Sunday, May 23, 2010


Members of CAAWA are extremely lucky to have New Zealand potter Chris Weaver teaching us this weekend.  I had seen his work at the Rex Irwin Gallery in Sydney during the Ceramics Trienniale last year and never forgotten it.  I would put Chris and my superclayhero Takeshi Yasuda in the same league, ie. right at the top of the ladder.

Chris's home is on Kaniere, east of Hokitika on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand.  I hope I got that right, I haven't had the pleasure of visiting NZ yet, but his photos make it look so good for the soul. After two days of talking about how and where he works, half the attendees decided we need to arrange a pottery tour of NZ and soon.

How to begin to even describe the range of techniques he employs, he is a master of the wire cut, using wiggle wire to remarkable effect far beyond what most people stop at, he makes all his own wooden elements, handles, laminated and steam bent wood, he encloses forms, then manipulates them into organic gems, his squared vessels have you pondering whether they are thrown or slabbed ... you must have a good look.

Pop over to  the website is beautiful, the photography is just lovely and you will luxuriate and get lost in his work, trying to figure out how he achieved such results, he tells me though, that his website is a little out of date.   Apart from his innovative approach to clay, Chris is well known for his use of wooden handles and accents in his work, elements that he designs and forms himself from driftwood.

When I went over to say g'day to Chris I almost stopped midsentence having spotted all his tools laid out on a table beside the wheel he was about to demo on.  I noticed almost everyone reacted in a similar way, we all gasped and picked up the implements enjoying their fine surfaces and the almost ergonomic way they fit the hand or the task they were made for.  I have a woodworking friend I just can't wait to show this stuff to, maybe we could collaborate sometime.

I love the thoroughness of his site though, he has several images of his works from over the years groups according to the style he was working with at the time - his Salt Fumed Series, Iron Series (which stemmed from the form of his grandmother's old iron), his wire cut series, the one he calls pillows and so much more ... I realised I had downloaded images of his work for years as 'inspirational' images for my studio and here he is showing us how he gets such results.

This more than makes up for the lousy Mother's Day I had recently.