Sunday, 11 December 2011

Not Keith Mahy, but another Kharen Hope

I recently had a tussle on TradeMe with my Australian competitor 'Slumbum'.  Stephen is a keen bidder on New Zealand glass, while I do my best to keep pieces in New Zealand.  Opononi trader Tigerlillie advertised a piece as being by Keith Mahy, with an indistinct signature but probably dated 1990.  'Slumbum' and I both realised a signed and dated piece by Keith from 1990 was unusual, and so we went for it.  He pushed me a bit, but I succeeded in the end.  We more than doubled the reserve, which no doubt pleased Tigerlillie.  In the meantime I had emailed Keith to seek verification that the piece was his.  Alas, after I had won the auction the reply came that it was not a piece Keith recognised as his work.

So I waited curiously to see what it was.  To my delight, the signature was one I recognise readily - now, though I wouldn't have known it until recently.  In that curious way whereby once you see one piece, others turn up, it turned out to be signed Kharen Hope '90, another piece by the Whanganui artist I have blogged about a couple of times recently.  I would have liked a 1990 piece by Keith, but I am very pleased to add another piece of Kharen's to my collection, and a more substantial, more sculptural piece than the scent bottle I blogged in September.

If you've followed the link I gave to Kharen's pieces in the Charlotte Museum collection ( , you might have noticed that one piece was bought by the donor, Miriam Saphira, as she did not want a man to buy it.  I do hope Dr Saphira doesn't mind too much that this piece of Kharen's is in my collection!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Chuck Simpson was not Canadian

A mistake I made in my article on the history of glass in New Zealand came home to haunt me the other day.  In New Zealand Glass Art I described Inglewood glass artist Chuck Simpson as being Canadian.  A trader on TradeMe offering a stoppered bottle by Chuck (at right - TradeMe 428728782) apparently followed my mistake by saying Chuck was Canadian. 

I'm not sure where I got the idea from, but I was wrong. A fascinating article about Chuck Simpson's glass appeared in the Australian journal Craft Arts International (32, 1994-5 p79).  It included biographical information indicating that Chuck was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, in 1944. He got a Bachelor's degree in Education in Pennsylvania, and then taught secondary school for fifteen years, mostly in Victoria, Australia.  In 1985 he began working in the hot glass studio of Colin Heaney at Byron Bay in northeastern New South Wales, before moving to New Zealand and leasing Tony Kuepfer's studio at Inglewood. (Thanks to Trevor Breusch for drawing my attention to the CAI article).

The piece at left I bought in 1990 from Masterworks gallery in Parnell, Auckland - it would have been one of the last pieces Chuck made in New Zealand before returning to Australia and the Vesta Hot Glass studio he set up at Eumundi in Queensland with his wife Lesley (formerly Lesley Justin).

Sadly, Chuck Simpson died in April 2001.