Wednesday 10 October 2012

Craft in the Great Outdoors

Art in a Garden at Flaxmere Garden.
New Zealanders love their gardens and heading out into the great outdoors. While some of us still have to spring clean our gardens ready for summer (note to self!), the Art in a Garden team have been busy preparing their garden for months. And it is not just any garden! Picture seven glorious acres recognised as a Garden of National Significance. Now picture more than 75 sculptors, potters, jewellers, and artists exhibiting their work in this garden, accompanied by live music by Fiona Pears, workshops, and cafe style food in an event spanning three and a half days from October 25.

Standing Hare by 2011 winner Elisha Clarke.
There is something inherently special about seeing crafted objects made of stone, wood, metal, clay and other materials displayed in a natural outdoor setting. Eight years on, this growing event based at the Flaxmere Garden in Hawarden, North Canterbury continues to deliver it's company objective: to showcase to the public the creative talent of many New Zealanders in a unique garden setting whilst fundraising for Amuri St John and The Cancer Society. Art in a Garden is now run by four people: Penny Zino (garden owner) and Alison Meyer (the two founding creators), Rachel Zino (daughter-in-law) and Pip Miller (Alison's daughter) and we caught up with Penny and Pip to find out more. 

Art in a Garden is in its eight year. How is this Garden of National Significance looking this year after so much rain?  
The garden is looking amazing - all the rain has made things bolt! The snow caused massive problems, but all has been rectified with the help of two very able sons & a tree surgeon!

What are you most looking forward to this year?
Being impressed once again with the incredible talent of our New Zealand sculptors, painters, potters glass artists, jewellers and furniture makers.

Ceramics by Sue Newitt (foreground) on display in 2011 inside the 1890 barn on site.

A range of craft disciplines are represented this year such as furniture, ceramics, glass, jewellery, and weaving. What attracts established and emerging exhibitors to your event?
The professional approach to displaying all the exhibits.... both outside and inside. It is an instinct, displaying sculpture to enhance its being and this is done particularly well. The fact that sculpture is displayed in a garden gallery (Garden of National Significance ) and not indoors, which always gives exhibits a new meaning. Paintings, pottery and more craft objects are all displayed in an 1890 barn that has been adapted as an art gallery, with all the correct lighting. This has created a unique atmosphere.

"Promoting an interest in the arts for our children is one of our top priorities." Tell us about the children's sculpture competition, limestone carving workshops and ceramic painting workshops. 
The sculpture competition for children is not really a competition so much as a chance for children to have a go at making something that interests them. There were no prizes but a chance for them to have their work displayed amongst adult artists. Last year created a lot of discussion and in some cases, a lot of laughs as one appreciated the sense of humour amongst the young. Art in a Garden has a special tent for the children’s activities. Often it is difficult to encourage children to come on a day's outing to a garden to look at art.  While they enjoy a short time their parents enjoy longer, hence the classes where introduced to both encourage children to enjoy creating art while parents wander together with parents and children spending time together appriectiated the exhibition.

Bon Suter teaching limestone carving in 2011.
The Sculpture class run by Bon Suter was great fun... the children took it all very seriously... and worked hard at the limestone supplied. There was great industry in that tent... some making figures others different shapes but all having a try with a medium they had not used before

The ceramic painting classes will be a first for this year, so I am unable to comment! It will be a happy time exploring another medium. 

Craft Aotearoa loves the correlation between materials in the garden, and materials in crafted objects on display in the garden. How do the general public benefit from this type of event? Does it foster a greater appreciation of materials and the environment?
Having all this happening in a garden creates a wonderful day out in a peaceful, non-challenging way. The public can appreciate beauty, peace and the creative energy of so many talented people. The café supplies all the food they may require and live music adds another dimension. Yes, it can put you in tune with nature and invigorate your soul.... maybe that is what great gardens are all about!

What is your long term vision for Art in a Garden?
To make Art in a Garden the most successful outdoor exhibition / event in New Zealand! 

Art in a Garden
25 - 28 October
128 Westenras Road
North Canterbury 7385
General equiries to Rachael Zino at

Thursday 20 September 2012

Christchurch Craft Two Years On - Part 1.

Part One: To mark the recent two year anniversary of the first earthquake, Jenna-Lea Philpott reflects on the state of craft in Christchurch in this first edition of a six part series.

Earlier this month, we marked the two year anniversary of the first earthquake to hit Christchurch and the wider Canterbury province. At 7.1 on the richter scale, the earthquake of September 4th 2010 will forever be etched in my memory. As with thousands of others, it marked the beginning of a surreal period of my life. In the next two years I would live through another four earthquakes (each with a different faultline) and more than 11,000 aftershocks. I would enrol with the Red Cross as an earthquake refugee following the February 22nd 2011 earthquake, as I lived in the north east of the city and experienced loss of phonelines (two weeks), power (two months), sewerage (three months), running water (seven weeks), as well as other things previously taken for granted such as an internet connection, and access to supermarkets, post offices and petrol stations. I know only too well how hard it has been for some residents to come back from the brink, and how important the support from other New Zealanders and from all corners of the world has been in the reovery process. Personally, I will never forget the generous support from corporate New Zealand in the form of food donations, nor the handmade banana loaf from Invercargill in my food parcel with a sticker on the outside in lovely old handwriting stating 'You are not alone. We are thinking of you at this time and walking every step of the way with you.' That small gesture meant so much - it spurred me on and made me so proud to be a New Zealander.
New work by Christchurch ceramicist, Cheryl Lucas.

No doubt about it - these have been surreal events. Not once in a lifetime events, but apparently once in 20,000 year events. Cantabrians lives have been changed forever and the sheer scale of the rebuild becomes apparent when one drives into the central city and encounters the Red Zone. Streets remain closed off to the public to this day, due to unsafe buildings still in need of demolishing. The central city is unrecognisable. If it wasn't for the street signs it would be impossible to know where you are with so many landmarks having disappeared. And the aftershocks continue to be felt.
As with other industries, the craft sector suffered extensive loss of infrastructure. Gone are the old heritage buildings offering cheaper rent that fostered a myriad of individual and shared studio spaces. Home based studios have also been lost in many cases. The Arts Centre with its working studios, galleries and markets is unlikely to be operational again for many years - this heritage building may once again offer tourists a more intimate look at New Zealand through the materials and skills of its crafts artists after many years of repair. 

The loss of so many gallery spaces has also been keenly felt. There is also the loss of meeting spaces, teaching and learning spaces, and the impact that this has had on social connectedness, so valuable in times of recovery. The disruption of creative practice, learning opportunities and public exhibition opportunities is still keenly felt.

New work by Alan McAuliffe who recycles brick in this necklace.
Given the range and scale of issues facing the city, and the diverse nature of the craft sector, it was always going to be a struggle for craft infrastructure needs to be included in the public sector's redevelopment plans. Weeks after the most devastating earthquake on April 27, 2011, Craft Aotearoa called a meeting to identify the key issues that those in craft and visual arts were experiencing. The notes from this meeting were circulated widely to central and local government agencies, and to Arts Voice Christchurch after it was formed, in an effort to ensure that craft sector infrastructure (dominated by privately funded enterprise) was included in public planning processes. These meeting notes formed the basis of Craft Aotearoa's submission to Christchurch City Council and our subsequent presentation at the Central City Plan hearings. It is poignant to re-read the minutes of this meeting as there has been little resolution of concerns raised at that time, and no clear vision going forwards as yet: 

Key concerns raised on 27 April, 2011:
  • whether there would be suitable, purpose designed exhibition and studio space made available as part of the city's rebuild;
  • whether new spaces would be affordable for the majority of craft practitioners;
  • the need to retain audience and clients in both the short and long term;
  • how to generate income in the short term and where to sell;
  • the need to compete for limited space in the short term and how to fund this with limited or no income;
  • losing emerging and experienced craft practitioners to other cities creating a gap in the richness of the visual disciplines infrastructure;
  • access to COCA art gallery as a space for emerging craft practitioners and artists.

At the hearings, Craft Aotearoa stressed the public good (and benefit) in providing some infrastructure for the city's craft sector. For example, revitalised central city living, tourism generation, and economic development. We advised that as a minimum, those in the craft sector just wanted to get back what had been lost and ensure there was a place for craft in the future of Christchurch, that future generations would know this was a city where they could learn and develop their craft practice, and that the opportunity now existed to develop a dedicated craft gallery space in the South Island adding to the city's cultural precinct.

Christhchurch Central Recovery Plan
For the first seven months of this year, we waited for the government's response to the Central City Plan. At the end of July, the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan was released to the public, outlining the following anchor projects: The Frame, Earthquake Memorial, Te Puna Ahurea Cultural Centre, Papa o Ōtākaro / Avon River Precinct, The Square, Retail Precinct, Convention Centre Precinct, Health Precinct, Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, Performing Arts Precinct, Central Library, Residential Demonstration Project, Metro Sports Facility, Stadium, Cricket Oval, Bus Interchange, and an Innovation Precinct.

Whilst the performing arts and music sectors will receive new facilities in the central city in the coming years (very good news), there is little mention of facilities that will encourage craft practice and possibly the design and wider visual arts to recover and flourish. Little wonder that craft practitioners and business owners, gallery owners, and numerous guilds and industry groups have been increasingly questioning the city's commitment to recognising and supporting the recovery of craft in Christchurch. The reality is that without vision, without inclusion, and without evidence of public sector endorsement and support, the outlook for craft is less promising. At best the recovery will be slower than it need be - and that is a tragedy when one considers the innovative work that is beginning to emerge (watch out for our next blog in this series which looks at this in more detail).

Finally, the Maori whakatauki (proverb) included in the government's Recovery Strategy for Greater Christchurch. Section 15: Cultural Recovery states: Kia mau ki te kura whero - hold fast to the valued treasures. It begs the question - what are we all doing to support our valued treasures in Christchurch craft?
(For our international readers, Greater Christchurch has a population of just under 460,000 people, and includes New Zealand’s second largest city. It is the gateway to the South Island and is its most significant centre of economic activity.)

Saturday 8 September 2012

Craft Aotearoa & Kete Launch Photos & Speeches

Chairperson Penny Eames 

Thankyou all for coming to the launch of Craft Aotearoa and also Kete - especially to those who have come from around New Zealand to be with us here tonight for this very special celebration.Welcome Kevin Murray and thank you for your endorsement of Craft Aotearoa. We are very happy you could join us.

Deborah White, Whitespace Gallery.

We received apologies from the Honourable Christopher Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage and MP for Christchurch Central, Nicky Wagner.

Thank you to our lawyer Phillippa Wilkie of Chapman Tripp. We were excited to be accepted into the Champan Tripp pro bono programme, and to receive our registration with the Charities Commission nine months later. Phillippa researched internationally and steered us through the process of ensuring our aims and objectives will benefit the wider public.

A BIG thank you to the following organisations for helping us to promote our national craft research project:

Kete Craft & Design Fair, NZAFA, Wellington.
Asia Foundation New Zealand 
Auckland Studio Potters
Australasian Craft Network
Centre for Fine Woodworking
Craft 2.0
Creative Napier
Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic
Form Gallery
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Hearts in Crafts
Iwi Art
Lopdell House & Gallery
Museums Aotearoa
National Association of Woodworkers NZ 
Quadrant Gallery
Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui
Toi Maori Aotearoa
The Big Idea
The Christchurch Textiles Network of Guilds 
The National
Wanganui Glass Group 
and many others!

Also a wide range of individuals including Moyra Elliott, D Wood, Jillian de Beer, and others.

We really appreciate all your feedback and support and look forward to exploring collaborative projects with you in the future. Get in touch with us if you are interested in elevating craft practice in New Zealand and fostering the retention and development of craft skills. We are interested in collaboration opportunities that maximise the use of funding and investment.

International guest speaker Kevin Murray and Craft Aotearoa trustees.
Thank you also to our 570 ‘likes’ on Facebook page, and the 1,800 people that visit the Craft Aotearoa Blog each month. We love your feedback and keep sending us photos of your work as we do receive international buyer enquiries from time to time.

Thank you to our presentation partners this year – Handmade 2012 here in Wellington, Objectspace in Auckland, and the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. Finally, thank you to the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts for supporting the launch of Craft Aotearoa. We are delighted to be launching alongside Kete, a brand new craft and design fair in New Zealand.

Founding Director, Jenna-Lea Philpott

Kia koutou. Thank you all for coming this evening. I believe we have 350 people here tonight, a fantastic turnout. I’d like to acknowledge this wonderful waterfront location and the generous support we have received from the NZ Academy of Fine Arts. It is so exciting to have you all here with us as we officially launch Craft Aotearoa Charitable Trust, and I would like to share a Maori whakatauki published by Kura Gallery last week, in honour of this moment:  

Ma te whakaatu, ka mohio
Ma te mohio, ka marama
Ma te marama, ka matau
Ma te matau, ka ora

By discussion comes understanding, by understanding comes light, by light comes wisdom, by wisdom comes wellbeing. Craft practice embodies discussion, understanding, wisdom and wellbeing. 

Mia Hamilton on show at Kete.
Thank you to my founding trustees Penny Eames and Warren Feeney for all their support the past two years and welcome to Peter Methven, our new Trustee and Treasurer. Of course, we wouldn’t be standing here today without the support of Phillippa Wilkie at Chapman Tripp, who believes in the values of craftsmanship and the role of craft in our society. I have greatly appreciated all her support – particularly during our phonecalls which were often undertaken during various earthquakes!

Thank you also to Emma Ward from Creative New Zealand for her ongoing support, even in matters such as helping to keep me informed and to reconnect with others in the weeks following the February 22nd earthquake when I was without power, phone coverage, running water and sewerage.

When I returned to New Zealand at the end of 2009, I became conscious of the gap in national craft support. Whilst working in the UK, I was employed to manage the development of a UK wide skills plan for craft, also known as the UK Craft Blueprint. Launched at the House of Lords, this document outlined issues that have also been commented on in a New Zealand context.

Textiles Platter by Dr. Jessica Payne
Thank you to the 654 people who took part in the recent 2012 New Zealand Craft Survey. As the most recent major national craft research project to be undertaken in New Zealand, we are looking forward to developing a profile of the NZ craft sector and are now working towards publishing a NZ Craft Action Plan encompassing these results in 2013. In the meantime, here are some of the headline results:
  • Nearly 50% of respondents belong to an online craft community and 40% to a craft industry group.
  • The research found the most popular method of craft engagement is attending craft markets and events, closely followed by attending craft exhibitions.
  • 56% buy and collect craft objects and 70% prefer to buy from a dedicated craft & design retail store.
  • 30% of respondents exhibit and sell their work internationally
  • Nearly half the respondents describe their skill level as mid-career
  • More than half believe the range of training and professional development opportunities are either insufficient or not great. This has not been helped by the demise of community education classes.
Riding Stool by Designtree.
As part of the research, we included questions specific to Christchurch and Canterbury and found that 60% have been forced to find new space to make and to show new work and 40% are concerned about how to continue their craft practice in Christchurch at this time. The biggest concern is how the craft sector is being positioned and supported as part of the redevelopment of the city. (This outweighed concerns about access to local exhibition opportunities, funding support and other options).

Lamps by Designtree.
As Penny (Craft Aotearoa Chairperson) said, we are looking forward to establishing projects in response to these results and we welcome offers of collaboration and support, both financial and personal.
Finally, thank you to Form Gallery and Elfi Spiewack who loaned me this beautiful necklace to wear tonight and also to my fiancée Ray, who couldn’t be here tonight but has been wonderfully supportive as I have worked on setting up Craft Aotearoa these past two years.

More photos available at:

Sunday 26 August 2012

Help shape the future of craft practice in New Zealand

Share your views in our online survey by Sunday 2nd September.

If you design and make contemporary, heritage or traditional craft objects in any discipline, then we want to hear from you! There is only one week left to share your views. Senior craft practitioners, mid-career, emerging, graduate, and students are invited to share their thoughts on craft practice in New Zealand today. What are the strengths of the New Zealand craft sector? What should we celebrate? What is in need of improvement either nationally or in your region? Don't miss this rare opportunity to share your views on craft education and training opportunities and more. Tell us about your own practice, what inspires you, and how you make and sell your work so we can develop the first real profile of the New Zealand craft sector.

As part of this research project, we are also seeking the views of students and recent graduates. We know how hard it can be to forge a career in the early stages - tell us about any initiatives that have helped you or what support you would ideally like to access. Maybe the jewellery mentoring project Handshake is something that other disciplines can emulate? (The latest Handshake exhibition featuring 12 emerging jewellers is now on at The National gallery in Christchurch.)

We are also seeking feedback from Christchurch, Lyttelton and Canterbury residents in three questions. Craft Aotearoa has been contacted by CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) who have expressed interest in the results.

We are a demand-led organisation and will look to develop projects based on the survey feedback so we are seeking as many views as possible. This is the first time that a major craft research project has been undertaken in New Zealand and over 600 responses have been received to date (a sample of which is copied below). Thank you to all the organisations, galleries, industry groups and individuals who have so far contributed and helped to promote this significant research project. 

What are the strengths of New Zealand craft? 

"The amount of people involved in doing some type of craft (nearly everyone)!"

"The dedication of its serious practitioners. There are m
any who give their lives to it for little reward and become very accomplshed."

"Its strength is its New Zealandness. While aware of and following international trends, there is a distinctiveness about NZ craft that makes it special."

"I think its strengths are diversity and ingenuity, from the traditional to the innovative. I celebrate the sustainability of using recycled materials and homegrown skills."

"We are very contemporary in our high-end craft compared to much of what I have seen overseas."

"We have a free-thinking range of makers here who because of our geography are not bound to tradition. We have a unique cache of reference material that can be explored and used as content for wider, more universal, issues. We have a multi-cultural base of makers to call on, each bringing their own take on technique, tradition and aesthetic."

What is in need of improvement?

"I think there is still possibly not enough value placed on craft in some sectors and that is why we need Craft Aotearoa!"  

"Craftmakers undervalue their own work. This then rolls out into the marketplace where customers don't understand how expensive it is to make the item that they are planning to produce - craft is undervalued. There is little understanding the of skill and time it takes to make high-end craft."

"The weakness is there are no standards in place."

"As a professional craft master I am very concerned about quality (of craft in New Zealand). It is great that there are many groups who do craft to have fun but the feedback which is given is sometimes incestual and the overall quality of higher end crafts is lacking.....NZ is a wool country by tradition and the woolcrafts need some boost or skills will be lost." 

"Craft is generally seen as a poor cousin by most top galleries and much more recognition of the significance of handmade craftworks as a unique way of working is needed.  Also a pervasive idea that craftwork is of less cultural significance than fine artwork."

"By communities/society as a whole: recognition of it's value and importance across different contexts - from formal fine arts type contexts where craft is viewed for its aesthetic and 'artistic' functions through to contexts where crafted items are used as functional objects as part of everyday life. At instructional/educational level - provision of opportunites for developing qualification and career pathways in a greater diversity of craft disciplines/mediums - and with scope for the purely creative/artistic approach to craft through to a more commercial (design) focus."

"More exposure to the world class skills in each field - to stimulate activity, expand on skills and add to the depth of vision for New Zealanders wishing to improve their skills. To do this, support and energy is required from teachers, mentors, government agencies, educators and local councils."

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Double launch of Craft Aotearoa and Kete

It is with pleasure that we announce the launch of Craft Aotearoa in Wellington at 5:30pm on the 6th September at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.

We look forward to this opportunity to thank all our supporters and friends who have endorsed our objectives and encouraged our development. It has been an amazing journey thus far, and we have really appreciated all your messages and support! To register your interest in attending the launch of Craft Aotearoa please RSVP to

We hope you can join us in celebrating our recent registration as a Charitable Trust. We will also announce the preliminary results of the 2012 New Zealand Craft Survey - the first major craft research project to be undertaken in New Zealand. Nearly 500 people have shared their views on craft in New Zealand to date. We have learnt a lot about your views on a broad range of topics such as opportunities for developing craft skills, engaging in craft activities, and what you see as important going forward.  It is not too late to share your thoughts as the consultation closes 31st August. Share this link with your friends and colleagues and click here to take the survey:

Supporting the launch of Craft Aotearoa will be international guest speaker Kevin Murray, online editor for the Journal of Modern Craft, Vice President of the World Craft Council - Asia Pacific region and former Executive Director of Craft Victoria. Closer to the launch we will announce the full line up of speakers.

To co-incide with our launch, the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts will also launch Kete, a three day craft and design fair & symposium where 14 galleries will present a fresh perspective on contemporary craft/design in New Zealand across a range of mediums including jewellery, ceramics, glass, textiles and furniture.

Kete is supported by Museums Wellington City and the Sea, Wellington City Council, Newstalk NZ, Dunbar Sloane, and Museum Hotel and participants include Anna Miles Gallery, Bowen Galleries, Chambers241, David Trubridge, Designtree, Dilana Rugs, F3 Design,Textile Design Massey School of Design, Masterworks Gallery, The National, Toi Maori Aotearoa, Vessel, Whitespace Gallery, Whitireia NZ Visual Arts & Design.

Craft Aotearoa believes Kete is a must-see event. Keynote speakers Kevin Murray (mentioned above) and internationally renowned designer, artist and lecturer David Trubridge (one of the top 15 designers in the world according to 2008 French magazine Express) along with other guest speakers will also deliver an outstanding lecture programme. All lectures will be held at The Todd Room, Museums Wellington City and the Sea as follows:

Friday 7 September 1-2pm: Simon Manchester. Collecting New Zealand Applied Arts
Consultant for Applied arts at Dunbar Sloane, Wellington, Simon is an authority on New Zealand ceramics and collections from the studio period of the 1930s to the present day. He has a comprehensive knowledge of local ceramics, encompassing the post-war period and the country’s engagement with international arts practice throughout the 1950s and 60s. In this lecture he considers relationships between ceramic objects in the broader context of the Applied Arts and collecting.

Assembled Feature Lightsades by David Trubridge.
Friday 7 Sept 4-5pm: David Trubridge: Kete: spirit/mind/body

David has received numerous international awards for his designs. In 2008 French magazine Express listed him as one of the top 15 designers in the world. In this lecture he will discusses the segregation of art, design and craft and the creative process and the associated knowledge, experience and skills they all share. ‘Kete Arounui (bamboo basket), spiritual world Kete Tuaatea (polycarbonate basket) and our rational world Kete Tuauri (aluminium basket). The knowledge needs to be in balance for us to live harmoniously on Earth.’

Saturday 8 Sept 3-4pm: Dr. Jessica Payne: Textiles created at the interface between traditional and emerging technologies. (Further information in due course.)

Saturday 8 Sept 4-5pm: Kevin Murray Biculturalism in 21st century Craft of the South.
Kevin discusses the relative distance between indigenous cultures and Aboriginal and settler cultures in Australasia in the 21st century. Does the practice of a jeweller in Aotearoa New Zealand such as Areta Wilkinson provide an example for current bicultural methodology? Kevin Murray is a Melbourne-based curator and academic and online editor for the Journal of Modern Craft. He was Executive Director at Craft Victoria from 2000 until 2007 and has curated exhibitions such as Guild Unlimited: Ten jewellers make insignia for potential guilds, and Common Goods: Cultures Meet through Craft for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Sunday 9 Sept 4-5pm: Andrew Just, F3 Design: Thinking in Boxes? Christchurch and filling in the gaps. Andrew is an architectural designer and advocate for transitional architecture, its design and engagement with city planning, as fundamental to the well-being of communities. He has been involved in transitional architecture designs in Christchurch following 22 February 2011, developing affordable and environmentally friendly solutions to the city’s new spaces. Andrew will discuss the potential for transitional and temporary designs to simultaneously fulfil the immediate and long-term needs of communities.

Further information:

For further details about Craft Aotearoa and to access the latest New Zealand craft news visit

For further details about the launch of Craft Aotearoa and to register your interest in attending the double launch of both Craft Aotearoa and Kete please RSVP to

For further details about Kete please contact Dr. Warren Feeney at
Kete: Contemporary craft-design fair
7-9 September, New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, 1 Queens Wharf, Wellington

Saturday 21 July 2012

Upcoming Craft Workshops, News and more.

The momentum is building. Over 400 people have shared their views on New Zealand craft by going online and taking the 2012 New Zealand Craft Survey, and over 370 individuals and organisations have 'liked' our Facebook page, in order to access the latest national craft news, opportunities, workshops, events and photos, and to network with others.

Since May 22nd, we have promoted the work of over 130 organisations and individuals involved in the New Zealand craft sector on our Facebook page and provided links to a further 25 international craft organisations. For those that have yet to view our Facebook page, we thought we would whet your appetite by sharing some of our Facebook page content in this blog. Head to if you would like to view photos of work, access links and find out more.

Upcoming workshops

Mide Hindmarsh furniture weekend workshop
 *  Would you like to learn how to make your own furniture in a weekend workshop? Learn how to create stylish plywood furniture by laminating and constructing interlocking panels to create an attractive stool and table set. More information at

*  Check out the range of craft and art workshops on at the Lake House Arts Centre in Takapuna, Auckland. This woodcut printing workshop continues for eight weeks and there are lots more too including a one day calligraphy course with Jan Leonard on 12 August. 

*  For all those interested in working with wood, the 2013 course Centre for Fine Woodworking course details have been released. 

*  Registrations are open for this fun and exciting course in claymation, just for teenagers aged 13 – 17 years on at Mangere Arts Centre

Workspace Studios, Wellington, is a hub for jewellers and small object makers and has grown into a bustling studio with jewellery classes almost every day, one-on-one tuition, short courses and bench hire for students and professionals. Everyone from professional to complete beginner is welcome to utilise the fully equipped studio.

*  Creative play day Saturday 28th July! Learn how to make a book and bind it using the Coptic Binding method. Come and experiment, learn new skills, enjoy being around other creative souls. What a great way to spend a winters day. $95 per person - includes all the materials needed to create one book. For more details contact

*  Two masterclass workshops are offered as part of this year's Wanganui Glass Festival. The first is with acclaimed English glass artist Galia Amsel who will also present a public lecture and the second is with acclaimed  Australian glass artist Clare Belfrage who will also present a public lecture and demonstrations. Further details at


*  Introducing Wanaka based Andi Regan Art, also a finalist in the World of Wearable Art (WOW) Awards for the third year running. We will never look at zip ties the same again after perusing your beautiful photo albums!

*  Welcome to Darren Hunter Furniture Designs, one of our newest 'likes.'

*  Introducing contemporary New Zealand needlepoint and cross stitch design kits available from Auckland based The Stitchsmith.

*  Introducing Louise Douglas Jewellery, whose new retail store opens 1st August in Nelson.

*  Introducing colourful and fashionable statement pieces from Wellington based Shh By Sadie Handmade Jewellery using vintage and new materials.

*  Welcome to one of our newest 'likes' Marker Creative Workshops, an innovative public programme of hands-on, design and technology focused workshops based at AUT University’s City Campus.

*   Delighted to welcome Hocken Collections as one of our newest 'likes.' They have a wealth of archives including over 200,000 books and 2 million photos!

*  Welcome to one of our 'likes', a traditional bookbinder Tingle Vision Designs from Christchurch. 

*  Welcome to our latest 'like' White Heat; contemporary australian ceramic jewellery exhibition.


'Nudge' by Tony Bond at The National gallery.
 *  Only four days left to see “Nudge” by Tony Bond at The National gallery in Christchurch. The 27 works, entitled “Formunculae”, vary in dimension from 85mm up to 200mm wide for larger works. A review of “Nudge” written by Craft Aotearoa Trustee Dr. Warren Feeney can be read here. 
*  Introducing Cromwell's hullabaloo art space. This work by Odelle Morshuis features discarded shotgun shells, a wide variety of coloured plastic cartridges as well as brass shells cut and curled into configurations resembling flora.

*  How much thread does it take to cover 192 treadle sewing machines in the new Govett-Brewster Gallery exhibition? Come and see N S Harsha's work 'Nations' this opening weekend in 'Sub-Topical Heat: New art from South Asia.'

*  This Saturday in Christchurch see the launch of Form Gallery's exciting new exhibition featuring the work of six contemporary New Zealand carvers.

National craft news and events

*  The last remaining blacksmithing course in Australasia has just been reduced to one day a week. Check out the 60 Minutes interview with Greeny on TVNZ.

*  New Zealand Olympians are the first recipients to be given a special gift of "Tahutahi" pounamu from Ngai Tahu, but if anyone else has it, then it is stolen and Ngai Tahu want it back.

*  Entries for the Portage Ceramic Awards close 1st August. The Awards, totaling $22,000 in prize money will be presented at a special opening function on Thursday 11 October 2012.

* First guitars, and now furniture recycled from the wood of earthquake damaged homes. Craft sustainability at its best.

*  Are you interested in becoming part of the Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aoteaora - the National Maori Weavers Collective? Sign up now. Biennial hui, magazine subscription and much more.

*  Would you like to create new work from these locations? Malaysia, India, Korea, Taiwan, or Japan? Check out the arts residencies organised by Asia New Zealand.

*  Hugh Bannerman from Dilana will give a talk at Objectspace at 11am on Saturday 4th August as part of the second public programme for Ubiquitous: Aspects of Contemporary Pattern.

*  Policy update: Local Government reforms. What does it mean for your community?

2011 Wanganui Festival of Glass
*  Fancy watching the Glass Olympics? Or demonstrations of glass blowing in the dark? Then head along to the Wanganui Festival of Glass this October. Lots more happening as well.

*  "Jewellery’s intrinsic value relates to a sacred (personal) memory, projected through transcendence" says Peter Deckers of 'The See Here' - a group of artists and jewellers whose practice occupies the border between fine and applied art.

*  Entries are now open for the Woodturning NZ International Symposium run by South Auckland Woodturners Guild Inc. from 4-7 October. Detailed programme on their website.

* First guitars, and now furniture recycled from the wood of earthquake damaged homes. Craft sustainability at its best.

*  Are you interested in becoming part of the Te Roopu Raranga Whatu o Aoteaora - the National Maori Weavers Collective? Sign up now. Biennial hui, magazine subscription and much more.

*  Would you like to create new work from these locations? Malaysia, India, Korea, Taiwan, or Japan? Check out the arts residencies organised by Asia New Zealand.

*  Hugh Bannerman from Dilana will give a talk at Objectspace at 11am on Saturday 4th August as part of the second public programme for Ubiquitous: Aspects of Contemporary Pattern.

*  Policy update: Local Government reforms. What does it mean for your community? 

*  "Jewellery’s intrinsic value relates to a sacred (personal) memory, projected through transcendence" says Peter Deckers of 'The See Here' - a group of artists and jewellers whose practice occupies the border between fine and applied art.

*  Entries are now open for the Woodturning NZ International Symposium run by South Auckland Woodturners Guild Inc. from 4-7 October. Detailed programme on their website.

International news

*  A Cooper is a maker or repairer of casks and barrels and this craft can be traced back thousands of years. Read more about how the Scottish whiskey industry relies on these craft skills in the present day.

*  Pottery skills are in decline in the UK. Dr Herhoffer said: "At primary and secondary level the focus is on digital skills and working with computers – pupils don't get their hands dirty anymore."

*  San Francisco based kiwi designer Sam O'Leary has been busy developing a fabulous new craft website. It has a broad range of craft video tutorials so you can learn in the comfort of your home day or night.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Dunedin Craft Research Meeting Invitation

Mandoria pendants by Anna Claire Thompson. Photo courtesy of Quadrant Gallery, Dunedin.

Craft Aotearoa Charitable Trust and the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic - Te Kura Matatini ki Otago are delighted to invite all those interested in New Zealand craft to the Dunedin launch of the 2012 National Craft Research Project.

This is rare opportunity to share your views on craft practice in New Zealand, and it is the first major craft research project to be undertaken in recent years. The research project aims to identify how the wider public engages in craft activities as well as profiling the craft sector itself. A broad range of views are sought from members of the public interested in craft, craft practitioners, students, teachers, craft industry groups and organisations, craft galleries and retailers, curators, online craft communities and more.

Come along and share your views and then take the online survey at:

Sticatto sake cups bt John Paxie. Quadrant Gallery. 
Public Meeting:
 Friday 13 July, 4-6pm.
Dunedin School of Art Lecture Theatre - P152 Ground Floor
Entry from Reigo Street, Dunedin

Expected meeting format:
4 - 4:30pm: Networking.
4:30p - 5pm: Craft and Sustainability Discussion
5 - 6pm: Launch of the 2012 NZ Craft Research Project and facilitated discussion

Monday 9 July 2012

Announcing Craft Aotearoa Charitable Trust

It gives us great pleasure to announce that Craft Aotearoa has been approved as a Charitable Trust and is now registered with the Charities Commission. Our registeration number is CC47849.

We are grateful for the support of Phillippa Wilkie of Chapman Tripp and also the support of our friends, craft practitioners and those organisations who have contributed advice and support to date - thank you for walking this journey with us.

As a demand-led organisation, we are looking forward to delivering projects as per our charitable objectives and proposed activities, and in response to the results of the current 2012 New Zealand Craft Survey.

Our charitable purposes are to:
  • advance and encourage the exercise/practice of craftsmanship and the continued creation of craft work of a high standard in New Zealand;
  • preserve and improve craftsmanship in New Zealand; 
  • foster, promote and increase the understanding, knowledge and interest of the New Zealand public about craft and craftsmanship; 
  • advance the education and development of children and young people in schools and tertiary institutes in craft and craftsmanship; 
  • advance education and learning opportunities for the New Zealand public in craft and craftsmanship;
  • undertake research into the craft sector and its profile in New Zealand and make the results available to inform business planning, education programs and employment services; 
  • encourage employment into the craft sector including through facilitating careers advice to potential candidates and facilitating apprenticeships; 
  • for any other purposes within New Zealand (whether relating to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion or any other matter beneficial to the community) which are charitable according to the laws of New Zealand.
In order to achieve the charitable purposes, it is proposed that the Trust undertakes the following activities:
  • facilitate craft artist residences, scholarships and awards and other learning opportunities relating to craft and craftmanship in schools and tertiary institutes;
  • facilitate craft master-classes, workshops, lectures and seminars;
  • develop a craft research library and collection of craft resources and craft objects open to the public;
  • develop craft exhibition and touring opportunities throughout New Zealand and internationally;
  • develop a regular programme of craft events in New Zealand; 
  • encourage community craft projects; 
  • develop a national network and contact point of reference for craftmakers and those interested in craft.
The following diagram outlines how we intend to work across the craft sector and wider economy, in order to deliver benefits to the wider New Zealand public.
Other News
It has been a very busy time of late for Craft Aotearoa with presentations in Wellington at Handmade 2012 and in Auckland at Objectspace's 7UP Talkfest. We have also been busy meeting with Statistics New Zealand, various craft practitioners, Form Gallery, The Big Idea and craft organisations, and we have launched New Zealand's first major craft research project.

2012 New Zealand Craft Survey
Over 170 people have so far shared their views on New Zealand craft. Don't miss this rare opportunity to contribute your thoughts - we are seeking a broad range of views from both the wider public and those engaged in craft practice including students, teachers, practitioners, curators, researchers, industry groups, galleries, craft organisations and more. To share your views just fill in our online survey questionnaire:   

It is vital that we receive as many responses as possible so please email the survey link to your friends and colleagues. The consultation ends on 19 August, and we will then begin the process of analysing the results and working with others in the craft sector to contextualise these results in a report that will be published for the benefit of the wider public at a later date. The diagram above outlines how our our project delivery will be led by the responses received in the 2012 New Zealand Craft Survey.

Receive national craft news direct

Contemporary jewellery by Jeremy Leeming.
Just over a month ago, we launched our Craft Aotearoa Facebook page and it has quickly become a central place to network with others, to access national and international craft news, upcoming workshop listings, events, links, stories, and photos.

Over 300 individuals and organisations have 'liked' our page. This is the best way to receive our posts. Even if you are not on facebook you can still have a look by copying this link:

Thursday 21 June 2012

High Demand for Craft Gallery Space

There is overwhelming demand for dedicated craft gallery space in New Zealand with 77% indicating this is the most preferred way to show and sell craft objects, according to Craft Aotearoa’s first online poll earlier in the year. By comparison, exhibiting at a multipurpose gallery was the least preferred method. Online exhibition and sales of craft were a strong second (49%), followed by craft fair/show (32%) and retail outlet (32%).

In light of these findings, Craft Aotearoa approached four craft galleries in New Zealand for a response. We received interest from Form Gallery in Christchurch and Objectspace in Auckland and would like to thank Koji Miyazaki (Director) and James Horgan (Senior Gallery Assistant) of Form Gallery; and Philip Clarke (Director) and Laura Howard (Programme Manager) of Objectspace for taking the time to share their thoughts with us

1. Were you surprised to learn that the most preferred way to show and sell craft is in a dedicated craft gallery space and why do you think craft practitioners prefer this option above others?

Form: Yes, Form was very surprised. In a dedicated craft gallery, there are a number of factors present which are missing from the other examples:

*  knowledgeable staff as first point of contact is vital (online there is a delayed reaction time to queries)
*  a dedicated space that allows individual works to be seen and touched (retail/multipurpose gallery’s sometimes feels cluttered and certain works are dominated by others)
*  a relaxed atmosphere where the client feels at ease and not pressured to buying (craft/fair).

Objectspace: No. This is understandable. Many New Zealand craft practitioners report that there are limited opportunities for them to show within the existing network of visual arts retail/dealer or public galleries.

Form Director Koji Mijazaki, Kim Henderson & Akane Nakao
2. Could you share with us your thoughts on the role of craft galleries – how do they contribute to advancing the NZ craft sector? Has this role changed over time or remained the same?

Form: The role of a craft gallery is to promote – the artist, the work, the gallery itself. To be professional in all its undertakings, to give knowledgeable advice and service to the client. To build up strong ties with its artists and relationships with its list of clients. The role of the gallery has changed slightly over the years; of course clients are becoming more knowledgeable and in a consumer environment, are looking for the best price. This only really becomes an issue when a practitioner begins to show their works in differing outlet types – ie. craft gallery as well as fair, online or multipurpose gallery. What we find is that it undermines the role of the dedicated gallery and its value that it puts on works.

Objectspace: We are dedicated to positioning making - principally in the fields of craft, applied arts and design - within a range of cultural, economic and social frameworks in order to provoke new assessments about the making, functioning and value of works and practices. We are unique in New Zealand in having this focus. If other parts of the visual arts infrastructure shared this aim, Objectspace may not need to exist but currently the profile and visibility that we give to contemporary practice and practitioners is not widely generated by other institutions working across the visual arts.

Objectspace opened in May 2004 as the result of practitioner-led efforts over many years to create a more supportive environment for innovative objectmaking in New Zealand. Following the 1998 Persuasive Object conference, a group of practitioners, curators, educators and sector supporters came together around a vision of a dedicated centre for craft that would be a new sort of hub for the craft sector. With the assistance of Creative New Zealand, the working party engaged Starkwhite to research the need for such a centre and how it might operate. The 2001 Starkwhite Report found that there was a need for such a centre and proposed options for its operation. In 2002 the working party became a legally constituted organisation with charitable status chaired by jeweller Warwick Freeman. Following the preparation of detailed strategic and business plans in late 2003 Creative New Zealand agreed to provide Objectspace with annual funding to enable us to present an annual programme of activities. Through a programme of exhibitions, events, publications and partnerships Objectspace aims to create new opportunities for outstanding practitioners, generate critical discourse, support professional development, connect communities of makers, writers, collectors and supporters and advance the interests of the sector nationally and internationally.

3. Are other methods of showcasing and selling craft (such as online, craft fairs, markets, etc) complimentary to craft galleries or tapping into a different audience?

Form: In some cases these methods can be complimentary, but in some cases ie. online – a prospective client uses a ‘search engine’ to find a gallery and this can be a bit arbitrary. Also, online negates the need to touch hold and be in the presence of the work.
'Come for a Cuppa' exhbition at Form Gallery, Christchurch.

4. What makes a good craft gallery space, and what are your gallery’s future plans?

Form: Again, good quality knowledgeable staff, a good list of artist and work, a space that allows the work to be viewed, touched and allowed to breathe. Form gallery, based in Christchurch, is currently working from the Director’s (Koji Miyazaki) home (following the Christchurch earthquakes).

Objectspace: A commitment to contemporary craft, expert knowledge of the sector and a commitment to widening the awareness of contemporary practice through exhibitions and publications.

5. From your perspective, how has the New Zealand craft sector changed in the time that your gallery has been operational?

Form: In the last 2O yrs of its operation, Form has seen many ups & downs. The biggest shift to date, as you can expect, came from the huge event of February 2011, with the loss of life, and loss of our city. Christchurch is rebuilding, but it is going to take a lot of time, effort and money to rebuild the confidence in our clients to replace, or reinvest in our art objects.

Objectspace: Many younger practitioners don’t particularly identify with the ‘craft sector’ but label themselves by their disincline and/or as an artist.

6. What do we know about buyers and collectors of New Zealand craft?

Form: We have found that NZ collectors & buyers are very loyal. This loyalty is to the artist that they feel they need to patronize, but also to the gallery, its owner & staff who introduced them in the first place. Once a gallery has built up a solid relationship with their client, then loyalty – in another words – friendship, is created and must be upheld by both parties.

Objectspace: There are a smallish number of very dedicated and knowledgeable buyers of contemporary craft. Most collectors, but not all, tend to focus their collections on one practice area.

7. Do you have any words of advice for craft/object arts practitioners?

Form: Once a practitioner begins exhibiting with a gallery, a relationship is born. This is a symbiotic relationship with both parties needing each other – without one, the other becomes pointless. A balance, as well as a good professional relationship is needed for both parties to work together, respect what the gallery does, and they in turn will respect you. 

Objectspace: Keep going!

8. What can we look forward to in 2012 at your gallery?

Form: As stated previously, Form gallery is currently working from the home of Koji Miyazaki. It has been over a year now since our necessary removal from our home of eight years, the Christchurch Art Gallery. We have been in negotiation with property developers over the last several months to return to the city, but with the continued demolition of our city it is proving very hard to find a viable, suitable place. If anything in 2012, Form gallery is merely trying to survive, hold onto the great artists that we have on our books, keep our clients up to date with our progress and hold monthly group exhibitions to show Christchurch that there is still something to enjoy in this broken city. Kia kaha!

Objectspace: This week we are presenting 7UP: a free talkfest for all with a stake in New Zealand's craft sector. Next is Contemporary Pattern (30 June – 1 September 2012), a curated thematic exhibition exploring contemporary pattern across craft and design by New Zealand makers and designers. Objectspace will then present Kobi Bosshard: Objectspace Masters of Craft from 8 September – 17 November 2012, which will tour nationally. This exhibition will be accompanied by Kobi Bosshard: Goldsmith - a substantial monograph authored by Dr Damian Skinner and published and distributed by Bateman Publishers, featuring specially commissioned photographs by Mark Adams of Studio La Gonda. As well as these Main Gallery events, Objectspace will continue to exhibit solo installations by contemporary makers in the Window Gallery and groups of work from private collections in the Vault. At the end of the year, we are staging Blikfang curated by Sheridan Keith which will explore the ‘eye candy’ quality of new and old objects. This exhibition is another example of our ongoing interest in the ‘consumption’ of craft and applied art, rather than being an enquiry into an aspect of contemporary production.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Share your views & take our survey!

Craft Aotearoa is excited to launch New Zealand's first major craft research project that aims to identify how the wider public engages in craft as well as profiling the craft sector itself. We would like you to help us by sharing your thoughts via this survey link:

Craft Aotearoa intends to publish a report that profiles New Zealand craft and how the public engages in craft, fulfilling one of our key charitable objectives:

        (f) To undertake research into the craft sector and its profile in New Zealand and make the
        results available to inform business planning, education programmes and employment services;

The report will subsequently be made available to the public. To inform this report, we are seeking a broad range of views from members of the public who are interested in craft, craft practitioners, craft industry groups and organisations, online craft communities, craft galleries and retailers, craft researchers and publications, curators, and teachers and students engaged in craft practice.

Survey details
The consultation is open from 18 June - 19 August and is in three parts:

Part One - seeking the views of the wider public and those engaged in craft.
Part Two - developing a profile of those that design and make craft in New Zealand.
Part Three - craftsmanship skills and qualifications.

There are 25 questions (though not all may apply) including sub-questions for students and graduates, and  residents of Christchurch and Canterbury following the spate of recent earthquakes. The survey can be accessed at:

The Auckland public consultation meeting will be held this Thursday 21st June at 7:30pm, as part of Objectspace's 7UP Talkfest. We are delighted to support Objectspace in celebrating seven years of their operation. Throughout the week, there are a wide range of guest speakers and an exciting programme. Additional consultation meetings will take place in Dunedin (6th July), Wellington and Christchurch (to be confirmed).

What happens when the consultation ends?
Craft Aotearoa is in the process of founding a national reference group to inform and support the development of a report that contextualises the research results. This group will comprise representatives from a range of craft disciplines across New Zealand, to ensure a national overview and is a model of collaboration that has been successful internationally. For example, in 2008-2009 it was used in the development of The Craft Blueprint: a workforce development plan for craft in the UK.

It is anticipated that the final report will provide a platform for future projects that ultimately ensures the public has greater access to a broad range of craft activities throughout New Zealand.

What are the key outcomes resulting from this research project?

  • members of the public have an opportunity to share their thoughts on craft in New Zealand
  • statistical evidence is gathered 
  • a national craft database will be developed and managed by Craft Aotearoa
  • leadership across the New Zealand craft sector is strengthened
  • relationships are strengthened within the craft sector
  • increasing awareness of craft strengths and weaknesses at the present time
  • increasing awareness of how to engage the public in craft sector
  • a current profile of the New Zealand craft sector and how the public engage in craft is developed
What are the constraints of the research project?
Due to lack of funding the research will not seek to include any individual face to face or phone interviews, and only four public consultation meetings will be held to support the project in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

We have met with Statistics New Zealand who advise that as the data set for craft industries is too marginal to be of a good quality, it will not be possible to reference any government statistics pertaining to craft. (We think this makes this research project even more valuable.) 

Please help us to spread the word by:
 For any further enquiries please feel free to contact:
Jenna-Lea Philpott, Founding Trustee
Craft Aotearoa Charitable Trust
Phone: 022 615 3669

Wednesday 13 June 2012

'Like' our Facebook page to receive the latest craft news

On May 22nd, we launched our Facebook page! The content of our page reflects our vision - to create and promote opportunities for the New Zealand public to engage in a range of craft activities across a broad range of disciplines.
We regularly post New Zealand and international craft news and opportunities for the public to get involved and learn more about craft. Take a look and 'like' our page or 'share' it with your family and friends.  

  208 individuals and organisations like our page - find out why!

We are interested in posting content that stimulates, informs, provokes, engages, and educates. Occasionally we will let you know what we are up to but mostly we are interested in showcasing and supporting your craft activities. This might include upcoming craft workshops, conferences, events, markets, research, and publications, as well as resources and links that can inform and educate. We also want our page to be a place where you can connect with others and we welcome your ‘wall comments and links.’ You might like to look at our extensive range of craft and design organisations that we have ‘liked’ as well, both nationally and internationally.  

How can you get involved?

1.      ‘Like’ our page - then Craft Aotearoa updates will appear in your Facebook news tab meaning you will always be kept up to date and will also be a part of our journey as we grow and develop.

2.       Share what you read on our page with your friends and colleagues. You might want to encourage them to ‘like’ us too! We are starting from scratch, so your help in reaching those interested in craft will help us to build an audience and ensure that our content is relevant.  If you are a craft or arts organisation, you might like to support our work by promoting our page to your members via your e-newsletter, website, or direct email. Let us know so we can do the same for you too.

3.       We are in the process of building an online photo gallery of contemporary New Zealand craft and object art – if you would like your work to be considered for publication email us at
4.       Send us your craft news so we can let others know. Either email us direct, send a Facebook message, or post directly to our ‘wall.’

5.       If you have family or friends that like to buy or collect craft, or take craft classes, then you might like to forward them our page so they can learn more.
Thank you to all our supporters and over 200 'likers' so far – your contribution and feedback is invaluable. We look forward to seeing you on our Facebook page!