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Nicole Kolig

The link between Northern Outback Australia and the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand seems an unusual one. Originally from Vienna, Austria, my first attempts at pottery began in the Kimberleys, Australia. Literally being in the middle of nowhere and having no one to ask for instructions or advice turned out to be a defining path in my ceramic career.

The necessity to source clay and glaze materials got me interested in geology, landscape and human interpretation of the environment.

After moving to Dunedin in 1973 and subsequently completing the Otago Polytechnic Ceramics Course I kept returning to the Kimberleys. This led to a commission by the Australian Education Department to carry out a feasibility and pilot project to introduce pottery in an Aboriginal community with the aim to enable Aboriginal woman to generate income from the emerging tourism with their craft. Aboriginal people had no pottery tradition and saw clay as the stuff that your car gets bogged in during the wet season. It was a very interesting time for all of us.

Later, acquiring land on the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand, opened up a whole new range of materials. Running a farm puts me in contact with the land or its green grassy skin in all its aspects. As a ceramic artist I am interested in the rocks and clays underneath - the bones of the earth. The landscape around me is stunning. The views are magnificent and the moods forever changing. What would it have looked like before the volcanic eruptions some 11 million years ago? Why do we attach notions of stability, permanence and eternity to the landscape when the very earth beneath our feet is on the move, literally?

To me landscape is not a static, unchanging, rock solid, permanent feature. It is in a constant state of change, flux and geological metamorphosis. In my deliberations on how to express change and transformation in the ceramic medium I came to reassess the definitions and boundaries of clay and glaze. Glaze conventionally is a flat layer of paint, serving utilitarian and aesthetic functions. What if it were independent of a clay body and a three dimensional form?

So I found myself another challenge: unknown territory, no introductory books this time. After years of experimenting and research, kiln disasters, many trials and tribulations and always goaded on by yet another hint of a breakthrough came success. That was in the year 2005 with the first installation of free three dimensional glaze forms in a work I called Glazeperlenspiel: The Gems You sought. It refers to the alchemist J.F. Boettger, the alchemist, who 300 years ago discovered hard paste porcelain in Europe and forever changed pottery in Europe and England.

Other Pure Glaze sculptures followed but recently two new lines work in PURELY GLAZE have emerged. One is the INTERACTIVE GLAZE, being sculptures in pure glaze, which can be manipulated and rearranged as desired, exploring the tactile dimension and engagement with forms, translucency and light reflections.

The second line is WEARABLE GLAZE. These Arcanum Gems range from the palest translucent celadon to unctuous greenstone and jade colours, blues of many hues and many other colours. Unusual designs make it a distinctive piece of jewellery.

I love the idea of turning humble minerals into Glaze Jewels without the effects gold mining entails.

The road has been long but very satisfying and I am looking forward to a lot more exciting discoveries on the way. What if ? is always on my mind.

I havent quite divorced myself from clay. It is still useful! I make orbs and bowls, mostly in a white crackle glaze of Chinese Song Dynasty origin that I have formulated some 30 years ago. It still holds mysteries, is a difficult glaze but irresistible in its pure, classical appeal. I saw a small pot with this glaze in the Shanghai Museum and everybody crowded the showcase despite the huge and decorated pieces clamouring for attention.

Wall panels and sculptures featuring glazes or fired rocks of our land express my relationship with landscape. Another line is relating to New Zealand Wildlife. Replica Eggs of the Royal Albatross, Kiwi and Yellow Eyed Penguin make genuine keepsakes for tourists.

My work is mostly going to exhibitions in New Zealand. Commissions, both private and commercial, also keep me busy. Presently I only sell stock in the Stuart Street Potters Cooperative and the Whiteroom in Dunedin, with a few outlets in the North Island.

I prefer to work in limited editions, as my work is constantly evolving and mostly conceptual.

Contact Details
03 4780911
027 2020464
Postal Address
P.O. Box 50
New Zealand
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