2022 Distinguished Alumna (Posthumously)Jan Feder


Diploma of Ceramics

Graduation year


On discovering ceramics and the expressive potential of clay, Jan Feder knew it was the medium for her. She loved shaping clay, the symmetrical beauty only a potter’s wheel can create, the permanent transformation of clay under intense heat, and particularly, colour or, in a ceramic context, glaze.

Jan first studied Ceramics at the North Adelaide College of the Arts and upon moving to Gippsland in 1979, undertook a Diploma of Ceramics at the Gippsland Institute of Advanced Education (GIAE), now Federation University Gippsland campus.

Respected by her classmates for her diligence and technical ability, Jan’s death in 1981 evoked an immediate response from them for a memorial with a ceramics collection decided upon as a fitting tribute to Jan’s life and works.

Jan’s peers set about raising money and the first two works purchased, by Victor Greenaway and Victoria Howlett, formed the basis of the Jan Feder Memorial Collection.

Ceramic works were then purchased from visiting lecturers, now highly respected Australian and international ceramic artists, international guests including Robin Welch, Anna Zamorska, and Sandy Brown, as well as from staff and graduating students. The Artist in Residence Program bolstered the collection with ceramic events also resulting in major contributions. The Collection continued to grow with assistance from the Craft Board of the Australia Council, until 1987 when the GIAE ceramics department was closed, and the Collection was put into storage where it stayed until 2015 when it was retrieved and catalogued.

Selected items were exhibited at Switchback Gallery, Gippsland in 2015, and the Post Office Gallery, Ballarat in 2017, the first public viewings of the Collection since 1982.

The Jan Feder Memorial Collection includes the work of over 80 ceramic artists. It is an important and valuable collection instigated at the height of a large ceramics movement in Australia and illustrates the importance of collecting by teaching and art institutions for the benefit of communities, future generations and Australia's combined national Permanent Art Collection. Jan was posthumously awarded a Diploma of Ceramics.