The Salmon family

A potted history

11 December 2018

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43 years is a long innings, but that’s how long Jocelyn Salmon has been coming to Salamanca Market. She’s watched it grow from a small local craft market to the dazzling behemoth it is today. And the stories? Well, she’s got plenty! From stall applicants sleeping outside the Town Hall so they could nab a spot, to a man asking for underpants while sporting a long shirt and nothing else. Enjoy her potted history.

“I’ve been potting since about 1967, but I didn’t sell until I went to Salamanca Market. I’d made friends with another potter, Helen Forster, whom I met at Domain House where we trained together. We decided to get a stall. It was November 1975 – you could pick your spot then. We were pretty casual about it to start with and slowly we got our own potting wheels and kiln and our production increased.

“Because people were sleeping overnight outside the Town Hall to secure a casual site, the City decided to offer us a permanent site and we had the option of a site from year to year. We were sheep farmers and sometimes the market was our only income. A lifesaver.”

Jocelyn has watched the market grow from just a block to a formidable vibrant hub and her own stall has seen changes aplenty. Nowadays Lynda, her daughter, has her own silversmith jewellery section. Christine, another daughter, sells gorgeous teal pottery. Hugh Valentine sells gift cards during the summer months, featuring the artwork of his late wife Babs who also came for many years. He’s 95 years old and must be the oldest participant at the market. Mark Doran, known as Buz to everyone, also shares the stall in the winter months selling beautiful handcrafted jewellery and hatboxes.

Jocelyn reminisces, “I had some terrific years there – pottery was very popular and if I had a good day I’d come home and start throwing pots. My daughter Christine makes her pots by hand, where mine are wheel-thrown, and the big gas kiln is huge. I used to buy my clay a tonne at a time from Dandenong. Christine is using the green glaze at the moment - it’s been popular for some time. She’s never had formal training, though it’s handmade. She has plaster moulds and presses lace doilies in the base, then the clay and works it around the mould until she gets the shape she wants, and also arranges native leaves and petals, which burn off and leave shapes in the clay.

“My other daughter Lynda’s jewellery has evolved and changed so much over the years and will go on changing.

“I’ve only ever known the market to be closed once because of high winds and it was called a 'no market day', but you know, people come regardless. We love it.”

Stall site number: 203
Instagram @chris.salmon.artist

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