Amanda Shanley

During our trip to New Zealand, ‘Work in Progress’ met Amanda Shanley, ceramic artist and good friend of Mary McFarlane, that we introduced earlier. Through the window we caught a short glimpse of the small gallery before entering her creative and colorful working space. The Shanley Studio is one of a handful of galleries at Port Chalmers exhibiting work, and ‘Shanley Studio’ is directly located opposite the wharf. Thereby Port Chalmers is an area of many faces, partly working-class international Port town, partly arts hub. Shanley loves her outlook with all the cranes and ships, the reflection of the port at her studio window.

Having picked up and moved out of Christchurch to study ceramics at the Dunedin Arts School, Amanda now travels between her home town and her studio in Port Chalmers. She runs the gallery and is exhibiting her work for nearly eight years now. Her ceramic art won her the Emergent Artist Award at the Portage Ceramic Awards 2003 and Highly Commended at the Cleveland Art Award 2004.

In her studio, which functions as a showroom at the same time, you can see the whole process of creating her delicate pottery bowls and cups. We were charmed by all the perfectly imperfect shapes and beauty of her unique cups and fine ceramic making. The beautiful cups are colored with ceramic pencil, felt tip pens or colored glaze. Her sister and daughter influence her work and keep her company just as the french bulldog Sid, who strolled around our feet. On the wall you can see paintings of her sister, which serve her as inspiration for her work and the striking wall mirrors by Mary McFarlane. A table taking centre stage to display the colourful hand painted cups and in the back you can see her working area, with all her used utensils, colours, and pottery clay. Her white vessels with colour drawn, scribbled and dripped upon the surface became her signature pieces. Handwritten with a lot of love for detail and words, to join into a vivid converstation with the environment and visitors. We couldn’t resist to buy one of her playful and fragile ceramic cups and carry it all way around the world, luckily in one piece, back home to Germany.

Text & pictures by Anke Nunheim