1. List: CORONET POTTERY formerly KERRA POTTERY
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    KUSNIK, JAROMIR (MIKE or MIREK) (b. 1927)

    MIKE KUSNIK

    In 1953 after meeting two Czechs ( an artist and an investor ) who were looking to start a pottery, they found an existing production pottery in Manly which they were able to take over.

    Together they built up a slip cast range of about 50 items and produced approx. 2000 units of earthenware per week, employing ten young decorators for underglaze patterns and motifs with Australian content, such as wildflowers and Aboriginal imagery.

    The pottery was called KERRA but changed to CORONET to avoid confusion with Terra Ceramics, another potter’s studio trademark.


    Two colours that were hard to achieve at the time were red and black, but due to Mike’s expert knowledge and testing , CORONET was able to produce these colours successfully.

    A large, glossy black, triangular plate on three legs and decorated with Australian flora won first prize in a David Jones exhibition.


    Other items included the harlequin coffee cups in sets of 12, with black exterior and a different colour interior for each cup. These were very popular.



    1953 The pottery was called KERRA but changed to CORONET to avoid confusion with Terra Ceramics, another potter’s studio trademark.

    This was a very busy time of Mike’s early career and as the only single man on the job he found he was working unfairly long hours. It was “one big happy family” but there was not enough money coming in to support three partners, so in 1959 Mike moved down to Melbourne to work for Sylha Ceramic Studio.

    However the advanced technique of slip casting that Mike used produced more pottery than the other workers could process. One of the decorators signed wildflowers with DEWEAANE

    "Born in Czechoslovakia in 1927, Mike graduated as a ceramic chemist in 1947, just in time to massive re-building of his country's ceramic industry which had been devastated by the War. Pre-war Czechoslovakia had been responsible for producing 20% of the world's pottery, but in 1947 Mike was thrown in at the deep end to an industry in which the personnel, raw materials, and factories had either been destroyed or withdrawn, Having to work harder and longer hours with little expert guidance gave him the edge and hence the satisfaction of achieving success through his own efforts.

    In 1950 Mike came to Australia and like so many 'new Australians' spent his first few weeks at the Bonegillo camp in Melbourne. His first work in Australia was to help build a new brick factory in Canberra - a far cry from ceramic chemistry but welcome all the same. After this he found work in Sydney with the ceramic production company, Fowler Ltd.

    Unable to explain his qualifications he was given the dirtiest work in the place and after 6 weeks left to do a range of jobs - cook, milk bottler, tree cutter, radio technician - each a steady improvement upon the other.

    Around 1953 he was approached by two Czechs, one an artist, the other an investor, to join them in establishing a ceramic studio. It began as 'Kerra' and then changed to 'Coronet' and together they produced around fifty different domestic items, slip cast and underglaze decorated. On a recent visit to Sydney, Mike was amused to see these items now in antique shops. This was quite a successful venture but as the only single man in the partnership, his hours were unfairly long and in 1959 he moved to Melbourne to work at the Sylha Ceramic Studio.

    This was a successful giftware pottery run by Sylvia Halpern and her husband but Mike's advanced casting techniques meant that soon he was producing more than the rest of the production team could process and so he began to look for more challenging work.

    He went to Western Australia in 1959 as a research and development chemist for Brisbane and Wunderlich, the firm which at the time boasted an amazingly diverse production range - hotel ware, Wembley Ware, sanitary ware, bone china, electrical porcelain, bricks, tiles pipes, crucibles for the mining industry - once again he was learning through the challenge of dealing with the whole spectrum of ceramic processes. This was even more the case than in Czechoslovakia because, while European industry had moved to buying in many of their processed raw ingredients, in 1959 Brisbane and Wunderlich were making all their own frits, glazes, stains and clay bodies.

    In 1969 Mike met Ray Samson, Head of the Art Department at Perth Tech and it was Ray who started Mike on his teaching career, starting with 4 hours a week of ceramic technology.

    In 1974 Mike left Bristile (as Brisbane & Wunderlich was by then known), and took up full time teaching at the Western Australian Institute of Technology, now Curtin University." (From an article by Helen Ross published in Pottery in Australia)

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    created by: KEVING. on 2016-04-29 10:28:12.0
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  1. Web page: CORONET = KERRA
    http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/77641/20101019-2008/www.ceramicartswa.asn.au/mike2.html
    Web page
    Note

    2016-04-29 10:30:45.0

    MIKE KUSNIK: In 1953 after meeting two Czechs ( an artist and an investor ) who were looking to start a pottery, they found an existing production pottery in Manly which they were able to take over. Together they built up a slip cast range of about 50 items and produced approx. 2000 units of earthenware per week, employing ten young decorators for underglaze patterns and motifs with Australian content, such as wildflowers and Aboriginal imagery. The pottery was called KERRA but changed to CORONET to avoid confusion with Terra Ceramics, another potter’s studio trademark.
    Two colours that were hard to achieve at the time were red and black, but due to Mike’s expert knowledge and testing , CORONET was able to produce these colours successfully. A large, glossy black, triangular plate on three legs and decorated with Australian flora won first prize in a David Jones exhibition.
    Other items included the harlequin coffee cups in sets of 12, with black exterior and a different colour interior for each cup. These were very popular.

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  2. Web page: KUSNIK - KERRA
    http://www.grahamhay.com.au/haywahistory.html
    Web page
  3. Web page: Mike's story.
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~sujon/ceramicstudygroup/Mike's_Page.html
    Web page
    Note

    2017-08-13 08:07:01.0

    "Born in Czechoslovakia in 1927, Mike graduated as a ceramic chemist in 1947, just in time to massive re-building of his country's ceramic industry which had been devastated by the War. Pre-war Czechoslovakia had been responsible for producing 20% of the world's pottery, but in 1947 Mike was thrown in at the deep end to an industry in which the personnel, raw materials, and factories had either been destroyed or withdrawn, Having to work harder and longer hours with little expert guidance gave him the edge and hence the satisfaction of achieving success through his own efforts.

    In 1950 Mike came to Australia and like so many 'new Australians' spent his first few weeks at the Bonegillo camp in Melbourne. His first work in Australia was to help build a new brick factory in Canberra - a far cry from ceramic chemistry but welcome all the same. After this he found work in Sydney with the ceramic production company, Fowler Ltd. Unable to explain his qualifications he was given the dirtiest work in the place and after 6 weeks left to do a range of jobs - cook, milk bottler, tree cutter, radio technician - each a steady improvement upon the other.

    Around 1953 he was approached by two Czechs, one an artist, the other an investor, to join them in establishing a ceramic studio. It began as 'Kerra' and then changed to 'Coronet' and together they produced around fifty different domestic items, slip cast and underglaze decorated. On a recent visit to Sydney, Mike was amused to see these items now in antique shops. This was quite a successful venture but as the only single man in the partnership, his hours were unfairly long and in 1959 he moved to Melbourne to work at the Sylha Ceramic Studio. This was a successful giftware pottery run by Sylvia Halpern and her husband but Mike's advanced casting techniques meant that soon he was producing more than the rest of the production team could process and so he began to look for more challenging work. ..... (From an article by Helen Ross published in Pottery in Australia)

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