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A craftsman at his art

HAMISH M ACLEAN
Last updated 05:00 24/10/2012
David Knight

WORK: Bold colours help to separate David Knight’s work from the rest.

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A ceramics artist from Kerikeri has shown that he's one to watch with his first solo exhibition in Kohukohu.

David Knight's Touch at Village Arts Gallery runs until November 1.

"The sense of touch is probably the most important thing for me," Mr Knight says. His exhibition, called Touch, is all about that.

But it's the colours in his work that are likely to catch eyes.

"For me glazing is my way of painting," he says.

"I can see things in it. I turn it around and little landscapes start appearing. Things just emerge from it. They emanate from it."

He says he doesn't sit and think about "patterns" in his work.

His glazing is spontaneous and bright.

He's not afraid of colour. And his pieces stand out for their vibrancy.

"I just like the intrigue of the colour, for me, colour is a language.

"It's a way of commmunicating, rather than verbally and people can come and make their own conversations with it. That's what's important."

The conversation that viewers have with his art though is one that goes beyond the sense of sight though. To appreciate Mr Knight's work, one really has to pick it up.

He enjoys watching people interact with his work.

"People not being afraid to pick it up," he says. "If people see a nice bowl, I don't want them to just look at it. We get taught: ‘Don't touch, don't touch!' And there's this fear of ‘it"ll break, it's really fragile'."

But really it's only fragile if you start bashing it around. How often do we pick up things. It's the whole tactile nature of it. I want people to pick it up. I do.

"Don't be afraid of doing it either. You get something from it.

"I don't want people to be afraid to touch things."

He says that as his work continues to grow he's becoming more confident as an artist.

"I want to go and make my mark with this, I think I can, there are these little developments now, these little stepping stones that are starting to fall into place."

But he says that his goal is to stay true to who he is.

He's just a "down-to-earth guy who makes ceramics" and it doesn't have to be about the high-minded world of art.

He says he likes the word craftsman.

And he's focused not simply on creating art, but also the production side of ceramics where he can make functional objects for people's lives. Mr Knight says that focusing on life as a craftsman helps him with the serious work of making art.

"You have to have both, to survive as an artist you really need both: You need your functional things that you can just sell, and you need a range of it as well, the art stuff you can sell it for more, but until you get up there, it doesn't sell."

With a pragmatic approach, Mr Knight says that he hopes to get to the point where he can truly focus on art.

"Practically, if I want to keep making that I have to keep making the production stuff to survive - to buy my next bag of clay and my next bag of clay. You've got to have both, you've just got to have both."

Touch has 23 bowls, a number of games and various art objects by Mr Knight.

"It's not a head thing for me, it's a soul thing."

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Touch runs at Village Arts Gallery in Kohukohu until November 1.

- Northern News

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