Exhibitions poles apart at Quartz
Two diverse pottery exhibitions sit side by side at Rick Rudd’s Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics in Bates St.
In one room, an eclectic selection from the collection of Ann and Paul McNamara, chosen by Ann and titled Ann’s Choice.
In the exhibition space next door is a wild profusion of colour and design from Fiona Sibbald’s collection of Crown Lynn pottery, an exhibition called Fiona Has Designs on Crown Lynn.
You could not get two more different displays.
Ann’s Choice features pieces chosen for different reasons, but, like the Crown Lynn collection, many of them are practical.
Ann has chosen work by local potter Ross MitchellAnyon, including her favourite casserole dish.
“What I like about his work is that you can see the hand of the potter.”
She has also picked pieces of an entirely different kind.
“I’ve always had an interest in art … objects appeal to me, particularly objects that are of nature, so if you look at most of these objects you’ll see
something about plants or animals. I like the whole idea of natural forms, and then a lot of the pottery is utilitarian as well.”
She likes the tactile nature of ceramics, whether in the shape or texture of the glaze.
“Ross’s work appeals because not only are they really good to look at but you can also use them.”
Ann’s Choice is work from different potters, some quirky, some serious, some unusual, some playful, all of it worth a look.
Some of the represented potters spent time working for Crown Lynn. There are works by Paul Maseyk, a former student of Ross MitchellAnyon.
Ann says lovers of ceramics owe a great deal to Rick Rudd and Quartz.
“Responses to ceramics are always emotional,” says Rick.
Ann says she gets a lot of pleasure sharing beautiful and useful pieces of pottery with dinner guests.
“They’re an art form: they make you feel good,” she says.
The art forms are very different in the Crown Lynn collection, but no less important.
Again, the response to the display is emotional — nostalgia. Fiona Sibbald has been collecting Crown Lynn since 2004 and runs a Facebook page called Crown Lynn Skite Site. She is no stranger to pottery, having spent 13 years in London as a retail manager for Royal Doulton.
Her exhibition is a brave mix of traditional patterns, children’s designs, animals and the ubiquitous squares, dots and abstract lines that once graced the kitchen tables of New Zealand.
There are plates made especially for occasions like the 1970 Expo, plates made for Bellamy’s at Parliament, pieces designed by celebrated potters and all very collectable. The exhibition also features handpainted plates.
Crown Lynn operated for more than 50 years, closing the factory in 1989.
“It is part of New Zealand’s history now,” says Rick. “We need people like Fiona to do this.” Ann’s Choice and Fiona Has Designs on Crown Lynn are on display at Quartz until September 24.
Ann McNamara with some of her collection in Ann’s Choice, an exhibition at Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics.
Crown Lynn in all its glory.