Wellington Art Club Newsletter July 2009

Editor: Anita Thompson


In May, six Wellington artists visited Xiamen, China as part of the Wellington Xiamen Association's 2009 cultural exchange program. Ping Ching Mabbet, a past club member,
was one member of the group and has agreed to come and tell us of that experience.


Olympia Osborne
Those of you regularly attending the art Club will know that Ray Abbott has decided to step down from being President from afar, and I have accepted the position, with the support of an enthusiastic committee. Elaine Kermode is Vice-President. My special thanks to Jeff Collings – always there, working tirelessly. We are grateful for his wonderful sign writing, and Dave Shaw, who supports Del's art and spends hours of computing and counting coins. Del is organising some varied workshops throughout the year, Linda Smith as Secretary and Anita Thompson publishing our newsletter. We welcome Malcolm Laird to our committee. Malcolm has offered to set up a website for the club and service it free for the first year. Even though there is a recession, it has been an enjoyable busily painting year for us all.


Wellington Art Club is now part of the electronic revolution, and newsletters are available both by email and by visiting the club’s new website at “wellingtonart.co.nz”, Printed copies will still be available at the clubrooms.

Club members with an email address in our records will also receive their newsletter directly by email. If you have not yet provided your email details to the club and you would like to receive the newsletter by email, please contact the secretary Linda Smith at
lindaps@clear.net.nz. Conversely, if you do not wish to receive the newsletter by email, contact Linda.

For those who are not connected to the internet – or even a computer – please rest assured that you will still receive your newsletter by post or by picking it up at the club.


Review by: Linda Smith

Rob treated us to a really interesting insight into his passion for diving and underwater photography, illustrated by his many photos and books. As a boy, he was introduced to diving with just a mask in the local waters. A teacher at Rongotai College, a keen insect photographer who could afford the best of photography equipment, taught him photography. He loaned Rob his diving suit, but it so big and the belt so heavy that he sank. He found a shipwreck at Breaker Bay, that at first he thought was an old tip site. He visited a wreck at Spirit Bay, named by early Maori, who stole the spirits off it.

Rob saw an abundance of fish in Wellington waters 50 years ago compared to today. He once spoke to local school groups about this and showed them the lovely photos he had taken over the years. He no longer goes to schools but has compiled a set of books showing the sea life of our harbour. Rob said the diminished sea life here has many causes, such as boat anti-fouling chemicals, water rats, reclamation and rubble, not to mention storm water drain contents. The commercial fishers deplete stocks by throwing back the catch that is not targeted and lost nets are deadly to many species.

Rob and his wife spent time earlier in their marriage living on beaches in Australia doing a lot of diving for fish, but little underwater photography. He had no problems with sharks then but on a later trip with his children, he did. After reassuring them about sharks, he saw a large one where they had been swimming.

Special waterproof cases house the cameras for underwater shots. The many photos are used for wife Lynn's business calendars and the computer stores the many books and family albums. A working trip to Russia is documented in another book. A story about a dragon, written for his grandchild, is illustrated with paintings done by our John Steven.

After heart bypass surgery 13 years ago, Rob received a reassuring letter from another bypass patient encouraging him to carry on his beloved hobby. Thanks to Rob for sharing his colourful and interesting underwater world.


Review by: Olympia Osborne

Anna Williams is a passionate repairer of rugs that are old and valuable. She is a professional weaver who began mending Oriental carpets when she answered a newspaper ad for a 'mature woman' at Wellington Zingana to sell carpets and instead became a rug repairer.

Anna grew up in the Hawkes Bay, and in 1970 she graduated with a degree in Anthropology from Victoria University. She drifted into social work but it was on her OE to the UK where she worked in Edinburgh and helped set up an exhibition of wall hangings for Samaritans that she became inspired by weaving. Returning home she travelled through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Nepal, then headed for Nelson Polytechnic school of hand-weaving and for several years worked between weaving and social work, and some fruit picking.

In the eighties, Anna was a founder member of Crafts Collective Roxburgh 5 which operated out of a house in Mt. Victoria for six years and was able to make a reasonable living from her weaving while bringing up her son Aiden. In 1990 Anna travelled to India looking at textiles and then in 1994 in Turkey she studied rug restoration repairs.

On a trip in 2002 to Egypt with Aiden, then 16, she visited the Wissa Wasset Art Centre set up by a German in the 1940s for locals to weave tapestries to their own designs. Anna bought an all cotton tapestry of some sheep in among palm trees. Next, on to Turkey visiting old contacts from a previous trip and buying more materials for rug repairs. Then to St. Petersburg: the absolute highlight was the Pazyryk carpet, found in Siberia in 1949, the oldest pile carpet in the world.

In 2007 Anna travelled to Iran where she lived with the famiy of Ali – the rug dealer Richard Pointon’s Iranian “extended family”- while she worked in the Carpet Warehouse on the outskirts of Tehran where old and new rugs are washed, then stretched and repaired. The workers were all male and made her very welcome.

Travelling around with tour guides, she deviated from tour itinerary to spend time in the bazaars searching for tools, wools and cottons, and bullied guides to find weavers to see rugs being made.

The all important tools include small pairs of pliers, crochet hooks, small dental tweezers to pick out the pile, curved scissors, needles, block of wax to ease a needle through a tough rug and a hand razor to take the new pile down to the old.

Anna works freelance, the only one in Wellington, referrals come from Kirkcaldies, from dealers and by word of mouth from everywhere. She is living her dream and is often asked to talk about her work doing something she is passionate about. She is an entertaining speaker and has featured in a number of publications, such as House & Garden.

Contact Anna: Wellington Central City. Phone: Day and Night 04 385-8648
Mobile: 027 4927 031 Email: anna@rugrepairs.co.nz


Del Te Rito
Another very successful painting workshop was held on Saturday, 11th July with Evelyn McCutcheon demonstrating how to paint skies. Fifteen members attended and everyone went home with a completed or almost completed painting. All say they learnt something that will add to their knowledge. Evelyn has kindly donated her fees to the Art Club. We will present Evelyn with a $40 dollar voucher to thank her for her valuable instruction.


John Steven
Our happy group is building up quite nicely, and we have recently had live sitters on several successive Fridays. We have not forgotten our still life sessions though, and find this form of art work is very useful training in composition, drawing and perspective.
On a personal note, I had a brief stay in our new Regional Hospital in early June. My wife Brenda and I want to express our appreciation for the support and offers of help we had from so many club members. In particular, Olympia Osborne was a real gem. Thank you all.


Jeff Collings
This class is still meeting every third Monday from 7 – 9 pm. It is hoped that more members will be able to attend. Fee is $10 per session. The dates are 20th July, 10th August, 31st August and 21st September. Hope to see you there.


Gaye Blythe was an Art Club member for many years until poor health prevented her from continuing with her membership. She was a competent watercolour and oil painter and was a popular member of the Tuesday group.


The ALL SAINTS PARISH in Hataitai are fundraising for a new hall. They are asking for artists to donate paintings, sculptures or photographs. Any artist whose work sells will be given a receipt that they can use to claim back 1/3rd of the cost as a tax rebate. Frame cost reimbursment may be negotiated.
The exhibition is at Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba Street – 21st – 28th September.
September 1st is the final day to submit profiles + number of works.
For more information contact Jonathon - work phone: 389 8707, home: 472 5960


Maureen Davis
A man who works with his hands is a laborer, a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman, but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.
Louis Nizer (American Lawyer 1902 – 1994)

Back to News