Herding penguins . . . Timaru artist Annie Lambourne is selling her pottery penguins to raise money to help to keep little blue penguins safe. PHOTO: SHELLEY INON

by Shelley Inon

Pottery penguins are being sold to raise funds to protect their flightless friends.

Timaru artist Annie Lambourne is selling her penguin pottery collection at the Aigantighe Art Gallery to raise funds for Timaru Penguins, a group that looks after the welfare of the little blue penguins that live around Marine Parade.

The collection of penguins, all with individual characteristics, are hand-crafted to represent different occupations and characters including a doctor, a superhero and a mummy.

Mrs Lambourne liked to see how the penguin turned out after creating it and then asked herself, “What is this character?”.

One had a sinister look to it, so it had become a pirate, while another had a snubbed beak which made her think of a baby.

“They almost create themselves.”

Although Mrs Lambourne had studied art, pottery was new to her.

Paddling about .. Two of the penguin collection playing about at Caroline Bay. PHOTO: SHELLEY INON


When her mother died three years ago, Mrs Lambourne had suffered artist’s block and really wanted to find something new.

A friend had been getting rid of a kiln, which Mrs Lambourne decided to try.

She was hoping at least 25% of the proceeds of the pottery project would go to Timaru Penguins, to help construct a better fence.

As penguins had to deal with dogs, families and people wanting “selfies for Instagram”, Mrs Lambourne felt the money was going to a good cause.

“And on top of that they have the port to contend with.”

She said her daughter feared she would become Timaru’s crazy penguin lady “wearing orange shoes and walking funny”.

Mrs Lambourne said she had never suffered for her art, “but my family has”.

She recalled a time when she had been creating a driftwood artwork and almost killed her husband.

A nail from a nail gun had shot through a piece of driftwood and missed his head by an inch.

There was also the time she had collected her children from school and tried to fit them in the car alongside a six-foot soldier made out of wire.

There are 20 penguins in the collection, but she is adding to it all the time.

They cost $100 each.