In August 2020, in the middle of a hard lockdown, some ceramics colleagues met on Zoom, organised by The Australian Ceramics Association, to commiserate and share experiences. Jane Sawyer, from Slow Clay Centre, encouraged the group to think about how good it would be if the world could learn from CoVid19 lockdowns to protect the environment and ensure we didn’t return to the days of pollution, heavy traffic and perhaps even add our voices to lobby for reduced emissions in a global climate emergency – a message which seemed lost in the pandemic. We met monthly and decided to form a group called Clay Matters. Our first action: The Potter’s Pledge, was created to encourage other clay workers to join us in practical ways to reduce waste and emissions from our studios. The Potter’s Pledge was published in The Journal of Australian Ceramics, July 2021.

Since then we have:

  • established a Facebook Group (Clay Matters)
  • created a website (claymatters.com.au)
  • continued to publish articles in the Journal of Australian Ceramics
  • fed our voice into events such as The International Academy of Ceramics Congress
  • formed alliances with other environmental groups
  • lobbied our government to attend the Cop26 conference in Glasgow and to set reduced emissions to 70% of 2005 levels by 2030
  • started to plan exhibitions

Calling on “stubborn optimism”, the catch cry of our heros the Global Optimism organisation, we continue these actions and welcome other clay workers to join us through our Facebook group. Please feel free to download The Potter’s Pledge below and pin it in your studio and/or share it widely!