Fruit; Smyth, Katherine; 2005; 2005/9/3



About this object

In 1993 I went to work in Taibeh village in Jordan as a volunteer assistant to English potter Jim Mason. He had set up a project where he was teaching pottery skills to six local girls under the auspices of a local charity. Taibeh is very near Petra where Jim had recently been part of an excavation team looking at Nabatean pottery production. He was looking for an English speaking female assistant to help bridge a gap. I was looking for an adventure. Although I was only in Taibeh for three months, the time felt more like three years in that it was rich - romantic, frustrating, humbling and inspiring. I fell in love with it. I gave as much as I knew how to the project but I feel I came away with so much more. My own work has been heavily influenced by this first and four subsequent visits to the Middle East- a place which to me represents warmth, good humour and complex fascinating history. - Katherine Smyth A chef before turning to ceramics, the connections between food and clay frequently inspire her work. In 2004 Katherine Smyth travelled to the Middle East and London to research Bronze Age ceramics and traditional foods. At the Palestine Exploration Fund in London she came across a small Cypriot pot made in the shape of an inverted opium poppy. Subsequently, she began to see organic forms in other pots. On her return to New Zealand she made a juglet in the form of a fig - a fruit that permeates her memories of living in the Middle East. She began making additional juglets based on Middle Eastern produce such as capers, olives and lentils.


Smyth, Katherine

Maker Role


Date Made


Medium and Materials

Terracotta (red earthenware) and slip

Place Made

New Zealand

Named Collection

TheNewDowse Permanent Collection

Credit Line

Collection of TheNewDowse

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

11 Apr 2010 21:16 PM,UTC

Kathryn - your work is wonderful, where do you list what is available for sale? Also, do you keep in touch with Jim Mason? Is he still in Taybeh?
Wendy Steward - Columbia MD and if you're in touch with Jim, my name was Wendy Jones when I knew him in Jordan. He was a friend of my fiance Ken Russell (Petra Church)

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