Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Shopping Night

CEAC’s Christmas Shopping Night is back this Thursday 8 December from 6pm! Opening in conjunction with the Annual Affordable Art and Recent Graduates Exhibitions, we will be having 15% off everything in the gallery shop for one night only.

The Corban Estate Arts Centre Gallery Shop is open daily from 10am – 4.30pm and features beautiful handmade artworks and crafts for sale by emerging and established artists. We stock a range of cards and publications, ceramics, jewellery, glass, craft, textiles, prints and t-shirts.

A selection of work can be viewed on our website and we are happy to gift wrap and post items to you. If you are unable to make the Christmas Shopping night, mention this offer and receive 10% off any product for the whole of December in the gallery shop excluding gift vouchers

CORBAN ESTATE ARTS CENTRE 426 Great North Road (Entrance off Mt Lebanon Lane) Henderson www.ceac.org.nz Phone 838 4455

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Summer School 2012 interview series: Rick Rudd

Kyla Mackenzie interviews award winning studio potter Rick Rudd in the lead-up to his Summer School class Hand Built Pottary in January 2012. Click here for a full description of Rick’s class & enrolment details.

KM: You trained in England and have, since arriving here in 1973, exhibited extensively here and overseas and have featured in many publications.  

Given your extensive experience as a pottery tutor,  having taught since 1981 – what do you look forward to with the upcoming course at Corban Estate Art Centre?

RR: I really enjoy the concentration necessary of shorter courses, the level of focus required, the adrenalin...  I want the students to milk me for as much information as possible...In fact, I'll know I haven't done a good job if I'm not drained at the end of the course!

KM: What do you enjoy most about teaching others? 

RR: It is very satisfying engaging with different personalities and adapting to different needs at each course.  Are they novice or  experienced?  It doesn't matter.  The challenge of each situation keeps tutoring fresh for me as each atmosphere is new and I therefore demonstrate in a different way.

KM: Do you gain perspective on your own work while teaching?

RR: While I like working on my own, you always gain ideas during workshops – they can really spark things off for me.  

KM: Over the course of 5 days, you'll be teaching students your techniques of pinching and coiling.  What will the students gain from these methods?

RR: Any shape is possible with this process – you can have very rounded forms to the very angular; they can look 'thrown' or look 'slab built'. A great advantage is that the forms don't have structural weaknesses – and that the method allows large scale objects to be made – building up from the bottom.  

KM: I understand that as a young student, you discovered your facility with clay despite being enrolled on a textiles course?

RR: I discovered I don't think in 2D during my Textiles course...After 2 or 3 months I went downstairs to the pottery class one evening and worked with clay for the first time.  I finally twigged.  'Clay was the Way'.  Therefore, while I had hated life drawing, I later loved making torsos out of clay.

Later when working with clay, I resorted to doing 'working' drawings after the objects were done – which was probably obvious to the tutors!

KM: Were there other moments or experiences that helped you along the way?

RR: I developed an appreciation for the Oriental aesthetic.  However, it took two trips in 1995 and 1997 to Japan for the penny to really drop. I marvelled at the pottery tradition in Japan and Japanese aesthetic, ...their talents and importance.  

In fact I have a large collection of Japanese drinking vessels  - I loaned them to Objectspace recently – 100 works collected over several years.  

KM: Were there individual practitioners who inspired you along the way?

RR: There were two strands of influence for me – the Modernist was one - Lucie Rie, a Viennese potter who left Nazi Germany to live in London, and Hans Coper who she mentored and then worked alongside, were my gods.  Function informed the shapes, but the resulting object was very much an aesthetic object.  The sculpture of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth was also very formative.  I went down to London to a wonderful Henry Moore exhibition when I was still living in England. 

The other strand was represented by the domesticware of important British studio potter Bernard Leach who launched an Anglo/Japanese tradition with Japanese potter Hamada.  

Rustic simplicity was key.  

KM: And now?  

RR: I've been around so long, it's now a matter of my own work influencing me.  I go back and forwards – returning to ideas and re-developing forms in different directions.  

KM: Does function play much of a role as opposed to aesthetic considerations in your work?

RR: The teapot, for example, is an easy entry point for people.  They know what a teapot is.  A teapot of mine doesn't pour and well, it's impossible to get a teabag in... For me, it's all about form.  

KM: Your works that I saw recently are suggestively figurative, lively and playful – what are some of your visual stimuli?

RR: People see all sorts of things in my work.  It's just a form but that's ok.  People even see mountains... I never put titles on my pieces.  The shapes, line and form are suggestive of anthroporphism at times.

KM: What are your thoughts on pottery today? 

RR: There are fewer full-time potters.  Many of the existing potters went off and got 'real jobs' when cheap imports came in in the 1980s.  The 70's was the heyday – anyone could make pottery and sell it.  Now there is a discerning public and that's good.  It's healthy not to have an oversupply and more important to get quality.  

Now you get more part-time potters – who I would not call hobbyists – they are often just as professional as the full-time potters.  

KM: Why do you prefer to be called a studio potter rather than ceramicist?

RR: In the 1980s, you could go and do 'hobby ceramics' – and someone else would fire your pieces.  It was somewhat 'by numbers'.  To me, 'ceramicist', still smacks of that scenario.

The 'studio potter' makes one-off pieces so I use that description.  

KM: What are your thoughts on the status of New Zealand pottery/ceramics?  

RR: I think we punch above our weight, given our population size.  These days influence and ideas can go round the world in 5 seconds with the internet.  We're not so isolated any more.  
It never worries me when people copy or take ideas from my work.  Everyone's got to start somewhere in order to move onto something else...

Summer School 2012 interview series: Beck Wheeler

“I think art and play should be the same thing.”

CEAC staff member Kyla Mackenzie interviews Beck Wheeler in the lead-up to her Mixed Media Summer School class in January 2012. Click here for a full description of Beck’s class & enrolment details.

KM: Beck, in 2008 you were named one of Australia’s Top Ten Creative’s by Design Quarterly, you exhibit internationally (Japan, UK, USA, Australia, Spain and New Zealand) and now back in West Auckland, New Zealand, you are offering an exciting workshop at our 2012 Summer School:  

Did you ever dream you could have a career using your imagination and immense sense of play?

BW: I always wanted to be an artist, but when I was younger I didn't know how to become an artist. I thought it might be something that just magically happened. 

I got stuck in art school for awhile. I found art school quite conservative, instead of inspired I felt very confined. At art school if you weren't doing minimalist text based paintings or conceptual installation you failed. 

It took me a few years away from art school before I started to embrace my creativity again. I looked at the things I collected and the things I loved for inspiration. I learnt to paint in every medium available, I learnt ceramics, textiles and a variety of sculptural techniques. I allowed myself to play and make mistakes. And then 10 years later I realised I was making a living full time as an artist. 

KM: Your course offers the student the creative environment in which to create visual narratives using paint and found objects:  how will you guide the class to mine their personal memories for this purpose?

BW: Our minds are a great big filing cabinet filled with our memories and experiences. Maybe you want to do an artwork about a childhood memory, or maybe you want to do an artwork about your morning walk to the dairy.

I think art is about being honest with yourself. What excites you about art/life, might not excite someone else. There are no right and wrong answers, its very personal. 

Everyone has things they have collected, things they love, colours they are drawn to. 
I think the key to keeping creativity alive is to identify the things that excite you. Then not to judge these things as being either good, bad or ugly.

KM: What should they bring?

BW: You will need to bring in the materials on the materials list, which includes acrylic paint and brushes. Additional materials to bring in will be discussed on the first day of the course. This might be reference material, family photos, paper for collage, or objects that you want to work with. We will be working predominately with acrylic paint, however we will discuss how to work in mixed media. A limited amount of inks and watercolours will be available to experiment with. If you have your own watercolours or inks you are welcome to bring them in.

KM: What are some of the sorts of found objects you yourself have found evocative in your own works?  

BW: I am drawn to domestic objects. I use old kitchen utensils, broken childrens toys and all sorts of random odds and ends. I work mainly in wood and plastic.

KM: You provide some understanding of colour theory in the workshop – what are some of the emotional resonances and perceptual effects that you find particularly compelling?

BW: In my own work I try to use the brightest colours I can find. I will use one bright colour and then I will find or make its opposite (relating to the colour wheel). I am inspired by how you can create harmony in an artwork through the use of opposing/complementary colours. Even when you are using a very colourful palette you can still create harmony and balance.

Colour also has the ability to communicate without words. I love how passionate people get about a colour, or a palette of colours.  If you want to see how passionately geeky you can get about colour palettes then head to www.colourlovers.com This website is where people can go to upload their favourite colour combinations it has 1,815,625 different colour combos uploaded so far.

KM: What textures and colours from your own childhood memory have informed your own work?  

BW: I was bought up in the late 1970's and a lot of my childhood books and toys were in citrus greens and oranges with splashes of hot pink and muted shades of blues and browns. I am  definitely drawn instinctively to using a similar colour palette in my work.

The textures and patterns I use developed as I experience different cultures and environments. I use a lot of textures from the bush since moving to Piha, but when I was living in the city I tended to use more geometric forms.
KM: Childhood or references to are often delightfully universal in much of your own work:  do you think we should actively embrace ‘the child’ within?  

BW: I think childhood themes are popular because they remind us of a time when it was okay to play. In play there is no right or wrong. But as we grow older we start to analyse everything in terms of being right/wrong good/bad and we lose the freedom of play. 

I think art should embrace play. I think art and play should be the same thing.

KM: How important is play, fun and beauty for our mental health?

BW: I think play and fun are very important to our mental state.

KM: Who are some of the artists who have inspired your art and philosophy along the way?  

BW: Edward Gorey, Jon Pylypchuk, Quentin Blake, Chris Ware, Winsor McCay, Shaun Tan, William Morris, Richard Kearney, Bosch, Brian Boyd

KM: What do you look forward to most about your upcoming Summer School workshop?

BW: Sharing knowledge: I am passionate about art materials and using traditional painting techniques in a contemporary way.

Empowering creativity: I think everybody is creative, but we just get trained out of it as we grow older. I think it is important to get the creative juices flowing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tabatha Forbes

I don’t know your name (but I’ll call you…)

The series title: I don’t know your name (but I’ll call you...) refers to the early processes of naming / identification and the need to categorise and label in order to perceive the value / place of the specimen (flora or fauna).   The weeds or unintentional plants of this place, are given placement and value in their documentation, painted and preserved on the original fruit crates, which like many of the plants here no longer have any human use.  

Prior to this series, I have actively sought to identify plant species using botanical and local / Maori names.  In this series despite the inclusion of some obvious species (.i.e. dandelion) the names have been removed as if the plant is being newly claimed / discovered.   The result is an expression of our confused understanding ; a last minute attempt to appreciate and consider, to place, value and in a sense, take a fresh responsibility for.

Each plant is renamed to include forbesii, based on a typical c18th dedication to the botanist/naturalist who originally ‘discovered’ the plant.  In this case I have walked around the site to collect my plants, renaming and reclaiming them for the purpose of my work.

Their representation is faded; a constructed history reminiscent of the original function of the boxes and the original status of the ‘exotic’ introduced plant long since fallen from grace and demoted to ‘weed’.

More obviously, the collection of weeds and crates refers directly to how we perceive waste, and what constitutes as value.  

Written by Tabatha Forbes for I don't know your name (but I'll call you...) on show at the Corban Estate Arts Centre until the 4th of December.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Summer School 2012 interview series: Anna Browne

CEAC staff member Kyla Mackenzie interviews Anna Browne in the lead-up to her Summer School class Material Effects in January 2012. Click here for a full description of Anna’s class & enrolment details.

 Anna Browne

KM: In what way have some of your own works paid some sort of homage to your own family history and or domestic arts in that history?

AB: My own work does not directly comment on domestic arts in a post-modern, self conscious sense. Instead I see my work as a continuation of the crafting skills family members have/had. I have vivid memories of my maternal grandparents using wool (knitting and rug making). My mother taught me to sew and crochet. Craft techniques interest me as a mode of physically producing art work.

KM: When did you first get inspired by the concept of re-purposing/recycling/up-cycling secondhand or vintage fabric?

AB: Two things inspired me: My love of textiles and necessity (lack of money!). At secondary school a friend and I used to remake or modify clothes bought from the Sallies. At the time there were a lot of beautiful dresses from the 50's and 60's in the second hand shops. I also remember making a beanbag out of old school jerseys. I'm keen to make that sort of thing in the Summer School Class. 

Remnant Wool Cushion

Woven Blanket

KM: What do you think the trend towards re-using existing materials says about society today?  

AB: Hopefully it means a growing awareness of the finite nature of resources on Earth. Re-using materials is something humans have always done - a majority of societies in the world still do. In the west our prodigal use of 'consumable' items is predicated on cheap labour and commodities. A consequence of being removed from the production of goods is our ignorance of the toil and resources that go into making them. 

KM: Is the intersection between ‘craft’ and ‘art’ an interesting one to navigate, for you?

AB: I don't see art and craft as two poles on some sort of a spectrum - perhaps they once were? They are intertwined, particularly at the moment with the current popularity for 'craft-based' artwork. Just because something has an assigned function doesn't mean it's without 'art-content', and vice versa. Many pieces of art are carefully crafted. 
Looking at this issue in a political way (high-brow art vs. low-brow craft) is not an issue for me personally.

Jersey Pouffe

KM: What are your thoughts on the feminine history associated with 'home-craft'?

AB: It's easy to forget how limited the choices were for many women, even forty years ago. Home-crafting wasn't just about thrift, but an important way for women to express themselves, to personalise house-hold items and clothes etc. Home-crafts can also have broader significance. I'm very interested in the history of quilt making; the stories they tell, the evolution of the patterns and the social roles they played. The quilts from Gee's Bend, or Durham Quilts are wonderful examples of this.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Living the Arts: The Fabulous Five Go Teach

The typical working week; longing for Friday and dreading Monday, was never an option for five creative, resourceful women; Claire Inwood, Kelly King, Anna Browne, Kaz Bos and Pamela Wolfe.  A bread-maker (caterer and doll-maker), traditional weaver, textiles artist, jeweller and painter, their lives, livelihoods and interests, are combined.

All the women practice skills traditionally associated with the ‘feminine arts’.  How may these arts be reviewed afresh?  It is up to the individual.  At Corban Estate Art Centre’s Livingthe Arts, from Sat 5 – Sun 6 November, participants will be inspired and empowered by the skills and philosophy these tutors have to share.  A collective enterprise, Living the Arts, is an opportunity to relax in a creative and companionable atmosphere; a welcome break from the routine and pace of the week.

 Claire Inwood

Claire Inwood, a caterer, bread-maker and doll- maker, combines passion and industry.  For her, enjoyment and beauty should be intrinsic to life. She had an epiphany years ago when gazing at a collection of Native American artefacts, when it occurred to her that everything they used was intended to be beautiful irrespective of function.  Food should also be visually appealing, she feels. Furthermore, the enjoyment to be had from making, giving and receiving tried and true traditional recipes like Italian ciabatta, is something she looks forward to sharing. A popular caterer, she has successfully combined activities that bring her and others pleasure, and her The Art of Breadmaking is sure to do the same.

For many, cell-phone and internet are the life blood of working life.  For Kelly King, however, her life as a weaving instructor extraordinaire is so absorbing her cell-phone often lies forlorn at home.  Her abilities and dedication to the art of Maori weaving is such that she featured in the important exhibition The Eternal Thread (2003) which honoured the tradition and its innovations over time. King’s work-shop Raranga Harakeke allows the beginner to acquire sustainable harvesting skills and the construction of storage vessels.  This then, is an easy introduction to a technology that is rich with potential as a stand-alone art-form as King’s own exhibited works attest to.

Anna Browne, who was “always a sewer” has a long-standing background in textile design and its use in interior design.   The last decade of exhibiting has seen her employ the concept of fabric as a powerful medium for artistic and personal expression, fusing life and art together. “I hope to make people more aware of the significance of textiles, [as they] are with us all our lives and are imbued with meaning.  Browne says, that with this in mind, the class by ‘re-purposing’ vintage fabrics will work, on their second day, on “…a biographical piece…- making lives into art”.  Her life, art and teaching reflect a shift towards ecological thinking, locally and globally.

'Mound' Anna Browne

She says;
The 'domestic arts' are very fashionable at the moment (the online/etsy.com phenomenon, craft fares etc) and there are many forums and outlets for this sort of work. But … courses like these at CEAC are a great way of networking and drawing inspiration from others.

The transformation of materials into treasures was a desire obvious in Browne from an early age – a clear indicator was her girlhood wonder at the fairytale of Rumpelstiltskin and the spinning of straw into gold.   Ultimately, Browne is hopeful that Living the Arts may help people to alter and sharpen their vision and their perspective on life: to “…become more sensitive or mindful of 'the art' in everyday activities and be open to creative possibilities.”

The drive to be resourceful was also a natural impulse for Kaz Bos.  Like Browne, she was inspired by stories as a girl such as the quilted coat made from beautiful scraps for Joseph in the bible Bos, an all-round ‘crafty’ artisan, who specializes in jewellery, came from a very practical family where manual skills were a given.  Her mother was a leather-worker and her father, a thrifty Dutchman with impeccable carpentry skills, instilled a strong ‘waste-not-want-not’, ‘do it yourself’ ethos in his daughter. 

Fabric necklace Kaz Bos

Recycling –reusing – has been me since forever; this is partly from my thrifty up-bringing.  I fix everything, cut down old knitted jumpers and re-fashion them, and make cushions out of vintage ties...  Broken jewellery pieces, buttons, beads, vintage fabric, old family necklaces… these things I recycle for people into something they can treasure and wear or use.  Anything you do with your hands in this way is a gift of love, time and effort…

Perhaps unusually, it was a stranger who grudgingly taught her how to crochet.  This stranger at a retirement village was a “crusty old bat…who I remember distinctly as I sat behind her …”.  Intent on a gripping episode of Coronation Street, her hands busy with crochet, the attentions of an avid 10 year old were reluctantly received.  Nonetheless, this was the young Kaz’s first ‘instruction’ on handicraft.

Flour, flax, old textiles and broken jewellery are turned into ‘gold’, no less than the raw material of paint.  Pamela Wolfe employs paint, brush and sheer hard work.  Her visual catalyst is the blooming life immediately surrounding her house and home – the flowers in her garden.  The muscularity of her flowers projecting from dark backgrounds encourages the viewer and student to consider the still life genre in new ways.  The still life genre was a tradition that, by the 19th century, was associated with ladylike accomplishment.  A ‘lady painter’, she is not, any more so, she says, than painter of colourful gardens, Karl Maughan…

Pamela Wolfe 'Inseminator' 2010
Oil on canvas

Pamela Wolfe began painting from home when she had her first child.  The flexibility of the hours; “…you can choose your own hours”, and the companionship of her husband, art writer, Richard Wolfe, are two great benefits for this full-time artist. She notes the potential isolation of the studio; “Loneliness can be a problem for the self- employed, so having someone to talk to and have a coffee with makes all the difference.”

Pamela Wolf

Pamela also cuts through certain popular notions about art as a career, citing the common message in Richard Wolfe’s recent book ‘Artists at Work’, which addresses a misconception:
That anyone can do it.  It takes a lot of time and hard work, sometimes with little reward, but you do it because you are driven, and can't imagine your life without it.  It really takes an obsessive nature, and great determination. It is not about money, it’s about ideas and idealism. 

Likewise, her new tutoring role is about “giving back to the community”.  Wolfe says the idea took root in her mind and she thought, ‘Yes! [It’s] my time to take on a new challenge’. 

For all the women heading the Living the Arts workshops their arts and interests have become their living. None of them can imagine their lives without them.  Living the Arts is an opportunity to acquire the skills to enhance life.  The power to transform using ones hands in an accomplished way is both restorative and satisfying for the creator and equally meaningful for the viewer or receiver.

Kyla Mackenzie

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Summer School 2012 Interview Series: Alexis Neal on print-making and teaching


CEAC staff member Kyla Mackenzie interviews Alexis Neal in the lead-up to her Summer School class ‘Te Mata Kia Mahi ‘To Work the Surface’ in January 2012. Click here for a full description of Alexis’s class & enrolment details.

KM: I think I first saw your printmaking in the 1990s when you were producing beautiful, mysterious mezzotints of taonga – at that stage you had left Elam SFA and were studying at the Slade School of Art in London.  In what ways did being so far from home affect your print-making practice and perspective on yourself?

AN: I felt I needed to go and see things from another perspective to explore another side of my Identity and my placement within that context. And I achieved that, I come back a lot more confident in my ideas and had a better understanding or over sight of where my position could be developed.

KM:  Do you think there are still misconceptions about the medium of printmaking?  The word alone is often confused with straight reproductions.

AN: Unfortunately in New Zealand we are consistently defending Print and to educate the public is not an easy thing. The diversity of the medium and its layers is very technically demanding and challenging just for the artist alone, let alone the average person to understand the process. So yes the conversation between limited edition print verses reproduction is a difficult one. And it’s value.

KM: How has tutoring over the years affected your perspective on your own work – if at all?

AN: I have really enjoyed the teaching aspect as I love to share knowledge and its really rewarding when you see your students achieve their goals. It certainly has informed my practice and made me look at aspects of my own work, the directions I have gone through and the surfaces I have been creating.

'Exchange for a musket'

KM: You’ve got four days to get students into creating their own imagery: what do you enjoy about teaching others?

AN: Introducing students to new ways of working, asking them to consider layers and how they build those layers. Being resourceful with found materials, how they could use them within their work and just to experiment.

KM: How should or can students generate ideas? A work-book? 

AN: A work book is great as it is a place where we can develop our thoughts and working drawings, a place to store research in a particular area and a place to revisit later on. My self my studio wall has become that work book. But honestly I say to my students sometimes we need to work through the process to understand our ideas. Making mistakes, learning what doesn’t work and what does.

KM: What kinds of materials can add to the rich layering possible in printmaking? 

AN: Re- cycled materials like fabrics, organic surfaces, anything that can give you an impression. Multiply printing using a number of plates inked up and printed on top of each other creating constructed compositions. Chine Colle to collage or to add thin wasi Japanese paper can enhance areas of imagery.  

KM: What qualities do you think are particular to printmaking as opposed to painting?

AN: Firstly they are very different applications and processes, both giving very different effects. The surface quality, the subtly of constructed line and tone and the materials used on works on paper sits very different than paint on paper. The print allowing us the multiply, and the painting, the original.

KM: Alexis, you’ve claimed elsewhere that printmaking and its processes appealed to an organized, methodical person such as yourself.  Is there a balance to be found and encouraged between the method, procedure and the happy accidents along the way?

AN: I think you’re either attracted to print or not, for me I enjoy the technical layers as it allows me to develop my ideas through the process. And that unknown happy accident draws me in even more to discover ‘what if’?

KM:  How does one incorporate playfulness and spontaneity with the discipline of making editions of the same (consistent) image? 

AN: Well the edition is there to be challenged, but there is something quite rewarding when you have spent a lot of time working on plates, creating your relief layers and working out the order of what layers are going down first is where you start to see the work take shape. There’s a technique in getting things consistent. And to really answer your question, it’s in the mark making and the above surfaces that keep it playful and fresh.

KM: What do you find each process within printmaking offers to your own practice and development?  For example, a mysterious quality with the dark medium of mezzotint

AN: There has been a continuous area of research and investigation made so far in my career and sometimes print isn’t the best medium for my ideas. But print is the backbone of my practice and it informs everything else that I do. I see print as my working drawings, but those drawings have been made on plates allowing me to manipulate in any way, giving me options. But I have chosen certain print processes because I am seduced by the velvety black of a mezzotint, I am seduced by the layers I can create through woven surfaces and the endless possibilities of what if.

KM: What elements do you feel make a picture, regardless of medium, compelling?   Meaningful concepts or rich allusions for example, or can a work stand on its formal elements alone?

AN: Content is really important to me and good execution of those ideas. Sometimes we can’t always get it right but if you demand the viewer to look closely at your work I believed it has worked on some level. 

KM: What would you like to see in terms of raising the profile for print medium in New Zealand – to receive the same reception and exposure as painting?

AN: I think it’s about time that the big gallery institutions start putting print shows together that celebrate how rich print is in New Zealand. We need to show case celebrity artists working in print through to emerging artists and community based artists all in the some space. I’m in the process of curating a Works on Paper show at Art Station in October 4th where I will be installing print within a large Poutama wall installation to start that conversation.
I think also maybe the more established galleries should be show casing print more to meet the market and to educate them. We are in a turbulent time where most people can’t afford to buy an original painting and that’s where print should come in, making it more assessable to the public to purchase at an affordable price depending on the edition size and who the artist is.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Up close and personal with some of Peter Sauerbiers work…

Over the next few weeks I will be having a closer look at some of Peter’s work from our current exhibition, Re-Made: the Assembled World of Peter Sauerbier.
First up is the many spouted oversized teapot aptly named Almost Functional. I love this work and the story behind it (see below in Peter’s own words). Personally, it puts me in mind of the Mad Hatters Tea Party or some sort of magical pot used to concoct potions and spells.

If we jump back to real life though, part of the charm of Peter’s work is figuring out what all the pieces are from and where he may have got them.

The brass jardinière’s original use would have been as a plant pot, probably placed outdoors on a porch or in a landscaped garden setting. The legs and top were from two different Edwardian lamps – electric lighting was only just being introduced into homes during the Edwardian period (1901 – 1910) and would also have been limited to those who could afford it so the lamps would have been originally very expensive items. The stylised plant/leaf motifs decorating the brass lid of the pot are Art Nouveau and are likely to have come from a Tiffany style lamp, popular during the Edwardian time period.

My stepfather pointed out to me that the small dangling bell like objects on the bottom are probably curtain weights – he remembers having something similar on the bottom of the curtains in his parents ‘front room’ when he was a child – they were used to keep the curtains from blowing about when the windows were open.

The fabulous clawed feet, from a different, possibly silver plated lamp, are particularly anthropomorphic, making me wonder if Almost Functional has a life of its own… I wouldn’t be surprised if it comes to life at night and has a wander around the gallery, chatting to Peter’s bird sculptures on its way!

Lisa Rogers

Almost Functional
Materials: Brass Jardinière (approx 100 year old), Top: Cast iron door knobs, Legs and Top: Part of Edwardian lamp, Hanging: Lid from lamp fittings, Victorian kerosene lamp, pewter coffee pot spouts, gas pipe tubing.

“My favourite place for fossicking among the junk and second hand items is at flea markets. On one occasion I was browsing as usual when I asked an old man what was in a cardboard box he had on his stall. He said “How do I know, have a look for yourself,” so I opened it to discover 14 tea or coffee pot spouts. A find like that absolutely made my day. A few weeks later I saw an old lady setting out her bits and pieces, amongst which I noticed an old brass flower pot. It was really on its way out, so I didn’t take much notice at the time, but a bit later I realised I could use it to make the 14 spouted coffee pot! I went straight back but it seemed to have been sold. Then I saw it in her van and she said that when I had asked the price she had changed her mind about selling such an old family heirloom. It had been in the family for about a century and she couldn’t bear to part with it. However when I told her what I had in mind to do with it I could see the twinkle in her eyes and she said, “It’s all yours.”

Peter Sauerbier

Monday, July 11, 2011

Q &A with New Art Tutor Kathryn Stevens

Kathryn Stevens

'Pulse', 1200 x 1000mm oil on canvas 2010

Viewfinder at bath st 2008

“Painting ... is just so... open and endless. Painting can be anything that you want it to be."

Kyla Mackenzie interviews CEAC's new tutor Kathryn Stevens in the lead-up to her Adult Art Classes in August. Click HERE for the full class descriptions and enrolment details.

KM: You will be launching a new beginners 6 week art class at Corban Estate Art Centre from 17 August to 21st September; after 10 years of teaching painting and drawing, what are some of things that you enjoy most about teaching others?

KS: The thing I enjoy most is students surprising themselves, both in what they can achieve and in how much fun they can have in the process.

KM: What do you start with first when teaching beginners?

KS: I start very much at the beginning, with building practical drawing skills, learning to really look at whatever it is you are drawing, and gaining trust in your creative process.

KM: You like your students to loosen up and play; what are some of the exercises you teach to allow the creative process to flow?

KS: I think that creative flow is about engaging with painting in a curious way so I like to work on developing that curiosity. To approach painting with a desire to find out ‘what happens if...’

KM: What are the best ways to overcome painter’s or artist’s ‘block’?

KS: New materials or even just a new paint colour can change the game enough to get the ideas going again.

KS: The most important thing though is to just keep showing up and doing the work regardless of, in fact especially, if you have that feeling that you aren’t getting anywhere. Working always generates the inspiration and ideas not the other way around.

KM: Are there other areas of ‘play’ or hobbies that you enjoy?

KS: Making things with my seven year old daughter, cardboard, glue, paint etc...

Learning anything new.


Gardening, I like to keep a vege garden and even when I don’t get much time in it I love the fact that it is growing and I can walk out and pick something to add to a meal.

KM: What are some good working habits for artists to learn?

KS: To make time and space for your art making and then just stick to it.

KM: What value do you place on the creative process for a person’s overall happiness?

KS: Being creatively active is normal and essential and benefits us in most areas of our lives. People are usually happier, more stimulated and better to be around when they are creatively engaged.

KM: What was the catalyst or catalysts for your own foray into art making? You began with engineering..., so what made you change tack?

KS: My studying engineering was largely as a result of being directed (at School) in an academic direction, and at that time that was to the exclusion of art. I guess the catalyst for the change was pretty much dissatisfaction and a determination to find my right place.

KM: You’re also a make-up artist for the fashion and advertising worlds – do you find there’s any overlap between the layers of colour and texture that you play with in both fields?

KS: I guess there is but they never seem linked to me. Painting for me is just so much more open and endless. Painting can be anything that you want it to be. Everything about my painting is driven and evolved by me and that makes it ultimately challenging and rewarding.

KM: What are you looking forward to most with this new course at Corban Estate Art Centre?

KS: I just love starting people off on the journey of painting, and showing them that they can do it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Donna Sarten wins the Fieldays No. 8 Wire National Art Awards 2011

High art and agricultural products are not things which are normally associated with one another but that is the beauty of the Fieldays No. 8 Wire National Art competition.

No. 8 wire is not easily malleable, it’s a difficult material to work with and it takes months to create a sculpture, but when an artist can create something faced with such complications, you can be sure it’s something spectacular.
No. 8 Wire National Art Awards takes the humble kiwi invention and asks artists to put an innovative spin on it.

Judge Carole Shepherd chose Donna Sarten’s work from amongst 14 other finalists; Shepheard said she found ‘Unsolved’ to be beautiful and mesmerizing.
“It is a work that that genuinely stirs the imagination and challenges ones understanding of both art and the law. It is successful in a way that most influential political work is. It raises the issue, creates the structure to best explore the idea and leaves some questions for the viewer to resolve.”

Shepheard commented on the obvious attention to detail that Sarten had given and labour intensity that the piece took in its construction; “It shows a real tenacity, doggedness and commitment to the clear uncompromising concept. This work speaks of justice and conscience as much as it does contemporary art. It also goes beyond speaking of a specific event in New Zealand’s criminal history to the more pressing concern of child abuse and neglect."


41 years ago there was no bigger story in New Zealand than the killing of Jeanette and Harvey Crewe.

Killed in their Pukekawa farmhouse and dumped in the Waikato river, the murders cast a shadow over rural life in a country proud of its farming heritage.

The Crewe's daughter Rochelle was found crying in her cot 5 days after the couple died. An innocent man was jailed for the crime and then pardoned.

The case remains unsolved.