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Mollé Pottery c.1948 -1964

1 July 2002 Timaru Herald
Mollé Pottery

A life of summers spent fishing and gardening lives on in the late Molly Goodsell's pottery. Her hand-crafted bowls and plates were carefully moulded to take the shape of tree stumps, leaves, and fish. The Opihi woman had a distinctive style and she drew on natural themes for inspiration. A selection of these works are on display at the South Canterbury Museum. Molly's introduction to pottery began in the late 1940s when she was unable to find suitable containers to put her cactus plants in. When her daughter brought some clay home from school Molly soon found she was able to make exactly the pots she wanted. From here her efforts quickly grew into a commercial activity and together with her husband Bill she started making pottery for sale. She named her work Mollé Pottery, adding her distinctive signature at the bottom of each piece.

Molly would also produce one-off items made for friends and family. Museum director Philip Howe said Bill would often make clay creatures like snakes, frogs and geckos which Molly would incorporate into her designs. Her pottery progressed to include kitchen ware. Large leaves were often pressed on plates to create patterns and texture, and this became a theme of her work. The Goodsells shared a passion of fishing, gardening, art and craft. They developed a lifestyle of summers spent fishing and winters spent producing pottery. Together they built up their home, called Pondery, producing a distinctive landmark, with an ornamental garden, cactuses and fish ponds. They were very hospitable and encouraged groups to visit. Many of the pieces in the exhibition are from local collector Jeff Elston's private collection. The remaining pieces have been loaned to the museum by Molly's family.

       Tree trunk vase with sawn branches, also comes in green.

The collection

Florence Mary Goodsell [Mollé Goodsell] work can be found in the Timaru Museum and on Trade-Me and NZ and Australian Auction houses' websites Examples:
- trough vase of oblong form with shaping, mossy green glazed, the exterior typically decorated with applied white spotted red toadstools and leaves. 275mm long by 120mm wide and 70mm tall.
- tree trunk vase with fern stylised fern pattern up trunk, 120mm tall, opening diameter at top 80mm, same as above but white in colour
- blue toadstool planter 27cm L x 10 widest width x 5.5cm high
- large lizard vase inscribed Mollé, Timaru, N.Z. underneath, 170 high, 165 diameter
- a novelty mug, light green glaze, with a dark green frog appearing inside on the bottom, looking up
- a brown leaf shaped plate with white and brown markings on the rolled edge , 10' by across 11"
- a pale green leaf plate, a tourist souvenir with Rotoura etched on the stem
- a light green cabbage leaf planter 10 cm high, 10.5 cm wide
- light green sugar bowl with spoon, with leaf veins, 6 cm tall
- naturalistic kaki green leaf moulded shallow dish with stylised leaf handle. Base signature. Width 23.7 cm. Depth 14.2 cm
- mustard coloured fish dish 1958  "Fred"
- green leaf plate
- Temuka ware studio pottery bowl with toadstool decoration by Mollé, 180mm long
- two applied snails in a burnt orange within green grass. Bright yellow over-glaze on green main body highlights these features. Early period 1948-53 Mollé hand incised. 320mm long x 240mm x 60mm high.
- trough vase with moulded folliage and mushrooms, incised signature, 31cm length
- trough vase of oblong form with shaping, mossy green glazed, the exterior typically decorated with applied white spotted red toadstools and leaves. Base incised signature. Length 34.8 cm. Width 15 cm. Height 6.2 cm
-  vase decorated with mushrooms and pastel celedon glaze with some brown and green at the foot. Length measures 225mm and width measures 105mm.
 - troughs are usually more green. This is a sandy/faun colour with a subtle white drip glaze, giving it a marbled effect. Measures 30cm long, 13cm wide and 6cm high. Weighs just over 2 kilos.
-  toadstools vase 325mm long buff coloured glaze with green and brown glazed colours in the applied decoration
- "Kia Ora" plaque, Mollé , Timaru , N.Z. to the reverse of the panel, and the appliqué Maori tiki to the front.
-  blue toadstools, has been signed "Mollé" twice to the base
- cream coloured shallow vase plate
, sides 1'
- 17cm high, neck and shoulder is glazed in a celadon green colour, the front has a hand formed decorative effect


The Ashburton Courier Dec 25, 2011  Rare NZ pottery on display
The exhibition will feature some items from the collection of early New Zealand pottery specialist Jeff Elston, with the emphasis being on the South Island and in particular the central regions of the mainland. Jeff started collecting nearly 30 years ago and has built up one of the largest collections in the Southern Hemisphere. It is based on some of the oldest commercial and studio based potteries found in New Zealand over a 140-year period. The collection amounts to more than 250,000 individual pieces of NZ Pottery and will form the basis of a National Ceramics Museum, based in Jeff’s home town of Timaru. Some of Jeff’s collection has featured on national television, namely the Auction House programme in 2005 and 2007. He will bring together some never before seen pieces for this show, one of which is an intricate piece made and modeled by Thomas Lovatt of the Temuka Insulators. This Plinth & Globe is a representation of Lovatt’s connection to Mother England and the delicate bisque porcelain of the Wedgwood factory. Lovatt’s detailing of Walt Disney’s Donald Duck, can be seen in this well designed work. These items were given out as prizes for the kid’s races at the staff picnics. To avoid any copyright infringement, he called this ... Sailor Duck. The exhibition will feature works by New Zealand’s first commercial “folk-art” potter Mary Florence Goodsall, better known as Molle. Her works were amusing creations, handmade and fired at either the Timaru or Temuka pottery kilns. Her style was unique and is highly collectible today. She maybe remembered for her exhibitions held in the Ashburton Plunket Rooms during the 1950s or by the women of the Women’s Institute who visited her pottery at the Opihi River Reserve. She was a breeder of birds and fish and had an amazing set-up at her pottery home called Ponderay. There will be items from the Temuka and Timaru potteries, Milton, Luke Adams [Christchurch) to name but a few.

Reginald William Goodsell
53 Hayhurst, St., Temuka
Date of Death 14 May 1984
Temuka Cemetery Section RSA Plot 716
558917 2nd NZEF GNR  N.Z. Artillery

Timaru Potteries
Temuka Pottery

Trough vase


Auckland Museum - Manuscript Call Number: MS 2006/4
Author/Creator: Henry, Gail, 1948-
Physical Description: 3 boxes (45 folders)
Date: 1852 - 1916, 1924 - 1990, 1996 - 1998
Box 1: Folders 1 - 22 -- Notes, correspondence and press cuttings primarily relating to potters and pottery firms, including Boyd, Temuka potters, Timaru potters, Partridge Pottery, William Plant, Green Gables Pottery, Carder Bros, James Wright, Royal Oak Pottery, Mollé Goodsell, Welham Newcastle Pottery.
Box 2: Folders 23 - 31 -- Notes, correspondence and press cuttings primarily relating to potters and pottery firms, including Crown Lynn, Peter Hutson, Fulford, Cameron Brown, Luke Adams.
Box 3: Folders 32 - 45 -- Notes, correspondence and press cuttings primarily relating to potters and pottery firms, including Drury Brick and Pottery Works, Temuka potters, Wairarapa potters, Canterbury potters, McSkimming Industries, Exler, Benhar. Also contains audio tapes of interviews about history of New Zealand potters and pottery.

Henry, Gail, 1948- New Zealand Pottery : Commercial and Collectable / Gail Henry ; photography, Krzysztof Pfeiffer. New ed. Published by Reed,1999.
26.5cms x 24.5cms. Hardcover. Dust jacket. Blue cloth. 270pp including index. Some colour photos and b/w illustrations but mainly b/w photos.
DJ. Potteries include: The Britannia; Milton; Water of Leith; Kensington; Benhar; William McAdam; Handcraft Pottery Ltd.; Temuka; Timaru; Molle; Austin, Kirk and Company; The Christchurch Brick Company; Luke Adams Pottery; New Zealand Potteries Ltd.; Te Mata Potteries; Moses Exler & Son; Sherwood Potteries; Titian Studios; Jova Rancich and Wally Silva; Royal Oak Pottery; Spartan Products; Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd. ....

Lambert, Gail, 1948- Pottery in New Zealand : commercial & collectable / Gail Lambert. 1985. 166 pages. ISBS (1985), 1999, hardcover with DJ, Auckland: Reed Books, second edition.  268 pages 265 x 2450mm.
Table of contents:
1. Techniques and Processes
2. The Woodnorth Pottery and the Woodnorth Brick and Tile Works, Mr Sneyd at Makarewa
3. The Britannia Pottery, the Newcastle Pottery and the Milton Pottery
4. The Water of Leith Pottery, Benhar Pottery, William McAdam, Handcraft Pottery Ltd (O.C. Stephens)
5. New Zealand Insulators Ltd, Timaru Potteries Ltd, Mollie Goodsell
6. Austin Kirk & Co., The Christchurch Brick Company, Luke Adams Pottery Ltd
7. Condliffe and Co. of Whitecliffs, Homebush Brick, Pipe and Terracotta Works of Glentunnel, the Waimangaroa Brickworks of the Neighbours brothers, William Speer of Brunner
8. P. Hutson & Co., Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Co. (Wgtn) Ltd, Wairarapa Brick, Tile and Drainage Co. Ltd, New Zealand Potteries Ltd
9. Glen Massey China Clay and Porcelain Co., Taranaki Brick & Tile Co. Ltd, Glen Afton Potteries Ltd, William Plant at Thames
10. Fulford Brickworks and Te Mata Potteries, Havelock North
11. Whau Pottery, Paparoa Pottery, Wright and Vincent's Drain Tile and Pottery Works, Green Gables at Whangarei
12. Sundry Auckland brickworks, The Newton Pottery, Moses Exter & Son
13. The Waitakere Brick Co. Ltd, Sherwood Pottery and Titan Studio, Jova Rancich and Wally Silva, Royal Oak Pottery, Spartan Products, Partridge Pottery
14. Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company, Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd
Includes checklist of NZ pottery marks.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project  

Aug. 2011. A housewife was introduced to the art 30 years ago. Although it was intended only to be a hobby, it became much more than that. She spent two years going to night classes. However, as a mother of five, time at the wheel was limited to just two hours a week. "I knew that if I wanted to achieve, I needed to get a wheel. At that time I was young and my children were young so I didn't have a lot of time to make pots but I knew I would find time later on. When my youngest went to school I was full on (making pots) then." She said pottery had been a great form of therapy over the years, providing her with the opportunity to spend quality time doing something she loved without interruptions. However, she said it was the people she had worked with and met since taking up the art that had made pottery enjoyable. "I've had a great time."

"Bottons up"