Artek and Sylvia met. Sylvia left Stazek, and married Artek.

Artek and Sylvia lived in Murrumbeena and bought a piece of land in Warrandyte, 2 blocks away from Inge (sculptor) and Graham (printmaker) King in their Robin Boyd house.

Artek built a house on the land and Sylvia, Jaki (12 years old) and Deborah (1 year old) came to live in Warrandyte.

Warrandyte – on the Yarra – at that time, was quite a long way from the city.

Over the hill, though still not too close, was the artist’s colony of Montsalvat in Eltham, and their own, quite distinct community of artists.

Further down the Yarra was the Reid’s Heide. In the hinterland was Dunmoochin with Clifton Pugh. Upstream was the Bend of Isles, where Neil Douglas has his studio.

Warrandyte was peopled by painters, potters, sculptors, writers, stonemasons, gardeners, intellectuals, architects, film-makers.

Sylvia and Artek joined forces with Reg Preston and Phyl Dunn (both potters), Gus McLaren (cartoonist, potter, chef), Charles Wilton (potter), Elsa Ardern (potter), and John Hipwell (architect, composer) and Betty Hipwell.

They created a humble enterprise which they called Potters Cottage.

John and Betty Hipwell had a small wattle and daub miners hut called Moonlight Cottage on their property. The property was cleaned up and painted and set-up with pottery and paintings from the group. Wine and cheese was served and Potters Cottage was born. The little cottage became such a success that very soon it was a destination.

And soon after that the group outgrew the little cottage and bought several acres – Zock’s Farm – on the outskirts of Warrandyte.

Pottery and devonshire teas in a unique, creative place made Potters Cottage really special.

As time went on the potters added a restaurant and a school, a native plant nursery, space for extra shops and a chapel. It was a very lively place and the potters were involved on all levels. Making and selling pottery, cooking and serving food, and teaching pottery.

Growing up in beautiful Warrandyte, being part of this interesting, creative, entrepreneurial group of people and their children and their friends, was pivotal in showing me what it’s like to live a creative, self-directed life.

As a kid I made things out of clay and put them in to Potters Cottage for sale. Mostly they sold! All the kids of the potters did that.

Growing up in Warrandyte was very wild and free. Swimming in the river after school, spending all day floating down the river on lilos and building bush huts. Riding horses, and double dinking bikes home from school. We were safe, and looked out for each other; we just had to be home by dark.

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