How would you describe what you do?
I am an embroidery artist, and I stitch all of my pieces by hand. Embroidery is such an ancient technique, and it’s great to be part of this modern movement today.
What was your most recent project?
It’s been a while since I’ve worked on one cohesive project, but last year I worked on a ‘Good Vibes’ collection to promote positive mental health and to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation during Mental Health Awareness Week. I’ll be working on part 2 of that collection this year, and I can’t wait!
What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?
Definitely the ‘Good Vibes’ collection that I just mentioned, it really brought me joy and peace not only working on the positive affirmations, but also knowing that they will bring customers comfort and the money donated will have gone to people who needed a helping hand. Good vibes for everyone!!
What is essential for creatives to have in their life?
I think it is essential to find a community they feel they belong to. I found my community by doing countless art markets around Ōtautahi for the past two years. The other artists and creators there are just the loveliest, most supportive people ever, and everyone works on building each other up, and not viewing each other as competition. I really think that this community has made an impact on me and pursuing this dream of mine, so special shout-out to my mākete friends!
What inspires you about Ōtautahi?
So much, its hard to put into words! I’m originally from Auckland, and moved down to Ōtauhtahi in 2017 for university. It didn’t take long for me to tell everyone that I want to stay in Christchurch and never go back to live in Auckland! I have really felt the creative energy whilst living here, the city has really captured my heart. There is so much positive change happening, particularly in the city centre, and it feels very exciting to be a creative in a city that’s really evolving and doing a lot to support artists and provide them with opportunities. It’s so much fun to walk around and spot new murals popping up, and visit all the gift stores that stock local artists. I really find it difficult to imagine doing what I do now in any other place!
What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?
I try to remind myself as often as possible that it’s important to create work that I want to create rather than create work that I think others will enjoy. I think it’s vital that creatives stay true to themselves and their passions instead of attempting to please audiences. Whatever you choose to create, there WILL be people out there who are as passionate about it as you are, you will find your people!
What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?
This isn’t necessarily about my work, but people ALWAYS say to me “wow, you must have great eyesight” to which I always have to respond “nope, my eyesight is actually awful”. I genuinely have to wear glasses or contacts to survive, I’m extremely short-sighted (-6.00 to be exact, for anyone who understands!!). Also, when people see me working out and about (I take my work anywhere I can, especially to my musical theatre rehearsals), they ask what I’m doing it for. They usually assume that I do embroidery for fun or am making it as a gift, and it always surprises people when I tell them that I am actually getting paid to do this!
What Christchurch artists do you most admire?
Oh boy, it is so hard to narrow down my list, but I really admire the work of Robbi Carvalho, her illustrations of nature and femininity are marvellous and I love her bold black line-work. I have also recently been introduced to Libby Chambers, we were set up next to each other at the recent Encraftment Market, and I instantly fell in love with her floral arrangements and her bright warm colours. I also don’t think I would be doing what I am doing today without the inspiring and supportive Jinx from Magpie Castle. Watching her from the beginning of her glass journey was so insightful and I can’t thank her enough for her guidance and encouragement at the beginning of my own journey.
What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?
Again, feels difficult to single one thing out, but one piece that comes to mind is by Liyen Chong. She embroidered a skeleton and a heart out of her hair onto cotton, and the pieces are so small and intricate, you can barely notice that they are embroidered at all, and then it was an even greater a surprise when the art card said that is was made from her hair! I saw the pieces in the Christchurch Art Gallery in 2017 on a field trip for my Fine Arts course, and I have not stopped thinking about it since.
What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?
I wish I had known that I didn’t have to go down the commercial route in order to become a creative. I always dreamt of becoming a graphic designer and designing logos and billboards and posters, but I never thought I would have the drive, determination or passion to turn a craft into a small business. If I had known that – I might have stuck out the degree I started in Fine Arts! Instead, I changed path and did a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication just to have a degree under my belt. Sure, it’s nice to know I committed to a degree and graduated, but a year and a half on, I now understand that university and an office job isn’t the only path there is.
What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?
It’s not particularly a ‘hidden secret’, as they are hiding in plain sight, but my view of the city centre certainly changed when I started to pay attention to the stickers and pasteups plastered over the city. It’s like a fun little treasure hunt when you become familiar with the artists, I always smile when I see the works of Vez, Cape of Storms, teeth like screwdrivers, bloomngrowgal and many more plastered on abandoned buildings or street poles.