In December last year Sharla from Wanganui-NZ introduced me to three Wanganui based artists – Lizzette Britton who works with clay, Jack Marsden-Mayer who works with driftwood, and Ivan Vostinar, painter, sculptor, and potter. You can visit the studios of all three artists plus over 60 more at Artists Open Studios in Whanganui in March.
If you’re a follower of the blog you may have picked up on my slight obsession with caravans. I was thrilled when Sharla arranged for us to meet what turned out to be the very lovely and bubbly Lizzette Britton. Lizzette works from her Glue Pots and Lemon Drops Gallery and Studio producing adorable little hand-built clay caravans.
Lizzette’s caravans are so popular they practically tow themselves out of her studio and she has had to take a break from commissions so that she can build more for the Open Studios event. The caravan below was a commission and I was lucky to see it before it travelled to its new home in Palmerston North. Lizzette also likes her caravans life size and there will be three parked outside her gallery during Open Studios – caravan fans, mark your calendars. (If you can’t make the Open Studios event you can visit Lizzette by appointment).
The next artist I met was Jack Marsden-Mayer, Jack builds animal driftwood sculptures in a warehouse at 42 Bedford Avenue in Gonville. When I walked into his studio I was gob smacked, I’ve never seen so much driftwood, there were piles everywhere, one pile destined to be the eyes of animals yet to be created. There was also a kiwi sculpture in progress, and a large horse undergoing repair.
What I love most about Jack’s work is that although the creatures are static they either look in motion or like they will move at any moment. The manes and tails of these horses look like they’re flowing in the wind, and I was almost waiting for the kiwi to ruffle its feathers or bury its beak. If you’d like to meet Jack and see his studio, visitors are welcome anytime during the year when his warehouse doors are open.
The last artist I met was Ivan Vostinar, I didn’t know it at the time but Ivan worked as a full time potter for two years on The Hobbit. I was very taken by a cup with a spiral design in his gallery, although I have to admit I initially thought it was a small jug, Ivan told me a lot of people think the same, I suspect he was being kind. I’d been looking for a new tea cup for a while and given I spend a bit of time drawing spirals in the margins in search of inspiration, Ivan’s cup was the perfect vessel for me. Not only did I go home with a cup made by a kind potter, but one who’s a little bit famous too. Visit Ivan’s studio / gallery / workshop at 7 Rangiora Street in Castlecliff.
Special thanks to Sharla for introducing me to the artists, it was one of the highlights of my trip to Wanganui. To find out more about all the artists participating in Open Studios see the 2015 Trail Guide.