In her studio that overlooks the stunning Waimea Estuary, Christine Boswijk has made some of the most impressive ceramics produced in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Thinking Through My Hands brings together work spanning her 40 years as a ceramicist and reveals not only her skill, but her creativity, empathy, and philosophy.
When looking at the entire creative output of a career that spanned more than 40 years’ it is impossible to ignore the autobiographical nature of making. She has dedicated her life to this art form – and her devotion was recognized in 2004 when she was named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Christine’s work has always been a reflection of how she sees the world – physically and philosophically – and how she understands her place in it through her relationships with people and the earth.
Christine feels deeply connected to this country – its geology, people and spirit. Her work often reveals her appreciation for this unique place. Her work is sensual and exploits the rich organic and textural potential of clay to reflect the fragile beauty of the natural world. Many of her vessels have edges that are rough and exposed, so delicate it seems as if they could crumble at any moment. But they are also strong and audacious. The scale of the work exhibits Christine’s prowess as a maker and her ambition as an artist. Her work is also deeply emotive and personal – they are her pain, joy and memories made manifest. They document not only the fragility of our landscape, but the breaking down of our bodies and the relentlessness of time.
She said it best herself in 1992 when she commented upon the work she made for the ground-breaking Seville World Exposition –
Clay, the fundamental element from which all life springs, is seemingly inert, yet in its plasticity and immediacy it has a life of its own, a complexity of unborn thought — I shape it with my hands and transmit my energy into it, the ideas translate into form and what emerges is more than a concept —it is the subconscious revealed. This way of working is like life itself, for at no time is it in a static state. Each moment brings about change — a fingerprint in clay dries, shrinks and rearranges its image; the definition is clear, but it is not frozen, nor is it literal — rather more abstract, a record of energy, a part of the continuum of life itself.
Christine Boswijk is a practical philosopher – she thinks through her hands. While Christine is extremely articulate, she wants her work to speak for itself. Her answers are in the clay.