Phillip McConnell was working in the Pinjarra pottery of his father, master potter Carl McConnell, when I first met him in about 1969. He was preparing for a new exhibition, and had asked me to photograph his work for the show. Phillip and Carl were very tall, strong men who each produced work which reflected their strength and self-confidence. Their work was steeped in the traditions of Japanese pottery, most of which was fired in a large catenary arch kiln which Carl had designed. Both men have work represented in national and private collections in Australia and overseas.
Phillip then spent six months at the Bizen pottery in Okayama, Japan, further refining his approach to stoneware. He had the honour of meeting Living National Treasure, Shoji Hamada (1894 - 1978), regarded as the world's greatest potter. On his return to Australia, Phillip and his wife bought a 100 acre property near Toowoomba, Queensland, where he established a very successful studio pottery; and continued to work towards major exhibitions. That cyclical process involved many months of deadly-serious devotion to work, culminating in an exhibition, followed by a few weeks of partying. We had a lot of great times together.
Following the death of his father, Phillip moved to Tasmania, where he presently enjoys a more relaxed lifestyle, indulging in his love of music, fishing, and being the host of a blues music radio program.