4 November 2011 to 14 January 2012
10am - 5pm
Venue: The Gus Fisher Gallery, The Kenneth Myers Centre, 74 Shortland St
Contact info: 09 923 6646
Gus Fisher will be closed on 2pm on Thursday 22 December and will re-open on Wednesday 4 January, 10am.
It is more than 20 years since Crown Lynn Potteries closed its New Lynn factory but the output of this iconic company continues to capture the imagination of New Zealanders. Collectors increasingly pay large sums for second-hand crockery that was once ubiquitous throughout the country, while artists and designers pay homage with their own new designs. This exhibition offers a snapshot of New Zealand’s industrial aspirations, as evidenced by designs such as the internationally influenced swans and Dorothy Thorpe’s idiosyncratic ball handles. Most importantly, the exhibition focuses on what Crown Lynn now means to generations of New Zealanders, whether it was first encountered at the factory, on the dinner table, in second-hand shops, online or in the glossy pages of an auction catalogue.
Crown Lynn: Pottery for the people explores our ongoing obsession with the classic kiwiana brand that was once the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest pottery producer. The exhibition focuses on nine different personal collections spanning tableware to hand-potted vases to production equipment: Juliet Collins’ Bohemia Ware by Mirek Smisek, Alison Reid’s Colourglaze, Billy Apple’s Dorothy Thorpe, Brian Ronson’s collections of Frank Carpay and Wharetana ware, Mary Morrison’s Fiesta ware, elements from the Clark’s family collection, John Parker’s Whiteware that responds to designs by Ernest Shufflebotham (aka Shufflebottom) and Keith Murray, and a selection from the vast archive assembled by Richard Quinn, including items rescued from the Crown Lynn factory sites, and now administered by the Portage Ceramics Trust. This diversity is testament to the many faces of Crown Lynn, which holds an eclectically subjective fascination for every collector, and it is through the devotion of these collectors that the Crown Lynn brand lives on.
Crown Lynn emerged within the Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company Ltd, which produced the bricks for the Kenneth Myers Centre when it was built as a broadcasting centre in 1934. Tom Clark, great-grandson of the pottery’s original founder, established a fledgling Porcelain Specialties Department (Ambrico) in the late 1930s, re-branded in the 1940s as Crown Lynn. He placed David Jenkin, a recently recruited Elam School of Fine Arts graduate, in charge of the new design department, where he remained for more than 30 years, overseeing the development of new product lines with local and international designers including Frank Carpay, Ernest Shufflebotham and Dorothy Thorpe.
Based on Crown Lynn: Crockery of Distinction, a City Gallery Wellington exhibition.
Saturday 5 November, 12-4pm
Exhibition launch event, light refreshments served
1pm Sydney-based enthusiast Tony Carr talks about his close friend, researcher Richard Quinn, whose efforts to preserve an important part of West Auckland's ceramic history have resulted in a unique collection now administered by the Portage Ceramics Trust.
2pm Trish Clark, daughter of Crown Lynn founder Tom Clark, discusses the family's own collection of Crown Lynn and provides personal insights and recollections into the company’s development.
Saturday 12 November, 1pm
Artist Lauren Lysaght talks about her exhibition, The Nita Gini Project.
Saturday 19 November, 1pm
Artist Lisa Reihana and curator Andrew Clifford discuss the cultural implications of Crown Lynn’s use of Māori motifs for their highly collectable Wharetana ware.
Saturday 26 November, 1pm
Ceramic artist and Arts Laureate John Parker talks about his work and the inspiration he has taken from Crown Lynn designer Ernie Shufflebotham and Wedgwood’s Keith Murray.
Saturday 3 December, 1pm
Collectors Alison Reid and Brian Ronson discuss the fine art of collecting ceramics and their mutual obsession with Crown Lynn.
Saturday 10 December, 1pm
Potter Peter Lange talks about the importance of bricks, which have become a key ingredient in his recent work, including new public installations in New Lynn where Crown Lynn and Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company Ltd were once based. The bricks that make up the distinctive exterior of the Gus Fisher Gallery, were manufactured by Amalgamated Brick and Pipe Company.
Saturday 17 December, 1pm
Mary Morrison and Billy Apple discuss their collections of Fiesta ware and Dorothy Thorpe tableware.
Saturday 7 January, 1pm
Join us for a free walking tour of Crown Lynn sites in New Lynn, including the Ambrico Place kiln, new public art works, and the future site of the Portage Ceramics Trust centre. Meet at 1pm on the New Lynn Public Library forecourt, not far from the New Lynn train station.
Saturday 14 January, 1pm
Staff of the Portage Ceramics Trust talk about the Richard Quinn Collection and the Trust’s plans to establish a museum for the collection close to the site of the of the Crown Lynn works.
All exhibitions and events are free and take place at the Gus Fisher Gallery unless otherwise noted.