Sarjeant Gallery welcomes the new Tylee Cottage Artist-in-Residence, ceramicist Kate Fitzharris and her ambition to create a ‘Library of Things’
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Sarjeant Gallery welcomes the new Tylee Cottage Artist-in-Residence, ceramicist Kate Fitzharris and her ambition to create a ‘Library of Things’

Sarjeant Gallery welcomes the new Tylee Cottage Artist-in-Residence, ceramicist Kate Fitzharris and her ambition to create a ‘Library of Things’

Kate Fitzharris 2017

‘Wearing it’ by Kate Fitzharris. Image by Justin Spiers









Dunedin-based ceramicist Kate Fitzharris is the new artist-in-residence at Tylee Cottage until the end of June. During her time in Whanganui Fitzharris plans to create a Library Of Things. For this project she would like to involve the local Whanganui community and invites people to share the ceramic objects that are significant in their daily lives.

Kate would like to see and hear the stories associated with these objects. She will then make her own ceramic works in response to what she has learnt and over time this will form a visual diary and ultimately, a Library Of Things will grow.

For the project Kate would like to hear from a broad range of people in the community – and the objects can include all sorts of things; cups, plates, vases, functional items, figurines and contemporary art. Kate’s keen to see ceramic items which play a role in the day to day lives of the community and to hear the stories associated with them.

On Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 April from 3-5pm, Kate will be stationed at the Central Davis Library and on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 April from 10am-12pm at the Gonville Library. People can drop into these two venues with their ceramic items and share their stories. Kate doesn’t need to borrow any items but would like to hear what these items mean to their owners. If an item is too fragile to bring, a photograph will suffice.

For the last seven weeks of her residency from Saturday 5 May – Sunday 24 June, Kate will be stationed at Sarjeant on the Quay, 38 Taupo Quay on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 1.30 – 4.30pm. Here you’ll be able to see some of the objects she will have made thus far and how her Library Of Things is growing. If you haven’t been able to visit Kate at the libraries in April, this will be the perfect time to bring in a ceramic offering and have share a story.
While Kate is in the Gallery she will also be studying some of the ceramic items from the Sarjeant collection – so it’s a chance to see some Sarjeant Collection treasures.

When she’s not making ceramics, Fitzharris works part time as a librarian and it is the potential cataloguing of the objects which also intrigues her. Are they functional, ornamental or sculptural? Are the stories associated with the objects fiction or non-fiction?

At the end of her five month residency Kate will take her Library Of Things back to Dunedin and it’s from there that a new body of work will grow from the ceramic items she has seen and the stories she has gathered in Whanganui. The work will navigate the lines between fiction and non-fiction and the resulting exhibition will take place at Sarjeant on the Quay in late 2018 or early 2019.

Kate will also be giving an illustrated talk about her past and current work on at Sarjeant on the Quay, Tuesday 1 May at 7.30pm.

Kate Fitzharris has always loved reading and books and as well as being a ceramic artist and a mother of two, she is a librarian and works in a Public Library in Dunedin. Kate has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Otago Polytechnic School of Art, with a major in Ceramics and she has been exhibiting nationally for over 12 years. Primarily working with ceramics, she also incorporates found materials, especially well-worn textiles into her work. Her work often depicts people as she explores how we find meaning in our daily lives and how an ordinary moment changes when a significant thing happens.

Normally resident in Dunedin, Kate has bought her husband and two children with her to Whanganui and will be the Tylee Cottage artist-in-residence until the end of June 2018.

For further information about the Tylee Cottage residency program please go to:

For any further information please contact Sarjeant Gallery Relationships Officer Jaki Arthur on or 027 577 4923.

This article first appeared in the Wanganui Chronicle on 23 March, 2018