“You might be scared if you saw a colony or cloud of bats pass overhead. You may think of blood-thirsty vampires, or even rabies! What you probably don’t realise is that we humans are reliant on them for survival, just as much as we are dependent on honeybees!”
This month we are pleased to have Angela Tier’s coiled ceramic bats from her exhibition Spook arrive to the Tree Gallery to roost; with four large apocalyptic inspired pieces as well as the remaining bat urns from a numbered collection of 100.
Angela is showing us that this bat colony is representative of a grave image of endangerment for many bats on our Earth and a chance for people to reflect on the impact we have on our environment. She thinks we should consider these bats which we may fear, or allow to slip from our thoughts, and remember that they are vital to our continued existence.
My favourite of her works is the polar bear with the wee rider that reminds me of a younger Ivy; I can just imagine her fantasizing about bonding with a new animal friend and the pair riding off on a wild, dreamy adventure.
A little bit of background about Helen, she is based in Auckland and has been practicing ceramics for 19 years. Helen studied remotely at Otago Polytechnic gaining a Diploma in Ceramics in 2009 and holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History and English Literature. She has won many Merit awards for her work and People’s Choice awards too; which attests to the love out there for her amazing ceramics. Helen has taught classes for 9 years, sharing her skills and passion for clay with fellow potters and those new to the craft. Helen not only makes hand-built figures and animal sculptures but also functional containers and domestic ware too; we hope to receive some of these other wonderful functional pieces in the future.
Colour is what attracts me to Brendan Adams ceramics! Bright and earthy but also intense and deep. Colours that remind you of the coast, shells and coral and the beauty of hues hidden under the rolling waves. Brendan has sent us some new pieces which are attracting a lot of attention; a big purple pot, beautiful functional bowls, alongside mugs and jugs that are unlike any other.
Brendan trained as a painter but fell in love with the ‘mud’ and hasn’t looked back! He completed a Diploma in Painting at Otago Polytechnic, but it was clay that he was drawn too for the possibilities it offered with form and texture.
Brendan has been making a living from his art since 1987 when he first opened a shop with his wife called Out of the Blue. They both now run the front room gallery in Auckland. Brendan has also been a lecturer at Auckland University and he also teaches at Auckland Studio Pottery Society.
The fiery colours of the season has inspired our blog post this month, and Emma has started to see some of the wonderful peices at Tree Gallery through Autumn-tinted glasses! The earthy tones of the artworks she is exhibiting inside, compliment the falling leaves just outside our gallery doors.
The warm Autumn atmosphere is immediately apparent when you see Paul Maseyk's large double-handled vessel sitting next to Chris Weaver's lidded jars, or Katherine Smyth's rat standing proudly amongst Richard Stratton's mugs. Or when you see Renee Boyd's tall vases, which have that contemporary flair of contrast between the warm brown tones and stark white. I can imagine enjoying a warm drink from one of her mugs whilst sitting in my favourite chair looking at the window; enjoying the chaos of leaves falling in the garden. Each scene is complete donning an Emma Bass framed "Imperfect Image" on the wall; hanging in harmony with the objects.
So, come into the gallery and warm us with your energy, and we will give you back some warm fuzzies of inspiration with conversations about our talented artists, and the work we showcase here at the Tree.
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.
Artists supporting artists! TREE celebrates creativity.