New Plymouth. Member of Creative Fibre NZ and SDA NZ Regional Group.
‘from out of the blue studio gallery’ is always pleased and excited to receive works from one of Taranaki’s driving forces in the fibre arts world. Beth Pottinger-Hockings contributes vast energy to the fibre community here, enriching everyone’s learning about and appreciation for the skills and beauty of textiles. Beth’s own practice is explorative and attentive to the details of beauty.
My love of wool started as a child – I was born & brought up on a hill country sheep & beef farm. I learned to knit & sew as a necessity (we wasted nothing) & was encouraged in these creative pursuits by my parents, particularly my dad. However, it wasn’t until about 15 years ago when I discovered the magic of felt making! It really was like I had ‘come home’ & my passion was born!
While I do still knit & sew, most of my recent work is wet felted using wool – I love the feel, the smell & the possibilities – making felt really is like magic! Starting as raw fibre, mostly sheep’s wool or alpaca, which is processed (washed, carded & often dyed) & frequently using other fibre, often silk, as embellishments, I create light floaty scarves, clothing, floor rugs, home furnishings, 3D sculptures & wall hangings.
What is important in my work is colour, balance, shape, texture – it must please or draw the eye in. My inspiration often comes from life’s meaningful & quirky events.
I also like to extend my knowledge & skills by challenging myself to create a piece from an inspiration – photographs, nature, objects, others artwork – wondering how can I create my version of that! This wondering usually continues at the back of my mind, then I might research online, collecting photographs & ideas that might further stimulate & enhance the idea. Sometimes I might do a sketch before I start sampling or actually making. I find the very act of creating to be contemplative, meditative, soothing and energising – it is essential to balance my other life as a counsellor.
As part of the Aotearoa – Land of the Long White Cloud Exhibition (Jan 20th 2022 – February28th 2022), Beth has created a blind collaborative work, developing a piece of material created by Suzan Kostanich into her own work We Are All Connected.
This piece is symbolic… it began from a throw away of Suzan Kostanich’s! I cut, painted, dyed & stitched & “We Are All Connected” evolved. Our rugged coast, mountain ranges, paddocks, roads, hills and rivers are all connected & nourish us in some manner; information & people flow in out (or did before covid) as a matter of necessity; as an isolated island national, we are perhaps more resilient, friendly & down to earth. Covid has highlighted the pros & cons of being able to control our borders as well as our underbelly… there is something out of kilter with us at present & this piece reflects that – it’s not quite right!
More details of this complex and engaging work are on the shop page listing.
Prior to the annual collection ‘For The Home’ 2021-2022 Beth had been exploring her trademark 3D felted shape, pushing the boundaries of structural consideration for integrity of form as well as colour manipulation. Some of these experiments found their way into the collection, to everyone’s enjoyment and delight. Some are vessels, some are balls, some are vessels with ball stoppers.