Saturday, 8 June 2013

Seal Island Continued the West Coast Tradition

I have posted a couple of blogs about Avalon Glass, the pioneering and quite individual glassworks at Fox River on the South Island West Coast. Several partnerships, both personal and artistic developed and changed there over time. 
This small jug (10cm high) is signed Braid '99 NZ

One outcome after Avalon Glass itself had closed, or was nearing its close, was the Seal Island studio established by Ross Smith and Lynda Braid. Ross Smith was one of the founders of the Avalon Studio in 1985 with Lawson Bracewell and Greg Smith, joined subsequently by Robert Reedy 6 months later and then Roger Thompson. Lynda joined Ross at Avalon in 1993, and in 1996 after Avalon closed they formed Seal Island Studio, named after a small island (uninhabited, at least by humans) just west of the mouth of the Fox River.  

Signed Seal Island 1999 Aotearoa NZ (L) Seal Island NZ 2002 (R)
Between 1993 and 1995 Ross was the owner of the Avalon works, which he leased to Greg Smith and Robert Reedy when they were working there. Greg has told me that he never worked with Lynda, so it is currently a little unclear whether Avalon and Seal Island were physically separate, or were different names for the products of the same place.

Signed Braid '99 NZ

 Signed Braid Seal Island 2000 (9 cm high)
Scent bottle by Ross Smith signed Seal Island RS '98 Aotearoa NZ

Some of the Seal Island pieces are signed with that name and some with the artist's name. After the partnership broke up, it seems that Lynda went on working at the studio on her own for a period, though it has now closed. A jug sold recently on TradeMe (594745225) signed Seal Island NZ Braid 05, so Lynda was still at Seal Island in 2005