Just when you thought the village arts community at the bottom of 17th Avenue couldn’t get any more creative, they decide to once again expand artistic boundaries.
The little cottage at the end of the main street at Tauranga Historic Village, previously the home of the Bay of Plenty Garden & Art Festival team, is now the new creative space for a community of potters and ceramic artists.
“The vision for The Pot House Ceramics Gallery and Studios is to be a space in Tauranga that elevates pottery and ceramics as a serious contemporary, and of course traditional art form,” says The Incubator Creative Hub director Simone Anderson.
The first Tauranga solo ceramic artist to have an exhibition there is Dominique Ford, who only began working with clay in the past year.
"I draw on inspiration from sea creatures, germs, triffids and body parts to create my 'precocious vessels'. Anything with tentacles makes me happy," said Dominque, who has a background in graphic design and children’s book illustrations.
“I began collecting pottery as a child and wanted to have a go all my life. Last year I finally enrolled in a class and I am now officially addicted. I chucked in my job to take up a residence with the amazing Incubator, and am excited to be part of The Pot House opening.”
Dominque has three adult children and lives with her husband and some cats in rural Tauranga. She describes her ceramics as fun and freaky, cute and creepy.
“Do they want to hug you, or eat you? A beloved aunt bought me a little pottery dish on holiday in the Coromandel when I was a child, and I have been collecting ever since,” says Dominique.
“I look forward to sharing my ‘Precocious Vessels’ with you all.”
Dominique’s cute and quirky creations seem the perfect metaphor for the gallery itself. With its crooked floors and giant kokodama suspended outside, The Pot House also houses studio spaces for ceramic artists and potters.
The Pot House will also feature a retail ceramics gallery showing work from other local artists, and a hot wheel for rentable by-the-hour use. A purpose-built working workshop with high volume table-top kiln is also on its way.
The opening of Dominque’s exhibition and the launch of The Pot House is happening on the same day as the opening of The Artists Window Gallery at the other end of the village.
Tauranga City Council arts and culture manager James Wilson says he is thrilled to see the new spaces open at the Historic Village.
“They mark important steps in Tauranga City Council’s partnership with The Incubator,” says James. “The Incubator have a compelling vision of growing the vibrant and diverse community of arts experiences based at the Historic Village, and these openings are great examples of The Incubator’s model - rapidly piloting new creative enterprises, creating opportunities for the city’s artists, and giving the wider community opportunities to connect and engage with creativity.”
James says Tauranga is home to a wide range of skilled potters, ceramicists and object makers, who he knew were very much looking forward to the arrival of The Pot House, as a showcase for their work.
“We're committed to putting this new space on the map as a 'go to place' to purchase excellent ceramic art,” says Simone.
“We are now also taking submissions for the 2022 Ceramic Artist Solo Exhibition schedule for The Pot House Exhibitor's Gallery. The exhibition programme will launch monthly alongside our other galleries for a three-week duration.”
Any ceramic artists and potters who would like to feature their work in the retail gallery space and be part of the bigger arts movement are encouraged to contact The Incubator Creative Hub at Tauranga Historic Village.
Dominque Ford’s Precocious Vessels exhibition at The Pot House Ceramics Gallery and Studios runs from December 1-29.
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