HOW WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO THIS TYPE OF WORK AND WHAT DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR EARLY EXPLORATION OF IT?
I used to play with my mother’s lacquered musical jewellery box when I was very small and it was filled with beautiful antique jewellery. This was my first introduction to jewellery. Somehow I think this stirred my imagination and appreciation of jewellery. Also when I was 15 years old, I went on a trip to Europe for a year. One stop was London and the Victoria and Albert Museum where an exhibition of jewellery from throughout the ages was on. I thought, "this is what I want to do, I want to make jewellery".
HOW HAS YOUR WORK CHANGED AND DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS? WHAT FACTORS DO YOU THINK AFFECTED THIS?
I worked for a couple of manufacturing jewellers for a few years and I think this really stifled my creativity, so much so that I didn’t make any jewellery for quite a number of years. Then one day my son gave me a reel of fine gauge copper wire and I started making necklaces using the wire, shells, beads and sequins which proved to be popular.
I think over the past few years I have become more confident and adventurous in my jewellery making. I make what I want to make not what I think people will like.
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHERE YOU WORK FROM? WHAT DO YOU FIND SPECIAL ABOUT LIVING OUT WEST?
I work from home in a spare room. I have a good bench space built by a friend. Before that I was trying to use the dining room table. Most of my tools I have had since I went to jewellery school in Sydney 43 years ago.
Living at Karekare is wonderful I can’t imagine living anywhere else...we are surrounded by sky and sea and bush. You really notice the seasons living here.
WHAT CAN VISITORS EXPECT TO SEE WHEN THEY POP BY YOUR STUDIO DURING OPEN STUDIOS WAITAKERE?
Visitors can see examples of my jewellery & the tools & the materials I use... silver, gold & copper, semi precious stones & beads, pearls & also glass beads.
NAME YOUR TOP 5 SECRET SPOTS YOU LIKE TO VISIT IN THE WAITAKERE RANGES?
I don’t know if anywhere in the Waitakere Ranges is secret anymore, but when I was a teenager I used to love climbing around the south rocks at Karekare and heading down to Pararaha. Walking along the old train track, through the tunnel and then walk to the huge sand dune and swim in the stream, avoiding the cows that still wandered around. The place is totally different now, the wetland has built up and the train track is mostly under water and lots and lots of people go there now. It felt like I had the place to myself then, just me, my dog Kombani and the cows.
I also love the KK beach and waterfalls after days of heavy rain. The power of all that water is truly amazing. Everywhere is flooded, the beach, the streams, the tracks, everywhere. The hills are literally pouring water.
I also like to walk to the Nihotupu Dam when the Kowhai are flowering because the Tui are there in numbers, or on a very windy day, do the Mercer Bay Loop track or visit the blow hole at Piha to watch the sea.