What Motivates Terrance and his Work

Terrance Plowright

Terrance Plowright

Terrance was born at Paddington in Sydney in 1949. He grew up in Blakehurst, which at that time was an outer suburb of Sydney. Terrance is the oldest of 5 children. As a young teenager, Terrance’s interest in classical music began to blossom as well as a deep interest and curiosity in the larger questions of existence. Terrance started work in 1966 as a Copyboy for the Australian Women’s Weekly. In 1970 he went on to study and work as a Film Editor with the Australian Broadcasting Commission. During this same period, he was lead singer and rhythm guitarist in “Centres of Gravity”, “The Aeroplane Jelly Band” and for a short time, studied music privately at the Sydney Conservatorium. In the late 70’s, he also played and sang with the band “Sweet Earth”.

From late teenage years his growing interest in philosophy and spirituality significantly intensified and after 3 years working and studying as a film editor for the ABC, he renounced all his commitments in order to retreat into the mountains of Tasmania, where he was afforded the peace and quiet needed to ponder some of life’s big questions. He also explored a number of meatless diets, meditation, yoga and the joy of exploring utter independence of mind and thought.      

During 1974-75, Terrance’s enduring passion and interest in philosophy led him to live and work at the Findhorn Foundation in Northern Scotland and, in 1976, he founded the “Awareness Centre” at Chatswood in Sydney as well as teaching and lecturing extensively on the “Potential of the human spirit”.

During this period, he gave many TV, Radio and newspaper interviews with a 20 minute weekly stint on Double J, exploring philosophy, spiritually and many “New Age concepts with presenter, Sandy McCutcheon. Quickly the Centre was successful with over 30 volunteers who helped run a number of programs, the lecture theatre, which would hold 120 people, a restaurant, a bookshop and a number of dedicated workshop rooms.

In 1978 he played a chief role in establishing the Homeland Foundation Trust and as well, organised and directed a 6-week National Tour for Peter and Eileen Caddy, the founders of the Findhorn Foundation. Terrance also participated in the national tour, giving numerous workshops and lectures on Human Potential and the profound relevance of awakening Grace within our own lives. He also participated in numerous meetings with heads of State Governments, Government Ministers, Aboriginal Elders and many community leaders interested in the Findhorn Foundation and the new spiritual phenomenon called “The New Age”. In addition, he enjoyed a few days with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a close friend of Eileen Caddy’s who was in Melbourne at the same time. Terrance also knew Jim Cairns well, as he held a special interest in the Awareness Centre which he and Junie Morosi had frequented. Jim furthermore played an important role in helping Terrance set up luncheons, dinners and meetings with State and Community Leaders. One Premier in particular, Don Dunstan spent an afternoon with Terrance and the Caddy’s including the Attorney General.  Dunstan wanted to explore how the South Australian Government could set or help set up a number of different communities underpinned by ethical, moral and philosophical foundations, within the City of Adelaide and the State in general. Dunstan was also interested in questioning his visitors about the development of a much broader spiritual and philosophical conversation with schools throughout the State. As well, he organised meetings with 12 Aboriginal Elders whom he had flown in from the Northern Territory, Northern South Australia and other regions. In addition, Don had organised flying Terrance and the Caddy’s out to Uluru as he believed this to be a most important site for the group to visit.

In 1978/79 Terrance went through a huge change in his view of New Age spirituality and associated philosophies, deciding to withdraw from the Homeland Foundation and Trust, the Awareness Centre, Findhorn and all other related commitments.

In 1980, he spent a year living in the US where he attended many lectures on Philosophy, some with the great thinker and philosopher, J. Krishnamurti.

On leaving the Homeland Foundation Trust in 1979, Terrance, for the next 3 years, continued leading workshops and giving major talks, exploring consciousness, human potential and the profound beauty of existence. All subjects he believed were immediate and relevant but not necessarily belonging or coupled to any ideology or particular spiritual philosophy.

Early in 1982, a friend of Terrance, Paul Rigby asked Terrance to create a stained glass window for his new home. Terrance, never having cut glass nor designed an artwork of any kind offered to give it a go and undertook the project.  It was from this point onward, Terrance never looked back. He established his first studio at The Glade, Wahroonga in 1982/3 where he initially designed and created contemporary and ecclesiastical stained glass and in 84 established a course, teaching glass art twice a week.  His interest in the arts grew and a passion for sculpture, murals, water features etc., began to emerge in 1986/7. 

With his background and deep interest in music, philosophy, science and the relationships of living forms, Terrance works on developing themes in his art that attempt to reveal the interconnectedness and innate intelligence of all life and the profoundly powerful and beautiful nature of existence.

Terrance has designed/created many contemporary and figurative works, some over 80’ high and 170’ long, as well as a number of sculptural water features, cenotaphs, murals and stained glass windows and has won and been awarded many commissions by councils, corporations, churches and the NSW Government.  He has also been awarded several prizes including two Medici Medals for his sculptural contributions to the Florence Biennale, the President’s award from the Sculptors Society of NSW, the Peoples Choice Award in the McClelland Survey, etc. Kangaroo Press also published Terrance’s book “Stained Glass Inspiration and Designs “, launched by Hazel Hawke in 1993, which sold out 4 editions including the original hardback edition.

Over 30 years, Terrance has employed many welders and mould makers and trained numerous enthusiastic young artists. All his sculptural designs, figurative and contemporary, as well as murals, mosaics and stained glass works have been constructed within his own studio. Terrance has extensive experience working with some of the most senior officials and administrators in the state, including the Governor and Premier of NSW, Cabinet Ministers, Senior Bureaucrats as well as many Senior Council Officials, leaders of large architectural and corporate enterprises, many hydraulic, civil and structural engineers, bronze and stainless steel casting foundries and local industries.

Terrance has a passion for exploring the potential and combination of new materials. Materials utilized in his commissioned works include; cast bronze and stainless steel, plate bronze, stainless steel, steel, aluminium, stained glass, fused glass, cast glass, Italian glass mosaic, water clear polyurethane, timber, marble, granite and sandstone etc. Terrance is also developing concepts involving liquid, light and interactive sound.

Terrance has now worked as an artist/sculptor for more than 34 years.  He is currently based in the Blue Mountains in NSW where he also lives with his beautiful wife Shirley. They have three children and 5 grandchildren.