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Meet Two Potters and a JewellerMercury Bay Art Escape

One amazing aspect of the Mercury Bay Art Escape is personally meeting the artists in their home and/or studio location.

In this feature on the upcoming 2023 Art Escape, read about Alan and Julia Rhodes – Whenuakite Potters, Meg Auth – Hahei Jeweller, whom you will get to meet in these first two weekends in March and whose work you can see for yourself Friday 3 March to Sunday 5 March, Friday 10 March to Sunday 12 March.

Mercury Bay Art Escape is your chance to visit 40 artists in the stunning coastal area of the Eastern Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, from Matarangi to Hikuai.

The annual artists’ open studios in the first two weekends of March each year, with a rich and eclectic mix of art mediums provides a unique opportunity to visit and chat with member artists in their studios, see their work in progress, find what inspires them and what new art they are working on and buy direct from their studio.

Gala Opening of Mercury Bay Art Escape Friday 3 March at Hot Waves Café where a showcase exhibition of the artists is featured as well as guest speaker, Lynda Hallinan, author of The Joy of Gardening. ‘Lynda has spent half her life digging up ideas for growing food and flowers in kiwi gardens.’

The exhibition at Hot Waves Café, Hot Water Beach will be open for the public from 5 March to11 April, 2023.

Mercury Bay Art Escape potters and Coromandel clay

Alan (pictured right) and Julia Rhodes produce hand-thrown pots with magnificent glazes that are unique to the Coromandel Peninsula. Alan is also well known as the co-founder of the iconic Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. This popular band with a score of country music awards was inducted into New Zealand’s country music Hands of Fame in 2015. Their last album, These Old Hands, finalist for Best Country Music Album at the Golden Guitar awards, paid special tribute to Alan’s life story and craft. “Music and pots – that’s me,” says Alan. When not handling clay, Alan and Julia can be seen still jamming and playing music locally.

In a stroke of pure Coromandel luck, Alan and Julia discovered beautiful stoneware clay on their own property. They dig and process this to hand make their pottery which is fired in a gas kiln. This high fired pottery has the advantage of being ovenproof, microwave and dishwasher safe. Recently they’ve also been making low-fired saggar pots in a tiny gas kiln.

Wander up a bush path to their studio where you can meet these artists and discover a treasure trove of stoneware pottery with a real “terroir” (sense of place) to the Coromandel.

Further up the same driveway are Mercury Bay Art Escape fellow potters, Gary Nevin and Julie

Burns-Nevin who specialise in figurative and animalistic pieces displayed in the garden of their self-built adobe house.

Love of the sea inspires this Mercury Bay Art Escape art jeweller

Hahei local Meg Auth, creates art jewellery using found objects, stones and gems set in precious and non-precious metals which provide a reminder or connection to the sea for the wearer. Primarily a self-taught jeweller, Meg initially gained an art degree from the University of Notre Dame (USA), with a focus in printmaking from etched metal plates.

The Mercury Bay Art Escape features a number of artists who work and exhibit in other countries as well as New Zealand. Meg and her husband Jerry have divided their time between Hahei and Indiana for over twenty years now and Meg’s initial draw to the Coromandel area was her love of the sea. Meg crafts her jewellery in a tiny Hahei studio with a stunning view across to Mahurangi island. Living by the sea provides an endless source of inspiration for her work. “I am in love with nature and am happiest when in, on or near water”. This immersion in the beauty of the Coromandel coast has influenced Meg’s work to incorporate shell, kelp, fish and other sea life themes as well as natural rock and sea patterns. Meg believes the natural beauty of the Coromandel draws many artists from New Zealand and abroad to live here,

“I actually feel more creative here.”

 |  The Informer  | 

One amazing aspect of the Mercury Bay Art Escape is personally meeting the artists in their home and/or studio location.

In this feature on the upcoming 2023 Art Escape, read about Alan and Julia Rhodes – Whenuakite Potters, Meg Auth – Hahei Jeweller, whom you will get to meet in these first two weekends in March and whose work you can see for yourself Friday 3 March to Sunday 5 March, Friday 10 March to Sunday 12 March.

Mercury Bay Art Escape is your chance to visit 40 artists in the stunning coastal area of the Eastern Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, from Matarangi to Hikuai.

The annual artists’ open studios in the first two weekends of March each year, with a rich and eclectic mix of art mediums provides a unique opportunity to visit and chat with member artists in their studios, see their work in progress, find what inspires them and what new art they are working on and buy direct from their studio.

Gala Opening of Mercury Bay Art Escape Friday 3 March at Hot Waves Café where a showcase exhibition of the artists is featured as well as guest speaker, Lynda Hallinan, author of The Joy of Gardening. ‘Lynda has spent half her life digging up ideas for growing food and flowers in kiwi gardens.’

The exhibition at Hot Waves Café, Hot Water Beach will be open for the public from 5 March to11 April, 2023.

Mercury Bay Art Escape potters and Coromandel clay

Alan (pictured right) and Julia Rhodes produce hand-thrown pots with magnificent glazes that are unique to the Coromandel Peninsula. Alan is also well known as the co-founder of the iconic Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. This popular band with a score of country music awards was inducted into New Zealand’s country music Hands of Fame in 2015. Their last album, These Old Hands, finalist for Best Country Music Album at the Golden Guitar awards, paid special tribute to Alan’s life story and craft. “Music and pots – that’s me,” says Alan. When not handling clay, Alan and Julia can be seen still jamming and playing music locally.

In a stroke of pure Coromandel luck, Alan and Julia discovered beautiful stoneware clay on their own property. They dig and process this to hand make their pottery which is fired in a gas kiln. This high fired pottery has the advantage of being ovenproof, microwave and dishwasher safe. Recently they’ve also been making low-fired saggar pots in a tiny gas kiln.

Wander up a bush path to their studio where you can meet these artists and discover a treasure trove of stoneware pottery with a real “terroir” (sense of place) to the Coromandel.

Further up the same driveway are Mercury Bay Art Escape fellow potters, Gary Nevin and Julie

Burns-Nevin who specialise in figurative and animalistic pieces displayed in the garden of their self-built adobe house.

Love of the sea inspires this Mercury Bay Art Escape art jeweller

Hahei local Meg Auth, creates art jewellery using found objects, stones and gems set in precious and non-precious metals which provide a reminder or connection to the sea for the wearer. Primarily a self-taught jeweller, Meg initially gained an art degree from the University of Notre Dame (USA), with a focus in printmaking from etched metal plates.

The Mercury Bay Art Escape features a number of artists who work and exhibit in other countries as well as New Zealand. Meg and her husband Jerry have divided their time between Hahei and Indiana for over twenty years now and Meg’s initial draw to the Coromandel area was her love of the sea. Meg crafts her jewellery in a tiny Hahei studio with a stunning view across to Mahurangi island. Living by the sea provides an endless source of inspiration for her work. “I am in love with nature and am happiest when in, on or near water”. This immersion in the beauty of the Coromandel coast has influenced Meg’s work to incorporate shell, kelp, fish and other sea life themes as well as natural rock and sea patterns. Meg believes the natural beauty of the Coromandel draws many artists from New Zealand and abroad to live here,

“I actually feel more creative here.”