MARIENNE Stollery is the longest-serving active member of the Central Coast Potters Society, which turns 50 this year with a host of celebrations to mark the event.
While she's quick to point out she's not the oldest member - some of whom are in their 90s - she did join the group in 1974 and is a life member.
"I got into pottery as a housewife, and the minute I touched the clay I absolutely loved it, and I've been doing it ever since," Marienne said.
She enjoyed it so much that her husband built her a pottery snug under the house, which she admitted did mean the phone was sometimes covered in clay when she was answering business calls as well as the call of her art.
"There are so many different aspects to pottery, you could never get tired of it," she said.
"You take a lump of clay and it's just nothing, and you throw it and it can become something completely different every time."
That slight unknown, the ability to make something you can use in day-to-day life, as well as the joy of "you time", an almost meditative concentration on yourself and the clay, are also attractions for Marienne.
She said it was members' commitment to their craft and sharing it which had kept the society strong for 50 years, offering weekly classes, access to wheels, kiln, special weekend workshops by renowned artists, demonstrations, raku and pit firings, member exhibits and sales.
The society has been working for over a year towards its 50th anniversary celebrations.
In collaboration with local chefs, it has created a book titled Celebrate, in which 15 recipes were gathered from local restaurants and cafes and members challenged to create the pottery on which to display that meal.
"The photography and the recipes are wonderful," Marienne said.
The book, to be launched at Bamboo Buddha on Friday, April 27, will cost just $15, with funds going to Coast Shelter. The associated exhibition and sale of handcrafted ceramics runs until May 30.
In its exhibition Lines of Inspiration, opening on May 25 at Gosford Regional Gallery, and again taking over a year to complete, three teams of 10-12 potters were given one pot on which the first potter was to base their creation.
That piece then provided inspiration for the next potter and so on down the line, so that no-one saw anything but the piece immediately before their own.
In another exhibition, Elemental, running from June 1-13, members have been challenged to make a body of work (maximum five pieces) to be selected by a curator for display at the community gallery.
The society will also join forces with Newcastle Studio Potters, also coming up to their 50th year, in another exhibition called Jubilee at Back to Back Gallery from June 29-July 15.
"If you're a member of the Potters' Society you can't get bored," Marienne said.
The Central Coast Potters Society is at 10A Russell Drysdale St, East Gosford. Phone (02) 4324 5343 or go to www.ccpotters.org to find out more.