Pātea Photo Shoot

If you are addicted to taking photos of old buildings and ruins then the concrete jungle of Pātea Freezing Works will inspire avid photographers.

The derelict slaughter house is mirrored in the Pātea River, which leads out to an impressive breakwater at Pātea Beach.

The breakwater is an amazing artificial offshore structure which helps to protect the river from the huge west coast waves.

The Pātea Surf Lifesaving is currently looking for new members. They can be contacted through their Facebook page.

A walk though the town will take you past many historic buildings and features, including the Aotea Memorial Waka, St George’s Anglican Church and the building that houses the South Taranaki District Museum.

Aotea is a māori waka canoe that brought Turi and his people from Hawaiki, eventually arriving in Taranaki where they intermarried with the tangata whenua tribes.

Aotearoa means New Zealand – land of the long white cloud

ao -cloud, daylight, world

tea -clear, white

roa -length, long

Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki is a noteworthy archive of district information, articles and items, offering a rich and varied history of the area.

utanga – burden, cargo, freight, load

nui -great, large, plenty

Pātea

-village, bush

tea -clear, white

Church Exhibition in Waitotara

Bringing the neighbouring communities together was the goal for the Waitotara Community Market. A group of loyal locals organised the event, hosting an array of art and craft stall holders within the hall and disused Plunket building. The group hope to secure the Plunket building for community use.

I was able to utilise the St Marks church, creating an exhibition of my ceramics and photography. The church, built in 1890, is a stunning example of the influential New Zealand architect, Frederick de Jersey Clere.

The church provided a peaceful backdrop to my artwork and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing group of woman. I wish them well in their venture to create a local hub in Waitotara.

 

 

Whanganui Art in the Garden

Been busy getting my ceramics ready for the Whanganui Art in the Garden weekend! This is a popular annual event organised by the Whanganui Potters Studio and held at a the QT nursery on Papaiti Rd. With 95 members, Whanganui Potters’ Studio has a proud 50 year history. Using various clays, glazes, kilns, wheels and tools, and a wealth of knowledge, they produce a wide range of traditional and contemporary ceramics. They exhibit twice a year, host artist workshops, hold monthly raku firings and beginner courses. The studio is located at 19 Taupo Quay. Opening hours are Wednesday 9.30am to 1.00pm and 6.30pm-8.30pm, and Thursday 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Collective Creative Community

Living by the sea you cant help but become connected to the moana ocean, and when you walk it almost daily  its disheartening to see the array of plastic waste that continuously get washed in with each tide change. Some people just don’t see the waste. Their eyes glaze over the brightly coloured pieces of trash tangled up with the driftwood and seaweed. But once you open your eyes, and divert your footsteps in the sand, to fetch a piece of plastic from the rubble you wont walk past another ever again.

And that change in behaviour is what I hope to create by creating a wire whales tail sculpture, commissioned by the South Taranaki Creative Community Scheme.

Making ceramic bowls and cups

Utilising an old concrete water tank, I set up my potters wheel and shelves and got to work, creating as many cups and bowls my clay supply could produce. With the music cranking and the kids at school, I was in my element.

Once made, I leave the pieces to dry over night, then cut (tidy) the bottoms of each piece, add any names using stamps and then put on my potters mark of LL.

After about a week or two of drying they are ready for a bisque fire to 1140 degrees C.

Once cooled, they are ready for glazing. The bottom (base) of the piece needs to be free of glaze otherwise once fired it would stick to the shelf. I like to coat the bottom with melted wax to ensure a clean line and a glaze free base.

Now the make or break moment. I’ve stuffed up a lot of work by getting carried away with glazing, but I’m often on the search for some crazy out-there results. I have the luxury of having my own kiln, which enables me to experiment. I would not want to create a mess or blow out a shelf in a communal kiln, damaging the work of others.

This is the retro Tea Dust glaze. Currently for sale at Honest Kitchen on Ridgway Street and in Whanganui Fine Arts Gallery on Taupo Quay in Whanganui.

Now for a studio

In need of a work space I started the dreaded google search for options and found Lumberland. Lumberland are a building supply company in Palmerston North who constructed two sheds for me made from marine ply. The sheds are under 10m2 so I didn’t need a permit for them. Super easy. That’s is until they were delivered. D Day. The first time I walked up our tree lined driveway I fell in love with our house. But now the pohutukawa trees carry scars of the dreaded delivery day. To Lumberland’s credit the sheds now sit contently in our back yard, however the driveway is in need of repair! Nevermind, I now have a studio for all my creations! Bring on summer and all the holiday makers!

 

 

 

 

 

Found our final destination

My husband and I get a little irritable every 6 months or so. Our marriage may be set in stone but the place we call home has been a little rocky.

Our first rental was a basement flat of the owners home in Auckland. Being ocean lovers, it didn’t take us long to find a quaint little  one bedroom bach at Muriwai Beach, just north of Auckland. We loved that tiny abode, but unfortunately our family had begun, and a cot in the lounge was only going to work for a couple of months. So began the 6 to 12 month bunny hopping of properties including homes in Auckland, Gisborne, Tairua, Hamilton, Raglan and Whanganui.

Our most recent of irritations has landed us with what we consider our perfect location. Our journey hopefully ends, in the quiet little community of Waiinu.

Waiinu – ‘Wai’ being water and ‘inu’ means to drink

waiinu waitotara south taranaki whanganui nz new zealand surf

 

 

Rotokawau aka Virginia Lake

Being new to Whanganui I was wondering why this 4.5 hectare public space was more commonly known as Virginia Lake and not by its Maori name of Rotokawau. The answer to which I found in very small print on a rather large plaque hidden in a corner of the front entrance of the neighbouring Winter Garden.

Unfortunately the land was purchased for development by white settlers in the mid 1800’s. The Māori legend of the lakes origin can be found written on the plaque beneath a bronze sculpture of the beautiful Tainui.

The legend explains that the lake was formed from the tears of the grief stricken Tainui and the rain from the angry gods over the murder of Turere, Tainui’s love. Turere had been strangled by the jealous suitor Ranginui. Notice her tears as she gazes out towards the lake.

Rotokawau means ‘roto’ – Lake and ‘kawau’ – blag shag

Walking around the lake, the kids disappeared down a bamboo bush tunnel. Waiting at the end of the track I could hear a weird rather loud chattering. It sounded almost aggressive. I looked across the lake but couldn’t see the cause. The kids soon gathered around me and joined in the search for the sounds source. Then we looked up, and there in the trees were several nests with kawau fledglings. We watched as they continued their persistent squawks, calling out to their parents.

The lake offers a rich habitat for many bird species. Take your time and open your eyes

The rather large metal lily fountain sculpture was donated in 1970 by Mr Henry Higginbottom, a local philanthropist.

Don’t forget to spot the rather odd Peter Pan sculpture, who my kids found quite entertaining as it looked like he was peeing, complete with a puddle beneath him.

virginia lake rotokawau whanganui wanganui nz metal bronze peter pan sculpture

Whanganui Winter Gardens

Wondering what to do while visiting Whanganui? The Winter Gardens offers an all year round colourful display of flora amongst sculptures and garden art.

Built in the 1940’2, the Winter Gardens were built to commemorate the Centenary of New Zealand.

A walk in aviary was developed over the 1960’s and 70’s. Birds to be observed include pheasants, parakeets, finch and rosellas, and of course, what aviary would be complete without a couple of talking cockatoos.

Local artist have contributed to the sculptural garden next door. Exhibited pieces include punga carvings, mosaics and glass works.

More art can be found by continuing your journey to Lake Rotokawau (Virginia Lake), a half hour woodland walk. You can join in with the leap frogging children created by sculptor Hamish Horsley.

 

Making moulds with Plaster

Making moulds for ceramic work is easy and affordable. To make bowls you can either spray the bowls with a release agent, such as silicone or cover the bowl with a clay layer. This means you can etch or alter the shape to suit before pouring in plaster.

To make my heart mould I formed a solid heart shape and pressed it firmly to the base of a plastic container. After pouring the plaster I jiggle the container to release any bubbles.

Once set, the plaster mould can be easily removed and used. When creating wall hangings it’s important to consider how the piece will be hung. I attach clay using a vinegar and water mix to help with the blending of the clay. Using a small 2cm long piece of straw I cut a hole, so the wire can be used for hanging the ornament when finished.

After about a week of drying, weather dependant, the pieces can be put into the kiln for a bisque firing up to 1040oC. Then once the glaze has been applied, the pieces will receive a second firing, up to 1200oC. Complete.