The best kind of surprises come when one is in search of something else. On a recent trip to Newtown with my photography friend, we made a snap decision to turn into Liebermann Pottery in Cottesloe. Ostensibly, we were going to see if there was any way of getting into the old gasworks, which just looks like a photographer’s dream. There were some great views of the rundown building, but clearly they don’t want anyone visiting there. I’ve subsequently heard that there are pits of acid waste in the gasworks, and considering my friend had her two young girls with, it’s probably better that we didn’t get too close.
Anyway, the treat turned out the be the pottery studio itself. If you’re looking for a trendy, slick place to meet your ceramic needs, this is not the store for you. Outside is a hodgepodge of planters, numbers (for your house), pots, samurai warriors, custom made plates, and tiles. There are fishponds and figurines all over the place.
Inside there is a little more order, with shelves and shelves of catering crockery (plates, bowls, cups and saucers, mugs and teapots). And then you start discovering the real treats: ancient Chinese artefacts and collector’s items to boot.
We were lucky enough to bump into Adrian Turgel, owner of Liebermann’s, who is clearly passionate about what he does. How do I know this? Well, he very happily showed us around and told us stories, completely unprompted.
He’s an artist (his self-portraits line the walls inside) and a pottery detective (he travels all around the world collecting bits and bobs). He has artefacts from the Ming, Tang, Sang and Han dynasties (I’ve probably got that all wrong!) and interesting (and even erotic) pieces for sale.
I was delighted by Liebermann Pottery and will definitely pop in again for some pearls of wisdom from the owner, and probably to purchase presents (spoiler alert!). I loved the pottiness of the place.