Lynn DayThe guest on The Fine Line on Tuesday 1 April was Lynn Day, local zoologist and potter who first came to central Australia as a back packer in 1972. As is often the case, Lynn fell in love with the landscape and was determined to return one day.

Lynn grew up surrounded by clay; although she does confess to being more interested in discovering the flora and fauna in their back garden. Lynn’s grandfather, George Day began work at Mashman Brother’s Pottery in Sydney at the age of 13. He worked there for over 50 years, becoming head potter in the 1920s and 1930s where he specialised in modelling and mould making. A rare signed example of his work, a salt glazed stoneware jardiniere features modelled gum leaves, koalas and possums and can be found at the Powerhouse Museum Collection in Sydney today.

Lynn’s father, Ken followed his father, beginning work at the Chatswood pottery in 1936 at the age of 15 years, while studying at East Sydney Technical College. Lynn recounts how he then moved to Diana Pottery, where he later became a modeller, mould maker and designer of all the new products for the company. As demand for Ken’s services grew, he established a successful business in contract modelling and mould making for many Sydney potteries, including for Martin Boyd and Russell Cowan. Later Ken was contracted to work for Doulton Australia and for Caroma.

Despite this strong ‘ceramic’ influence in her life, Lynn only participated in her first pottery workshop while in America whilst studying in 1977. It was here that Lynn met local central Australian ceramist Faye Alexander who was conducting the raku workshop; and her love of clay was rekindled for good.

Determined even more so, to return to central Australia, Lynn kept an eye out for work in Alice Springs, returning finally, for good, in 1994 where she worked primarily as a zoologist, doing research for Parks and Wildlife.

Lynn continues to work with clay – mostly terracotta – inspired by her father and grandfather before her.

Jen Standish-White talks with Lynn Day, local zoologist and potter.

Broadcast: Tuesday 1 April 2014 at 12 noon on 8CCC Community Radio 102.1FM

Producer: Jen Standish-White