James Greig

b. 1936d. 1986

James Greig was a New Zealand potter.

He studied at Wellington Technical College and the Auckland University before discovering pottery through Len Castle's evening classes. Greig attended these for three years before moving to the Northland Region, in 1961, to set up his own pottery studio. Between 1964 and 1967 Grant was the resident potter in charge of the art and design centre at Massey University (Palmerston North). In 1968 he moved to Greytown in the Wairarapa and set up a studio.

In 1978, a QEII Arts Council grant allowed Greig to travel to Japan where he studied the techniques of Japanese potters and developed strong connections with the pottery community, becoming particularly influenced by potter Kawai Kanjirō. Greig also travelled to Korea, Thailand, Nepal, Mexico and the USA during this trip.

In 1982, Greig was awarded a Japan Foundation Fellowship to spend a year living, working and studying in Japan. During this year, he was invited to exhibit in the highly regarded Tachibana Ten exhibition. He also exhibited work at Akasaka Green Gallery in Tokyo in 1983 and 1985.

He was made a Cultural Ambassador by the New Zealand Government in 1986. In this year he exhibited over 200 pieces of his work in the Tachikichi Department store in Kyoto. The day the exhibition opened, Greig of suffered a fatal heart attack.

His works are held in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, The Dowse Art Museum, in the Japanese Imperial household and at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. He exhibited with The Group and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. In 2016 Te Papa made a major acquisition of 23 pieces from the artist's estate, including unfired bisque works. A survey of Greig's work, James Greig: Defying Gravity, including many pieces not previously exhibited, opened at The Dowse Art Museum in December 2016.

See also:

James Greig, Craig Hall and Paul Winspear, Title unknown (1982), Masterton District Library, Whakaoriori Masterton

Image: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2021