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Vault/2009

Jamie McLellan

18 November 2009 - 19 December 2009

Designer Jamie McLellan says "over the years I have learned to live with and celebrate my inner engineer. More and more I am finding the beauty of an object lies in its engineering, how it's put together. I find both a purity in exposing this and at the same time a higher a level of detail being possible without the need for anything superflous." McLellan's abilities were recognized in the early 2000's with several outstanding projects for the UK based design firm, Tom Dixon. McLellan has since moved back to New Zealand, setting up and developing an independent design studio with an international clientele. This installation surveys a range of products that McLellan says "exhibit many of the qualities I try to infuse in anything I design, from a bicycle to a piece of furniture."

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Overheard Conversation

23 September 2009 - 14 November 2009

An abiding interest in topiary (hedge and shrub sculpture) is one distinguishing feature of American ceramic sculptor Scott Chamberlin's artistic practice. Like a witness to an 'overheard conversation' - the conversation being New Zealand's Diaspora of recently immigrated peoples and our relation to the landscape - the new works that have resulted bear traces of his present inspiration but they also lean on his experiences as both sculptor and topiarist.

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Tea Bowls From A Non Tea Drinker

25 July 2009 - 12 September 2009

Potter Lex Dawson was drawn to the rituals of Japanese and Islamic tea drinking, and their accoutrements, through accounts of them by American poets and writers. It was his interest in these rituals that prompted him to take up pottery night classes in the 1970s. Since then he has been making ceramics and has formed his own collection of tea bowls and related objects. This installation features tea bowls and related dishes made by Dawson and other potters. The second part of the installation is a homage to a Kiwi tea ritual - the smoko - made by Dawson.

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Fancywork: Beaded Bags

02 May 2009 - 18 July 2009

In an age when leisure was a large aspect of some women's lives the making of 'fancy work' was widespread. Within this category the making of beaded bags was one of the most ambitious of undertakings. Collector Paul Orsman acquired his first beaded bag in 1974 and at its largest his collection was around 300 items. This selection from his collection features bags from two distinct eras, the Victorian era and the Art Deco period. Bags from the latter group are characterised by the bold colours popularised by the Ballet Russe and the use of Bakelite frames and handles. The value of these bags, for their collector, lies in the aesthetic pleasure they provide together with the deep pleasure of having saved these 'outmoded' but costly pieces of 'fancy work'.
2nd May 2009 - 18th July 2009

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Sashimono: Japanese Fine Boxes

18 April 2009 - 29 April 2009

Sashimono is an installation of contemporary fine wooden boxes by highly esteemed Japanese craftsman Suda Kenji. Sashimono is the Japanese word for the traditional woodworking techniques employed to create boxes and furniture and it also refers to the objects that are created. Suda Kenji says "The space within the box is a source of mystery, a box is capable of shutting off a section of space, and so to open the lid is to gaze into the world. I find myself fascinated by this concept of the box and produce many myself. While I give due consideration to the function of boxes as containers, that is not my only consideration when making them; I also focus on decoration, appearance and texture."

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Selections from a collection of small British ceramics

24 January 2009 - 21 February 2009

The selection of British ceramics displayed here was collected by Fiona Thompson mostly during the 1980's and complements a larger New Zealand collection. It's challenging to understand the cultural isolation that prevailed here as recently as twenty years ago. Despite popular enthusiasm, local knowledge of international crafts was limited; this showed in the work of local potters who, with notable exceptions, seemed stuck in an Anglo-Oriental time warp. Fiona's collection was formed against this tendency and on a shoestring budget, with pieces more often than not acquired from the makers themselves. Their size reflected a need for portability with a prime consideration being what could be carried without causing the airport scales to trip into excess.

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