My experience with Wi was an interesting one. Sitting opposite Wi during the artist talks, he kept looking at me like he knew me, afterwards he came up to me and asked if we knew each other, he kept trying to find a name and place. I told him I was there to do his workshop which I found myself later bringing him a cup of tea and biscuits. White strong tea with a little sugar.
Wi taught me so much in such a small amount of time. Things like, you could be working all day but not produce anything because it is all in your head. The space inbetween things is important. ie the space between one piece of clay and the other. using bare essentials around you as tools.
He mostly told stories and jumped from one to the next, how his work is a result of what he was thinking at the time, about lived experiences while thinking about how it relates to whakapapa, to tupuna.
The table I sat at happened to have artist Finn Ferrier and Olivia Laita. Later joined by Carla Ruka and her daughter.
Carla mentioned the story of the 2 albatross, to look it up...
Finn mentioned two books to read - New materialism - Jane Bennett and Entangled by Ian Hodder.
Soldering iron, Wire. Make shapes Space in between things, objects. Each vessel is a book It has a story.
Malt vinegar and water.
6 pounds clay, 2 pounds grog, 1 cup talcum powder
Segelato Terasigalado Black and brown
Set up show like a powhiri Wero Karanga Healing, vessels support, blessing Tupuna on side Structured like a welcoming Then the people around.
After the artist talk I found myself sitting next to Alix Ashworth, an artist from the South Island, she cried most of during most of her talk, her work so close to her heart as she mentioned not having much time to sit with it. The work arrived after a dream she had and one by one she banged them out. She mourned the loss of tikanga. During the talk she said she was working on being more vulnerable hence the open tangi about and with her work.
"The more I turn towards being Māori the more connected I feel to the clay" - Alix Ashworth 13/08/19 instagram post
what is my thing? my point of difference when creating a piece? Yvonne Tana discussed how her mentor asked her how she would set her self apart from others, what would make people say that is a Yvonne Tana work? Yvonne Tana responded that hers would have big bums and small heads because from where she is from, her iwi carvings have small heads and big bums, she makes them bigger. Tana also mentioned how she could do legs or faces, instead the legs are inspired by a woman who was wearing bell bottoms.
I think about objects I would like to make, I think about Ralph Hotere crosses and how you know it is a Ralph Hotere, it can't be replicated. I think about objects I want to make that hold space yet have a tension about them. Domestic with tension. An objects that indicates a holder of space and time, that offers pause, nurture, care yet takes away from it at the same time. I think about my position as a mother, wife, woman, lover, friend, wahine Māori, as one that believes in whakapapa and tupuna connections. I think about what this could look like sculpturally. An object not to ogle over but to question whether it functions in the way its meant to. Whether it has been made to be used and if so how long do you have with it? Does it have a lifespan or does it dissolve before your eyes back into the nothingness, Te Po. back int potential?
I forgot to mention that Wi talked about Te Ao Marama (the light) and Te Po (the dark). That his vessels have a hole to show this whakapapa. When you look into the vessel and see darkness and then you come out into the light. Everything he makes has whakapapa.
An idea I thought about is constructing furniture that is of the domestic, that is made to hold space for people ie chair, table, tableware etc however it carries a tension that questions its ability to be used, perhaps through its material, its infusion of body, tikanga, or its ephemeral qualities, ie non-fired or bisqued clay objects that are exposed to water, leaving them to break, dissolve, etc.