Bricksticks is open this Labour Weekend as part of Whanganui Heritage Month. The converted brickworks is a fully operational furniture workshop and showroom and is usually only open to the public by appointment, except in March for Artists Open Studios.
"When we have the shows I usually get asked half a dozen times by various people whether they can have a wedding here or parties and things," owner Greg Betts said.
This year, Betts was happy to make an exception and has eight artists exhibiting for Heritage Month, including his own furniture, and weaver Mere Keating exhibiting in the remarkable spaces built around the old kilns.
The building's many levels and spaces are all built from recycled materials.
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Betts was one of the first of his generation to dismantle buildings for reusable materials. He was part of the Early Modern Architecture scene in Wellington, but moved in 1986 to start working on the property in Georgetti Rd. The original brickworks produced its last brick in 1951, and was derelict until Betts came along. It took three months just to clear the building of rubble.
"The old boys were saying 'you can't use that it's too dry' but we're talking ancient heart rimu beams too long to fit in the car!"
Bricksticks is inspired by architects like Ian Athfield who experimented with cheap and available building materials, repurposing them and doing away with traditional house plans in favour of open plan living.
"Bricks were only $10 a truckload, it was cheaper for them to drop them off in the middle of Wellington than to take them out to the tip so he just started designing houses out of bricks," Betts said. "He was designing ways of changing houses around to suit whoever was living there at the time."
Betts received a Merit Award this month at the inaugural Whanganui Heritage Awards.
The gallery will be open with works for sale Friday through Monday, 10am to 4.30pm, and again in March 2021 for Artists Open Studios.
Made with funding from