Sam Ludden working on his ceramic hinaki. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Masterton ceramic artist Sam Ludden remembers visiting Aratoi Museum when he was about four years old, and this week he spent a four-day residency there as a contribution to Seaweek celebrations.

Seaweek is New Zealand’s annual national week about the sea, hosted by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education.

Mr Ludden has enjoyed a long association with the museum, and also picked up the premier award at last year’s Wairarapa Arts Review.

This week, he was perched in the front window of the museum sculpting a clay hinaki — or eel pot — which he felt was an appropriate thing to do during Seaweek.

“I was approached to see if I wanted to do anything for Seaweek, and we both came up with the idea that I could do a residency for the week,” Mr Ludden said.

“Last year I started making hinaki nets, and I thought it might be quite appropriate to resurrect that idea.”

He started the hinaki on Monday afternoon, and plans to have it completed by Thursday afternoon.

The project had given him a chance to interact with visitors to the museum, and that had been a rewarding experience in itself.

“It’s really interesting seeing how diverse the visitors are.

“People are interested — the conversation drifts from this to how good Elizabeth Thomson’s exhibition is.”

Mr Ludden was hopeful Aratoi might ask more residency artists to complete projects there in the future.

“It’s like a living art form and something a bit different when everything else is the finished product.”

Aratoi Regional Trust chair Barbara Roydhouse said the residence had gone “extremely well”.

“We’ve had lots of extra visitors and Sam sitting in the window is a big drawcard.

“You don’t often get inside a potter’s studio.”

She said Mr Ludden would also be taking part in the Aratoi Artists Auction on April 13, which would be used to raise funds to help the museum become more sustainable.

Only artists who have shown at Aratoi have been asked to participate.