POTTER Virginia McNeil is a regular exhibitor at the Art House Market, which will be open again this Sunday for the summer season.
Known for her ceramic tiki, McNeil also has an exquisite range of ceramic earrings, and display homewares, including vases and bowls, on offer. The earrings, including pretty roses, are delicately created “petal by petal”, she says.
Virginia says she started making tiki when she wanted something different and pretty for her walls.
“I got the inspiration for the tiki from my brother [a router] but I wanted to make it a bit different and I love everything floral and fauna and I love all the colours and that is where I get my inspiration from.”
Virginia, an administrator by day, started taking pottery classes about 15 years ago, but stopped when she had children. “I started classes again about two years ago, like really investing in it.”
She has always been interested in art, especially as her whole family are artists. Her mum is Whakatane artist Pam Mossman.
Her nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter are following in her footsteps. “They are amazing potters.” Virginia says her son makes dinosaurs – “the most incredible dinosaurs, but also dinosaur teeth and footprints and habitats”.
The artist says she loves having her work at the market because everything is handmade in the Eastern Bay. “We still get such great people coming and selling their stuff there.”
Her vases and bowls are also handmade and intricately painted with swirling dots of colours. “I find it really soothing and I love putting all the colours into it as well.”
Virginia does not follow a pattern when she makes her pieces. “I don’t know what it is going to turn out like until it is finished. Because quite often they look silly when I am doing them, and it is not ‘til they are finished that they come together.”
Her passion now is for creating decorative homewares. “They are slip cast and hand built, not turned on a wheel; hand-building is my favourite”.
She also loves florals. “If I can put a flower on something I will put a flower on something.”
Sometimes working at the pottery shed and sometimes at home, Virginia says she does a lot of work on her dining room table, “so I can could cook dinner and watch the kids at the same time”.
The Art House Market will be open on Sunday from 9am at the Corner of Short and McAlister streets. Artists and crafters are invited to come along and sell their crafts. Contact Pam on 0274409230 or just see her on the day.