Artsenta exhibition on in city


Tackling the flaming, dramatic process of raku firing has been a new experience for Artsenta member Hamish [surname withheld], in recent months.
Hamish is one of dozens of Artsenta members whose art works are on display at Dunedin Community Gallery as the organisation celebrates its 30th anniversary. More than 100 art works are featured.
Artsenta is a not-for-profit art studio for people using mental health services, who are able to explore their creativity with the support of expert staff.
Hamish has been a member of Artsenta for the past two years and has experimented with a variety of artistic methods, including drawing, painting and pottery. This year, he has worked with tutor Greta Doo on creating ceramics, based on sea shell designs, with iridescent raku-fired glazes.
About a dozen Artsenta artists worked with raku firing –¬†an interesting process involving a very hot kiln at the Dunedin School of Art, and a giant tub of newspaper in which to place the red-hot pottery. The resulting fire creates a reduction process, which gives the raku-fired glaze its distinctive look.
“It can be quite a rough process on the pieces, and we had a few failures, but even those were quite interesting,” Hamish said.
“I had never done anything like it before, but it is quite cool when pieces turn out as you have planned.”
Hamish has 16 raku-fired ceramic pieces in the exhibition, along with a selection of pottery, paintings and drawings.
A regular at Artsenta, Hamish finds the atmosphere supportive and positive.
“There is a nice atmosphere, and it’s good to learn new things,” he said.
Run by the Creative Arts Trust, Artsenta has been located in five different buildings and has worked with hundreds of artists. In late 2016, Artsenta moved to its current location at 462 Princes St.
The Artsenta exhibition continues at Dunedin Community Gallery until Wednesday.