Deborah Halpern’s home in Warrandyte is dominated by the studio, as is her life.
Deborah’s parents – Artek and Sylvia – built a house in Warrandyte in the 1960’s and founded a humble enterprise which they called Potters Cottage. 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.
Warrandyte was peopled by painters, potters, sculptors, writers, stonemasons, gardeners, intellectuals, architects and film-makers.
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 Deborah what it’s like to live a creative, self-directed life.
A Day with Deborah Halpern in Warrandyte
Deborah Stone of The Age Newspaper describes Deborah’s Warrandyte Studio:
“We walk through her studio and garden, following the process that goes into her work. Scattered on her huge work table and on odd shelves and window sills are pocket versions of the sculptures modeled in clay and crudely painted to give her a quick feel of shape, color and ideas.”
“Then it’s outside, where sheltered among the broken tiles, half finished possibilities, old ginger bottles and wayward geraniums there are wire shapes, like distorted coils of chicken fencing, the cores of sculptures in waiting. Next to them are more solid lumps, versions covered in builders’ foam which Halpern carves.”
“Up the slope past a couple of spheres that look like a grey snowman standing sentinel at the top of the drive is a shelter she uses to coat fibreglass over the foam. She does all the sculptural work on the smaller sculptures but a model of larger works is sent to an engineer.”
“Back inside, the designs are drawn on, initially in chalk so they can be changed, and then in black marker.”