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A true master of her craft
Joy Warren

20 August 2011
Guy Warren

Sydney Morning Herald

Dr Joy Warren was a teacher, a potter and an example to all that it is never too late to upgrade your education.

Because her parents had brought her to Australia after high school, Warren had always regretted not having the opportunity to have a university education.

In her 50s, she redressed that. In 1980, she graduated with an honours degree at the University of Sydney. This led to her lecturing in art history and theory for 17 years at the College of Fine Art, University of NSW, and at the Sydney College of the Arts.
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In her 70s, she took a PhD at the University of Wollongong with a thesis tracing the sources of much art imagery through time and across continents. She had always felt that terms such as ''minor art'', ''applied art'' and ''decorative art'' had tended to marginalise art works and preclude their study from serious art historical discourse, and the thesis challenged that misconception.

Joyce Carney was born on the small island of Walney, off the west coast of the Lake District, in the county of Cumbria, England.

The family had been pressed by a close relative for many years to come to Australia but her parents resisted until their children were at school-leaving age.

The Carneys finally arrived in Sydney when Joy was 17, just a few weeks before the outbreak of war. She soon had a job as secretary to the advertising manager of a firm selling family medicines and, with an ability to write well and an inquiring mind, graduated through various positions until she became assistant advertising manager for the big city department store Farmers. In 1950, she married an artist, Guy Warren, and they went by ship to Naples and then to London. Her advertising experience got her a position as a senior copywriter at the leading agency S.H. Bensons, where she worked on women's accounts - among them the launch of Omo and the Guinness account.

She was told that Guinness was perceived as being a drink for charladies, not sophisticated young women, and was asked to change that. She said that she had never drunk Guinness so her boss took her around the corner to the nearest pub. The first stout she drank, she hated. The second one she rather liked. The third one she liked very much. Her campaign, based on the idea that you might find it strange at first but stay with it, was a great success. Warren began evening classes at the Camberwell School of Art and launched a lifelong passion for the crafts, ceramics in particular.

After the family returned to Sydney in 1959, Warren enrolled for further ceramic studies at East Sydney Tech (now the National Art School).

She quickly became deeply involved in the crafts movement in Australia. She was awarded a Crafts Board grant to research the history of Australian ceramics, was the founding editor and producer of the new journal Craft Australia, was one of the founder members of the Crafts Association of Australia and the Crafts Association of NSW, and was a founder member of the Ceramic Study Group.

For the Crafts Association of Australia she produced the book Crafts of Australia, designed by Douglas Annand and John Reid, and published in English, Pitjantjatjara and Japanese. It was launched nationwide through craft associations in 1974 for the 10th anniversary of the first Australian craft association, before it accompanied the Australian crafts exhibition to Toronto. At the same time, Warren was carrying out research into low-fired porcelaneous clays.

Warren had many exhibitions and is represented in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, the National Gallery of Victoria and in numerous private collections.

Joyce Warren is survived by Guy and their children Joanna and Paul.

Guy Warren

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