Gabrielle Powell and Daniel Lafferty were at home sleeping on NYE 2019 when they awoke at 4am to the roar of flames, masses of circulating hot air, and the hue of orange at the tree line which bordered their property.
Their mudbrick home sits on the top of the hill where they could just see down the slope to their studio.
Although their home survived the blazed, their lost studio containing all of their pottery equipment, a large portion of their pottery wares, and an upstairs loft for their son, including many of his personal items.
"It was a very dramatic New Year's Eve and it took like months for the brain to start working again," said Ms Powell.
They immediately started the clean up of the studio, salvaging what they could and using a bobcat to pile up what they couldn't.
"We were just trying to feel like we were doing something because it was a long time before the NSW clean-up came," said Ms Powell.
In 2020 Ms Powell continued her work that year as a youth worker with the Red Cross.
Mr Lafferty spent most of the year reconnecting the property's water systems, doing fencing for their house and studio, and odd farm jobs.
The damage from the fires was significant though, with around $60,000 worth of loss. They lost around $15,000 of pots, all of their tools and equipment like pug mills, pottery wheels, materials and recipe books used to make glazes.
They also lost a number of pieces in their priceless international pottery collection that they had collected all over the world throughout the years.
"There's still lots of stuff missing that you can't replace," said Mr Lafferty, but there are some items he has repurposed in his studio.
One such item is a big cast iron bowl from a dough mixer which is now the base of a table the couple used for wedging clay.
They lost all of their hardwood tables, originally from Cobargo hall, and are now mostly using plastic tables, but are nonetheless managing to continue their work.
"Luckily some things don't burn, like the pile of clay outside, my kilns are still here- although a bit damaged, and all the kiln shelving which is really expensive," he said.
In September 2020 they started rebuilding their shed, thanks to their housing insurance policy, however it didn't cover the work they lost, their kilns, or equipment.
A GoFundMe campaign started by Ms Powell's niece managed to raise over $36,000 towards the rebuild and really helped them to replace some of their materials and equipment.
They were also supported by potters all over the country, who Mr Lafferty describes as, "a very generous bunch", who donated second-hand wheels, studio furniture, and other equipment.
By December 2020, the pair could start making their pottery wares again.
"You've just got to start again and make everything work," said Mr Lafferty.
He uses a wood-fired trolley kiln to fire work to produce stoneware. Wood-firing is an ancient Japanese technique.
His pots are only fired once in his large brick kiln and their unique colour comes from his own home-mixed clay. The pine wood he uses during the firing floats through the kiln and settles on the pots to make a natural glaze.
During a wood-firing, a team of around six potters to stoke the fires every ten minutes day and night for five days. He only fires up the kiln once or twice per year.
Although the wood-fire kiln was partially damaged in the fires when the roof fell, it was able to be rebuilt with the existing bricks.
Ms Powell fires most of her work twice in an electric kiln. Her work is mostly terracotta with a glaze layer. She particularly enjoys hand-building, a technique using a turntable wheel as opposed to a spinning wheel.
In mid-June 2021, after around five months of making pots, Mr Lafferty had finally created enough pots to fill the kiln shelves of the wood-fire kiln, and was able to fire it up again to create his first batch of work since the fires.
The couple have also recently started doing classes with residents from Cobargo who they feel have benefitting from the almost cathartic experience.
"The local community needs something creative at the moment so we've just had a group who were mainly locals and they've just had a few laughs and they seem to enjoy doing it," she said.
Bandicoot Pottery will be open to the public on Saturday, August 28, from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm for Art Month on the Sapphire Coast.
They will be hosting a pottery sale and inviting the public to take a look through their new studio.
To find out more head to the Art Month on the Sapphire Coast website.