Earth and Fire Exhibition Press Release 1982


6 AUGUST 1982



Few people realise the tremendous variety of pottery being made in New Zealand today by our many artist-craftsmen. From tiny decorative porcelains to sturdy garden pots, in all colours and textures, the potters’ wares encompass many traditions. A representative selection has been gathered into a touring pottery exhibition, “Earth & Fire”, which starts on Wednesday 18th August in the Hastings City Cultural Centre.

The 28 bowls and dishes were selected by James Greig, well known Wairarapa potter, especially to show the diversity of materials and techniques used by New Zealand potters today. Everyone should find at least one pot they really like, one that “says something” to them. Every one has what James Greig described as “a good feel”. They were also chosen to inspire experiment and broaden experience with clay. The Exhibition is also a good introduction to any study of pottery for younger folk.

The pots are arranged into the main categories of earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Then into smaller groups showing or contrasting special qualities – hand-shaped stoneware together, coiled, beaten or slab-moulded, and varieties of glazing and firing effects. Terms and techniques are explained, using panels with photographs showing making, glazing and firing processes. There is also a catalogue with a general introduction to NZ pottery, definitions of potters’ terms, and details of every pot and its maker. Ms Doreen Blumhardt CBE, one of our leading potters, and author of “Craft New Zealand” helped with the technical notes. “Earth and Fire” pottery exhibition is a Central Regional Arts Council Community Project, produced with the assistance of the Labour Department.

[Handwritten – Sub Head]   Other pots, ancient and modern

The Cultural Centre has enlarged the interesting “Earth and Fire” display by including some very interesting pottery from local sources. Two of Hawkes Bay’s leading potters, Bruce and Estelle Martin of “Kamaka” Pottery, will be exhibiting pots from their new wood-fired earth kiln. The result of four years hard work, the Japanese-style anagama kiln is a single-chamber, natural draught, wood-fired climbing kiln built into a bank of the Heretaunga plains pumice layer, and is impressively proportioned. Six metres long, and high enough so you

can actually walk into it, the anagama is fired only once a year. Very high temperatures are produced, and the whirlwind effect from the naturally-induced (forced) draught of its construction leads to exciting colour variations and surface interest from the random ash deposits on the pots. No glazing is used with this type of firing, the final results depending entirely on the forces of nature – and the Martins’ combined energies in continuously stoking up the kiln with wood (night and day) for 7 – 10 days!

Examples of locally-owned ancient pottery will also be on display, ranging from items originating in ancient Greece to porcelain, stoneware, and other ceramics from China and Japan.

This exhibition is of wide-ranging interest, and will appeal not only to potters but to anyone who appreciates craft at its best.

“Earth and Fire” runs until Sunday 29th August.

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Hastings City Cultural Centre

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Date published

6 August 1982


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