Curator Gary Freemantle has selected 60 pots spanning 60 years of Smíšek’s work from private and public collections around New Zealand. They represent Smíšek’s main forms of vases, bowls, crocks, jugs and Yunomi (Japanese tea-bowls) and the variations in glaze, shape and decoration as his work matured.
Smíšek began his life with clay in Canberra in 1948, worked briefly at Crown Lynn in Auckland in 1951, then established Nelson’s first full-time studio pottery in 1954. In the 1960s and 70s he worked and studied with international pottery masters Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada at St Ives, Cornwall, and in Japan. Smíšek is still producing new pots that provide a useful function in people’s daily lives while also being objects of aesthetic beauty, conveying his love of natural forms.