Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ellerslie Flower show and Bisque

I have just returned from a few days away in Christchurch (New Zealand). Whilst there Laura and I went to the Ellerslie Flower show with her parents who were "down" from the North Island. The number of people at the show was astonishing, and queues of people formed human snakes of enormous length to the displays in the marquees; so long, in fact, that I suspect that people joining the queues had no idea of where they were going, and may have ceased to care!

The media reports played up the success of the Show, after all, So many people attending must mean that it was a great event..., right?? And maybe there are people who like big crowds and walking ever-so-slowly in a queue.

Watching the people moving so slowly reminded me of a walking meditation technique described to me by Buddhist friend of mine, so maybe there were health or spiritual benefits for those who took part! I didn't take part in the human snakes or crocodiles which may explain my own state of health and spirits, but I looked at the many trade stalls around the grounds, some of the show gardens, and an exhibition of garden sculpture.

Lit by the afternoon sun, the magnificent purple and brown scaly trunks of some huge and beautiful pine trees rather tended to steal my attention away from the sculpture. In such a place garden sculpture had to be large. A few pieces were large enough, notably two large stone sculptures by a friend of mine, Doug Neil, but most sculpture seemed to me to be too small to compete with the drama of the trees or the bustle of the crowds, much as I liked some of it.

Seeing this did rather give a lesson on the importance of scale. I suspect that, for exhibitions, it is generally best to make things very large or very, very small to have an impact visually and emotionally.

I have got a bisque firing in my electric kiln on the go as I write this. I returned from Christchurch last night at about 8.45pm after a bus journey that started at 3pm. Hard, sweaty smelling seats, hot sun, the cool air not working. Two passengers who disappeared half way at a rest stop, never to return, probably thinking they were at their destination, but in fact, quite some miles short of it. A stop to pick up broken furniture off the road that had fallen off a trailer that was being towed by a car. The heater not working after the sun went down. An out of balance shaking between 35 and 40 mph. It was an adventurous journey, but the bus driver was friendly, and I think all the passengers felt sorry for her.

After a phone call to Laura, who was still in Christchurch, and a mug of drinking chocolate, I spent an hour or so getting some pots ready for the bisque firing. I gave up around 10 at night, and got the rest of the kiln load ready in the morning. I was a bit annoyed at myself as to how untidy I had left some of the work after putting on handles. I had a lot of dry cluggy finger marks and globs of clay to scrape and sponge off prior to being able to load the kiln. All that should have been taken care of much earlier in the process, just after the handles were put on in fact. The photo with this post is of some of my pots in my studio last night being made ready for bisque firing.

I will be setting up a display in the window of the Stuart Street Potters Cooperative in Dunedin first thing tomorrow morning. I have been a member of the 12 potter strong co-op since last April. I will write about it soon.


e said...

Good luck with your display, Peter! You and your wife have lovely blogs, which I might not have seen but for your comment on my blog after reading Matt's. Thank you for your kind words and please feel free to pop by again.

Peter said...

Thanks for that, E. Lovely to hear from you. Welcome to our site. P.

jimmy said...

As a recent collector of pottery, and an artist myself, I must say I will be following your writings and looking forward to more glorious photos... jimmy

Peter said...

Thanks Jimmy, really nice to hear from you. My wife loves gardening (and reading about gardening), and we had the pleasure of attending a slide lecture that Christopher Lloyd gave in Dunedin quite a few years ago, and were much taken with his wisdom and humour. It was wonderful for us to find your blog site
and to find your connection with Great Dixter and to see your photos.
Regards, P.