Marlborough potters in Nelson

A group of Marlborough potters are making a big impression on the Nelson clay scene.

Their Beyond the Divide collection at the Suter Art Gallery features functional everyday items such as dinner plates, cups and jugs as well as mounted ceramic artwork.

Exhibition organiser and contributor Sara Schotanus said the exhibit was a showcase of Marlborough pottery in Nelson, a region renowned for its potters.

"Nelson has been known as a pottery region for 80 years . . . Well, the clay is there," she said. "It's nice to let them know we are here, although I think they know anyway."

Blenheim woman Glen Waters said the name of the exhibition reflected both the geographical divide between Marlborough and Nelson and the diversity of the pottery styles on show.

Ms Waters made non-functional, hand-built ceramics without a wheel, she said.

"It's nice to be accepted in Nelson," she said.

The show's opening night on February 4 attracted 60-80 people on Nelson's public holiday and the seven potters sold 18 items between them.

Exhibitor Ursula Edwards sold her functional domestic ware at the Nelson Market every weekend.

A potter for 30 years, Mrs Edwards started work as an apprentice studio potter in her home country of Germany straight out of art college.

Ms Waters honed her skills over two decades after taking up pottery in Atlanta, Georgia.

"You are learning all the time and things go wrong along the way, like cracks," she said. "But that's clay."

Ms Waters created a pottery studio at her home 18 months ago to allow her to concentrate more on her "love" of potting, she said.

Fellow exhibitor Debs Hall saw herself more as a sculptor than a potter.

After 30 years working with clay, she had moved from functional to non-functional forms.

Mrs Schotanus, who taught pottery in Britain before giving it up for 25 years, said the group would like to exhibit together again.

She moved to New Zealand eight years ago with the idea of getting back into pottery.

Her piece with five mounted cups and saucers inside a gold frame was the most expensive at $2500.

It was based on a picture drawn by one of her children when they were 4 years old, Mrs Schotanus said.

"I'm going to ask the Suter Art Gallery if they can give us a date for next year."

Marlborough Vintners Hotel had approached them about a possible exhibition, she said.

"That's if we have anything left."

The Beyond the Divide exhibition, with works from Sara Schotanus, Glen Waters, Ursula Edwards, Debs Hall, Steve Austin, Sam Rodgers and Renate von Petersdorff, at the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson runs until February 24.


Beyond the Divide (Seven Marlborough Potters) Schotanus, Hall, Waters, Edwards, Rodgers, Von Petersdorff, Austin Runs until Sunday 24 February at Suter Art Gallery, Bridge St, Nelson 

The Marlborough Express