The ceramic art of Greg Daly continues to attract accolades from around the world,
but the work of this Australian potter is not behoved on any particular fashionable
style or genre.
Text by Gordon Foulds. Photography by Russel Baader.
From the time Greg Daly chose to study pottery in year 8 at his Melbourne high school, he knew that he had found his life’s vocation. The subject choice was Latin, German or Pottery. He sums it up by saying ‘No contest'; and from the beginning it was a wonderful voyage of discovery and learning. While still at high school he worked part-time from the age of 13 in a ceramic supply shop where he handled a full range of clays and glazes, and was periodically involved in the building of kilns. Skills he learned at that time have underpinned all that he has accomplished since. Daly’s first teacher, obviously aware of his young student’s enormous potential, took him to view many important exhibitions, sensitizing him to ceramics as a vocation. By the time he left school he had attended numerous workshops and lectures, and had met many of the most important ceramists of the day, including Harold Hughan, Peter Rushforth, Paul Soldner and Reg Preston, which he likens to teenagers of today meeting many of their pop idols.
He says that they all had honesty, sincerity and integrity, but above all, they had a great passion for their work, which the young Daly set as a benchmark for himself. By the time he left school he had already seen many exhibitions at that icon of ceramics, the Melbourne Craft Centre, and was totally confirmed in his choice of ceramics for further study. He enrolled at RMIT gaining first a Diploma of Art followed by a Fellowship Diploma. The head of the department at that time was Jack Knight, who was in his last years at RMIT but made a lasting impression on his young student. ‘Jack possessed incredible throwing skills, but he left you to get on with it. You were required to develop self-discipline,’ says Daly. He remembers the 1970s as being a ‘very heady time with lots of energy evident, and people taking up new initiatives and running with them. We saw the beginning of the Victorian Ceramic Group, and then the Craft Association of Victoria, which later became the Craft Council’. Daly was involved at an early stage with all of these initiatives and has always been quick to involve himself in organizations that support and promote both ceramics and the arts. He was involved with the establishment of NAVA, the National Association of Visual Arts, in 1986, served on the board of the Craft Council of Australia (now Craft Australia) for five years and was its President for two years. He feels it is part of his responsibility to provide support and opportunity for the continuing development of the crafts wherever possible, although he says that his own career has often been neglected as a result, but does not in any way resent this…