This walk was planned for a lovely sunny day but Wellington delivered a more than fresh wind and a chilly temperature to accompany a visit by 20 Friends of Te Papa to two special spaces in Lyall Bay.

L-R: Colleen Restieaux, Jeannette Bornholdt and Jane Blackmore. Image provided by Deirdre Tarrant.

We met at the studio and exhibition space of Jane Blackmore. Her introduction to her works and a very interesting commentary about her growth and philosophies as a successful commercial artist right here on our doorstep were very pragmatic and personal. She spoke about her love of painting and her discipline and choices as an artist. It was a privilege to share. Her landscapes were a real contrast to her abstract works and her use of colour was powerful. Jane talked about her method and her use of oils and the preparation of her canvases and this focus on the ‘how’ of her process provided a real synergy with our next visit… just along the road to Sue Dasler and her ceramic workshop and store. Again, here were the wonderful influences of the sea in the use of colour and very cute penguins- very South Coast! Sue talked about her journey from Nelson to Wellington, about her choice of clays and her love of making. She had an intern from Waikato doing his Masters who was about to travel north for his assessment and who had been mentored by her during his time in the studio. Gourds / large pots made of pottery in subtle clay tones and fired to give the resonance of a drum were a unique thrill to see alongside a kete of his hand thrown ceramic Maori flutes- koauau. Sharing the studio space is the REAL gallery run by Jane Fahy with cabinets of jewellery, wood and glass work that respond to many influences of Aotearoa. Jane spoke of her relationship with the New Zealand artists she sells and she clearly loves the range of work she sells.

Both venues are must – sees and right on our doorstep. There was great interest from all and thanks given on behalf of the Friends. Christmas presents were considered and purchased and I have a strong feeling that there will be many visits back to both Jane Blackmore and Sue Dasler and their studios where the creating and making happens before you and to the of gallery shop of Jane Fahy. This was an outing that really brightened up the day!

Deirdre Tarrant

Feature image: Provided by Deirdre Tarrant (L-R): Jan Cranston, Deirdre Kennerley and Sue Dasler