Hello, hello, hello all!
I am back in action after the Christchurch Art Show! It was very busy meeting lots of new faces and happily I found a few new homes for some of my pieces…yay! This week is the busy number 7 week for classes…there is a lot of glazing going on and I will be hard out firing to get everything ready for taking home next week! A good thing to remember for next week is settling up your clay and glazing account…I will also send out a text to let you know what your total is on Friday as well. Please, please, please don’t forget to re-enroll asap to avoid waiting list disappointment! Everybody has some fantastic work that they have achieved over the time of the course…so well done everybody!
All the SOUP can cups will be glazed over the holidays when there is more time and space in the kilns. If you are not coming back next term please let me know and I can send you a pic of your cup finished and let you know when the exhibition will be.
So as I was immersed in the Art Show over the weekend I got to thinking about ceramic artists and some of the amazing and fabulous work that they do. Especially some based here in New Zealand, so I thought that I could share some of their abundant talent with you.
One of my favorite potters is Madeleine Child. She is based in Dunedin and she was tutoring there when I was at Art school. She has a unique take on using ceramics to explore tactile ideas with. All of her work is very sculptural and uses amazing surface effects. It was a pleasure to be able to attend one of her shows at the Dunedin Public Art gallery called ‘Snap, Crackle, Pop!’ which featured hundreds of hand sized pieces of vibrantly coloured ceramic caramel pop corn on the walls…accentuated by bubble wrap on the floors. When you walked into the exhibition space the floor snapped and crackled under your feet. I absolutely loved it. The coloured candy corn had fantastic mat neon finishes with gold luster centers. I had to remind myself that it is not good thing to lick the art work…even if it makes you want to! This is what many of Madeleine’s works evoke…the desire to touch and interact.
Madeleine Child ‘Snap, crackle, Pop!’
Another potter who I meet in Dunedin is Jim Cooper. Jim makes pottery work that you either love or hate. I go between the two…but I really value it because it can do both! Jim works with clay in a purely sculptural sense and explores people and relationships. He made the most fantastic collection of cats at one stage and even sent one protestingly into the Norsewear Art Awards one year and took out one of the largest Art prizes in New Zealand at the time. The cat is a real scream…’Snowy from Cavy’…and I guess the judge thought so too! JIm’s work is inspirational to potters who just want to make sculptural items that haven’t any edge of the domestic usefulness about them…but that make you think.
Jim Cooper ‘Snowy from Savy’
Kim Henderson has been on the radar of new talented ceramic artists in New Zealand recently. She makes the most gorgeous printed paper clay pots. The technique is similar to the way we make our slip transferred paper images but far more colorful and layered. She has an amazing graphic drawn and painting style. One of her other inspiring tricks is to be able to make very large scale hand built tall cylinder pots that are completely decorated and super thin. I think that her work shows that if you have a simple pot with a plain surface you can indulge in narrative work…the large surfaces allow you to paint stories on them. Her works are a great example of how to just use coloured slip on pots to provide interest.
Another ceramic artist who uses coloured slip in her work to create vibrant surfaces is Fran Maguire from Blenheim. Fran is a consumate thrower and makes the most exquisite shapes and forms that are then enhanced by her talent with slip. Recently she has shown in The Suter Gallery in Nelson a large work that was wall hung made of hundreds of perfectly thrown discs that look like speaker cones. They were each coloured in a combination of red and black, with the natural white colour of the clay becoming part of the design as well. The work was called ‘I’m Pulse’, and with all the work arranged on the walls that is the illusion that they created. A pulsating wall. This is an excellent video of Fran setting up the exhibition…it is well worth while watching if you are interested in seeing how ceramic works can be installed.
And last but not least is our own dear Len Castle. Len grew up to be fascinated with chemistry…so naturally pottery was a practical extension of this love. As I often remind you fellas…pottery is alchemy in action! Len had a magnificent studio in Titirangi and he was inspired both by the gentle nature of our flora and fauna and the geological turmoil in our lakes, oceans and mountains. Some of his most memorable pieces of work are from the study of the three sisters in the North Island. Mount Ngauruhoe, Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and the crater lakes. He like the raw state of the earth, the sulfurous crust, red and black lava flow and the icy coolness of the lakes. Many of these surfaces are embedded into his pots using a combination of raw materials and chemical concoctions. If you love the sculptural quality of his work the book “Len Castle; Making the Molecules Dance’ is a real treat…the Beckenham library has a copy…so go and see it! Len pottered at the same time as my grandmother and she had some really lovely pots of his that as a child we loved to hold and feel. He was a national pottery treasure who continues to inspire potters today.
Well that’s all folks…I hope that there was something in my ramblings to inspire you!
Have a great weekend and I will see you all next week to discover all your pieces of ceramic art fresh from the kiln!
Tatyanna a.k.a The Busy Finch
p.s I leave you with a few pics from my exhibition 🙂