Labour of love for ‘Spirit of Christmas’ exhibitors

Many locals may have time on their hands thanks to Covid restrictions but not so the 16-odd arts and craftspeople busily preparing to show their works in the Old School Art’s Centre’s eighth annual ‘Spirit of Christmas’ exhibition, due to open in a fortnight.

A lot of effort goes into this home-grown show, potter and clay shed tutor Lindy Moir told the Chronicle, her fingers sore from threading clay beads onto jute for the decorative garlands she crafts.

And it’s hard work right down to mixing bowlfuls of clay slip to the porridge-like consistency needed for bonding, decorating and protecting pottery pieces, she says.

But all the time and effort are definitely worth it, she adds. “We’ve got a fantastic team (here at the clay shed) and when everyone brings in beautiful hand-made creations the show just comes together … It’s a happy, joyful time.”

Fellow tutor Justine Davies has also been busy creating her trademark totem stacks for the garden, while first-time exhibitor Robyn Marsters has crafted a range of simple yet stylish bowls and cups.

Then there are the bold, bright keep cups and candles of well-known local ceramicist Sarah Bing, who exhibits regularly at the show.

But it’s not just pottery on offer at this cash-and-carry art sale: there’s everything from three-dimensional driftwood Christmas trees and ready-to-bake brownie mixes, to creative glass objects, preserved flowers in jars, leaf-dyed cushions, fabric art, magnets and calendars, jewellery and paintings.

All items are priced at between $5 and $500.

And for the fourth consecutive year orders will also be taken for home-made Christmas cakes baked in Bing Ceramics’ unique clay pots, says exhibition coordinator Susanne Giessen-Prinz. This is a quality gift wrapped in compostable packaging and still useful long after the cake is eaten, she adds.

Orders need to be in by December 5, for collection two weeks later.  

Susanne suggests shoppers come and support local. “Think creatively and outside tradition when decorating your home this year, and get your whanau into the Christmas spirit … Be amazed at how creative and quirky our awesome arts and crafts community is.”

All the items on sale are innovative and plastic-free, with funds raised poured back into the Old School’s new two-storey clayshed-cum-creative space. “Better than buying at The Warehouse,” quips Susanne, who also expects Santa to drop by at some stage.

*The Spirit of Christmas show will open at the Old School in Stewart St on Saturday Nov 27 through to Dec 11, providing Covid alert level restrictions do not tighten. If a change prevents the Old School from opening, the exhibition will be run as an online store with photos and prices of artworks on display for shoppers to purchase by email.  

Edith Symes