In many cultures cats are mystical creatures, and some believed they were really fairies or goblins in disguise. If you stare deeply into a cat’s eyes, you will see visions of the fairy world which is spying on us through those eyes…
I had a pleasure to meet Michael O’Donnell of Tarariki Pottery. For his own words he is a clay worker, but he is known as an artist, environmentalist, storyteller and catalyst. In his own unique way he has learned to walk the path of the old peoples of New Zealand and Ireland.
He is one of those rare characters able to move from the world of nature and primordial language of ecology, to be in the classroom for children, university students, concert rooms or galleries where his exhibitions tell story from the ordinary (to the extraordinary).
Some know Michael as the ‘Waterman’. He has carried his clay water jars containing the waters of life to numerous parts of the world. He most recently appeared in the film documentary ‘The Water Whisperers’.
In this picture I am standing right next to his sculpture series ‘Guardians’. Aren’t they wonderful! Michael explains that these were “in response to an overwhelming sadness that we weren’t listening to what the land, sky and water were saying!”
Winter was coming, storms were predicted and Susan had a large work to build in a hurry. The carport was no longer going to be tenable so she needed to figure out something soon. Susan decided to ‘wrap’ the shed with a purchase of Gladwrap roll from Bunnings for $32.00. Twenty minutes later she had a light-filled, warm, dry and breeze-free studio.
Susan reckons that with the double-glaze-like wrapping it is warmer in the studio than in her “winter freeze-box” of a kitchen.
Have a closer look at it from page: http://www.susanstlawrenceceramics.com/news.html
On Saturday, we had an open day, when the studio was open for everyone. The idea is to collect money for the community and support workshop’s activities. We had multiple events this day such as a lottery, raku firing, demonstration on a potter’s wheel, and other family friend activities 🙂
This yearly ‘Open Day’- festival is a great way to gain visibility as well as raising money for the maintenance
I promised to do assisting on a potter’s wheel which was mostly guiding the children (and some adults too) in throwing.
Waikato Potter’s workshop!
Table for glazing ceramic pieces for Raku firing.
Our talented Fenella gave demonstrations on a wheel. Kids learning throwing. ‘Lucky Dip’ get an early Christmas gift. ‘Slippery dip’ find a token and get a surprise winning.
Phew! These seven weeks have gone really fast.
I started ‘The Birth of Daylight’- project by collecting data, manufacture ideas by sketching and painting. I needed to get to know the folktale better, understand the culture, discover the characters and pick my favorite schemes of the story.
I’ve photographed a lot, and updated my blog with these pictures how I have made progress in this project, but I have not really told anything about the Waikato pottery or where I live at the moment.
First of all, I live in Waikato region, Hamilton, where a population is around 220,000. This city is divided into two: the old section (where you can find a museum, art galleries and yuppie shops for wealthy) and the new area (young people appropriate this region cause of the shopping malls).
Hamilton, Rotorua lake.
Hamilton is a lovely small city. Reminds me little bit Finland: rivers, lakes, nature. Friendly people. However here is also awful lot of industrial site where you can find hardware stores, car repair shops, fast food chains, and other every man’s (and ceramicists) dream building tool stores.
I live in an old area, at ceramic artist’s Susan St Lawrence’s place. She is from Auckland. She has lived in Hamilton for three years now, and likes it here more than in Auckland. The reasons for this mainly are shorter distances and simple way to create professional networks, and new friendships.
In any case, Waikato ceramics facilities are not far away from Susan’s place. 2.7 kilometre journey passes quickly every day to the workshop which is good for my kind of lazy athlete.
Hamilton isn’t the bike friendliest cities thought. Need to be really careful that you won’t get hit by a car. It seems that owning a car here is quite necessary, if you would like stay here more permanently. It surely is the safest and most secure way to move around.
Although Susan’s house is comfortable to stay in, I still find myself feeling a little bit awkward occasionally. You know, staying another person’s house in a guest bedroom three months. Everyone has their own personal routines and habits.
I suffer slightly obsessed cleaning (thanks to my biological mother’s and step mother’s cleaning habits). So I normally tempt to keep everything tidy and clean. This time I try to hold myself back, because I realize that this is not my house. I can’t just take the control and keep stepping someone else’s territory. I only tidy and clean a guest room, and of course clean up my own mess from a kitchen.
Three months living without normal daily cleaning routines is quite challenging. Even though I have my own room and privacy I still miss personal time all alone. This is not exactly living like in student halls where you can just shut down other roomies by closing the door. Unfortunately I am kind of lonely wolf, who enjoys alone time awfully lot. Not everyone can understand that and sometimes it is considered being rude.
However it is so far so good. It has been alright last month and a half.
New Zealand Spring is full of surprises! When I arrived here the weather was so cold that I had to wear two pyjama bottoms and sleep with a fleece jacket on. Next thing I knew the weather was boiling hot and I got sunburned! Spring surely here is dodgy. I don’t go anywhere without my back bag filled with raincoat, sunglasses, sketchbook, pencils and water bottle.
Waikato Society of Potters is the Waikato’s leading pottery teaching center. They offer a range of classes to suit all abilities, click on classes to learn more. Waikato’s pottery club activities range from trips to visit potter’s studios, exhibitions, Raku and wood firings and open days.
Also The Waikato Society of Potters has an active resident potters program. The objective of the WSP Resident Potter’s program is to nurture an emerging potter into a more professional practicing artist with support from the members and staff of the WSP. In exchange the Resident Potter will help promote the WSP to the public and engage with the members and students of the WSP.
It is a two way relationship; the Resident Potter gaining access to experience, skills and equipment and the WSP benefiting from your enthusiasm and commitment to the craft of pottery. There is an expectation that the successful candidate for the Resident Potter’s position will be able to commit to a set number of hours per week that they will be in attendance in the space.
Currently they have 4 residents, and I am the fifth, ‘over seas’, resident (known as the Finnish girl). What I like most about here is the friendly and kind atmosphere: Encouraging, sharing and helpful people. I have got to know so many wonderful potters and artists, so it has been hard not to enjoy my time here.
Link to Susan St Lawrence website:
Link to Waikato Potter’s website: