New exhibition created in clay and fuelled by fire and wood

Published: 23 May 2023

Ahead of their special 20-year exhibition openings, which took place last Friday (May 19), Artspace Mackay reached out to the community to borrow some very special pottery pieces.

That pottery is the beautiful, woodfired works of Arthur and Carol Rosser.

Artspace director Tracey Heathwood said the Rossers took up pottery full time in the 1970s after spending a year in Japan.

“They purchased a neglected farm at Dalrymple Heights and spent decades re-foresting the property by planting 10,000 trees,” Ms Heathwood said.

“The Rossers’ pots were the very essence of this place; they were made from local clays, and local timbers fuelled the up to 100-hour long anagama kiln firings,” she said.

“‘Fire and Ash: Woodfire Pottery of Arthur and Carol Rosser’ celebrates the legacy of this husband-and-wife team, bringing together more than forty years of their creative practice.

“It celebrates the artists’ considered approach to land care, development of unique ash glazes and long wood firings.”

Artspace Mackay curator Lauren Turton said Arthur Rosser’s sudden passing in 2020 and Carol Rosser’s need to go into full-time care marked the end of an era for these local pioneers of Australian woodfired ceramics.

“The Artspace team would like to thank their daughter Zoe Judge for her generosity in sharing her parents’ story with us, loaning us much of their personal collection and opening her home to our curatorial team,” Ms Turton said.

“A component of this exhibition features Rosser pots which we have loaned from various local community members, paying tribute to the artists’ commitment to producing beautiful but functional pots for everyday use.”

Also opening on Friday night was Dylan Mooney: The Wall, In Bloom and Time of Our Lives.

Mayor Greg Williamson said Dylan Mooney, who is a proud Yuwi, Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander artist from our region, had created an amazing mural on the foyer wall within the gallery.

“The mural, titled ‘Oceans are rising, so must we’, is an extension of Dylan’s advocacy work with the Torres Strait 8 and their Our Islands Our Home campaign, which is about protecting the Torres Strait Islands from the impacts of climate change,” Mayor Williamson said.

“In Bloom celebrates the growth of our art collection over twenty years and features an exciting, new artwork commission by north Queensland artist Brian Robinson, alongside historic artworks and non-acquisitive commissions connected to important stories from our region,” he said.

“Lastly, Time of Our Lives is a partnership with the incredible community arts organisation Crossroad Arts, which will see tremendous animations projected onto the gallery’s exterior entrance wall during the 2023 Mackay Festival of Arts.

“Those who attended the opening were treated to a debut public screening and were blown away by the amazing display.”

Fire and Ash: Woodfire Pottery of Arthur and Carol Rosser, Dylan Mooney: The Wall and In Bloom are on show now at Artspace Mackay.

Visit for more details.