Rick Rudd has opened Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics for business.
The large building in Bates St is a carefully curated record of New Zealand potters and their work over decades and is a must-visit for locals and out-of-towners.
Rick was busy during lockdown.
"I've stripped every area. The New Zealand collection has been completely dismantled and cleaned ... painted the table tops, left them for three days to harden, then washed the pots and put them back.
"Basically, I've done that to every space.
"The day before lockdown I went and bought a bucket of paint."
Rick even dismantled, cleaned and reassembled a water work on display on the first floor and prepared a number of recently acquired plinths.
He has painted every flat surface except those in his current exhibition of 100 teapots.
"That exhibition was meant to finish at the end of June but will probably go on until the end of July, now," says Rick.
"In between times I've actually been making my own work quite a bit and getting to have a walk every day along the river bank. We have been so lucky the weather has been bright and cheerful."
In opening Quartz Rick has been careful to comply with distancing and hygiene requirements. A table at the door carries a hand sanitiser dispenser and there's a sign asking visitors to clean their hands and maintain a two metre distance from others not in their bubble.
"I'm closing the loo and there is a sign on that saying closed and that there is a public toilet across the road in the park, and that's cleaned, I would say, at least three times a day. And, of course, everything in here is 'don't touch'."
Rick will be cleaning the handrail alongside the stairs to the first floor and will make sure people comply with level 2 rules. He is also keeping a record of all visitors for contact tracing.
The teapot exhibition Anyone for tea? consists of 100 teapots from the collection of Coromandel-based potter and collector Lindsay Garmson.
"He's an enthusiast. It's well-known potters, almost unknown potters, ugly teapots, beautiful teapots ... it's the teapot gone mad," says Rick.
Among the very small, medium-sized and larger works, there is a huge teapot on its own plinth. Rick says that's for level 1 use, because it serves more than 10 people.
Rick would like to see more Whanganui people see and appreciate what Quartz has to offer. He says his main clientele are New Zealanders from out of town, with internationals and Whanganui people combined about a third of that number.
Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics is at 8 Bates St.