Ceramics maker showing works in big week of art
Nicholas Toyne one of 160 participants in largest Artists Open Studios yet
Whanganui ceramics artist Nicholas Toyne will display his works in Orphic Gallery during this year’s Artists Open Studios. This year’s event will be the biggest in its history, with more than 90 studios and 160 artists taking part over two weekends across Whanganui.
Toyne said he originally wanted to pursue glasswork and enrolled at UCOL Whanganui in 2018.
However, at the end of his first year of courses, he had to make a clay mould for one of his glassworks and realised he preferred working with clay to glass.
“It more resonated with what I wanted to create because it was more expressionistic for me, it was more tactile with my hands and I could work in my own studio at home with it,” he said.
Clay being around 10 times cheaper to work with than glass was also a benefit for him.
He transitioned to working mainly in ceramics in 2021.
How long it took to construct a sculpture varied according to its size and complexity, Toyne said.
One of his works, a large vase he submitted for last year’s Whanganui Arts Review at the Sarjeant Gallery, took around three days to construct.
“Instead of throwing on a wheel, I hand-build with coils, so I slowly built it up.”
He said he had never thrown clay on a wheel but preferred to construct by hand, as he imagined it was more
Instead of throwing on a wheel, I handbuild with coils, so I slowly built it up. Nicholas Toyne
difficult to get a piece under way on the wheel.
“With this [constructing by hand] you’ve got more room for error I think, whereas with a wheel, if you’re not getting it quite right, you’ll be really out,” he said.
After the construction was complete, he then trimmed and glazed the work, adding gold lustre to it before drying it out and firing it for 24 hours.
Toyne’s work will be on display at Orphic Gallery in Drews Ave during the Open Studios weekends.
He is now working from a new studio in Whanganui East, with a kiln set to arrive from the United Kingdom.
He said Orphic was in the perfect location for people making a day of Artists Open Studios.
“We get a lot of foot traffic here, it’s the ideal spot with the [New Zealand] Glassworks and Katie Brown and Article — [it’s] got a really good hub here with a lot of places people want to see in a small area.”
Artists Open Studios takes place from March 25 to April 2. More information is available at: https:/ /openstudios.co.nz