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.”
Wellington artist Rebecca A’court, of Little1Step, tells us “Success seemed to begin early for me at the tender age of five, when I won first prize at my school art show. Sadly ‘Cat Surrounded by Blotches’ was a high never to be repeated. But it marked the beginning to a lifelong enthusiasm for creating.” Now a mum to two kids, Rebecca keeps the creative flame burning with the help of the invention of school and locked doors. Currently she enjoys creating delightful and quirky paintings and enchanting miniature seaside scenes.
Canterbury maker Craig Divers of Starting from Zero is a firm believer in working with the materials you’ve got. Strongly influenced by his farm upbringing and a decade living in Asia, he produces original and innovative art and homewares by recycling those great Kiwi icons, corrugated iron, fencing wire, and the good old swappa crate.
Christchurch maker Kate Batt of Frankie Raine is a busy maker and mum of five, and she’s passionate about producing beautiful, durable, long lasting clothing for her rough-and-tumble little ones. She makes all her gorgeous baby and children’s clothing to order using locally sourced, silky soft 100% merino and organic cottons.
Sylvia Sinel of StudioSinel Ltd says she has found her affinity in the forever fascinating world of clay and glazing. Exchanging a busy career life in Stockholm for a chance to follow her dreams of creativity and being close to nature here in New Zealand, she has recently taken the exciting step of becoming a full-time maker. She says “Ceramic art is the ultimate combination of all I cherish: sculpture, painting, physics, chemistry, poetry.”
Inspired by the green spaces of Ōtautahi Christchurch, Seonaid Burnie of The Clothworks looks at closing the loop when it comes to the art on our walls by re-purposing second-hand fabrics, employing eco-printing and dyeing techniques using plants and trees foraged from our City’s residential red zone, and bringing a little bit of the Garden City back into our homes.