Brian Gartside was born in Chorley, Lancashire, England. He came to New Zealand in 1961 but in 1966 returned to London to lecture in Art at the Sydney Webb College of Education.
Returning to New Zealand in 1970, Gartside took up a position in Auckland as Lecturer in Art at Ardmore Teachers College then North Shore Teachers College in 1974. During this time he was able to set up his own studio and workshop. Now he lives at Pukekohe, where he produces a colourful range of domestic and decorative ware.
Gartside tutors, demonstrates and exhibits widely and successfully. In the past ten years he has conducted over thirty workshops and seminars in Australia, Canada, Britainand the USA.
In the 1970s Gartside began to specialise in clay, combining the elements of surface design and function to create decorative pots. The same enthusiasm for colourful surface images is even more present in his expressive art pieces. His work demonstrates an interest in developing vivid and individually inspired artwork in clay. The abstract nature of marks are derived from land forms, and geographical references are always present – rivers, clouds, rain, wind, rocks, and volcanic activity.
“In my artwork I enjoy the feeling of being unrestricted by traditional concepts. By keeping the form simple and basic I can really let go on the surfaces, drawing and painting with ceramic and other materials. I enjoy the ever-expanding discovery that is possible when basic glazing rules are set aside and imagery is allowed to flourish.”
Garry Nash was born in Sydney, Australia, then moved to New Zealand in 1973. Nash has developed an international reputation through the strength and quality of his work in the Art Glass medium. He is an honorary life member and a past President of the New Zealand Society of Artists in Glass. In 2001 Nash was made an Officer of The New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Art Glass.
Nash began working with glass in 1978. He joined Sunbeam Glassworks in Auckland 1981 as a full-time glass artist and acquired ownership of Sunbeam seven years later. Today he continues to operate the studio (Garry Nash Studio), pursuing his own personal exploration of the glass medium. Nash has developed an international reputation through the strength and quality of his work in the Art Glass realm.
Colour is the corner stone of the Art Glass movement. Nash combines colour and form in his work to evoke an emotional response. “Working in the relative isolation of New Zealand unencumbered by ridged parochial European traditions of glass style and technique has allowed me the freedom to develop a unique style reflecting the New Zealand environment.”
Nash has an intense interest in the rich history of glass making and has drawn impartially from its long rich and varied past. He feels that being able to combine a technique from sixteenth century Venice and blow it in an eighteenth century English style is one of the great joys of being involved in the studio glass movement.
“I continually push the boundaries of hot glass in terms of scale to achieve an architectural presence with my work. This is one area of hot glass traditionally ignored that modern technology has made possible.”
Jo Wilson was born in Southland, N.Z. in 1957, into a farming family where nothing useful was thrown away. Growing up, the outlets for her creative expression in hands-on work were numerous. A cardigan, made from great Uncle Ewan’s pink woolen longjohns, was a particular triumph.
Wilson studied art at high school and a teacher initiated her love of pottery. She then went to the Schoolof Fine and Applied Arts in Dunedin in 1975 and followed this with several years fishing off Australian shores for prawns.
Returning to N.Z. she attended Nelson Polytechnic for two years and graduated with a Diploma in Visual Arts in 1996. It was then that her career as a self-employed potter began. She specialised in tableware and worked from gallery/workshops in Nelson.
After nine years the shopkeeper role lost its appeal and she began working from the basement of her home. Producing pottery in such a reduced space proved impractical and a new business emerged: ‘Re-Glass’. She cuts and refinishes locally sourced discarded wine bottles, hand sandblasting designs to enhance the surfaces. The inspiration for these designs comes from her garden and local surrounds; from flax flowers going to seed to dracophyllums.
“I want to make beautiful, useful, lasting objects which satisfy people’s desire for the hand of the maker to be apparent in what they buy. The simplicity of this recycling means old technology is revived and the original functionality of the object is retained.”
Manos Nathan was born in Rawene, Hokianga, in 1948, and grew up in Titahi Bay in Porirua. His tribal affiliations are Te Roroa, Ngati Whatua and Nga Puhi. He works out of his home studio/workshop in Dargaville and Ahi-ka-roa workshop and kiln, at Matatina Marae in the Waipoua forest.
Nathan’s big OE (overseas experience) as a young man had him working and studying art in Britainand Europe. A Fulbright Award in 1989 led to a visit, with colleague Baye Riddell, to the Puebloand Hopi potters of the Southwest states of the USA. This was the first of numerous cultural exchanges with indigenous peoples of the Pacific, USA, Canada, Australiaand most recently Japan.
Among the customary art forms of the Māori, there was no tradition of ceramic art. However the cosmological/creation narratives include the origins of clay, ochre, fire and water – all are elements required for the fashioning of ceramic works.
“In my efforts to create an identity/profile for works in clay, I have adapted design and symbolism from the customary art forms of wood, stone and bone carving, from ta moko and from the fibre arts of ta niko and tukutuku. I have also drawn on the rich heritage of allegory and metaphor found in pakiwaitara, purakau and pepeha (folklore, myths/legends and proverbs) as a source of inspiration for the creation of Maori clayworks.”
As a foundation member and former Chairperson of Te Atinga, the Contemporary Māori Visual Arts Committee of Toi Maori Aotearoa, Nathan has been active in the promotion of contemporary Māori art for many years.
Nathan has exhibited extensively in New Zealand and overseas, his works are found in public and private collections worldwide including the British Museum, Museum of Scotland, Burke Museum, Seattle, USA and Te Papa Tongarewa.
TE RONGO KIRKWOOD
Te Rongo Kirkwood is primarily of Nga Puhi and Tainui descent and feels a strong connection to her cultural roots, particularly since returning from 12 years in the UK and Europe. Her designs are influenced by her Māori and New Zealand heritage combined with inspiration drawn from a sense of connection to the land and sea. Since 2005, Kirkwood has turned her interest in design and colour from painting to kiln formed glass.
She is an award winning glass artist whose work reflects her love of pattern and form. Her work is mostly kiln-formed fused, slumped or cast glass using a combination of opal and transparent glasses.
“My first introduction to glass was about in London where I met Danny Lane, a celebrated international glass sculptor. His work had a truly profound impact on me – I knew right then that at some point I would work with glass.
Growing up in an artistic and creative family, I have always had a great appreciation and passion for colour and design. For me as an artist nothing quite surpasses the thrill I get from working with glass. I knew from the first moment I worked with glass I had found my creative purpose.
I am a full-time artist. Being essentially self-taught, I endeavour through my work to express my love of pattern and form primarily through the use of negative spaces and the combining of opalescent and transparent glasses. It is my desire to create work that aside from the innate beauty of glass also reflects a sense of my emotion and spirit… my journey.”
WI TE TAU PIRIKA TAEPA
Born in 1946, Wi Te Tau Pirika Taepa (Wi Taepa) is affiliated to Ngati Pikiao, Te Arawa, and Te Atiawa. Wi served in Vietnam and as a prison officer at Wellington’s Wi Tako prison, before becoming a self-taught carver. During his employment as a social worker with the Department of Social Welfare, he developed an interest in clay as an alternative to wood in teaching boys in reform institutions how to carve. Clay offered him a welcome level of freedom compared with the tight specifications usually imposed when he carved in stone or wood. The speed of clay work suited him too – he was able to capture an idea while it was fresh.
Taepa enjoys the unpredictable way the colours of the clay emerged naturally during firing, including the subtle range of browns, silvers, and greys that particularly appear from wood firing. He makes individual pieces using a low tech approach – hand building and sawdust firing, using oxides and other clay slips. He also incorporates Māori design elements.
Taepa’s innovations grow out of his knowledge of customary forms and designs. Many of his works are based on shapes like ipu (containers) that were originally made from gourds, flax, and bark. He has studied the way early Polynesian and Māori artists created patterns of notches and lines, and he recreates the same effects in clay using both man-made and natural tools. His imagery evolved from his Māori heritage and the designs of the past, reclaiming and transposing little-known processes to his clay work.
In 1992 he graduated from the Whitireia Polytechnic with a Diploma in Craft Design, and completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Wanganui Polytechnic in 1999. He is keen to develop, with his other Nga Kaihanga Uku a Māori members, a solid kaupapa (purpose) for Maori clay workers. He has participated in many exhibitions in New Zealand and overseas, including NZ Choice (1994) in Santa Ana, United States; at Zimbabwe National Art Gallery (1995) in Harare; the Haka (1998) tour of the United Kingdom, and Kiwa (2003) at Spirit Wrestler Gallery, Vancouver, Canada.
“I was looking for another medium than wood for carving. I found it in clay, the body of Papatuanuku (Mother Earth). I’m interested in using clay as a form of creative expression. Teaching is also an art, so combining clay and teaching is an enjoyable challenge. Working with clay involves imagination, touch and vision. While my work sustains cultural aspects of Aotearoa (New Zealand), there lies an even stronger connection to Hine-Ukurangi, the clay maiden. We are all connected to Papatuanuku. We thrive off her. It’s where we begin and where we end.”