09 December 2016

Meeting Online Potter Friends and Travels to the Land of the Long White Cloud

My husband and I were thankful to be able to still take our long awaited holiday after dealing with a death in the family.  We had such a nice time it has helped to soften my grief.

We had been to the North Island of New Zealand before but this was our first visit to the South Island.

We flew into Christchurch and were surprised to see just how much devastation the series of earthquakes just a few years ago (2011 being the main one) had on the city. More about that event here: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/page/christchurch-earthquake-kills-185 ).  Whole city blocks were flattened and buildings sunk.  We took a bus tour and got a much better idea than the small images you see on your TV screen.  The city is doing a marvellous job in rebuilding.

Anglican Cathedral November 2016 - parts were also demolished after the quake for safety.

One of the few high rise still standing November 2016
 Just a few days after we left town there was another earthquake further north which has cut roads and rail and one small townKaikoura, was completely isolated with the navy coming in to evacuate 1200 tourists who were caught there.  While the locals did a marvellous job in looking after them provisions were fast running out.

We were happy to be on the other side of the country when that one happened.

Just by chance the bus tour started from outside the museum so we had a look around and would you believe it, I found a local pottery exhibition!

The Canterbury Potters have an annual exhibition/competition for their members. Link to their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/CanterburyPottersAssociation/

I had a nice chat with Mary Lou Foate who made these leaping fish bowls:
Some of the other works I admired follow:

Entrance to the gallery room

Wall piece by Lynette Hartley

Textured bowls by Renata Galetzka

Lidded Vessels by the Guest Judge Brendan Adams

We then drove to the West side of the island to a place called Hokitika
The amount of driftwood and tree trunks on the beach was astounding...
Hokitika Beach NZ

Fox Glacier - New Zealand showing walking track

Fox Glacier - New Zealand showing the dark grey of the glacier wall
Being late Spring the weather was warming up and we had the warmest day yet for our walk.  They say an hour for the walk but we took longer but then we did stop often to admire the view.

From there it was onto the ski resort town of Queenstown which is on a beautiful lake.

the mountain peaks were often covered by cloud  - view across Lake Wakatipu

You can start to see why New Zealand is called the land of the long white cloud.
View from restaurant above the town

to keep the town active in the summer they have encouraged Mountain Bike Riding tours.

while we were eating our meal we could watch the gondolas bringing the mountain bikes to the top of the mountain.

We also did a lake cruise and farm visit, a jet boat trip and a nice walk around the botanic gardens.  

another of those long white clouds below the snow capped mountain as we headed across Lake Wakatipu

At the end of the week it was time to head for the East Coast again and to the town of Dunedin. Yes there is a strong Scottish tradition in this part of New Zealand. (see picture of memorial below)

It was great to meet up with Danny Moorwood who has his home studio just out of town.
Here is a link to his website: http://www.dannymoorwood.co.nz/

Danny and his wife, made my husband and I very welcome and I had the pleasure of seeing his collection of work, past and present.  The beautiful red and gold vessel on the second shelf down in the following picture was my birthday present from my husband and was carefully packed into my carry on luggage to get it home.

Collection of Danny's works, past and present

Danny's pots are very special and I feel as though this one should have a name...

Danny was generous enough to show me his workshop and I came away with a useful tip... I do use chucks to trim the bases on my bottle shapes however Danny bisque fires his and then paints them, to avoid the vessel being trimmed, from sticking to the chuck. I'm going to have to try that idea.  WHOOPS! EDIT NEEDED: Danny tells me I got it the wrong way around:  "the thing with the chuck is that you paint it so that leather hard pot and the support ring of clay you apply, grip on to the chuck. They won’t if it is porous"  Thanks for setting me straight Danny.
bisque fired chuck for turning narrow necked forms
While in Dunedin we visited the Albatross Sanctuary, the early settlers memorial and the steepest street!

Seagulls nesting in the grass near the walkway at the Albatross Sanctuary 

Impressive Memorial on Signal Hill above the town  commemorates the early settlers and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi is an agreement, written in both Māori and English, between the British Crown and Māori chiefs in 1840.)

one of the many beautiful Rhododendron trees around the island
This flowering Rhododendron was on the steepest street in Dunedin. Where ever we went there seemed to be a flowering Rhododendron in colours from white to red and even a yellow.

The next day we visited the second potter on my must meet list.

Peter Gregory publishes the blog called Peter's Pottery - here is the link: http://opopots.blogspot.com.au/

We have been following each others blogs for a few years now and it was so good to be able to meet in Real Life as they say ...

Peter and his wife Laura run the gallery at the Old Post Office building in Waikouaiti not far north of Dunedin.  They made us very welcome and even had some homemade scones ready for us.  Then Laura made me some special gluten free pikelets... so very generous of her.

Peter showed me around his workshop and I was very taken with his wheel which has been modified to be able to use it while standing (much easier on a potter's back).

great adjustable shelving in Peter's workshop

Peter's wheel is raised so it can be used while standing

the platform has been made from a motor cycle lift stand
I was also shown the wood fire kiln in the backyard which Peter has rejigged a number times... the surrounding garden is amazing.. I've never seen so many aquilegia in so many colours...

I was running out of room in my luggage by now but brought home one of Peter's pretty tiles and one of Laura's attractive cards plus Peter gave me one of his test vessels... I'll let him tell you how he makes those.. very clever.

The time just flew by with the men finding plenty to talk about while Laura and I checked out the kilns and garden... thank you Peter and Laura for a lovely time and your friendly hospitality.

Outside the gallery, left to right, Peter, Laura and my husband, Mike.

we didn't get inside as we were late arriving but love the gadgets hanging off this old engine

Our next stop was at Oamaru, the steam punk capital - see link herehttp://steampunkoamaru.co.nz/

The old part of the town has been taken over to show off all sorts of steam engines and steam punk fashion and other creations... the local playground is a great example of what can be done with the support of creative souls
the swing set is also a sculpture - Oamaru NZ

Akaroa harbour from dolphin watching boat.
We did a few more touristy things before heading back to Christchurch and home... I can recommend a trip to the small town of Akaroa where we did a dolphin watch trip which goes just outside the harbour into the Pacific Ocean.  The town was originally settled by the French by a party of settlers who arrived too late to claim the land for the French government as the English had already claimed it.  This was before they signed the Treaty of Waitangi.

We saw dolphins plus fur seals and nesting birds on the cliffs. 

All in all a great holiday with thanks to some great potters.


Elephant's Child said...

It sounds and looks restorative and lovely. I am so glad.
And love your birthday gift and Peter's test vessel has me intrigued.

Peter said...

Hi Anna,
Delightful to see your photos and account of your trip to New Zealand. I was thrilled to see that this shaky country still looks a lovely place to visit. Great that you visited Danny, he makes lovely things and has been a real encouragement to me over the years. Very pleased to see the photos of my adjustable wheel, I've been meaning to post about it for ages and hope that the idea will help others with creaky backs and the like. Laura's garden continues to be a mad sea of colour, now the old fashioned roses are celebrating life, rain and sunshine! Kind Thoughts from us to you and Mike.

gz said...

thanks for a really informative and enjoyable post..we're heading for NZ soon and hope to see Peter some time

Anna said...

Hi Elephant's Child - thank you it was lovely.. Peter's test is tailor made for Crystalline glazes.

Anna said...

Hi Peter - its nice that you and Danny know and respect each other's work. I might put something about your wheel setup in the Port Hacking Potters next newsletter too. It's a simple solution to a difficult problem. Enjoy the roses and thanks again to you and Laura for a lovely visit.

Anna said...

Hi gz
I am sure you will feel right at home in NZ there are all sorts of UK influences that have not survived in NSW such as black birds and sparrows.. Peter's gallery is worth the visit!