam trip that you might enjoy. Be well.

  17. Marc Sauvage Says:

    Hi Penny…Marc Sauvage here. Ancient history eh?! My wife and I find ourselves in Tassie and wondered about the possibility of catching up. Would love to see what you’re up to.


  18. Dr Dallas Hanson Says:

    Hi Penny, a great site to come across, it is really well organised. If you get time, for another week or so, the Tas Ceramics Association annual exhibition is on display at the waterfront pavilion aat the Docks. One of your students in slip casting at TAFE has stuff in there -Susan Stipcevic. It’s good and it is directly down to you since you introduced us to that world.

  19. Mr Einar Docker Says:

    Hello Penny,
    I work at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney. We have a number of your works in our collection. Could I ask you to get in touch with me? We would like to photograph the works for our website and online audiences and would like to formally get you permission to do so.
    Kindest regards,
    Einar Docker

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: