Potter hand-crafts chimney pots for rebuild

By Georgia Weaver for The Press

Lyttelton ceramicist Cheryl Lucas has an unlikely role in Christchurch’s rebuild – handmaking chimney pots for heritage buildings.

Her latest piece, a metre- high ceramic pot to match the surviving chimney pots atop 160-year-old Riccarton House, was put in place yesterday.

Lucas, a renowned ceramic artist whose work has been exhibited all over the world, said making the 55 kilogram pot had been time- consuming.

She first had to test and fire several glazes to match the original pot’s colour, then leave the final pot to dry for more than two months before firing.

Riccarton House was built by the pioneering Deans family and carries a category 1 rating from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Of the seven chimney pots on the Victorian/Edwardian homestead, only one was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes.

Simon Construction Company site manager Darryl McIntosh said replacing the pot was one of the last structural repairs to be done on the historic building.

McIntosh was impressed with Lucas’ work.

“You can’t tell the difference between them,” he said of the paired original and replica pots.

Lucas has made chimney pots for Canterbury University, Christ’s College, Rolleston House and Dyslexia House.

She admires the artisans who made some of the original chimney pots from sewer pipes.

She has enjoyed making pots, but “certainly wouldn’t want to make them every day”.

Riccarton House manager Jon Ward said Lucas’ pot reinstated the house as it was.

“It’s to remember the past.”

He was impressed with the passion and level of craftsmanship that everyone had given to the repair work, and was looking forward to reopening the historic home, probably in August.