Carmel Pottery began around 1959 after the Carmelite Nuns at their Glen Osmond Convent were taught the techniques of throwing, glazing and firing by a former graduate of the South Australian School of Arts and Crafts Thelma Fisher, who had learnt her technique from Kelly Koster of Kosters Pottery. Koster had a precise and mathematical approach to throwing forms on the wheel, and this technique was passed down through Fisher to the Carmelite Nuns.
It was the simplicity of form, and sense of perfection about the pieces which first attracted me to the work of the Nuns. My Aunt who was a Roman Catholic had some of their pieces, and I can remember being fascinated by the simple beauty of the pieces as a teenager, especially the subtle decoration they used.
Originally 2 sisters were taught by Fisher - sister Gemma Derrida and Sister St John. Their work was sold from the convent as Carmel Pottery. Sister Gemma left the convent in the late 1970's to set up her own pottery under the name of Carmel-Gem. I'm not sure when the Carmel Pottery ceased production, but It was still operating in the 1980's. In 2008 the beautiful convent and its massive grounds with olive groves was closed and later sold.
My favourite pieces of Carmel/Carmel Gem are the pieces from the early to mid seventies, like these by Sister Gemma.