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Spring Fever Trip Report

By Lynne Carlin

1-3 Sept 2023

Spring Fever is a biennial clay festival run by the Suncoast ClayWorkers membership group. This year, the 3-day event was held in the Maleny Sports Hall in the Glass House Mountains region which is a very lush hinterland setting.


This festival of all things clay was attended by over 100 delegates from all over Australia. WA was very well represented by these talented presenters: Cher Shackelton, Mary Wallace, David Webb, Ian Dowling, Stuart McKay, and Warrwick Palmateer. Their demonstrations were very clear, diverse, inspiring and extremely popular.

CHER SHACKLELTON (Figure 1) demonstrated some creative methods of texturing large slabs BRT where she added and subtracted texture and used the slap and stretch method to develop great surface decoration. A great workshop activity.

MARY WALLACE (Figure 2) threw beautiful small pots, then demonstrated various carving methods with tall tales and true of her Korean experiences. Mary’s husband DAVID WEBB'S lathe made tools were a hit. These tools had multiple uses in addition to giving old umbrellas a new life. Clever.

IAN DOWLING (Figure 3) threw and altered large vessels, using different gouging/stretching methods to create bold works both in size and shape. His no fuss style of working encouraged the enthusiastic crowd to have the confidence to use the demonstrations in their own work.

This time two presenters attended from Canada, Trudy Golly and her tech wizz husband Paul Leathers gave us their best workshop on "How to take photos and send". 

TRUDY GOLLY focused on paper plaster molds using a mixture of unusual small repurposed, plastic domestic tools to create amazing tea pots with other worldly images and shapes. Trudy’s calm demeanour was ideal for clear concise instruction, plus loads of inspiration. Trudy’s husband Paul Leathers has an impressive range of technological skills and knowhow. A font of knowledge in skilled photography.

Coincidentally, I met Trudy over a decade ago when I attended a workshop in the south west at Fleur Schells property. Trudy was making molds, and after the event, one of the molds was thrown on the trailer to go to the tip. It was a large boat shaped mold which I rescued with permission. A few years later it became a “derelict” dingy base for a Squadron of Pelicans which I made and entered into the SA Sculpture By The Sea! A happy story of recycling.

Janet DeBoos was in attendance demonstrating her beautiful throwing, technical advice and deep knowledge. 

There were several other interesting presenters, including a portrait sculptor Clairy Lawrence, our own WA raku expert Stuart McKay who made and fired simple but tactile geometric forms, and a doll sculptor Michael Keighley who would drop the forms to the table for effect.

On the third day there was a fabulous delegates market from 9am to 12pm where each delegate had their own display. It was real showcase of ceramic TALENT. Of course I couldn't resist taking home some finds for myself.

David Walker from Walker Ceramic supplies. Who is so generous with small bags of sample clays to assist fund raising for cancer research. He also had for sale some really cool tools at reasonable cost.


Sirens Pottery supplies had a range of quite unique tools with multiple uses. So popular. Also a valued sponsor morning and afternoon tea served to enable us to make friends and reconnect each year. 


The accommodation options were eclectic! From camping on the oval to posh Air B & B. We were catered for extremely well with more than we could eat, with everything so tasty.


This events and others like it are a great way to holiday, while connecting with like-minded people and learning from experts. All in all, it was a worthwhile event and I am keen to go back to explore the Glass House Mountains again!

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Jeanne, a great job. A couple of small corrections. Janet de Boos' is from ACT. Clairy Lawrence is the sculptress. Michael Keighley collapses his work on the table surface. The clay used by Cher was BRT

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