I am inspired by creative people. I love finding one of these gems. The best ones go about their day, working their completely unrelated job, itching to get home so that they can dabble. If you are a creative person, you will know, it’s just so important to find time to unleash this need. Whether it makes you money, or costs you money, it’s benefits are rewarding.
My mother, Julia, is one of those gems.
She has recently reignited her passion for the wheel.
These creative tendencies are often very private and quiet, almost meditative for the artist. However, with their cover blown, they are often very animated and expressive when sharing their passion with a fellow dabbler of art. These people are often extremely humble and modest, and are wonderful people to know and to be around.
My mother shared with me her talent. Making a bowl on a potters wheel from clay.
She leaves the bowl over night to dry a little.
Then she places it upside down on the wheel to trim the and shape the outside of the bowl and its base.
The clay is put into a kiln twice. It is first biscuit fired at 800 C, then a glaze is applied and it is baked again, at over 1000 C.
Julia is a member of the local pottery club where she has access to a kiln, glazing and most importantly, other amazing creative potters!
She works from her studio in Whangapoua. Her bowls can be found at Luke’s Kitchen in Kuaotunu, on the Coromandel Pennisula and via her website juliapots.
Years ago when I cast handmade moulds with concrete, I formed my first ‘couple’. I managed to reproduce 10 of these before the delicate mould was retired. Now, I find creating with clay and firing each original piece is much more satisfying. Each piece is completely different, some even take on a direction of their own. I enjoy this process and am always excited to see the end result, when they emerge from their final firing.
On my first attempt of my couple in clay I put a vinyl cone support under the man, thinking that the woman could be built around him, but as I created, she started to slump.
Instead of scrapping the work, I went with the clay and love the result.
You could view the piece as a man supporting a weak or sick woman, or of a woman buckling underneath the pressure of holding up and supporting the man.
With the second piece, I built a support using cut down containers held together with duct tape. I covered the containers with a bread bag for easy removal. This ensured the couple kept their form. The support pieces were removed on day 2.
Being an egg donor, I am sensitive to the struggle some couples go through to be blessed with a child. I created a baby to fit in the couples arm, making the piece complete. While the piece was drying my three-year old daughter kept putting the baby back into the couples arms, when I would have it sitting next to the piece. I loved that she always wanted the baby with its parents, and not on its own on the shelf.
The piece turned out to be an interactive one. It’s surprising how the physical act of putting the baby in its place makes you feel good.
I sponged a black slip onto both pieces.
Unfortunately the glossy glaze did not give me the desired look. Perhaps they will find a home with someone. Thankfully art appeals to an array of people. I would have preferred a matt finish and will be purchasing my own glazes for future use, and applying a thicker slip.
I will definitely be making more of these little guys. I made them for personal Christmas gifts but had a few requests for some! A cool scale roller and hand cut fish shapes. I leaned them up on a cardboard tube cut in half to give the fish a slight curve. I experimented with what ever shades of blue the Clay Shed had. Simple and sweet.
Thankfully my family consumes a lot of margarine and Aunt Betty puddings, as these containers make for the perfect moulds for my concrete candles!
Using a 1:2 mix of cement and sand and just the right amount of water, I create awesome little concrete bowls for planting up with succulents, cacti and orchids. Now that I have found the joy of candle making, I have been filling them with scented soy wax too!
What I found was interesting is that you need the right wick for the diameter of the bowl, so that it creates the maximum sized melted wax pool!
There’s all sorts of shapes, heights and thickness to experiment with. I even poured the wax into some drinking glasses, and once cool the wax candle just slid right out.
The wax I use is soft, and can also be used for creating melts to use in a tea light burner.
Simple, natural, handmade in New Zealand, unlike those crude oil paraffin based ones that can only be used in a specific electric warmer. And instead of cleaning out the wax once the scent has evaporated, simply purchase your own scent to add to it!
I love getting my kids involved with any of my Lulus Lists ventures, and put them to work constructing the boxes for packaging, giving them a brief lecture on child labour, how some countries can produce products for cheap by exploiting their staff and why we should encourage people to buy New Zealand handmade goods! ; )
If you are passing through Tairua, as must tourists do, on their journey while circumnavigating the Coromandel, you must stop and take the short hike to the Paku summit. You can pretty much drive to the top of the mountain, that was once a volcanic island. There is plenty of parking and the track is easy to spot. The track is fun, and winding, with informative plaques posted along the way. There is a bit of a dodgy bit near the top, where you are required to clamber up over some rocks, but other that, it’s a true New Zealand native bush walk with the most amazing views!
This is a great stop, enroute up the Coromandel coast. The Twin Kauris can’t be missed as you wind your way up the hill, 2km out of Tairua, heading North.
To help protect these ancient trees from Kauri Dieback , a fungus-like disease that is specific to kauri, there is a sanitising station. You are required to scrub dirt of your boots and to spray them with the solution provided before and after being in the forest.
A perfect 20 min loop track to stretch your legs. So many tourists stop and have their photo taken in front of the huge Twin Kauris, but they don’t realise what a quick little trek is just steps away. In the bush they will see more of these unique natives, a trickling stream and a stunning canopy of intertwined braches, vines and leaves. Make sure you take the time to stop and look up!
The track is thankfully marked with little orange triangles, otherwise I think I would have gotten lost ; ) The track isn’t difficult. It’s a short fun walk that even little kids can mange. Mine love spotting the next triangle!
Had a great run/walk today, checking out the newly completed 4.2km stretch of the Pauanui to Tairua Trail. It was awesome! What a great feature to offer locals and visitors to the area. This part of the track can be entered from Waterways Parade, or from Tangitarori Lane, on the right as you head out of Pauanui.
I had previously walked it with the family a few months ago. Back then it was just a narrow dirt track edged with newly felled trees. Today it is beautiful! A real treat. Not just for the keen cyclists, but for runners, walkers and pram pushers. You are welcome to take your dog too, as long as its on a lead at all times. Young children could even manage a dawdle along the harbours edge.
There is pest control in full force so pets and children must be supervised. The location of bait stations and stoat traps are easily identified by colour coded triangles.
It took me 30mins to walk to the end, where if you brought your wallet, you could carefully cross the road a have a look around the Pauanui Art Gallery!
What’s really special about this walk is that its surrounded by trees which have been dedicated to soliders who fell in the Great War. There are seven World War 1 Memorial Forest sites across the Coromandel. This particular site represents the 640 killed in the Sinai-Palestine Campaign. If you are interested in giving a donation or gifting a tree contact the Thames-Coromandel District Council Customer Services on 07 868 0200