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Photo credit: Nik Stavely
Under the guise of picking up some ceramics for Koromiko, I was lucky to meet New Zealand painter and sculptor Gidon Bing when I was home for my sister's wedding recently. Gidon works primarily in plywood sculptures out of his boat shed studio in Auckland's Hobson Bay. The location of the studio is amazing, with a view over the harbor and a small ramp to get in your boat and row away. Using techniques learned from master craftsmen, Gidon also operates a ceramics studio out of his home, where he creates beautiful, functional objects perfect for everyday use - a few of which we are now offering at Koromiko.
Gidon's boatshed studio in Hobson Bay - photo credits: The Selby
As a teenager, Gidon spent time in Israel, in the artsy village of Ein Hod and then spent time studying anthropology, archaeology and religious studies at university. He learned traditional furniture making techniques during his time spent in ateliers in the Middle East and Europe, where he hand crafted furniture alongside classically trained craftsmen.
Growing up between Auckland, the Waikato, Europe and Israel, Gidon was greatly influenced by his mother who had a unique appreciation for fine materials and craftsmanship that was passed down to her from her father.
What inspired the transition from mainly sculpture and painting to ceramics?
I learnt rudimentary throwing and hand forming skills as young as 13 or 14 and always loved it. I often use it to develop sculptural marquettes - this naturally progressed to larger sculptural projects and from that into homeware, lighting and recently furniture.
Are their any ceramic artists that have inspired your style?
My late father in law David Elaluf was a master sculptor, ceramicist, architect and calligrapher. He was a pioneer in ceramic sculpture and was prolific both in the diversity and quantity.
The crackle glaze on some of your ceramics is beautiful, how is it created?
This is derived from a traditional Korean glaze technique called celadon. The physics of it is based on thermal shock and differing contraction rates between the glaze and the clay, causing fractures which are then treated with an oxide contrast agent that highlights and contrasts these small fractures.
What inspired you to start working with wood?
My grandfather was a pioneer in the use of plywood as an interior architectural solution in the 30's and I grew up surrounded by finely selected, treated and finished timber.
Three favorite tools to work with?
My trusty secateurs, steam bender and shopsmith woodworking multitool.
Photo credits: The Selby
\\ Gidon's Hometown Picks \\
What’s your favorite free thing to do in Auckland?
Swim off the wharf and drink soda pop.
Which spots in Auckland are your go-to's?
Avondale markets, Karaka Bay, Commerce St No. 1 BBQ.
Karaka Bay, Auckland
Insider tip: Best food in Auckland?
Albert St Food Hall - Malaysian - Nasi Lemak.
What do you miss most about the city when you’re away?
The coast and good Asian food.
What’s your ideal weekend like?
Getting back to basics out in the bush on the West Coast.
Fairy Falls, out in Auckland's West Coast Waitakere Ranges.