Paul Holland

Windmill Pottery owner, Paul Holland, has been working with clay over a forty-year period. Since moving to Sheldon on the bayside of Brisbane, he discovered a volcanic clay deposit locally and this has driven his work in an entirely new direction.

About Windmill Pottery

All our pottery is made from our own clay that's dug and processed at the pottery.  We are the only boutique pottery in Queensland that does this.  We call it Quandamooka (pronounced kwon-da-moo-ka) Clay after the First Australians who lived in our region. Their totem, the Quandamooka is the name they gave the Dugong or sea cow, a sea mammal like the dolphin. The clay, which was used as body paint by the Quandamooka, is a terracotta stoneware suitable for both forms of ceramic.  Blessed by a Quandamooka elder, it really is a unique Australian product.

Ceramics marked with a single windmill pottery stamp have been crafted by the resident master potter, Paul Holland. The pottery also has visiting artists and protégés working at the pottery.  Their work displays the pottery stamp along with their own individual signatures. Here at Windmill Pottery, we are dedicated to creating Australian pottery from scratch - from digging up the clay right through to glazing. The Windmill way makes our pottery unique in Gondwanaland and we invite you to become part of our tradition.    

Windmill Pottery owner, Paul Holland, has been working with clay over a forty-year period. Since moving to Sheldon on the bayside of Brisbane, he discovered a volcanic clay deposit locally and this has driven his work in an entirely new direction. This clay is typical stoneware with the added property of having a high iron oxide content. At lower earthenware temperatures the clay fires to a rich golden terracotta colour, while at higher stoneware temperatures, it takes on a steely quality that almost shrieks durability and hardness. “I have always longed for a clay that has soul,” he says. “Most commercial clays are a blend of imported and local clays. The producers are more concerned with predictability than character.”

The Clay

Windmill clay is more like the clay used by the Japanese masters who prepared their clay and stored it for at least two generations to allow the development of bacteria to condition the clay. Windmill clay’s organic content is high, promoting bacterial growth. This gives the clay a living earthy quality allowing the potter to feel close to nature and to the old potters of yesteryear.

“This has led me to look for a different way of expressing who I am and where I have come from through my work. I am now consumed by a desire to produce pottery that is unmistakably Australian, not through the selection of images such as our native flora and fauna or by trying to copy European or Aboriginal Art, but by developing a look or feel that is reminiscent of those origins. I want my work to come from our unique topography and unusual blend of cultural influences. I endeavour to do this through my selection of subjects and colours. I want to mirror the ambience, which is typically Gondwanaland along with a blend of shapes that reflect our European origins. All this is set in an enigmatic landscape that is so neatly interwoven in the Dreaming of the first Australians. To this end I am not looking for a smooth commercial mass-produced look. I want the observer of my work to see the construct – the finger marks that shaped the ware – the processes that go into each stage of a piece’s development and an appreciation of the earth from which it comes. Of course, in the end I hope my work gives pleasure to others regardless of the motivation behind its creation.”

A Connection With The Earth

Windmill Potteries’ challenge is to find that “look and feel” that is distinctly Australian by exploiting all the elements that give rise to culturally unique and recognisable work.  To do this Windmill explores that final act of creativity that led to ancient decorative pottery.  By preparing our own clay from local sources and using basic elements of design, Windmill Potteries returns to the earliest processes allowing the inate quality and potential of natural clay to form the basis of its work.  

The rest comes from allowing all the influences of our Australian environment, colour, iconology and culture or subject matter, seep into the work, be it indigenous or foreign.  As a young nation, we are in the enviable position of exploring creatively without restriction.  Our art and craft is so young in its evolution that no ritual or style or expectation dictates parameters.  Perhaps that will come with time and Windmill Potteries is in the vanguard at a time when pottery is re-emerging as a creative craft from a long time malaize.  In particular, Windmill Potteries recognises the influence of those Queensland potters who have come before, such as Harry Memmott and Mick Feeney.  These craftsmen/artists have forever influenced those who wish to follow their example.

Windmill Potteries produces pottery for those who appreciate their connection with the earth and their awareness of the environment in which they live.  It is hoped that if a visitor to our shores takes a piece of Windmill Pottery away with them, they will know they have something uniquely Australian.

Additional Info

Paul Holland
756 Mt Cotton Road
Post Code: