Sensei Pots

Ian Beniston is renowned for his lustrous copper red glazes and for producing decorative art pieces and sophisticated functional pottery, with a distinct east Asian influence.

Working from his Sensei Pots studio and gallery near Yallingup, in the Margaret River region of Western Australia, Ian has worked as a professional potter and ceramic artist for 39 years. All pieces are wheel thrown – no two pieces are alike.

Originally from Whangamata in New Zealand, Ian’s introduction to pottery came at the age of 17 when he answered a newspaper advertisement by a local potter for ‘a strong man to wedge clay’. Preparing and wedging clay, he quickly developed his feel for the mud, spending hours watching his employer at the wheel. Beginning with simple pieces, Ian soon realised he had both a talent and passion for pottery, showing a natural affinity with the craft.

Working over the next four years in Whangamata, Ian Beniston developed a deep interest in the traditional glazes of Japan and China and in particular the work of the Japanese Master Potters. He was particularly captivated by the ancient and elusive Chinese copper red glazes, produced by meticulous and time-consuming reduction firing. When Ian’s first solo firing resulted in near-perfect copper reds, he felt that somehow being a potter was part of his destiny.

He moved to Western Australia in 1986 to follow his other passion, surfing. After four months in Margaret River, Ian relocated to Perth to work as the potter-in-residence at the Tresillian Art Centre in Nedlands and then at the co-operative Norfolk Studios in North Perth. The dream to combine his passion for surfing and pottery was realised when he returned to the South West of Western Australia to work for a local potter.

In late 1987, Ian set up his first studio on Caves Road in Quindalup, supplying local art galleries. He opened his own studio and gallery ‘Sensei Pots’ in 1991.

In 2000 Ian Beniston became a Queen’s Exhibitor, following an invitation to present his work to Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh during their visit to Western Australia.