Ceramic artist Cardrona at the Labor Weekend Show


Ceramic artist Shannon Courtney’s love affair with the rocks of the Cardrona River created a number of baggage for her.

While studying her BFA at the University of Auckland, she loaded her suitcase with stones to take north and copy for her 1,000-piece graduate project at the School of Fine Arts. Elim arts, Dry River Bed.

“I was searched once and my bag came out with a sticker on it,” she laughed as she transported stones to airports.

Ms. Courtney is one of three artists invited to the annual Wanaka Art Labor Weekend exhibition.
The links between the ecology of rivers, water levels and water quality inspire his creativity.

His work has two parts – one is sculptural (the rocks of Cardrona) and the other is functional, like Thrifted, a collection of dishwasher safe serving pieces.

Ms. Courtney uses a slip-molding technique to copy objects.

Thrifted is a series of colorful plates, tumblers, tumblers and bowls, as many replicas of objects that she found in flea markets.

Colors are created by mixing clay with powder dyes. The pieces receive a transparent glaze.

“I like to find things with a pattern and make a mold. You might find a part in a thrift store that was part of a complete set. They often have really beautiful designs, ” she said.

Ms Courtney grew up in Matakana, north of Auckland.

She graduated in 2019 and worked for Matakana potter Anthony Morris before moving permanently to Cardrona in 2020 to join her mother, Dale Courtney, who runs Kind Farm, an animal sanctuary.

She worked in a cherry shed until she could get consent for two small portable buildings – a workroom and a studio – but for the first six months she didn’t have an oven.

It was torture for me. But I did some drawing and painting. ”

Once the kiln arrived from the UK, she began making parts for her workshop and for

Queenstown Gallery, Broker, but found the southern climate a challenge.

With the sun, things dry much faster. Also with the colder temperatures overnight the clay freezes so I have to leave the heater on the studio, ”she said.

Ms. Courtney has also started to explore a whole new world online.

Artists had started talking about making non-fungible tokens, which people buy using cryptocurrency.

She decided to check it out for her new 100 Rock digital collection.

So far, she has created 20 out of 100 potential non-fungible tokens.

The process begins with a ceramic rock, which is 3D scanned.

The image is then digitally manipulated on a computer, with each version being a full-fledged work of digital art, which is then sold.

The buyer owns the copyright and if he decides to resell the artwork, the artist receives a royalty.

It’s keeping the money that comes to artists. It’s not just for visual artists, but also for musicians and artists, that sort of thing too, ” she said.

So far, Ms Courtney has sold one in a non-fungible token market and is seeing how things go.

“ I only heard about it this year … I thought it was very interesting, and with the advent of cryptocurrency,
I was very excited about it, ”she said.

Ms. Courtney also began to experiment with animation.

“It’s a new world for me too. I am interested in moving water and the surreal world of the river and the rocks. And it’s all part of an idea for a future exhibition on gold, river, rocks and ecosystem, ”she said.

The Wanaka Arts Labor Weekend exhibition attracted 305 admissions.

Guest artists are ceramicists Shannon Courtney, of Cardrona, painter Justine Summers, of Nelson, and jeweler Amy Bixby, of Albert Town.

The judges are Stacey Butler and Marc Blake, both of Queenstown.

Six Wanaka artists will work on the exhibition: Kym Beaton, Robin Brisker, Jenny Hill, Kate Boswell, Julia Sterncopf and Kate Costello.

The exhibit is at the Lake Wanaka Center Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

– By Marjorie Cook


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