About Us & History
Newcastle Studio Potters Inc. and Back to Back Galleries is a cooperative group open to interested members of the public who may join the organization after gaining approval by the group.
Aims of the group are:
- to hold exhibitions and related events of benefit to the ceramic community of Newcastle
- to promote ceramics of a with standard of aesthetic and/or technical excellence consistent with developments in contemporary ceramic thought and practice to the wider community of Newcastle
- to promote the Newcastle Studio Potters Inc to the wider community in Newcastle
- to introduce the work of ceramists not usually seen within the existing framework of exhibiting galleries in the area to the wider community of Newcastle
The cooperative was formed in 1967 after a group of TAFE students completed their studies and felt the need for sharing knowledge, ideas and continuing friendships. Go to HISTORY for more details.
For information on becoming a member click here.
NSP was formed in 1969. It was formed by a group of students studying ceramics at TAFE as a sub group of the Sydney‑based Ceramic Study Group. Soon after they decided to become more local so left the SCG and became part of the Workers Educational Association in Newcastle.
Due to increasing numbers of students and the need for more facilities NSP decided to look for their own facilities.
'Backs Butcher Shop' in Bull Street Cook Hill was chosen as it was centrally located and close to other galleries. The group purchased the old butcher’s shop in 1973. The building was in a rather dilapidated state so exhibitions were held at various locations.
The name 'Back to Back Galleries' was derived from the original name of the butcher shop 'Backs Butcher Shop' and is very relevant because the exhibiting gallery at the front leads straight into the members' gallery at the rear.
The group became an incorporated association in 1987.
The dream of a gallery was reignited in 1988 and a gallery committee was elected. It was unanimously decided that the outside of the building would retain its original style where possible using traditional materials.
The first fundraiser was an auction of donated works from many well‑known potters as well as work from the members and was held at the Newcastle Regional Museum. The second was the Great Platter Auction with platters being supplied by a local potter, Sean Nicholson, and decorated free of charge by local artists (see Ceramic Art and Perception 1991, Issue No 6, pages 54‑55). This was held at The View Factory and was followed by another platter auction two years later back at the museum.
The big dream of a first‑class ceramic gallery became a reality on 1st March 1992 with the opening of the Back to Back Galleries ‑ an exhibition gallery and a members' gallery. Janet Mansfield, Jenny Orchard and Patsy Healy were our inaugural exhibitors and the gallery was opened by the local State member of parliament, Bryce Gaudry.
In addition to the fundraising events mentioned above NSP has organised a number of ceramic events including two day conferences, ‘Clay and Cabernet 1 and II’.
The group has gone through many changes over the years and many hard‑working people have been involved in its growth. Present members, who number just over eighty, are greatly indebted to our founding members. They not only had the foresight to acquire the premises, but also risked their own assets in securing the loans necessary to make the acquisition possible.
There is a strong collective feeling that we are still achieving their long held objective of promoting ceramics of high aesthetic and technical excellence to many sections of the wider community. Newcastle Studio Potters continues to support the creative endeavours of many artists from the beginner to the professional and it is very proud to have been instrumental in the achievements of several distinguished members who have established themselves nationally.
More recently we have been recognized as a bona-fide educational facility. As such we are endeavoring to expand our workshops, talks and classes.
For upcoming classes, demonstrations and workshops click here.