• Chantel Matthews

Morning pages


The last few weeks has left me feeling demotivated, un-inspired and lacking joy with my art practice. Questioning what I am doing and why and the pressure to do it right. On one side, I am wanting to just have fun with making and enjoy the process of what comes, on the other, there is the pressure of tikanga, to understand Te Ao Māori and given I am learning this world as an adult, it is harder to validate this voice that I believe has always been intuitive. I acknowledge that te reo is so key to the te ao māori world because the language is


Māori. Ma (white, pure) ora (sound) pure sound. This reminds me of a doco I watched recently called origins with Scotty Morrison. When he visited the Cook Islands, the local kaumatua told him something like Hawaiki is wherever you are because Māori is not a place, it is a people. I don't think Scotty agreed with him saying that he believes Aotearoa is specific and special to Māori.


I went to a spa in Queenstown and after our treatment we were given peppermint tea and treats. Tea again in association with wellbeing and healing seems to be a key component. I think about tea, water, being a carrier/medicine/portal to wellbeing.


Today I went into the wet lab after a few weeks off and thankful for Harriet she lit the fire again in me to make. Today, we glazed cups with raku and te ingoa o te moana, Rangaunu, Te ingot o te one: Ngarui o te marangai. (east beach) Kaimaumau. Te Tai Tokerau. Iwi: Ngati takoto. Kaikohi: Cyril Cook. Wā: Nō te Rāhoroi, te 10th o ngā rā okrtopa I te ahiahi.


Glaze: Laguna Dry Raku Awabi Shell R22 - 1kg

Fire at 1000c however we are firing at 1060c


Harriet asked again where the cups came from as I am struggling to see the point. I remind myself that the cup was to do with my relationship with a cup of tea and how for me it gives me a sense of wellbeing, it was about a time and space where tea allows pause and to offer that pause to others. Kai kōrero being used to facilitate conversation, nurture, support and again to hold space for others to breathe, have an emotional outlet etc.


We then moved to the seat idea again and decided to make test seat tops out of concrete and leftover ceramic pieces. One seat top with shards and the other at a 3 degree angle. the idea of creating a seat that is un-sittable. Its relationship to the cup is that it is domestic, it holds space and time, it is available if one chooses to take it. I am aware of the tension it will cause if I use used cups, conceptually and from a te ao maori perspective in my opinion, the cups can hold mana, hold others mauri, wairua, hold moments...


I like the idea of objects that perform and move, how they perform and move however I am working through. The idea of a seat dissolving over time through efflorescence. this returning back to the sea. The domestic Atua (wahine) returning back to the sea. What does it mean to connect wahine with their wai moana (whakapapa) awa through vessels, through the domestic, through the waha (mouth).


What if water is the female essence? What if the breakdown of wahine is not about the woman but the essence of nature, of moana, of Papatūānuku? what if the clay is the female essence?


The strength of the woman

The strength of the woman through nature


What if my research is to understand my relationship to nature from a Te Ao Maori perspective. ie to understand clay as a material and connection to Atua Papatūānuku. working with clay requires me to work with water, what if that water is from specific moana that wāhine have a connection to, like breathing, it is crucial to wellbeing.


What does it then mean to make vessels that connect not only myself to whenua but to a female Atua, a female goddess? what does it mean to connect not only myself to moana but to a female Atua Hine Moana? what does it mean to connect other wāhine with these Atua through whakapapa? if the vessel is made to hold both whenua and moana through whakapapa then what else does it contain? who decides? what kind of vessel is it? is it domestic? ie connected to kai? is it an ornament? ie a vase

is it a sculpture that resembles the wāhine as a domestic ornament? what does it mean to contain these Atua? To take what which needs to move to stay alive to an object that no longer moves or moves outside its nature? Water needs to move, once it stops it dies.


Is the social component transitioning to a specific group, ie wāhine who have a connection to the sea who gift moana and as an exchange this moana is used to create vessels? Could this social practice be trips around New Zealand where wāhine collect moana with the permission of their iwi and in exchange a vessel will be made using that moana.