|Evening Light on the Spring-time garden.|
One afternoon 17 or 18 years ago I found that we had visitors, strangers, a couple, maybe 60ish. They came unannounced, but greeted me warmly and explained they had seen a painting of mine that a friend had bought at an exhibition, and they wondered if they could have a look at some more.
Introducing themselves as Colin and Jeanette, they followed me through to my studio, and I remember how much I enjoyed their company. Both asked interesting and intelligent questions, and actually gave me time to answer (not everyone does!), and it was fun pulling out paintings for them to look at. They also seemed interested in my process of painting, and I took them into the innermost part of my studio, where I really worked, and talked to them about the egg tempera painting and encaustic wax painting that I was doing at the time. In their company I immediately felt encouraged and valued as a person and an artist.
Anyway, one thing lead to another, and they did buy a painting from me, and quite late in the visit I found out that Colin was involved in some capacity at Otago University in the English Department.
|"The Royal Hunt of the Sun", encaustic wax painting by Peter Gregory.|
Later..., I discovered that Colin was Professor of English at the time and was well known for his hymn music. Jeanette also was a highly accomplished and creative person, some time I would love to put a photo or two on the blog of her exquisite needlework.
One of the large pots in the last wood firing was especially important, as Colin commissioned me to make it for Jeanette's 80th birthday. Two weeks ago we had a delightful visit from Colin and Jeanette, and their son Marcus.
We had a little birthday celebration for Jeanette (somewhat past the actual date, but at 80 a few weeks of celebrating is well deserved!).
|I hope it is a large chocolate Easter egg.... !|
I was nervous about the pot, commissions are not easy, but they seemed delighted with it, and Marcus sent me a lovely photo of the pot now at home where Jeanette can enjoy it.
|The pot, in its new home. Photo Marcus Gibson.|
Another unexpected pleasure has been the result of a visit I had one afternoon recently. Mostly, when people ask if I give lessons, I say "no". This is because I really don't have the space available in my studio to teach, or to store student's work, and I am not sure if I really have the time. However, after saying "no", this time I then said a cautious "yes", and what was going to be teaching two girls some lessons to help them get started on the potter's wheel, has become a lesson for them, their younger brother, and their mother.
I find myself really looking forward to the time that I have with them on a Sunday afternoon. It is very good having people in the studio enjoying working with clay, and rapidly making things. I feel happier, I even think that this Old Post Office building seems happier!
In some respects having others working with clay in my studio is like having extra pairs of eyes and hands to discover more things that can be done with clay, more than I would ever find out with only my hands and eyes.
I think that teaching is not only about what I can pass on to someone else, but the most important part is located in what we can discover together.
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Hebrews 13.2 (King James Bible).