About ten years ago I bought my wife a greenstone pendant from the Jade Boulder Gallery in Greymouth. We love Ian Boustridge’s work and have been following him ever since. He had a stunning exhibition, ‘Chaos and Creation’, at the COCA Gallery while we were in Christchurch.
I’d taken a few photographs in the past of this pendant, for record purposes and always with incident light. For this one it was slung from the rail on the deck of our house, in fierce afternoon sun. I’ve darkened the background in Photoshop. In New Zealand there is a tradition amongst Maori that items made from NZ jade (“pounamu”) are special. In particular, they will always find their true home. I like to think that we are the home for this ‘taonga’ (= treasure), at least for the moment. This image gives us a real sense of place.
A couple of years ago a twin to this pendant was stolen while we were travelling in France. It was in a suitcase that we had foolishly placed near the door on the TGV, unsupervised. There is another Maori tradition that really, really bad things will happen to anyone who possesses such an item without having the right to it. When we were discussing its replacement, the partner of the artist became quite upset. “They’ll never know why!”, she said. At the time, it was rather a nice thought.
PS While preparing this post I noticed that Ian appears to have moved to a new studio just south of Greymouth. I must check it out next time I’m there.
PPS: I was in Greymouth this week. While I didn’t get the chance to see Ian’s new studio, I did call in to the Jade Boulder Gallery. I was well out of date. The website was closed down a couple of years ago, I guess they rely on walk-in sales. They have a good location, near the train and bus stations. They still have a great little cafe and the wonderful jade museum and stock lots of Ian’s work (although I understand he no longer has an ownership interest).