Hilda Ditchburn : a teacher and pioneer of stoneware ceramics in Southern Africa.
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The candidate's investigation of Hilda Ditchburn (nee Rose) (1917 - 1986) attempts to historically place the subject as a teacher and pioneer of stoneware ceramics within the context of studio ceramics in South Africa in the second half of the 20th Century. Through an analysis, discussion and documentation of Ditchburn's life and works on a personal, technical and professional level, her discoveries and advances in studio ceramics in South Africa in the 1950's and 60's will be determined. In the light of Ditchburn's ceramic background, I shall discuss the ceramic pieces she made from the 1940's to late 1970's, focusing on selected stoneware pieces, and including examples of her earthenware and porcelain pieces. I shall discuss her experiments and discoveries with glaze chemistry and clay bodies as well as their different firing methods. I shall highlight her achievement in being the first studio potter in South Africa to design and build an oil fired kiln for high fired stoneware. This kiln was successfully fired in 1954, a time when stoneware was not being made in South Africa, thus predating any stoneware kiln made by a studio potter in the country and pioneering the growth of stoneware ceramics in South Africa. This dissertation is divided into four chapters, each with sub-headings pertaining to the information contained. The first and second chapters give background and foundational information for placing Hilda in context. The third and fourth chapters map out Hilda's personal, academic and professional information. This includes archival material and Hilda's works of art.