Peter Stichbury

Peter Stichbury

From the Simon Manchester Collection

Peter Stichbury was born in Auckland in 1924. In 1946 he enrolled at Auckland Teachers College and in 1948 was introduced to the potters’ wheel during a craft course with Hilary Clark.  His first pieces were fired in a salt kiln at Crum, Brick, Tile and Pottery Company in New Lynn.

From 1949 – 1951 he was an Art & Craft specialist for primary schools while he continued learning from R N Field at Avondale College evening classes.  He also became aware of Bernard Leach’s A Potter’s Book.  In 1957 he was awarded an Association of NZ Art Society Fellowship to study under Bernard Leach at St. Ives in England.

In 1958 he and his wife, Diane, went to Abuja in Nigeria to join Michael Cardew at his Pottery Training Centre where a new national industry was being established.  This is where Peter’s philosophy of making was cemented.

They returned to New Zealand in 1959 and in 1960 Peter became a full-time lecturer at Ardmore Teachers College.  It was at this time that he began using iron sand from Karekare Beach to make what would become iconic designs on his platters.

By the end of the 1960s he had become a full-time potter making functional ware and between 1978 and 1981 Stan Jenkins made a film about his working life (Peter Stichbury Potter).

Peter was president of the Auckland Studio Potters, the New Zealand Society of Potters and was accorded honorary life membership of both societies.  He was a tutor at the Auckland Studio Potters for many years and in 2002 he was made a Member of the New Zealand of Merit.  He died in 2013.

Rick Rudd