It’s a week into Lockdown and I am feeling a bit twitchy. 

It has taken the realities of the invading Delta variant into Aotearoa to prod feelings of lurking fear – life has changed and not in a good way, in a kind of seesaw of dropping optimism and rising anxiety. I am not alone of course and we are all taking it very seriously, thank goodness.

I look back on last year’s lockdown in Hawke’s Bay a bit nostalgically. We took to it with gusto with online wine parties, yoga and meditations, caring phone calls between friends and family. It had ‘a wartime’ feel to it. Curiously, the weather was perfect then too, a mid autumn April of calm and beauty, as it is now in late winter and we can be thankful for that.

Disappointment that our Kiwi Covid-free paradise has been breached has many getting on the bandwagon asking, ‘Why has the vaccination programme been so long drawn out?’ ‘What was the government doing all that time when the rest of the Western world was vaccinating like crazy?’ On reflection, it has seemed like a slowed-down scene from an action movie. 

Yes, it’s a different vibe this time around, it feels more serious and solemn and no one has suggested online drinkies.  

Well folks, it is what it is; and we have to stay home and shelve all those expectations for now, to reflect how lucky we’ve been so far and to throw ourselves into distracting activities – gardening, house cleaning, sorting and decorating, woodwork and quiet handwork hobbies. Boredom is a great leveler and an even greater incentive to catch up on the neglected hobbies and tasks around home.

The activities relating to arts and culture that I write about for BayBuzz have gone very quiet, with everyone holding their collective breaths regarding the end of lockdown. So like everyone else, I’m filling my days with some home action, and actually, I have a great incentive to be in my studio, playing with clay, creating my figures and being a bit experimental.  

Shimpo DUB-10

A week ago I had a shiny new kiln installed (very timely), it’s a big one and I feel very excited about it.

Called Shimpo DUB-10, it was shipped from Japan via Auckland to my place and it fills the corner of my garage like a gleaming beast. It means I’m no longer limited by the size of my existing kiln to mantelpiece-sized works and I’m heading into bigger territory with larger works and figures.

It is a big investment and the decision was not taken lightly. The incentive to buy the new kiln was two-fold: 1) the sheer joy of being independent with my ceramics firing, and 2) the number of invitations to participate in art exhibitions and shows that were coming across my bench. These are (Covid allowing) one after another through to next year, starting from the Hawke’s Bay Art Review at CAN in early September through to the Round Pond Garden Ceramics Exhibition in January 2022 at the Russell’s place south of Hastings.

“Age is no barrier, nor is Covid,” I tell myself and I’m off to the studio where there’s a stack of clay and I’m going to use it!

Join the Conversation


  1. Another inspiring article, Bay Buzz lucky to have you. Back to clearing out the garage Colleen

  2. Nice one Kay, Good on you. Lovely story /sharing. Yes we are fortunate to be creatives already working from home and very happy to get some time to explore/make. I haven’t quite as much time as I’d like because I’m minding preschooler grandchildren in levels 3 and 4 for half of each day. However it feels a lot easier this time round. We are so fortunate to not have delta in HB, that we know of. Creatives don’t seem to retire/get old; they just keep creating, improving and having fun. Kia Kaha.

  3. Love your sculptures Kay.I have a rabbit with a watch you made quite a few years ago(Alice in wonderland) and it brings me so much joy, it is one of my favourite things

  4. Hi Kay,
    Your work is really lovely and congrats on your new Shimpo kiln.
    I am also considering buying the same kiln.
    It would help me immensely if you could provide some feedback on this Japanese kiln as not much information is available on-line.
    Your assistance would be most greatly appreciated and thank you in advance.

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