Monday, 17 September 2012

Garry Nash Glass Workers 1993

Here's another group of New Zealand glass artists, taken ten years on from the NZSAG Inglewood conference photos I posted recently. Peter Viesnik mentioned the photo in an email discussing the Inglewood blog.  Entitled 'Garry and team 1993', the image is on Garry Nash's website at I have viewed it there a number of times, and Garry kindly gave me a digital copy a couple of years ago.  But I was intrigued to realise that although Garry is easy to identify, punty in hand with a piece at the marver, I wasn't sure who any of the others might be.  Some looked a little familiar, but it was nineteen years ago, and I couldn't be certain.

From left, this group of workers at Garry Nash's Sunbeam Glass studio in 1993 were: John Penman, Judy from Sweden (note the Orrefors T-shirt), Stephen Bradbourne, Garry Nash, Lynette Campbell, Hoana Stachl holding a piece of glass, John a visiting house painter (do you know where Garry's ladder is?) and Dong Ju Shin from Korea.

Peter started me with some names, and that led on to an email exchange with several people - I am grateful for their help to Stephen Bradbourne, Garry Nash, Anna Palmer, John Penman and Peter Viesnik.  That has enabled me to identify everyone, with varying degrees of accuracy.  However, I accept full responsibility for the result, and would be grateful for any corrections or additions.  I don't know who the photographer was, hence the lack of credit (sorry).

From my collection here are some examples of the New Zealand artists' work:

John Penman 1997

Hoana Stachl 1999

Lyn Campbell 1996

Stephen Bradbourne 1998

Garry Nash 1992
I have a number of pieces by Garry Nash, but I chose to include this glass because there is a photo of Garry making a glass like this one, probably at the same photo session (same shirt!)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Kathy Shaw-Urlich's 'Tokerau Matariki' a Wonderful Gift

My former colleagues at NZ Historic Places Trust banded together and gave me a wonderful gift to mark my retirement recently.  How they came to select it is a closely guarded secret, but their choice was spot on.  It's a stained glass piece by Northland glass artist Kathy Shaw-Urlich. (I posted a blog about another work of Kathy's I have in July 2011).

 The piece is entitled Tokerau Matariki and was first shown in an exhibition of work to mark Matariki (the Maori New Year) at The Herb Shack in Kaitaia in June.  It seems to me it is a highly appropriate retirement gift for several reasons.  Firstly, its a piece of New Zealand glass, by an artist whose work I love.  Secondly, it speaks of Te Tai Tokerau, Northland, where I have worked for for NZ Historic Places Trust for the last thirteen years, and where I intend to continue living, in retirement.  Thirdly, it speaks of Matariki, a time of new beginnings as we start the new year, highly appropriate for someone entering into a new phase of his life.

Kathy tells me the work shows the hills where she lives with husband Robert at Whatuwhiwhi, on the Karikari Peninsula, Doubtless Bay, and the planting of trees and a garden that Robert is doing next to the sea, an appropriate subject for Matariki, a time of planting.  As Kathy often does, she has included glass from a variety of sources, including a piece left over from glass she had as a student in the 1970s.

Thank you, colleagues.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Evelyn Dunstan Continues to Amaze

I made use of my newly retired person's new-found leisure time last week to visit Evelyn Dunstan's exhibition Influence at Orexart Gallery in Auckland.  This is the first time I have seen a whole exhibition of Evelyn's work (she doesn't often show in New Zealand), and I was just amazed.  Her work is intricate in the extreme, achieving complexities in the form and colour of the glass that boggle the mind.  My reaction to the exhibition was a mixture of appreciation of its sheer beauty, with an intellectual curiosity as to how on earth she manages to achieve these forms technically.  I know it has to do with sophisticated casting materials, but it has more to do with inspiration, creativity, tenacity, perseverance and sheer hard work.

Evelyn's website ( tells us that she started glass casting in 2003 after 25 years as a graphic artist, designer and illustrator, combining a full time career with raising 4 children. In 2002 a life-long passion with clay, the need to develop her own style of art and more family time resulted in the change of career to a full time sculptural artist setting up a home studio.   

Paua 2004 (Stuart Park collection) 

After working with colour all her life, Evelyn discovered in leadlighting the properties of glass, combining colour with light.  She followed that with a basic night class in glass casting (2003) adding to sculptural forms the depth and dimension of glass.  In 2004 I went to an exhibition at Uxbridge in Howick of work by the students of that course and was delighted to purchase for my collection what Evelyn tells me was the first piece of glass that she sold.  The way she had incorporated colour into the simple, naturalistic form of the paua attracted me to this work.

After continuing to experiment on her own, Evelyn undertook further training at ArtStation in Auckland in 2004.  It must have been a good course, since she had two works selected as finalists for the Australia - New Zealand Ranamok Prize in 2005, another two finalists in 2006, and then won the Ranamok Prize in 2007 with the remarkable Ngahere Karauna (Forest Crown) (

 That basic crown form has continued to provide a basis for some of her work, there being a variety of karauna in the Orexart show.  Two of them (including the one shown above) were entitled Te Turituri, the threat.  By chance Evelyn was in the gallery when I visited, so I asked her about that title.  She explained that the beautiful convolvulus, with its intricate intertwined vines she captures so well is a significant threat in our gardens and bush.  The mix of beauty and danger is an enduring message in art, it seems to me.

The exhibition also included several of Evelyn's remarkable masks, reminiscent of Venetian Carnevale masks, but with a variety of Maori and Pacific cultural references, as well as European ones.  Evelyn's installation  of 24 masks Transparent Illusions was one of her two finalist works at Ranamok 2010, and won the People's Choice award that year. 

 I didn't see it in Canberra, but it was included as a complete installation in Influence at Orexart, a real bonus.