Last Saturday three Hawke’s Bay potters came out of their studios to share their love of clay with members of the public. The potters wheels were set up under the trees where Annette Bull, John Gisborne and Kim Morgan started working on their vessels, while Kay Bazzard worked with terracotta clay to create one of her larger figures using the coil handbuiding technique.

It had been organised by Kjelsty Hanson with funding provided by Hastings District Council Vibrancy Fund. One hundred tickets had been made available to meet the Covid red traffic light requirements. “The object was to bring the regional pottery clubs together in the CBD of Hastings to create a pottery space for people to learn more about clay art in a relaxing atmosphere,” says Kjelsty. “The highlight was when the wheel potters donned blindfolds and had a competition to produce the best work they could by touch and they really were good pieces.”

The pottery clubs were invited to share their love of clay with the crowd, with the Napier Club providing the raw clay for the visitors to try out sculpting their own forms as demonstrated by Peter Hosegood, the Napier Pottery Club president. Bert de Jong, the Taradale Pottery Club president had brought along fired bisqueware for visitors to paint on that would then be taken back to the club to be fired in the kiln.

As the professional clay artists demonstrated throwing on the wheel and hand building, atmosphere was created across the square by the music of The Kawekas, Kitty Day and Glenn Kastrinos. “The music really added to the mesmerizing experience of watching a clay artists at work,” says Hanson.

One mother who had come along with her family said, “This was a wonderful opportunity for my daughter and her three friends to see how the clay was made into a vase. We all loved the afternoon watching the artists at work and then we had a wee ‘potter’ ourselves while enjoying the music, it was a very therapeutic and grounding experience. My daughter’s grandmother joined in too and took her creation back to Whanganui with her.”

Most of those that came to the event stayed right through the afternoon and were actively involved in the process of sculpting, painting and watching. Fun in Clay was very well received “I could not take my eyes off the pottery wheel, it was mesmerizing!” said one.

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