Meet Graeme Priddle - wood artist from New Zealand and uber-collaborationist. Graeme lives in Northland, New Zealand, but works around the world: teaching and demonstrating at woodturning events and schools, and exhibiting his fabulous vessels and sculptures.

Graeme at a workshop in my studio. Photo by Ross Annels.

I met Graeme at the first Collaboration event I attended in Mittagong, NSW Australia.  I remember feeling more than a little overwhelmed at the talent and ease with which Graeme and other participants playfully worked together to produce pieces.

 

Graeme’s fabulous vessels - turned, carved, burnt and painted. Images courtesy the artist.

I shyly worked away and didn’t really get to know Graeme. Our friendship began later, when we worked together at another CollaborationAu. But Graeme’s approach to surface decoration lit a little spark that I took away from my first Collab and nurtured and fanned into life in my own studio. It was a direct challenge to the modernist orthodoxy of pure form and unadorned surface that my practice was built on to that point. The Echinoid Chair (the avatar for this group) was the first work that reflected this influence.

Graeme at the bandsaw. Photo by Ross Annels.

Graeme was one of the artists invited to the first Emma Collaboration in Canada in 1996 by Michael Hosaluk. He was so inspired by his experiences there that on his return to New Zealand, he set about creating the first copy of the Emma idea, and in 1998 the first CollaboratioNZ was held. Since that time, Graeme has been a regular attendee of Collaboration events: engaging, inspiring and working with makers at events including Emma, Echo Lake, CollaborationAu as well as being a mainstay of CollaboratioNZ. I attended CollaboratioNZ 2011, a fabulous gathering of 80 makers from around the world (including turners, carvers, sculptors, ceramicists, textile artists, furniture makers, print makers, blacksmiths, jewellers, glass workers and even a tattoo artist, a neon artist and a traditional bowmaker). The video of the 2009 event captures some of the excitement of a collaboration.

 

It is really a very simple recipe: take artists/makers, put aside economics, add materials, mix, and allow to work. The results are amazing.

More about Graeme and his work at http://graemepriddle.com

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