Growing up on a South Wairarapa farmlet, Hana Brough of Bloom Fibre has always been surrounded by wool and wool craft. “Keeping sheep meant a vast supply of our own wool. Even if it was slow, making useful things from scratch was incredibly rewarding especially when the materials were homegrown. I made the leap into hand weaving a few years ago as the next big adventure with fibre and haven’t looked back.”
Christchurch potter Hilary Cowburn of Wellhandled Ceramics is inspired by nature, necessity, and the need to reduce waste. A lover of handmade New Zealand products, her journey into ceramics and becoming a full time maker started from an unexpected place – her fight with cancer.
When Taranaki artist Lisa Henry found a freshly formed monarch butterfly chrysalis in her garden, she imagined it as a beautiful necklace. She started sculpting in clay, and so began the creative journey from which Lady Divergent emerged.
Tasman maker/grower Sharyn Ogg’s range of skincare and cosmetics began with an earthquake and a career change, and has grown alongside her two sons. Inspired by the plants and preparations that our ancestors have used for centuries, her organically grown herbal oil infusions form the basis of her carefully handcrafted Plant & Share skincare and makeup range.
Sally-Mae Hudson of Shapes by Sal is a self-taught linocut printmaker, discovering the art form nearly three years ago. Sally’s appreciation for the great outdoors and the natural environment underpins the majority of her work. Her work is as much about inspiring others to appreciate the natural world, as it is her own artistic expression. Sally currently works part-time for WAI Wanaka, an environmental organisation where she is part of a Jobs for Nature field team.
Guatyen of Mettaville loves journaling, making uniquely hand-bound journals to share her love with others. With the growing awareness of the importance of mental health, she believes that lives can be transformed through the joy and comfort journalling provides. Working from her tiny West Auckland studio, she balances the modern need for technology with retreating to her quiet surroundings where she is most comfortable.
Cane weaver Sandy Jameson of Almond Seed Handmade tells us her maker journey feels like two bookends at times. “I began weaving as a young Christchurch city girl, and after a long but richly filled break I’ve picked up the cane again as a wise (ha!) rural Aucklander.” Sandy attends her local Pollok Market every month (COVID permitting), and says it’s really cool to engage with her local community and mix with the talented craftspeople and producers there.
Wellington illustrator and toymaker Minu Freitag works with a wide variety of materials and techniques to form her whimsical creations. Her engaging, anthropomorphic characters and scenes are based on traditional archetypes: the unwilling (grumpy) and lonely hero, the companion on a journey, and the dangers and shadows of the past, present and future. Yet, even though her characters are often dark and melancholic, they emit something strangely positive and uplifting.
Waihi artist Sarah Potton of Mousewhisker Studio had a childhood dream to become an artist and live a self sufficient life in the country, surrounded by as many animals as possible. While that dream (much to her amazement) actually came true, she does find that trying to combine an artistic career with the demands of a large vege garden and thirty-seven furred, feathered and woolly residents has been a bit more challenging than she imagined! Sarah’s creature-inspired artistry manifests on paper and beautiful pebble miniatures, all available in her Felt shop.
Talented and busy maker Samantha Jones lives in Wellington with her husband and two boys, and has a third baby boy on the way. Working two part-time jobs as well as raising her youngsters, she sews at night when the world is asleep. “My mum raised six girls on her own and taught us how to be resourceful – that’s for sure! All of my sisters are clever and can make cool things, and I would love to open up a little shop one day full of our family’s creations.”