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!