Open Studios are finally here, our favourite time of the year!
We look forward to meeting new visitors from far and wide in our lovely little gallery as we are showcasing our top ceramicists alongside many of our local talented artists here in Whanganui, who have opened their studio doors to the public. We have many new works to show you from our popular artists at the Tree, such as Marita Green, Steve Fullmer, Aaron Scythe, Justin Cook as well as the new Katherine Smyth and Chris Weaver works mentioned in our previous blog. Here are some of the exciting pieces you can find at the Tree...
In the theme of artists supporting artists, we would love to share some of the other ceramic based studios participating in Open Studios this year. There is a lot to see during Open Studios, and these are a just a small few we recommend to be well worth a visit while you are here...
The Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics
Here you will meet talented studio ceramist, Rick Rudd. He has a wonderful collection and exhibitions that will blow your socks off!
Ivan Vostinar in Castlecliff
Ivan makes brilliant colored domestic ware with his own mixed glazes incorporating sand from the local beach, as well as one-off sculptures. If you get thirsty, go over the road to the Citadel Café and try out his domestic ware for yourselves before buying - your coffee will be served in one of his lovely vessels.
The Rayner Bros Gallery on Glasgow Street
One we highly recommend visiting! They are rich in ceramics for such a small town, and have great senses of humour which reflect in their many artworks. They also showcase other artists work and currently have Sam Ducker Jones from the Wairarapa staying as an Artist in Residence. Sam uses clay in new ways that seem almost rebellious, but give his work a new exciting edge in the world of ceramics.
If you feel in the mood to go along and meet some of the exhibiting artists and chums from our diverse arts community, there is an exhibition opening happening at the Rayner Bros Gallery at 5.30pm on Friday 29th.
With only one more exciting weekend left, we have decided to open our doors sporadically during the week for any people that are wandering round the Taupo Quay hub and feel like a mid-week gallery binge and a taste of crafty ceramic culture.
Don't forget about our instagram tag for Open Studios we mentioned in our last blog - pop into Tree Gallery during Open Studios and pick up some driftwood, then upload your creations to Instagram with the hashtag #driftwoodtreeceramics
See you at the Tree!
Open studios are nearly upon us and we are getting excited!
This year we bring you the amazing ceramic works by NZ artists, Chris Weaver and Katherine Smyth.
You may be familiar with seeing Katherine Smyth pieces at Tree, we stock not only her domestic ware but also a few of her animal urns as well. We will have brand spanking new work from both artists for open studios that you would not have seen at Tree before such as South Island West Coast based ceramicist, Chris Weaver.
We look forward to unwrapping the parcel and seeing the surprise inside, it will be like Christmas for us at the Tree Gallery as we have no idea what he is sending us!
Katherine Smyth is a well-respected potter and we have featured her work from when we first opened the doors to our gallery in October 2014. Her domestic ware is very fine and the colour palette so appealing, it is adored and collected by so many people who visit us.
Katherine has an interesting background to her training in ceramics and in 1993 joined fellow artist Jim Mason on a several month sabbatical to the Taibeh Village in Jordan (near Petra) where they taught pottery skills to young village women in the hope of reviving local ancient skills and traditions. The emphasis was on pottery made by the Nabateans (who built Petra) and other traditional potters from the region.
This is our first year in Open studios that we have expanded to showing work that is made outside of Whanganui, but they are what Emma says are heavyweights in the world of ceramics and very worthy of being featured in this annual event. We really look forward to seeing you at Open Studios on 22-30 March 2019!
The Vase is an immersive vessel and has been an important part of human daily life for thousands of years, with some fragments found in China dating back as far as 20,000 years ago. The ancient Greeks used ceramic vessels in every aspect of their daily lives: for storage, carrying, mixing, serving, and drinking, and as cosmetic and perfume containers, many with pictorial illustrations that provided insights into their everyday existence as well as philosophical scenes and stories.
Tree has its own retro inspired range that is modern, sleek and simple. We all like to smell and admire freshly cut flowers arranged into lovely posies; it is a way of brightening our moods on melancholy days and is a reminder of all the natural beauty that surrounds us. Emma Bass has frozen beauty in time with her imperfect series, capturing specific moments of wilting wonder by photographing her floral arrangements in her personal collection of Crown Lynn vases. So, come see us at Tree Gallery and we will help you find the vase that’s just right for your home, work space, mum cave or as a gift for a deserving friend.
The Dinosaur being chained and tamed by the little blue figures is titled Wrath of a Titan and it has a lot to say about the relationship of command. The Dinosaur rests on its own base, as do the little blue men, separating the inhabitants of two different worlds or islands. The blue men are a technological advancement, while the dinosaur is the master of its own environment with no natural predators. The blue men manage to chain the beast representing industrial dominance over the Titan (dinosaur).
The monkey and the cephalopod in the spacesuits talk to us about how biological and cultural evolution go hand in hand and the dinosaur fetus looks like it could be straight from a Jurassic Park lab!
Personally, I feel most captured by the earlier image of the little spaceman out of his suit sitting with his head in his hands, titled Adaptive Radiation. Justin explains “long after the time where a hard-suit might be necessary for a new environment, the individual who was inside can now reflect on the role they played. The term "adaptive radiation" related to the way in which populations move into new environments and establish fitness”, but he somehow reminds me of the ashen victims of Pompeii in a melancholy kind of way; out of the safety of his suit and just letting himself be taken by the environment force that is too uninhabitable for his organic body to endure.
No don’t be silly, it’s not the price of this one compared to that one! For us it was the humanity instilled in the mug by the maker and the loss of relationship you connected to choosing one by that artist or perhaps the memory of the person who gifted that mug to you.
We would love for you to share photos and stories of you with your best mug on our Facebook page or by using the hashtag #treegalleryfavmug on Instagram and share the love of handmade ceramic mugs far and wide!
Spring is here, and it is time to clean the dust off your shelves and make room for inspiring artworks or perhaps new mugs in your cupboards. We have plenty of new arrivals at Tree, and an exhibition by New Plymouth based artist Marita Green planned for October. Although we don’t see Emma and Angela during open hours at Tree much these days, they are still very much a part of the Tree team. Recently they visited Marita to collect the pieces for her up and coming solo exhibition, Smallish with a few skatepark tricks in between.
What is it about animals that we love so much?
At Tree Gallery, we have many artists who use animals as inspiration for their work; from decorative illustrations on mugs and plates, the infamous bird urns, as well as quirky sculptures.
We recently acquired Katherine Smyth Polar Bear and Rat urns that go nicely with our Steve Fullmer Polar Bear mugs and bowls! Angela Tier has dropped off some Black Robin urns to nest alongside the remaining doves, and Janet Green's cat sits proudly in our window looking out upon people in the street like an actual cat.
Aaron Scythe uses little birds too; on all his ceramics (if you hadn't noticed), he says that the little bird is him when we asked him once, which is such a lovely trademark touch by this talented potter!
Jane Kennington also uses bird illustrations on her pinched vases and cups; sometimes accompanied by a feminine friend, and Angela also makes beautiful ceramic bird brooches and cast glass bird pendants that are to be worn to remember wonderful memories of loved ones who have passed.
We look forward to showing you all of these pieces when you visit the Tree Gallery, and also any new pets we aquire in the coming months!
Ever so popular is Tree Gallery artist Steve Fullmer; when his work arrives, it flies out the door! Here is a little bit more of a background about Steve and his quirky, illustrated ceramics.
Jane Kennington is a local based artist living in Whanganui amongst beautiful and inspiring surroundings, with many trees, birds and gardens; these manifest through into her making. Her work is very feminine, with a lot of her pieces featuring illustrations of flora and fauna, as well as delicate drawings of women.
Jane mentions she has a background in a Diploma in Visual Arts majoring in sculpture and wood from Nelson, as you can see in the sculptural way she constructs her work. Showing process in making is important to Jane, you can see the organic way she carves the clay like a chisel to wood from a leather hard solid block, reducing it until the clay takes form and then hollows it out for the firing. All her pieces are one offs and you can see the movement of the artist's fingers, or the use of tools to form the object.
Jane says that drawing and mark making is very important to her process of examination and discovery. She likes to make pieces that people can use everyday because she believes it to be very satisfying to use a handmade object.
Jane's ceramics are exclusive to the Tree Gallery and we are excited to bring them to you!
The definite highlight of the month is the Creature exhibition currently being held at the the Sarjeant Gallery upstairs at the iSite building in Whanganui, which is on display until July 15th 2018. In this group show, we are delighted to see the work of artists that we also exhibit at Tree Gallery; such as Kate Fitz-Harris, Katherine Smyth and Angela Tier.
Whether you want to support some of our favourite artists, or just take some time out to marvel over the beautiful works on display, the Creature exhibition is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
If you are interested in acquiring an Avian Ambassador for your growing art collection, please contact Emma at Tree Gallery.
Artists supporting artists! TREE celebrates creativity.