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2001/41/1 Vase, 'Spiral form', Limoges porcelain with egg-shell white glaze, made by Victor Greenaway, Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia, 2000. Click to enlarge.

‘Spiral form’ vase by Victor Greenaway

Victor Greenaway's current work centres on the production of fine vessels, many of them spiral in form, and made either of porcelain from Limoges in France with egg-shell white, yellow or celadon glazes, or the ancient Etruscan process of making polished and black-fired 'bucchero' wares from a special fine volcanic clay.

He is currently fascinated with exploiting the possibilities of the form: to make a pure form and then alter it through the movement of the wheel and the use of a hand, finger or tool like a brush-stroke. 'You can get an amazing dynamic, to create a whole new image; I couldn't do it if it wasn't revolving on the wheel.' He loses a lot: it is like a quick sketch in charcoal on paper (using a soft wooden ball tool). For making the lips, he uses the tool - just the end of the stroke. 'The magic starts after the first hour; after the first 20 pieces - they are like sketches.'

This selected group of vessels, demonstrating most of the issues Greenaway is addressing, was donated to the Museum by the artist to celebrate his Australia Council Fellowship 2001-2002. In 2001 he proposes to continue with this work, making more large pieces, and some small sculptural forms. He will explore the possibilities of slip casting - maybe some combination of two materials; the terracotta and porcelain will both cast well. Maybe he will also go back to Italy, and also the Netherlands.

Victor Greenaway (b. 1947) has been a studio potter for 30 years, having trained first at RMIT in Melbourne in the late 1960s, and then with Ian Sprague at Mungeribar Pottery. He is represented in all major Australian collections, has received many awards including a Churchill Fellowship in 1974, numerous Australia Council Traineeship Grants to train others, an International Specialised Skills Fellowship in 1999 to assist in setting up an international school of ceramics in Umbria, Italy, and an Australia Council Fellowship 2001-2002. He set up the Broomhill Pottery at Upper Beaconsfield in 1974, ran the Meat Market ceramic workshop from 1994, and set up his current Victor Greenaway Studios at Nungumer on the Gippsland Lakes area in Victoria in 1993, moving there to work fulltime in 1998.


Object No.


Object Statement

Vase, 'Spiral form', Limoges porcelain with egg-shell white glaze, made by Victor Greenaway, Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia, 2000

Physical Description

Vase, 'Spiral form', Limoges porcelain with egg-shell white glaze, made by Victor Greenaway, Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia, 2000. A vase of Limoges porcelain, with a narrow base and deep foot ring rising to a tall flaring twisted form with lip. The vase is glazed in an egg-shell white glaze with the rim of the foot ring unglazed. The interior of the foot ring is glazed with blue and white glaze. Maker's mark stamped on base.


Maker's mark stamped on lower body near foot ring.

White circular adhesive sticker adhered to base, inscription on sticker, handwritten in blue ink, "VG5"



305 mm


160 mm



This spiral vase form, in translucent Limoges porcelain, reflects Victor Greenaways current design interests. During the 1970s and 80s and into the 90s, Greenaway made functional ceramic stoneware and porcelain works with brushed decoration. 'I became more and more frustrated that the decoration was not happening in the way I wanted. It seemed to become a fight between the form and the surface of the ceramic itself, and the conflict of the decoration with them. I stopped using a glaze and was decorating on raw porcelain. The Limoges porcelain was like a good quality Arches paper, and the closest I suppose, to paper itself. Then one day in about 1990, I realised that perhaps I could just paint - on paper, and I have been increasingly been doing more of this and finding it both satisfying and successful. Then the forms started to become plainer, and by 1993 there was practically no decoration at all. The form and its surfaces had to stand on its own. Now, they not only stand alone, but in related groups of forms and colours.'

Limoges porcelain is a throwing clay, but difficult to work with. It is very elastic and forgiving; and it absorbs moisture. Thus all work with this clay has to be quick and spontaneous. It seems to promote lush glaze qualities, especially celadon.

The white glaze has a magnesium carbonate base (a high temperature flux), and gives a 'soft buttery texture'. It is a potash feldspar based glaze, and clay makes it matt. It is critical to fire at the right temperature so you don't lose the buttery texture. If it is too high it becomes too glassy; too low it is a boring matt surface. Limoges clay lends itself to what he wants to do: a nice reaction between the clay and the glaze.

Designed and manufactured by Victor Greenaway, Lakes Entrance, Victoria, 2000.



Owned by the artist, and exhibited in 'fictilis' at The Ceramic art Gallery, Paddington, August 2000.


Credit Line

Gift of Victor Greenaway, 2000

Acquisition Date

28 May 2001

Cite this Object


'Spiral form' vase by Victor Greenaway 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 29 September 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Spiral form' vase by Victor Greenaway |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=29 September 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Collection Gallery 1 at the Museums Discovery Centre.