Jeff Thomson is rather like a modern day Abel Tasman or Captain Cook. He sails freely into unknown seas, making important discoveries en route. "Simply by working with a new material he has enlarged our world." He has almost single handedly taken corrugated iron off the roof and put in on the wall and the pedestal.
And, by the way, he has put it back on the roof again!
Born in Auckland and growing up in Castor Bay on its North Shore a rather shy but outdoors orientated youth left handed and mildly dyslexic, Thomson has become without doubt the Corrugated Iron Man of Australasia.
From an early age he showed considerable promise, developing an ability to draw images quickly with pencil rather than using the written word. This artistic flair was soon picked up and nurtured. When he went to one of Auckland's most adventurous secondary schools, with a strong "Education through Art" tradition, it was clear that the next step was the Elam School of Art attached to the University of Auckland.
Here the young Thomson was exposed to a series of horizon-expanding situations that culminated in a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1981. Curiously his major focus as a student was not sculpture but painting and printmaking.
While taking a break from his art studies in 1980 Thomson found himself at Portobello, 20km out of Dunedin, living in a small seaside crib. It was during this time that a profound change occurred in Thomson's approach to life, art and environment. It came about through the discovery of an ancient pursuit - walking.
While walking the rural and urban miles Thomson started observing and collecting the wealth of highway paraphernalia that he found on our roadsides. These highway experiences culminated in the rural letterbox sculptures, the first body of Thomson's works to gain national recognition by a diverse range of New Zealanders. And it was through this letterbox series of works that Thomson came face to face with his chosen material - corrugated iron.
Literally out of the letter boxes emerged the large body of work for whcih he is now known on both sides of the Tasman.
Corrugated iron animals, birds, cars and people: these works have established Jeff Thomson fairly and squarely in the memory banks of most New Zealanders and many Australians.
I reiterate without fear of contradiction, that he is the undisputed Iron Man of Australasia.
Foreword/Four Words: The Corrugated Iron Man John F. Perry Director The Bath House Rotorua's Art and History Museum, in Jeff Thomson - Any Old Ironby Richard Brimer
Pohutukawa, Koromiko, Fuchsia and Rengarenga – Kiri’s jewellery draws on the beauty of the surrounding New Zealand flora. Inspired by small plant details such as leaves, buds and pods, Kiri refines structure back to its simplest form. She focuses on one aspect of a design to draw out the essence of its shape; just as in natural environments bone, rock, and shell are gradually worn back to elemental forms.
Kiri’s creative practice is informed by the healing qualities of native New Zealand plants. As a practitioner of native flower essences, her jewellery expresses a continued study of native plants across aesthetic and spiritual disciplines.
She delights in jewellery’s ability to meld so readily into our lives, warmed by our bodies, constantly touched and re-applied. In a wider sense, she also values the honouring and celebratory nature of spiritual adornment. Her jewellery often evokes the sense of traditional ritual objects such as Pacific lei.
Kiri has a Fine Arts degree from Elam and an Art History degree from Auckland University. Growing up in Taranaki, she now lives north of Auckland and exhibits throughout New Zealand, Australia and the UK.
Born Tauranga, New Zealand 1967 1991 Graduated from Northland Polytechnic and Hungry Creek Arts and Crafts School with a Diploma in Applied Arts, majoring in jewellery. 1992 Learnt flameworked glass bead-making techniques with glass-blower Peter Viesnik. Has been a self-employed craft artist since 1994 participating in many group and solo shows. I also participate in many group shows where just one piece of work is required from each artist, so
Most of my ideas come from my natural enviroment, the flora and fauna I'm interested in. I also find that travel sparks ideas for me as I soak the visual information up and it invariably comes out at some stage as part of a piece of jewellery. I prefer to use traditional materials like metal as a base, but I'm also happy to use other materials for colour or effect; stone, shell, acrylic and glass. I'm not very interested in the intrinsic value of materials. I also like to use lost wax cast components; I have forms that reoccur as they are part of my library of ideas. I'm also happy to work within the limitations of my tools. I'm always trying to refine and simplify ideas down to the most efficient solution to the problem, so my work is suggestive of flowers, plants, moths etc, but never a realistic copy. I can't see the point of that.
Brought up on a farm in Taranaki, Raymond Stokes has had a lifelong interest in making things, and a particular interest in jewellery.
After a few years working on farms, Raymond went to work in Wellington at the Ford Motor Company, where he was an Assembler, Welder and then Foreman over a period of 34 years.
During this time he became interested in Lapidary (polishing stones) and in 1964 joined the New Zealand Mineral Club. He taught himself to polish stones and to work with silver. After sharing his skills with a great many people, he is now a life member of the club.
When Ford closed the plant in Seaview, Petone in 1988, Raymond took the chance to turn to his hobby full-time. He now lives in Tairua on Paku Hill overlooking the sea and Slipper Island. His hobby has become a small business and he continues to make beautiful greenstone and silver jewellery. He always welcomes visitors to talk rocks and silverwork and loves visiting other peoples’ workshops.
Denise lives in Auckland and handcrafts contemporary jewellery designs from her home workshop. She makes a range of sterling silver brooches, chains, earrings and rings. Her works feature repetition of geometric shapes and forms experimenting with textures and layers. White and black finished metal colour options are achieved with ‘bleaching’ and ‘oxidising’ techniques. Her current work uses vintage fabric and lace to create beautiful surface texturing.
Alison is well known as an award-winning clothing designer in Wellington, specialising in glamorous garments and fine tailoring. In 2003 she began to develop a parallel career as a jewellery artist, beginning with a part-time course. Now a well-established jeweller, she divides her time equally between the two practices. Typically, Alison is commissioned to create jewellery to complement her special-occasion garments. She travels to the gemstone mines in Sri Lanka to source her raw materials, and works with a lapidary to custom-cut them to her specifications. Using these stones, Alison combines her passion for colour with traditional craftsmanship. Her work is feminine, always sophisticated, and highly sought-after by private collectors.
Cheryl Sills achieved a BA (Hons) in Art and Design, specializing in Jewellery and Metalwork at Dundee University in Scotland. She is now based in Auckland and renting a bench at Workshop 6. Since establishing herself in Auckland Cheryl has had many solo and collaborative shows throughout New Zealand.
‘I enjoy the process of making; of building and constructing three dimensional objects. My current body of work explores the faceted form. I am constantly trying to evolve this concept by using alternative materials and inventing different methods of construction.’
Tatjana Panyoczki, a maker, wearer and observer of contemporary jewellery.
Born in Switzerland where she trained as a wig maker and make-up artist and worked in theatre/film/TV in Switzerland and the UK. In 1993 she and her husband moved to New Zealand, where she studied 3D Design at Unitec in Auckland.
Deconstructing, reconstructing and recycling objects in her immediate environment, transforming into repetition of simple forms and compositions, with the intermittent use of luscious colour.
Panyoczki also explores the boundries of jewellery and it’s connotations in playful and lengthy experimentations with metals and non traditional materials, ending in one off pieces and small series.
Since 1999 she lives and works with her husband in Northland and exhibits in New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
Joanna Campbell is an award winning jeweller based in Auckland New Zealand. She makes handmade, wearable objects from noble metals, copper alloys and solid wood that occasionally incorporate unusual use of industrial techniques. Her work is distinguished by a fascination for the material properties of textiles and precious metals. “I am interested in exploring the relationship between fabric and metal”. The Japanese Shibori and Mokume Gane techniques, a love of decoration and adornment, a childhood spent making things and a background in textile design and clothing production, have shaped her practice. Joanna’s fashion production and craft experience (Bachelor of 3D design majoring in jewellery 2001), fuses a multiplicity of skills and concerns. It is an approach that ties the strands of traditional gold and silver smithing to those of technical innovation in fashion.
Joanna’s work sits easily within craft, design and fashion contexts. Her work has been recognised as exceptional within New Zealand, in 2002 she was recipient of the prestigious Dowse Art Museum Thomas Foundation Gold Award. Her work has featured regularly in international and national media such as Vogue Gioiello and ‘The Times’ and has come to the attention of fashion commentator Diane Pernet. Joanna exhibits often in solo and group shows in New Zealand and internationally and has also been a jewellery tutor. For seven months of 2003 Joanna made the Samurai Amour for the five leads in the film ‘The Last Samurai’. Also in 2003 she was invited to attend the International Mokume Gane Symposium and Exhibition at RMIT in Melbourne. Joanna’s work is held in public and private collections, and as well as making production and exhibition work she also works to commission.
For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed the freedom of making 3D objects. I was raised in an environment where you believed you could do/becomeanything you wanted to. A lot of my making has come out of my desire for something and then learning how to make it. To this day I make art objects I like and would want around me. After leaving school I studied Character Animation for 2 years before realising I preferred 3D over 2D.
While traveling in Thailand with my wife I found an artist making figure sculptures out of some sort of wax. We couldn't communicate verbally but through watching and with hand gestures he kindled a desire in me to start sculpting. Upon my return to NZ I taught myself sculpting for a year while being supported by my (very supportive) wife. This lead to 8 years of commercial sculpting where I would make the prototypes for businesses in the toy and hobby industries and then into my own range of equine bronzes.
For most of this period I was carving initially bone then Jade in my spare time. I got a lot of timely encouragement and advice from John Edgar. In the last 2 or 3 years I have been spending more and more time carving. I love simple strong designs in my pendants and have been exploring mixing silver and Jade into representational insects sculptures. I recently (Sept 2015) was invited to show a piece in China's national Zi Gan Bei jade carving competition. The sculpture I took “ Inner Light” is an articulated Jade Atlas beetle and got a Gold award which was very encouraging. I'm looking forward to exploring this approach more.
John is a self taught jeweller (Apart from his first learning experience with Peter Minturn at Parnell in 1981). He has worked in the trade for over thirty years, indispersed with periods of travel and horticulture which have inspired his creative insight into jewellery design.
He lives a relaxed life in Matakana now, which gives me the ability to combine horticulture with creating one off pieces of his own design. These designs are influenced by nature and numbers. He is also interested in Sacred Geometry and symbols, all of which you can see reflected in his work. His medium is solely gold, silver, precious and semi precious stones.