# 80, a pot
When potter John Parker began making a
name for himself in the 1970s, the clean,
manufactured look of mass-produced Crown
Lynn ceramics was losing its fashionable
status and was certainly not to be taken
seriously by potters.
In contrast, John found inspiration in Crown
Lynn’s distinctively grooved hand-potted range,
produced by British import, Ernest
Shufflebotham. Shufflebotham had been
recruited from British company Wedgwood,
where he worked under Kiwi ex-pat designer
Keith Murray, and brought with him a refined
sensibility of clean modernist forms and soft
matt white glazes. Shufflebotham only stayed in
New Zealand from 1948-55 but his tenure
coincided with Crown Lynn sourcing its best
white clay in Matauri and perfecting its glazing
and firing processes, and his works have become
some of Crown Lynn’s most sought after items.
This passing of influence, from New Zealand
to England and back again, is a point of
fascination for John, who is an avid collector of
both Murray and Shufflebotham pots. Highlights
from Parker’s own research collection, including
several of his own works, were included in the
exhibition "Crown Lynn: Pottery for the People"
held at the Gus Fisher Gallery in 2011,
demonstrating the circularity of influence and
Although their work is hand-thrown,
Shufflebotham, Murray and John produce it with
Anyone who has passed through Titirangi
recently will have seen Lopdell House swathed
in scaffolding. This well loved local landmark is
currently undergoing additional seismic
strengthening, along with major refurbishment
and redevelopment. Early in the process
consultants referred to the 23 original ink on
linen drawings held in the Architecture Archive.
industrial lathe techniques. It is this fine tension
between formalism and experimentation that
has been a constant of John’s ongoing practice.
Looking to industrial processes, some of his
ridged forms also nod toward the massproduced
ceramic insulators used on power
pylons. For a period from 1996, he announced
that he would only produce work in white,
although he now also works in black and red.
But by establishing self-imposed rules and a
limited range of minimalist forms or finishes for
each range he produces, John is able to push
these boundaries to expand his vocabulary and
keep collectors coming back to add his latest
variations to the growing range.
John first trained at Elam School of Fine Arts
before completing a diploma in teaching at
Auckland Teachers College in Epsom, where
there was a thriving ceramic scene, and then a
Master of Fine Arts at the Royal College of
London in 1975. He returned to New Zealand in
1977 and became Director of Auckland Studio
Potters Centre, going on to win many awards
and also finding renown as a theatre designer.
City Gallery Wellington held a major
retrospective of his work in 2002 and he was
given a Laureate Award by the Arts Foundation
A selection of John’s orbs, bottles and vases
were purchased for Tāmaki Campus in 2002
and are on permanent display in Café Europa as
part of a collection that was started in 1992 to
fit-out the then new campus but is now managed
as part of the wider University Art Collection.
In 2009, John also paid homage to West
Auckland’s Crown Lynn legacy by producing a
ceramic tile mural for New Lynn’s train station
that depicts the most ubiquitous but (now) keenly
collected item from Crown Lynn’s whiteware
range, the swan.