The winner of the Rick Rudd Foundation 2021 Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award is HineWaiKerekere from Auckland, who has been working with clay for four years.
"My sister has been potting for maybe eight years and she needed help loading kilns. So I did that for her ... then started developing glazes," she says. Now, following such a hands-on apprenticeship, HineWaiKerekere is a committed potter.
As winner she wins an exhibition at Rick Rudd's Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics in Whanganui and a prize of $12,000.
"That's a terrifying amount [of money]," says the gobsmacked potter. She says she was completely "blown away" when Rick rang her with the news. "He had to calm me down." Rick says he loved the reaction.
The work that won over the three judges – John Parker, Rick Rudd and Andrea du Chatenier – is called Kereru i roto i te nikau (Kereru in a nikau) and consists of two wood pigeons (kereru) on a vase-like vessel creating a trophy image. The work is created using recycled and local clays and reclaimed glaze remnants with added oxides.
The money will go to further HineWaiKerekere's pottery career.
"I've already ordered a Crowley, New Zealand-made wheel and I will be ordering a New Zealand-made kiln with the other half of the money. I won't have to travel to studios: I can work at home."
She lives on the North Shore and works at Ceramic College in Belmont.
"I've got little kids so my hours are short, getting them up, taking them to school, picking them up … so if I could work from home I could squeeze in more hours."
Kereru i roto i te nikau and 29 other works culled from the submissions make up the current exhibition at Quartz Museum of Studio Ceramics. The exhibition will be in place for six months.
The works are varied and come from people with no more than five years' experience working with clay. All are unique, but one piece was made with a 3D printer.
Rick says he is impressed with the quality and strength of the pieces on display.
Race, gender and sexuality feature in some of the works, with one in particular, a wall-hung piece called 'Can't Chainge', which takes subtlety to a new level.
Included in the exhibition are several works by Oliver Morse, the 2018 winner of the Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award.
The Rick Rudd Foundation and its good works came about when Rick saw a lawyer about updating his will.
"I told him, when I'm gone, I want a charity set up to encourage and foster ceramics in New Zealand, that sort of thing, and I'd like an Emerging Practitioner award. And he said, 'Why are you waiting till you've gone?' So that was the beginnings of setting up the foundation and the museum."
The first Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award was in 2018, with a prize of $10,000 and an exhibition at Quartz.
The parameters for "emerging" have been narrowed down to the artist having worked with clay for up to five years.
"That's where I want it to go," says Rick. "Someone who is just starting off on the journey."
The prize money has increased to $12,000 and the award and accompanying exhibition will be held every three years.
For each award an exhibition catalogue is produced, with high quality photographs of each exhibit and details of the piece and the artist. The catalogue is distributed nationally. All pieces in the exhibition are priced for sale and will be on display until April 3, 2021.
This year's award attracted 67 entries from around the country, "ranging in styles, techniques, aesthetics encompassing all aspects of working with clay, from the humble to the extroverted. It demonstrates that the future of studio ceramics in this country looks lively and positive".*
*Excerpt from the Emerging Practitioner in Clay Award 2021 catalogue.