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Hilary Rains

Hilary's favourite game as a child was making mud pies, which looked so enticing that she'd sometimes eat them! It was her destiny to become a potter!

Hilary has been the dedicated secretary of our Arts and Information Centre for 20 years, since its inception, and was instrumental in starting the Beaudesert Potters group in 1976.

Her pottery career started in Gympie in 1969, when she attended adult education classes. She devoured the three books a month on pottery that the Brisbane City Library would send her.

Fortunately, a bakery in Gympie closed down, so Hilary and her husband Murray were able to salvage the fire bricks and so her first wood-fired kiln was built. The firing took eight hours, with stoking every 15 minutes, to reach 960 degrees. Fortunately Murray was happy to chop the wood and was just as interested in the end results.

The family moved to the farm in Veresdale in 1971. The fire bricks came too, and the kiln was rebuilt. Hilary attended more adult education classes, and made some lasting friendships during that time. Over the years she attended many seminars and classes but she owes the weekly classes with Albert Vereschurren and Ann Hill in Brisbane for four years for her wheel throwing ability.

In 1985 Hilary obtained a Diploma in Studio Ceramics, the culmination of a three-year course at Gold Coast TAFE. She also received tuition by top Australian potter Greg Daley at the Toowoomba Summer School in 1996, which helped her greatly with glazing techniques.

Hilary is well-known for her wonderful glazes. She says they are unpredictable, and that she has as many glazing failures as successes. It is a wonderful moment though opening the kiln to see what the results are. These days the wood-fired kiln has been replaced by an electric kiln, which is used to fire to stoneware temperatures.

Hilary's work reflects the Scenic Rim landscape, with mountains visible on her plates, bowls and mugs. The landscapes are interpreted through glazes and through hand-built additions to her thrown items.

Hilary enjoys teaching hand building to beginners and children, seeing pottery as a marvellous hobby and great therapy. Pottery has been a long-standing love affair for her, and she says she's still learning. She no longer eats her creations though!