Monday, July 27, 2015

Rising from the Winter Sleep!

Wrapped up against the cold.
It has been hard to find words for the blog over the last month or two, but I have made a start today, maybe spring isn't so far away now and I am rising from my winter torpor!

One winter, a few years ago, I found a sleeping hedgehog all tightly packaged in a nest of grass that it has rolled around itself to keep out the cold. I had been trying to bring some order to a rather wild part of the garden where long grass grew under some trees. I felt sad for having disturbed the hedgehog, so covered him up again carefully, and left that part of the garden alone so that the hedgehog, and any friends that he might have had, could sleep on untroubled by any human activity.

Probably the words, "hibernation" and "New Zealand" don't associate all that well, as we are not famous for the sort of climate or selection of animals that really require a lot of hibernation! Go for a walk in the high country, and you won't find a slumbering bear snuggled up in a quiet corner somewhere, because we don't have them... bears that is. We do have bats that hibernate, but hardly anyone has seen a NZ bat, except on the cricket field... and that is something different!

Skeletal seed pods of New Zealand Flax (Phormium tenax)
Our winter, though mild, does affect human behavior. There is a tendency to "hunker down" and look inward. To retreat. In the small towns, shops go quiet, there are still cars on the road, people travelling from A to B, doing what they have to do, but few stop. I do not think there is less time to stop, but there is less desire! I often listen to the breathy rush of cars going past, and the snort and snarl of trucks, and wonder where they all go. I guess that most are people driving to the city to work, and back home to sleep. Work. Sleep.... Rush, Shush.

Orange, black, brown, ochre, purple and grey. Colours of winter.
The sun is rising on a new day as I write this. Two minutes ago the sky was blue grey bleeding blood red near the horizon, and now it is all shades of purple and violet that warm through to salmon pink. 
I like the winter sky. Grey is often more interesting than blue!

I have done very little actual potting since I last posted, but there have been some useful improvements made to the studio and gallery area here. With help from our friend Mark, a store room was made, so that there is a place to put finished pots, and pots that are waiting to be glazed. I reorganized the two small rooms that make up my potting studio. The wheels are all in one room now, and most of the glaze materials, and shelves to dry work are in the other. The gallery where we display our art is slightly smaller, but visitors say that it looks lighter and fresher.

I turned some old drawers into shelves for the wall, and it is nice to be able to make a special uncluttered display of some pots, without them being all jumbled together with the others.

Laura has been starting to paint and draw again, and does most of that sitting close to the pot-belly stove in the studio. We are planning a little private space for her to work in, and will commence sorting that one out in the near future.


srgb said...

Nice to see you post again Peter and to know Laura has a paint brush in her hand, here in Whakatane we too are having a winter where its nice to be indoors earlier at the end of the day, many days start with a thick frost and the lake I walk is showing many moods different to summer I revert to childhood as I walk through the thick carpet of fallen leaves, I thought I could detect new buds on some trees but like the hedgehog I expect they will wait for spring to show new colours, but what a show of colour we have had so different from that big city I used to live in and not a queue of traffic to be seen anywhere.
Keep warm Peter say Hi to Laura.

Arkansas Patti said...

It is wonderful to see your post. I have been thinking about you and Laura. You had mentioned she was having a rough go and I am so pleased that she is painting again. Hope she has mended completely.
I love what you have done with your studio. Your amazing pieces really stand out.
It is so hard to think of you being in the cold. It has been over 100 F for weeks now. We are just as house bound by the heat as you all are by the cold. Thank goodness for Spring and Fall.
My best wishes and good thoughts for my NZ friends. Be well, happy and take good care.

Peter said...

Good Morning Bob,
How nice to hear from you. I enjoyed your mention of reverting to childhood when walking through a thick carpet of fallen leaves, and that you are noticing the new buds that are waiting for spring, and the new palette of colours that are out in the world that is well away from the city! Away from the rush, it is so good to experience the pleasure of being able to see and marvel at the little things that are all around, if only we could stop to notice them! The move to Whakatane seems to have been a very good one for you. I have passed on your kind thoughts to Laura :)

Hi Patti,
Lovely to hear from you. I am sorry that I disappeared off the blog for a while, I was thinking of you quite a bit too, and should have been in touch. Laura is much, much better than she was, and it is good to hear the patter of her feet around the house, and to see her doing a little light gardening outside. She had quite major surgery so it will take quite a while for muscles to strengthen and things to heal fully, but she is coping well with every day things now, and she is enjoying painting again, which is great to see.

Melissa Rohrer said...

The display space is very nice. The paintings and your pottery are a wonderful combination!

Michèle Hastings said...

Good to hear from you! The gallery looks beautiful. The repurposed drawers look great.

Peter said...

Hi Melissa,
Good to hear from you. The paintings are by Laura and do look really nice with the pottery.

Hi Michèle,
Nice to be back again! It was wonderful to find a use for the drawers, and they are doing a good job so far... the only trouble is that they are a very tempting challenge to Nigella Stopit, who is showing signs of wanting to explore them!

Anna said...

Hi Peter Good to have you back on the blog and to hear of Laura's recovering enough to start painting again. Having your studio rearranged sounds good and your display looks great. A bit cold in Sydney too... our maximum temps last about an hour in the late afternoon :( roll on Spring!

Linda Starr said...

So glad to hear Laura is doing better, lovely photos of the winter sky and the hedgehog left to his slumber. from your words I can almost feel you stretching and waking up from a winter sleep. wow the gallery space is super and the drawers as display is an excellent idea, and your blog has a different look too, I like it.

Peter said...

Hi Anna,
It is lovely to have Laura painting again! We had a day out today, and were entertained by great views of a dramatic winter sky that became more threatening the closer we got to home. There is already snow on the hills that fell last night, and more snow expected tonight. August is getting near the end of winter here, but we often get some of the most extreme weather about now.

Hi Linda,
Good to hear from you. Glad you like the "new look" blog! I decided to freshen it up a little, and also (hopefully) encourage it to load a bit faster on smart phones and other small devices that people seem to be plugged into these days! It has been good to make the gallery space better. It is encouraging walking through there to the studio, and seeing the work well displayed... it makes us want to do more!

gz said...

The gallery does look good, so lets hope this will be reflected in sales.
The weather is moving towards Autumn here,but we are feeling definitely short changed with how much Summer we had

Peter said...

Hi Gwynneth,
Thank you for your comment it was good to hear from you... Sorry to take so long to answer it, I am slipping up! It has been a quiet winter for us, but we have had a few more people through lately... I think warmer weather does help!