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Creations . . . South Canterbury Pottery Group representatives Jennifer Queree and Julian Maze show off some of the pottery creations set to be on show and sale at the group's upcoming exhibition. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Greta Yeoman

The art of pottery is having a resurgence, South Canterbury Pottery Group member Jennifer Queree says.

The group, which is based in White St, Timaru, includes new potters, long-standing clay creators and people who have returned to the craft, Ms Queree said.

“As a potter you have to not mind getting dirt all over your hands.”

She said there was an art to learning how to “throw it, work it, fire it and glaze it”.

It was important to make sure a piece was completely dried before it was put in the kiln, otherwise it would “explode”.

Secretary Julian Maze said the group’s upcoming exhibition would demonstrate the wide variety of creations, clays and glazes that potters could use and create.

He said there had definitely been an uptake in people’s interest in pottery.

“Everyone has a creative streak.”

“You can’t deform [pottery] until you can throw perfectly and then know how to deform it.”

Ms Queree agreed, saying it was a “quite therapeutic” practise.

Mr Maze also enjoyed the local element of using clay from Temuka in his works.

The three main types of clay are earthenware, stoneware and porcelain.

Creating pottery was a bigger process than just shaping a work, whether with a wheel or freehand, as potters then had to fire the works in a kiln, glaze it and the often fire it again.

He praised a student member’s collection of bowls on display in White St ahead of the exhibition, which were almost exactly all the same size, something that was quite an “accomplishment” for a beginner potter.

“It’s much more difficult than you think.”

Mr Maze said there was an art to deformed pottery creations.

“You can’t deform until you can throw perfectly and then know how to deform it.”

The exhibition will feature 68 creations by current students, their tutors – many of whom were students of other pottery group members years ago, and respected artists from around New Zealand. Tutor Marita Bool was now offering two weeknight classes in the White St premises, while Oamaru-based potter David Atkinson would come up on a Sunday afternoon to take a class.

The collection of almost 70 pieces, out of 90 entered by group members and other potters, were selected by Christchurch-based potter Tatyanna Meharry, who was one of two selectors. The other guest selector was Rick Rudd, from Whanganui, who would also exhibit a range of works – fired earthenware teapots. There would also be artworks by two guest artists, Judith Cordeaux and Sandie Davies.

Well-regarded South Canterbury potter Pat Currie will have several works on display, as will sculptor and York St Gallery owner Debbie Templeton-Page.

“Different artists pop up as potters,” Ms Queree said.

The South Canterbury Pottery Group exhibition will be held at the Aigantighe Art Gallery from September 7-22.