Ce­ramic artist shares pas­sion

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - JENNY LING

A ‘‘re­newed hunger’’ for hand made items has seen a boost in ce­ramic artists in this year’s Kerik­eri Open Art Stu­dios Trail.

Of the 41 artists open­ing their stu­dio doors to the pub­lic over Labour week­end for KOAST, nine are clay artists. They in­clude guest artist Julie Cromwell, from Maun­gat­a­pere.

‘‘We’re notic­ing a huge in­crease in peo­ple want­ing to learn hands on skills as a kick back to our dig­i­tal world sat­u­ra­tion,’’ Cromwell says. ’’There’s a re­newed hunger for things hand made.

‘‘There’s a self sat­is­fac­tion that comes from mak­ing some­thing with our own hands... It’s a fun­da­men­tal hu­man need that we’ve been miss­ing and there’s now a resur­gence in re­claim­ing it.’’

Cromwell and her steel artist part­ner, Pete Bram­mer moved from Eng­land to New Zealand in 2001 to fo­cus on their own cre­ative pas­sions.

‘‘We found a 10 acre prop­erty at Maun­gat­a­pere with some derelict barns that, with lots of TLC, has given us the space to set up our two stu­dios and a gallery.’’

Her work fea­tures in a sculp­tural ex­hi­bi­tion at Whangarei Quarry Gar­dens and she and Bram­mer have their work at the Yvonne Rust Gallery at The Quarry Arts Cen­tre in Whangarei in Novem­ber.

Cromwell has pre­vi­ously par­tic­i­pated in the Whangarei Heads Art Trail and had a piece in Sculp­ture on the Shore in Auck­land last year.

She re­cently gave up her full time high school art teach­ing to study for a Masters in Fine Art and to fo­cus on her ce­ramic work.

‘‘My train­ing was in do­mes­tic ware, but my pas­sion is sculpt­ing forms us­ing the coil and throw method, then sub­ject­ing them to el­e­men­tal raku, pit or wood kiln fir­ings.

‘‘I’m start­ing the jour­ney of get­ting my work out there, but for now I’m en­joy­ing hav­ing the time to con­cen­trate on big­ger pieces and ex­press­ing more of what I have to say in clay.’’

Dur­ing KOAST she will be ‘‘throw­ing demos with an­other clay artist Alan Thomas at a Mill Lane venue in Kerik­eri where four of us will have our ce­ramic work on show and be avail­able to in­spire oth­ers to ex­plore clay’’.

KOAST Oc­to­ber 21-23. Visit koast.org.nz

Ce­ramic artist Julie Cromwell is a guest artist at Koast, Kerik­eri Open Art Stu­dios Trail.

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