The ‘Milford Sound and Wild Coast Collections’ on display are from a larger body of work called ‘Landforms’. I am mostly a vessel maker. These forms hark back to days at Art School, but now have evolved from feelings of Milford’s landscapes, that have left an impressions in my mind.
This body of work uses black clays, stoneware, and black ice porcelain, as it echoes the dark, brooding feeling in the landscape of Milford Sound and wild coastlines. Through making these forms, it has evoked memories of looking up at sheer rock faces and being surrounded by the monumental peaks of southern Fiordland and Sound.
It is often called one of the most beautiful places on earth with mountain beech forest clad valleys, leading to vast rock cliffs and peaks that seem to defy gravity.
Milford Sound was created by the ancient glacial ice flows, carving out valleys, with record rainfalls in Aotearoa, creating hundreds of waterfalls which cascade down the cliffs with fury.
The water is an inky black, as the fiords are hundreds of meters deep giving it an ominous appearance from the combination of a layer of freshwater on top of seawater and stained by tannins from the bush. This is reflected through the pools of black glazes.
Each piece is individually hand built or wheel thrown, using textured slabs, slips, and fired in electric kiln to 1220C. No two are the same.
l was born in Taupo, New Zealand, grew up in Whenuapai, Auckland. I was always drawn to
making things, so after studying cookery and dressmaking, I worked as a costume-maker in
the Royal New Zealand Ballet in Wellington, and Mercury Theatre in Auckland, followed by
made-to-measure garments for Wellington fashion designer Chrissie Potter.
In 1988 -1990, I was accepted into Otago School of Fine Arts, studied the Diploma of Fine
Arts, majoring in ceramics with tutors Michael Trumic, Neil Grant, and Lawrence Ewing, and
enjoyed many New Zealand and overseas potters visiting the Art School during this period.
“I was hooked on clay!”
After finishing Art School, I moved to Central Otago and established a studio and small
gallery in Old Cromwell’s Historic Precinct, firstly in the Seed and Grain Store, and later in
George Stumbles Store.
This period of 10 years was hugely inspirational, developing domestic ware and collections
of work focused on vessel forms, large vases and bowls influenced by the magnificent
landscapes in the region.
“I wanted to reflect the feelings that weather beaten, lichen covered ancient rocks
gave me, and use glazes that echoed the hues and colours, reminiscent of the distant
mountain ranges of central. Vessel forms echoed the barren outcrop formations that
dominate the horizon of the mountain ranges of the area.”
Diploma of Fine Arts (Ceramics) 1990. Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Arts.
Jennifer has been a ceramic artist for 30+ years and tutors for Otago Polytechnic School of Fine Arts as a distance tutor/supervisor for the NZ Diploma of Arts and Design (Ceramics).
She also runs specialised workshops around the country through the year.
She has exhibited widely, won many awards and in New Zealand, and has work in collections here and overseas.
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