Cel­e­bra­tion of pot­tery and pas­sion

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

Pamella Annsouth leans in as if she’s about to make a con­fes­sion.

‘‘I’m ac­tu­ally ter­ri­bly ner­vous,’’ she says, ‘‘I’m about to ex­pose my­self.’’

The Waikanae artist is talk­ing about her lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion, a col­lab­o­ra­tion with two old friends, and what she’s about to ex­pose is her heart.

Five love po­ems, penned in the 1970s to her late hus­band - renowned pot­ter Mirek Smisek - will be fea­tured along­side her ce­ram­ics and she’s wor­ried about how they’ll be re­ceived.

‘‘I’ve never done this be­fore, pub­licly hark­ing back to the time I fell in love ... but then I think ev­ery­one fell in love in the 70s.

‘‘Hope­fully the peo­ple who read them will remember how it felt.’’

Smisek died in 2013 and Annsouth, still mourn­ing, said work­ing with the old po­ems had an un­ex­pected, but very wel­come, side-ef­fect.

‘‘ I’ve fallen in love with him all over again.’’

Ti­tled The 70’s Dames the ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brates 50 years of friend­ship be­tween Annsouth and fel­low pot­ters An­neke Bor­re­nand Jenny Shearer.

‘‘The 70s was an ex­tremely pas­sion­ate time,’’ Bor­ren said, ‘‘we all found our pas­sions and thought we would change the world.’’

They didn’t quite man­age that but they did be­come part of the pi­o­neer­ing New Zealand pot­tery scene, she said.

‘‘The im­port re­stric­tions were still very fierce so we were protected by be­ing here and build- ing up a New Zealand sense of clay with­out any other com­pe­ti­tion.’’

The friend­ship formed against the back­drop of gal­leries and stu­dios in a time when the art peaked and a seem­ingly end­less de­sire for pot­tery gripped the coun­try.

‘‘Peo­ple couldn’t buy enough of it,’’ Bor­ren said. ’’ You would al­most sell it hot out of the kiln.’’

Annsouth re­called art classes and ex­hi­bi­tions sell­ing out be­fore they opened, and although the pop­u­lar­ity has waned she felt a re­nais­sance was on the hori­zon. ’’I’ve got two pages of peo­ple’s names who want me to teach a class ... maybe I should.’’

When you ask the artists what the decades have changed the most about them­selves, both 70s dames laugh. ’’Well, we’re still pot­ters,’’ said Annsouth.

‘‘And we’re work­ing bloody hard at it,’’ said Bor­ren.

*The 70’s Dames, Pataka Mu­seum, Porirua, April 21 till June 4.

PHOTO: FAIRFAX NZ

Artist Pamella Annsouth says she has fallen in love with her late hus­band all over again.

Pare­mata pot­ter An­neke Bor­ren.

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