What’s My Story?
I believe every one of us has an artistic gift, whether it’s a traditional painting ability, a writing talent, the practical skill of cooking up gourmet delights or something not normally thought of like a neatly ordered accounting ledger. Some of you would disagree with me, strongly denying any hint of creativity, but I bet there’s something there that just needs discovering. Perhaps some of the projects I make can provide a little inspiration.
I’m lucky enough to have grown up being supported in my endeavours and to be at schools where subjects such as woodwork, metalwork and cooking were an important part of an education. In school holidays we’d be taken along to various classes and that’s where I started to acquire my love of hand sewing and fabric. Though my earliest memory of ‘dirt’ is making mud pies down by the clothesline aged about three, and adding sticks and leaves to decorate it. A short stint of after-school pottery classes improved my abilities to mould clay somewhat, but like my piano lessons, it was abandoned in favour of teenage pursuits.
I had a 15 year career in gardening and landscaping since finishing my horticulture degree – both here in New Zealand and overseas. During that time I was privileged to be involved in some amazing projects – like working with top designer Xanthe White and the team on the Tourism NZ Chelsea Flower Show garden in England, and a year working in Spain. Throughout this time embroidery and using fabric were my hobbies, with many an item gifted to family and friends.
Then I reached a point where (like so many people) I needed a change and I took it.
A Certificate in Design and Visual Arts appealed because of all the different subjects to try out: Painting, Interior Design, Contemporary Craft, Photography, Graphic Design and Product Design.
I loved it. Though I couldn’t choose between Painting or Contemporary Craft as a discipline to carry on studying with and complete a degree. Colour and pattern versus 3D objects…..
But not willing to give up this new fascination completely, I decided to move to Wellington for a year, to finish off a course started almost 10 years earlier – The Learning Connexions Diploma of Art and Creativity.
I loved that too. Printmaking (colour and pattern!) and pottery again, but also bronze casting, illustration, mixed media assemblage – it was heaven.
After the year was up and upon moving back to Auckland, I found a pottery studio not far away from home, where I’ve been able to continue developing my skills with clay. I also moved back into the world of plants, though in hindsight I never really left.
I’m currently working in gardens part-time and being creative part-time, and so far, it seems to be a pretty good mix.
I also found a way to avoid choosing – I mixed my favourite things together – who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?