Coromandel potter Barry Brickell fires up one of his
terracotta creations in his 'A Hot Retort' exhibition,
which celebrates industrial heritage. Photo by Peter
Celebrated Coromandel potter and clay artist Barry
Brickell is delighted to be back in Dunedin and his passion for
various kilns, fires and gasworks is undimmed.
Now aged 77, Mr Brickell said he felt much the better for his
return trip South and to the Dunedin Gasworks Museum, where
he has been attending a two-day symposium devoted to
''It's added 10 years to my life,'' he said with a grin.
During the symposium, which ended yesterday, Mr Brickell,
OBE, gave a talk on ''the now-defunct coal gas industry -
warts and all'' and recalled that before the advent of
''cheap and convenient state electricity'', almost every New
Zealand town depended on coal gas for lighting and heating.
''The gasworks where gas was made were labour-intensive,
smelly, polluting, dirty and socially frowned upon but
enormously attractive to me as a boy and then later, before
the last gasworks was decommissioned in Dunedin in 1987,'' he
And in 1975, Ralph Hotere had provided him with a house and
studio in Port Chalmers where he had built a pottery kiln
''fired with waste bark from the log export wharves below''.
Mr Brickell had also visited the Dunedin gasworks, which was
then still operating, and encountered the ''splendid
Victorian engine room'', realising that this place ''must be
Its subsequent preservation was a tribute to ''several
Yesterday evening, he attended the opening of ''A Hot
Retort'', an exhibition of his gasworks history and art in
terracotta, with watercolour sketches by John Madden.
The exhibition, at the Brett McDowell Gallery in Dowling St,
runs until October 24.