Studio Visit // Valley Plains Pottery / Leongatha South Victoria

Justin and I took a day to visit the potter Zak Chalmers at his pottery studio, Valley Plains Pottery in Leongatha South, Victoria. You may remember him from the post I did on the Pottery Expo in Warrandyte earlier this year. I was so taken by his work that I had to see more. We thought it might be a good chance to try out our new GPS, we had used it before to get to Eltham, and also to get the the pottery expo actually, but we had tried to use it in our local area on the mountain and it had turned a 5 min trip over the mountain into a 20 min trip on a dark dirt road. So I just wanted to see one last time if I could actually trust it to take us where we need to go, BIG mistake!

As you will see in the first several photos in the gallery, it got us to the general area fine, no problems there, then told us to go on a dirt road, ok we can do that sure, this dirt road turned into a paddock, and then a closed gate, hmm. Well I know its not normal, but as you can see on the picture of the GPS its says we are still on track, and we are so close, so what if we have to go through a paddock, I have an All wheel Drive, it will just be a bit bumpy thats all, and just go around the cows, so we did. Another gate, another huge paddock, then we are in bush land, but we just have to go around one more corner and we are there. We reach the corner and thats where you see the picture of the creek with tires in it, and a track up the hill. Ok, now I know for sure that you defiantly can’t trust a GPS. I’m not an idiot, I did know that, we had just come so far, and I just really wanted to see it though to the end. So close. We got out and tried to figure out how to turn around, thats when we heard the car, uh oh, we are on private property, and I hate doing the wrong thing, I’m shy, and hate confrontations, so I make Justin get out a greet the man in the ute, it was all very Wolf Creek for a moment or two, and he wasn’t happy, and had no idea what we were doing driving around in his paddock, but we  quickly explained and showed him the GPS. He was amused and assumed we were just stupid city folk, he did say though, that the road we were after was just around the corner up that hill, and very kindly offered to open another gate for us to drive through another paddock and up the hill,  but we decided it would probably just be best to go the conventional way. After going back to where we came from, and entering the address again, it decided it would take us the “normal” way after all, which was just one road of the main hwy, go figure.

Anyway we finally arrived and it was well worth the effort. Zak was as welcoming as ever, he showed us around his studio, gave us a tour of the wood fire kilns, and introduced us to his lovely family. He explained how he uses the different woods to create different colour ash glazes, and that beside natural ash glazes, he uses only a few different glazes on his pots including celadon, shino, and tenmoku. I love all of his work, the muted earthy colours and thick generous design really appeals to me. I came home with less than I would of liked to (I could have one of everything, if I could afford it) just one yunomi cup and a replacement spoon for the one that Justin broke twice by dropping it two times on our slate floor, a day after we bought it home.

I would defiantly recommend dropping by if you are ever in that area and having a chat to Zak yourself. And for anyone interstate or overseas who can’t visit, Zak’s pots are available to buy from his website.


About MOUNTAINpottery

Mountain Pottery is designed and handmade by Deanne Sarita Smart. The studio is located in a small town of Sassafras in the Mountains of Australia. This pottery is made to be collected, loved and used everyday as some of your most treasured belongings. Each piece is unique and made to order. Aside from being beautiful and functional objects, each collection has an underlying meaning, message or intention. All the vessels are inspired in some way by myth, nature, and symbolic language. About this blog // This blog is designed to be a place of inspiration to others with the same interests and point of view, as well as a look into the creation of Mountain Pottery.


  1. Ceramic Art and Design

    Stunning views and really beautiful work!

  2. These photos are beautiful! Your surroundings look majestical! : )

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