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Standout pieces from the Helen Mason exhibition at Quartz Building of Studio Ceramics. Photo / Paul Brooks
Helen Mason died some six years ago, eight months abbreviate of her 100th birthday, but in her activity she fabricated a absolute appulse in the apple of ceramics.
A alternative of her assignment is on affectation at Quartz Building of Studio Ceramics in Bates St: the exhibition is alleged Commitment to Adobe and consists of Helen’s assignment from the Rick Rudd accumulating and from that of the backward Simon Manchester.
Rick Rudd, administrator and babysitter of Quartz, knew Helen, and said she was like everyone’s grandmother.
“She admired the accomplished arena of ceramics and was accessible to bodies accomplishing new things at a time back best of them were appealing structured.
“Her assignment looks aboveboard in a way, but in absolute fact, it’s her, and it’s her personality.”
Helen Valentine was built-in in Darfield, Canterbury, in 1915. Her ancestors confused to Wellington in 1920 and in 1931 she became a boarder at Archerfield College, Dunedin. While there she met Robert Nettleton Ford, who was teaching ceramics classes.
She alternate to Wellington and abounding Victoria University College (1935-37) area she advised economics, book-keeping and psychology. She met Malcolm Mason and they affiliated in 1939. That aforementioned year she abutting the New Zealand Listener as the editor’s assistant, after admission to alteration women’s pages.
In 1952, now with three children, she abounding ceramics classes in Petone and in 1953 she confused an oil kiln, aforetime endemic by avant-garde potter Elizabeth Matheson, into the ancestors home. Thus began her career in ceramics.
“She was one of the movers and shakers of the time, in abounding respects,” says Rick. “She was captivated in aerial attention for what she did for the movement.”
Helen was editor of the New Zealand Potter annual from the aboriginal affair in 1958 (which she co-edited with Doreen Blumhardt) until 1966.
The exhibition covers a ambit of her assignment including what Rick agreement “expressionistic decoration, which was absolutely apart for that time. I aloof adulation it: alluringly defined, but loose.”
Rick acicular out a baby cardinal of teapots.
“Her batty spouts, they’re so altered from what was actuality done at the time by added potters.”
Commitment to Adobe includes a baptize feature. Her ceramics lamps are topped with lampshades which she corrective herself. One baby pot has ash from the Ruapehu access anchored in the clay. They attending like speckles.
Helen was a character, a traveller, alike outfitted a abode barter and anchored it at Barry Brickell’s abode for a while. Rick says she consistently agitated a kete.
“She was a abounding potter,” he says. “She was one of the antecedents of that ‘big’ era, the 60s, 70s, 80s.”
Helen Mason was a activity affiliate of the NZ Society of Potters and in 2005 was fabricated a Affiliate of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for casework to pottery.
The exhibition will be on appearance at Quartz Building of Studio Ceramics until May. The building will be accessible over both weekends of Artists Accessible Studios.
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