Hillfold Pottery in Lidgetton, along the beautiful Midlands Meander, is home to renowned ceramicist and potter Lindsay Scott. One of the founder-members of the Midlands Meander Association around 30 years ago, Lindsay founded Hillfold Pottery to epitomise the quality ethos of the association.
Lindsay graduated from Seattle University with a BSc. in Psychology in 1969. He then went on to do a Masters in Experimental Psychology at Portland State University. He was less interested in specialisation than in acquiring a broad education; so for the next three years he became a professional student, taking courses in Philosophy, Literature, History of Art and at night – Ceramics.
He finished studying in 1973 when the offer came to help two ex-ceramics students set up Oregon Stoneware Pottery. While helping to establish this pottery, he learned to build gas-fired kilns and became an accomplished production thrower. Lindsay returned to South Africa in 1974 and set up a studio in Rivonia where he worked as an individual studio potter.
In 1979 he became manager of the Izandla Pottery at Umthatha in the Transkei. While there, he built two oil-fired trolley kilns; developed stoneware bodies and glazes; designed a range of tableware, and taught eight throwers to throw this range before leaving Izandla in 1983.
Lindsay then bought land at Lidgetton in Kwa-ZuluNatal. He built a studio and kilns and once more became an individual artist-potter. He taught ceramics part-time at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg in 1985 and 1986.
He works mainly in high-temperature reduction-fired stoneware and salt-glazed stoneware, but also has some experience in raku and in cone 3 oxidation-fired wares. Lindsay has won numerous regional exhibition awards and, in 1981, he was joint winner of the South African National Exhibition.
He has work in a number of South African Art Galleries, among them the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Durban, the Tatham in Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth, Kimberley, and, in Cape Town, the Clay Museum and Iziko Museums. And he was the only South African potter to have a colour plate of his work featured in the book Keramik der Welt (World Ceramics). He also won a large commission for his porcelain tea-bowls from the Oppenheimer family for Nikki Oppenheimer’s 60th birthday party.
At Portland State University, Ray Grimm was the head of the Ceramics department. His work featured in numerous US publications; his designs were clean and modernist and were highly thought of by the Japanese pottery aficionados at the university. Even though Lindsay was a runaway from the Psychology department and not an Art student, Ray was very kind to him, always inviting him to the lunches and workshops given by visiting ceramists – as if he understood before Lindsay did that he would end up as a professional potter. In the Portland area, Wally Schwab was the potter whose work Lindsay most admired – very simple cylindrical forms with magnificent satin-matt glazes.
In 1974 when Lindsay returned to South Africa, Esias Bosch was reaching the summit of his stoneware period. Lindsay thought his celadon and tenmoku glazes -glazes which hitherto hadn’t interested him – absolutely wonderful and set about trying to equal them, using in the process, as Bosch had, natural rocks like granites and shales.
During the 1980’s, when Lindsay turned to salt glaze, Walter Keeler and Jane Hamelyn were influences, Keeler especially because of his edgy designs. And behind all these influences there was always the presence of Leach and Cardew, the two father figures of contemporary studio pottery; less their pots than their writing, with which Lindsay has enjoyed a long, jousting relationship; although he agrees with Leach about the great Hamada.
A protégé of Lindsay’s is Christo Giles, now working in Cape Town, who spent over a year working with him at Hillfold. Lindsay has recently built a beautiful new light, airy and contemporary gallery to display his work on his peaceful property in the wooded Midlands area.