Yvonne Rust

Yvonne Rust

1922 - 2002
Maverick Spirit

Yvonne was born in Whangarei in 1922.

She attended school in Christchurch for one year in 1934; returning in 1940 to study for a Diploma of Fine Art at the University of Canterbury. She held art teaching posts in Palmerston North, Christchurch, and Wellington, before teaching pottery, jewellery and embroidery through the Adult Education Extension in rural areas around Christchurch.

In 1956 Yvonne organised the first national pottery school, a ten day school, with tutors Mirek Smíšek, Pat Perrin and Carl Vendelbosch. In 1959 she set up the Studio of Design in Christchurch where Bernard Leach (UK), Takeichi Kawai and Shoji Hamada (Japan) visited, Hamada working there for two weeks.

Yvonne became a teacher at Greymouth High School in 1966, and with the help of Barry Brickell built a coal-fired kiln in a disused brewery she rented. There her students included John Crawford, and coal miners who had been made redundant, the best known of these being Hardy Browning. In 1972 she returned to Northland, building her own home and studio in Parua Bay where she conducted summer schools.

Yvonne was made a life member of the NZ Society of Potters in 1976,  set up the Northland Craft Trust in 1982 and was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal in 1983. In 1998 she returned to Greymouth, establishing the West Coast Arts Trust in 2001.

Yvonne’s work was expressive and loosely made. She was a motivator, mentor and teacher with very definite opinions. She left a lasting legacy at the Quarry Arts Centre, Whangarei, established through the Northland Craft Trust.

Yvonne died in 2002 in Greymouth.


Rick Rudd