John Anthony Dermer (1 December 1949 - ): is an Australian studio potter, former art teacher and recipient of many national and international awards, including the Salzbrand Keramik 2006 prize for his salt-glazed ceramics.
John was born in Melbourne. He completed formal studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in 1970 and set up his first kiln in his parent’s backyard. In 1971 he traveled to Europe and North America, working for a time at Josiah Wedgwood & Sons in England. On his return to Australia in 1973 he completed a Diploma of Education and established a kiln at Eltham. Then in 1975 he set up Kirby’s Flat Pottery in Yackandandah and has lived and worked there ever since.
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Studies: 1967-68 Preston Institute of Technology, Certificate of Art ; 1969-1970 Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Diploma Of Art and Design; 1973 Diploma of Education, Melbourne State College. European experience including Artist in Residence for Wedgwood, Stoke on Trent, UK. Production thrower for Michael Leach, 1971, Devon UK. Travelled to USA, Europe, Scandinavia, Japan, China, studying local ceramics. Since 1978 regular travels to Central Australian deserts to photograph the landscape as a source of inspiration and research materials. His Work John Established a pottery and built his home and studio in Yackandandah, NE Victoria in 1974. He hosted studio trainees through 1978-1983. Continues to work in salt glazed porcelain, both wood fired and gas fired kilns, and produces a range of porcelain tableware. Commenced salt glazing in 1967. A limited production of work in Terra Sigillata is still practised. Pioneered the use of ceramic fibre blanket as a saggar medium for Terra sigillata firing, for major commission to produce large scale works for the New Parliament House, Canberra,1987
Awards and Recognition: Beaumaris Ceramic Award, 1970; Mayfair Ceramic Award,1978,1980; Shell Award 1973,1978; Bendigo Pottery Award 1976; Port Hacking Ceramic Award,1980; Fletcher Brownbuilt [commendation] NZ 1979,1990; Ausceram Perth 1990; International salt Glaze Saltzbrand Koblenz, Germany 2006; 2009, H R Hughan Award, Melbourne; Inducted into Ivanhoe Grammar School Hall of Fame, 2012; John was the subject of a speech in Federal Parliament, in the Federation Chamber, by Cathy McGowen MP, acknowledging his contribution to Australian Art for a period of over 50 years; Hansard page 2467, March 20 2017. Commissions: Major Commission to produce large scale work for the Prime Ministers suite and Cabinet Room entry for the new Parliament House , Canberra, 1987/1988. Series of porcelain pots to accompany the J W Turner Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia 1996, and NGV,1997; 200 Vases for Parliamentary Offices, New Parliament House, Canberra, 1987. Large scale terra sigillata urn and photograph for BHP head office Melbourne, 1992; Large scale platter for consideration for wedding gift to Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, Australia Council / Crafts Board, 1981; Scotts School, Albury, six porcelain Altarware pieces for Chapel 1989.
Selected solo exhibitions: 1971 Beaumaris Art Gallery; 1973 Hawthorn City Art gallery; 1976, 1994, Distelfink Gallery; 1976 Beechworth Gallery; 1976-1979 Potters Cottage, Warrandyte; 1979 Buckland Gallery; Sydney: 1979 , 1987, Macquarie Art Gallery,( joint opening with painter John Olsen); 1987,1995, Ceramic Art Gallery Sydney; Potters Society, 1982; 1980 Bonython Art gallery, Adelaide; 1989 Studio 20, Adelaide; 1981 Victor Mace Gallery Brisbane; 1981 Freemantle Arts Centre; Tokyo, 1992, Seibu Department Store ; Tachikichi, Osaka 1992, 1997; 1995 Handmark , Hobart; 1995 Blackwood Street Gallery; Retrospective, Wangaratta Art Gallery, 2000; Skepsi on Swanston, 2008; Mansfield Art Gallery 2016. Commenced bi-annual exhibitions at the home studio gallery in 1978 till the present day. 2017 celebrated 40 consecutive years of such exhibitions. Annual Exhibition of tableware at home gallery, annually since 1980.
Selected Group Exhibitions: 1969, Pat Brocksop Gallery, Eltham; numerous group exhibitions from 1968 till 1980; Coupe Collosus, Jam Factory, Adelaide, 1982; Japan, Mashiko, Catalogue entry winner, 2004, 2005; 2004, Skepsi Gallery, Celebrating The Master; Connections, 45 Years At Potters Cottage, 2003; 2005 Freeland Gallery, Sydney; Germany, 2006, Saltzbrand Keramik; 2006, Encrusted, Skepsi, Melbourne; 2006, Manningham Surface Connections; 2006 Freeland, Responding To The Landscape, Sydney; 2009 Victorian Ceramic Group, 40th Exhibition; 2010, Essentials For Domestic Goddess, Skepsi; 2013 Thrown, National Gallery of Victoria; 2014 Art and Craft Design Award, Germany; 2011 Arresting, Manningham ; 2011 Encrused; Manningham; 2012 Engaging Form, Skepsi; A Tribute, Potters Cottage,Manningham City Art Gallery, 2012; 2013 Expressions of Self, Montsalvat; Skepsi, Chance and Intelligence, 2015; Skepsi,Quietitude, 2016; Skepsi, Gifted 2016; Skepsi, Distinctive, 2016; Expressions of Self, Skepsi, 2014; Skepsi, Excellence, 2017; 2014 Course Of Objects, Manly, Sydney; Victorian Craft Awards 2015; 2014 Contemporary Porcelain, Kerrie Lowe Gallery Sydney; 2014 Gold Coast Ceramic Award; 2015 Glazed wood fired work, Malvern Arts Centre; 2015 Kerri Lowe, Sydney, Tableware; 2015 , Belonging, Canberra; Potters Cottage, A Tribute, Manningham Art Gallery, 2014; Kerri Lowe Gallery, Christmas, 2014, 2015, 2016 Arts and Crafts Design Award, finalist, Croatia, 2015; Kerri Lowe Wood Fired 2016; Kerri Lowe, Tea Pot Show 2016, 2017; Kerri Lowe, Sydney, Accolade, 2017; Inflamed, Wood Fired, Clayfield, Queensalnd , 2017; 50 Vessels, Sunshine Coast, 2017; Glazed Turkeys and other Treats, Manningham Art Gallery, 2017; Gifted, The Kohane and Moore Collection, Castelmaine Art Gallery, 2017. Skepsi Gallery, Melbourne, Identity, 2017. Gifted 2017 Skepsi: 2017 Kerrie Lowe Christmas exhibition: Teapot Show Kerrie Lowe Gallery 2017
Where Represented; Australian National Gallery, Canberra; Parliament House, Canberra [Cabinet room/Prime Ministers Office]; Federal High Court Building; National Gallery of Victoria; Queensland Art Gallery; Manly Art Gallery; Tasmanian Art Gallery and Museum; Queen Victoria Art Gallery, Launceston Tasmania; Bunbury Art Gallery; Fremantle Art Centre, WA; Art Gallery of West Australia, State collection; Australia Council Collection; Buten Museum, Philladelphia, USA; Wedgwood Museum, Stoke on Trent, UK ; Birmingham Museum, Alabama, USA: Castelmaine Art Gallery; Bendigo Art Gallery; Ballarrat Art Gallery; Horsham Art Gallery; Hamilton Art Gallery; Power House Museum, Sydney; Westerwald Museum, Germany; Albury Regional Gallery; Brisbane City Art Gallery; Gold Coast Art Gallery; Shepparton Art Gallery; Whitehorse City Collection/ Manningham Art Gallery; Art Gallery of South Australia; KenDon Museum, Melbourne: Warnambool Art Gallery; Major private collections throughout Australia and overseas.
Recent Publication, writings and references : Journal of Australia publication of the National Gallery of Victoria “Make” pages 38 to 45 July/August 2014 ; Journal of Australian Ceramics November 2013 pages 111/112: “Brown Lumpy and Scratches the Laminex” Australian Ceramics :Vol 54 No 1 April 2015 pages 54 to 58 “The Art of Function, The Function of Art.”; Artists and Galleries, Germaine, 1990, pg 175; Victorian State Craft Collection; Castlemaine Art Gallery and Museum Collection; Freeland Art Gallery, Artist profiles; Freeland Gallery, Past Exhibitions; Freeland Art Gallery, Wood Fired ceramics; Craft Australia, Hersey, 1980; Australian Pottery 1960 to date, Australian word press ,Known Potter #13; Master Artisan, Freeland Gallery; Queensland Potters Association, file; The Potters Art, Mansfield; Salt Glaze, Mansfield; North Queensland Ceramic Awards; Victorian Ceramic Group, State Library publication; Works by Ceramicists, Manly Art Gallery; Potters Online, Directory; Australian Pottery Marks; Art and Craft Design Award, Croatia, 2015.
Memberships: Member of the International Academy of Ceramics; Victorian Ceramic Group; Australian Ceramics; Murray Arts.
Workshops: Numerous demonstration and residential workshops in Australia since 1978. Demonstration throwing for Wedgwood, USA 1972; 1976-1984 Head of Ceramics, Albury TAFE.
Curatorial: Retrospective of the late Reginald Preston and Phyllis Dunn, Australian potters, Melbourne, 2010. Executor to the Estate of Reginald Preston and Phyllis Dunn to distribute their final works to Public collections.
Artists writings: “Burnt Earth, The Journey”. Yackandandah 1992, book launch and accompanying photographs, Albury Art Gallery; Method of Throwing 1982, Potters Society of Australia publication Celebrating the Journey. Yackandandah 2017 for 40th annual exhibition.
Selected Bibliography: Germaine, 1994; 1990, 1997 Who’s Who Australian Visual Artists; Mayfair Ceramic Award catalogue,1977; J Mansfield, Potters in Australia, 1980; Mansfield, The Potters Art,1981; Selected Australian Crafts, Buckle, 1982; K. Hood, Contemporary Australian Ceramics,1982; J Hoare, B Anderson, Clay Statements, 1985; G. Cochrane, The Craft Movement in Australia, A History, Sydney, 1992; J Mansfield , Potters 85; Numerous representations in Pottery in Australia; Ceramics Art and Perception; Journal of Ceramics. Group exhibition catalogue Melbourne; 2005 Skepsi Gallery , Melbourne; Peter Lane, Ceramics,1978.