Helen Mason (potter)

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Template:Use New Zealand English

Artist

Helen Wilmot Mason Template:Post-nominals (née Valentine, 30 April 1915 – 22 August 2014) was a New Zealand potter.

Biography

Born in Darfield in 1915, Mason grew up in Wellington.[1] In 1938 her engagement to Malcolm John Mason was announced,[2] and the couple married the following year.[1]

Mason took up pottery in 1953, attending classes and buying a diesel kiln from her husband's aunt, Elizabeth Matheson. Over the next few years she met other New Zealand artists including potters Olive Jones, Barry Brickell, Len Castle and Doreen Blumhardt, and painter Colin McCahon, and by 1957 had exhibited and sold her first pot. In 1958, she and Blumhardt co-founded New Zealand Potter magazine, which Mason edited for nine years.[1] The same year was commissioned to produce the crockery for Wellington's first cafe, the Monde Marie.[3]

The early 1960s saw Mason become a full-time potter, and she abandoned her home and marriage, moving to the Waitakere Ranges, then Otane in Hawke's Bay and, in 1974, Tokomaru Bay. It was there that she was involved with establishing the Tauira Craft Centre with Ngoi Pēwhairangi.[1]

In the 1990s she lived in a house truck, purchased with the proceeds from the sale of a McCahon painting, near Brickell's home in Coromandel. She later returned to Hawke's Bay where, from 2006 to 2011, she resided in the eponymous Helen Mason House at the Waiohiki Creative Arts Village.[1]

In the 2005 New Year Honours she was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to pottery.[4]

Mason exhibited widely in New Zealand and internationally.[5] In 2005, she published her memoir, entitled Helen Mason's scrapbook: 50 years as a backyard potter.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Walsh, Kristine (28 August 2014). "Helen Mason: the matriarch". Gisborne Herald. http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/entertainment/article/?id=38437. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  2. "Engagements". Evening Post: p. 18. 30 July 1938. http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=EP19380730.2.149.1. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  3. Stuart, Michael (28 August 1996). "Making of the Monde Marie". Evening Post: p. 23. 
  4. "New Year honours list 2005". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2004. http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/node/379. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  5. "Helen Mason has passed away". NZ Potters Inc. http://www.nzpotters.com/NewsEvents/News_Item.cfm?NewsID=524&source=NewZealand. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  6. "Helen Mason's scrapbook". Limited Edition Books. 2012. http://limitededitionbooks.fineprint.co.nz/?q=node/12. Retrieved 30 August 2014.