Kia ora Koutou

Kia ora Koutou,

day 2 of being snowed in here in Asheville NC, and yes….I’ve finally consigned my shorts and jandles to the back of the wardrobe:( We’ve had about 10″, not as bad as some places but bad enough if you have to go anywhere!

Certainly not a good day to invite friends for a BBQ or kick back on the deck loungers. As we knew it was coming we stocked up on vital supplies…beer…. and prepared to hunker down inside for a while. As you can see from the first pic we have a pretty steep drive so would be mad to even attempt to get out. But we have enjoyed, not sure that is quite the right word, some walks in the snow. Mel made a snow angel, I ‘politely’ declined the invitation to lie down in the freezing cold wet stuff.

I was mildly excited about the prospect of tobogganing this morning but when Mel’s toboggan immediately sank deep into the thick fluffy powder I soon lost interest!!  The birds are braver than me and are still visiting the bird feeder I made a few weeks ago, I’m missing the Piwakawaka, Kotare and especially the summer warbling of the Riroriro but the local woodpeckers, Titmice, Juncos and chickadees are making up for it:)

It’s been an eventful time since I moved here in May last year. A busy summer teaching, conferences, making stuff and I had a trip back to NZ in August for the final interview to get my 3 year work visa. Getting that turned out to be quite a saga but well worth it. We are very grateful to our dear friends for inviting us to care take their holiday home in Asheville. In October, thanks to the support of other good friends, who relinquished their right to the space, and other artists who went in to bat for us, we moved into our very own cozy studio at Grovewood Studios complete with a Kiwi flag off an American nuclear submarine… cheers Jacques!!!:)

It’s great to be part of such a wonderful active artist community and work right next door to Grovewood Gallery and the Grove Park Hotel which are amazing buildings! MANY THANKS to all those, too many to name here, who helped us get moved in, donated/loaned furnishings and equipment to get going, attended our opening and especially to friends who have commissioned/purchased work from us:)

Here’s some images of what Mel & I have been making lately…..

Commission Mel made for a client in Greensboro who collected some of her earliest pieces. Designed to cover a door window. Made from sculpted/painted/burned wood, mica, paper.

Very pagan, forest feel to this piece.

‘Rust & Bone’ – commission Mel made for a fellow woodworker friend who also works in the bone and joint medical field and has a soft spot for alligators!!!

‘Mamaku bowl’- which I turned/carved and Mel painted. Collection of Dale Larson.

‘Starfish Vessel- Where the Ocean Meets the Sea’    Collection of Al & Pris Klomparens.

This is my latest Sth Pacific Vessel and with this piece I collaborated with Asheville poet Michael C Boyco who wrote a beautiful poem to go with the piece. We have just collaborated on a second piece and now I am hoping to make a piece in response to one of his poems.

My latest venture is building ‘Steampunk’ lamps. I’ve made a few lamps over the years at collaborative conferences and now that I’m settled in Asheville, which has heaps of great junk yards and an avid ‘re-purposing’ community, I’m taking the time to build some for sale in Grovewood Gallery. Here’s the first one ’100 degrees in the shade’. Made from an old hospital temperature measuring instrument, an antique automotive trouble lamp and an antique lamp stand from Mel’s Grandaddy’s garage.

No 2….’Under Pressure!’ – found gauges, taps and gizmos all connected with copper tube and brass fittings.

No 3 is still under construction and is a little more ‘electronic’ in design. My previous life as a Radio Tech is resurfacing and I’m havin’ fun!:)

Now we’re looking forward to a busy summer with more teaching, especially excited to be teaching our first class together at Penland no woodturning in this class, we’ll concentrate on design and surface techniques applied to simple sculptural forms. We’re excited to have the assistance of Charlie Ryland for this class. We met Charlie when we were at Arrowmont last year and really liked his work and energy. The Penland catalog has just come out so if you want to join in the fun sign up quick.

We’ll also be doing some local demos/classes for Carolina Mountain Woodturners and Charlotte Woodturners .

And we’ll be getting our collaborative juices running by attending the Frogwood Collaboration in Portland OR in August as well as Echo Lake at the Bucks Co Community College in July.

I’ll also be demonstrating at the ‘Turn on Chicago’ symposium in June and taking part in 3 panel discussions at the AAW symposium inn Atlanta.

So that will keep us busy for this summer!

Exciting news for 2017 is the possibility of leading a 2-3 week tour off NZ taking in places of cultural and natural significance, going of the beaten path and visiting leading NZ wood artists. Karen Depew has got the ball rolling on this through CWA and will soon be calling for expressions of interest.

Well that’s about it for now, hope you all had a great festive season and best wishes from us both for the year ahead:)


Graeme & Mel

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