JUDY NEWTON - 2016
HOW WERE YOU FIRST INTRODUCED TO THIS TYPE OF WORK AND WHAT DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR EARLY EXPLORATION OF IT?
I’ve always been attracted to working on a small scale – I used to paint very detailed mythical-type pictures on old tobacco tins. Early on a friend introduced me to scrimshaw (engraving on bone) and I started in a small way, making and selling bone jewellery at the Christchurch Art Centre weekend market in the late 80s. I loved creating tiny images and worlds, and seeing people wearing my creations.
HOW HAS YOUR WORK CHANGED AND DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS? WHAT FACTORS DO YOU THINK AFFECTED THIS?
My work evolved from engraving on bone to engraving on glass and exploring glass in various ways – cutting it, carving it, and tumbling it in a stone tumbler, creating a softened beach glass look.
My parents were ‘rock hounds’ and we grew up collecting agate and petrified wood on the rivers and beaches of Canterbury and Te Wai Pounamu. Dad had a range of diamond equipment that he used to slice up the stone to see the beautiful patterns inside. I eventually inherited some of his lapidary gear and used it to work with the glass. I love the coloured window glass for its delicious colours and for the textures and patterns on the vintage glass.
A passion for recycling and op shopping evolved into a china collecting passion and that lead to broken china… At some point I realized I could use the lapidary tools to work the broken china. There are limitless beautiful designs in the commercial ceramics that can be transformed into various jewellery items – I find this process very satisfying!
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHERE YOU WORK FROM? WHAT DO YOU FIND SPECIAL ABOUT LIVING OUT WEST?
I have a workshop/studio in the south wing of our house (it’s a very small wing, only one room ). And I have a basement area where the messier machines live.
Our house overlooks a steep bush valley and is surrounded by trees – Kauri, Tanekaha, Nikau and Punga… I love that Tui and Kereru turn up in the porokaiwhiri tree outside my studio window, when the berries are ripe. It’s a peaceful and inspiring place to be.
WHAT CAN VISITORS EXPECT TO SEE WHEN THEY POP BY YOUR STUDIO DURING OPEN STUDIOS WAITAKERE?
You will see my stockpile of broken china from all eras, 1800s through to the present, in various stages of production. Plus my collection of coloured window glass, historic and new.
My work is mostly machine-based and I can take people through my work processes from beginning to end - demonstrating how to cut glass and ceramic pieces, how they are shaped on a grinding wheel, how holes are drilled in the glass and china, and plaiting and binding techniques to finish a necklace.
I will have a display of my jewellery set up for sale also. And for those interested in learning more, or having a play themselves, I hold regular day-long workshops, with the next one most likely in February 2017.
NAME YOUR TOP 5 SECRET SPOTS YOU LIKE TO VISIT IN THE WAITAKERE RANGES?
Hmm, it’s hard to limit it to 5 – the Waitakere Ranges have so many stunning spots. I love to go for a walk on Cornwallis beach with a dog friend I borrow, and sit under a Pohutukawa tree.
A coffee at the Huia Store is always a nice treat. The Auckland City Walk at the Cascades is a magical and gentle walk with the chance of seeing robins. And the Omanawanui track which is like a roller-coaster running along above the Manukau harbour, with spectacular views of the harbour entrance and Whatipu Beach.
In the summer, Friday evenings at the Te Henga/Bethell’s Beach caravan, complete with musical entertainment, and great food, are pretty special. I could easily go on…