A Tribute by Judy Boydell
25/6/1928 – 9/5/2013
Gwen Whitie was a practising potter when I met her in the early ‘70s, working in her studio at Wahroonga, in northern Sydney, firing a kiln she had built and carrying on a disciplined program supplying ceramic work to several galleries including Libby Gordon’s at Artarmon, near North Sydney and Shan Blake’s at Gladstone near Kempsey, NSW.
In 1976 Gwen joined the Ceramic Study Group’s trip to Peru, led by Janet Mansfield, where we examined clay work by the Inca and Chincha and Aymara peoples at the Lima Museum and where we climbed to the heights of Machu Pichu.
Gwen had studied design at National Art School (East Sydney Technical College) and joined Trudy Alfred and Margaret Tucksons‘ ceramic classes to learn the art of pottery. She was a competent practitioner working at stoneware as well as raku temperatures , sharing many of these raku firings with her good friend Hildegarde Anstice.
After moving to the inner city she set up Down the Lane Potters in Glebe with Terry Wright, Barry Blight, Susie Startin and Rob Slingsby. She became a member of Inner City Clayworkers Gallery Co-op, where she sold her work. She was an active and vibrant member of these groups. Later she relocated to Dulwich Hill where she set up Burnt Offerings. She produced doves, moulded in different sizes, which she sold in Australia and overseas. During this time she won several major awards and fulfilled commissions making plaques, tiles and sculptural pieces. She completed a horticulture course at Meadowbank Technical College which inspired her to combine her ceramic ability and gardening skills. She had an acute sense of colour and design which were her strength.
Gwen Whitie was a creative, resourceful artist who filled her days making imaginative ceramic pieces. She died peacefully on 9th May, 2013 shortly before her 85th birthday.