Partly retro, partly new on display, the works in this exhibition feature Gary Hebley’s lifelong involvement in pottery, drawing, etching, illustration, and sculpture, culminating in the latest ornamental pots fired recently at the Waiohiki Arts Centre.
Born in Wellington, educated at Wellington Boys’ College, Gary completed his Fine Arts diploma at the Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, before his appointment at Colenso High School, Napier, as head of the Art Department. Notable students included Allen Maddox, Philip Dadson, and Dame Gaylene Preston.
In 1985, Gary was invited to join the St Aubyn’s Potters at Vidal Winery. So he left teaching to pursue his career as potter, sculptor, and illustrator for writers such as Maurice Gee and Elsie Locke, producing as well picture books in collaboration with wife Diane. He still considers making drip-free teapots his greatest love. Alternatively, he could happily draw boats all day. At other times, devising quirky sculptures, such as hanging chairs or tuatara or gargoyles made on private commissions, balanced the fundamental honest craft of domestic ware.
In 1989, he created his most public work: the iconic flock of five sheep, now representing Hastings to the world in Wikipedia. Several of his works have found other prestigious public homes: a set of wine goblets and decanter was chosen for Government House, and one of his hot-water bottle/waterbed creations was selected for Guilin, China.
Now retired, Gary expects this to be his last exhibition.
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