Memories of Clem
My Mother, Clem Ainslie
Isabella Clementina (Clem) Ainslie was born in Queensland in 1888. She spent most of her life in Brisbane, growing up in a home where beauty was appreciated.
As a child, it was her pleasure to gaze through the windows of shops selling fine china and ornaments, as she tried to sketch them in the notebook she carried. However, as well as this she enjoyed backyard cricket and fishing with her four brothers.
As she grew to be a woman, her hobbies became well established – music, embroidery, cookery, gardening, tennis – and still she was sketching designs from china, etc.
In 1915 Clem was married to Campbell Ainslie, a man very interested in gardening and photography. Soon they bought a big house with a very large garden, and this provided space for her hobbies.
Clem had heard of L.J.Harvey’s school and now, with time to spare, she joined his pottery class. This was a new and wonderful world for her, and she delighted in all she learned. The weekly visits to Mr Harvey’s school were looked forward to with pleasure, and her husband was interested in her work and encouraged her efforts. She had a pleasant manner and made friends with other students. Her progress through various stages of the course was of a high standard and she enjoyed every step towards “making a pot that looks like Mr Harvey’s work”.
Whilst still at the school she was encouraged to exhibit her work at the annual Brisbane exhibition. There she won many prizes and became known as one good at her art.
Clem continued to make pottery for many years, interrupted only by the arrival of her one child, and the care of aged relatives. She always made time for pottery, her “beloved hobby”.
As recalled by her daughter, Geelong 2013