Our Artists

Melanie Eade

Melanie Eade

Melanie Eade was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand.

Her tertiary background included a course in Visual Communication at Wellington Polytechnic; Fine Arts at Ilam, Christchurch and she completed an Interior Design course in Sydney.

Most of her career has been focused around Interior Architectural Design in the retail sector as a Retail Design Manager for large Australasian shopping centres.

While art, in various forms, has always been in her life, one of the main reasons for moving to Clyde, from Auckland in 2009, has been to reignite her passion for fine art.

Melanie’s works are strongly influenced by her surroundings. The Central Otago landscape has enabled her to capture the unique geography, colour palette and distinct seasons, only found in this part of the country. Her mixed media style, oil pastel and gouache on fine art paper, produces a bold, print like quality to her work.

Glenn Baty

Glenn Baty

Glenn is a sculptor who loves to use old metal bits and pieces which are often discarded parts from his mechanical workshop. He crafts these components into highly desirable works of art.

Not surprisingly, Glenn grew up in Waikaka in a mechanically oriented family and welding and working with metal is second nature to him. He is an artist who enjoys making something out of nothing.

Ultimately he would rather be a creative full time but in the art world one has to start somewhere and build up a name.

Tanks, motorbikes, tractors, eagles, planes and much more are his subject matter. He loves a challenge and can make just about anything.

Glenn has been making and selling his works for the last few years and his reputation is growing fast.

Rainer Beneke

Rainer Beneke

I was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1954. I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1978 and worked the following five years as a design engineer. After traveling extensively, I moved to New Zealand in 1984, becoming a citizen in 1990.

That same year, I began training as a jeweller – firstly with Blair Smith, Goldsmith, and the following year, I completed the first year of the Craft Design programme at Otago Polytechnic School of Art.

In 1992, I established my jewellery studio at Cambrian, near St. Bathans. The vast open space of Central Otago remains the core of my inspiration. In 1998, I joined Ann Culy in her jewellery workshop/gallery Lure, situated in the heart of Dunedin, in close proximity to excellent cafés.

I have exhibited extensively in group and solo shows through out New Zealand.

Sean Boyd

Sean Boyd

I live in Central Otago, New Zealand and create predominantly science fiction sculptures from discarded junk I collect from rubbish dumps, recycling centres and landfill. I collect and recycle screws, nuts, bolts, light fittings, sewing machines, plumbing parts and much more.

My passions are ray guns, lamps, jetpacks, rockets and life size robots. I think I am naturally able to tune into my nine-year-old inner self to be able to create these items.

I have no rules, no strict genre or boundaries. Everything I create, I create for me, so that I am excited by it.

I create these pieces because I love to do it and get immense satisfaction from finding parts, imagining outcomes, working out how they can fit together and sitting back to enjoy the results.

Esther Dexter

Esther Dexter

Esther Dexter is becoming a well-known artist in Central Otago, New Zealand. Inspired by Van Gogh, Matisse and even Don Binney, she is recognised by her own unique use of acrylics and vivid textures to evoke graphic local land forms. Accompanying each work is often a brief history of the landscape incorporating human endeavours and geological facts.

Born in England in 1970, Esther is a self-taught artist. Although she is naturally innovative and experimental to her approach to image-making, Esther gleans inspiration and ideas from her creative family; Esther’s uncle is an architect and interior designer, and her mother, who studied at Hornsey College of Art, was always setting the example as an illustrator as Esther was growing up. In her early twenties Esther made her living as a portrait artist, and since moving to New Zealand has tutored at the Wanaka Art Centre.

Esther has received recognition at various events. Dexter’s art is often about contrasts – contrasts of texture and theme, man-made versus natural, realism versus abstract, calm versus turbulence and inhabitance versus emptiness.

Sarah Henderson

Sarah Henderson

Sarah began her jewellery journey in her early twenties, after studying a bachelor of fine arts at Otago Art School.

She, gratefully, found work as a bench hand for talented Dunedin jeweller, Iain Henderson (no relation), who taught her the necessary skills required to repair and manufacture jewellery. Sarah went on to work with similar talented jewellers in Sydney and the UK over a ten year period, taking away more skills and experience to come back to NZ and begin creating her own unique designs.

“I endeavour to create pieces that are truly original in design. I am inspired by geometrical patterns, alternative angles, negative and positive space and movement. My pieces are mostly “one offs” that require a second, third or fourth look by a glancing admirer. Most of my pieces allow the wearer to have fun with their own look as there is more than one way to wear them.

I believe the jewellery you wear is an extension of your own unique personality and being able to design and create something that someone connects with is extremely satisfying for me.”

Kathy McLean

Kathi McLean

Kathi McLean lives in Earnscleugh, Central Otago where she has her own studio. She has worked with clay for many years finding the process both challenging and therapeutic.

“My work is often creative and free form with the firing process taking the focus or can be domestic ware for everyday home use. I have always loved the excitement of throwing clay on the potters wheel and can spend hours in my own clay world.”

Recently, after a workshop in Thesolonikia, Northern Greece, Kathi has taken on the challenge of various alternative firing methods. They include pitfiring, where one achieves the pinks, oranges and smoky blacks; smoke firing where the burnishing process is very important and lastly the exciting raku method.

In raku the most important process is when you bring the pots out of the kiln red hot at about 980 Celsius and play with them achieving a variation of exciting effects.

Another aspect of my life is teaching pottery for others who think they would like this challenge.

Maurice Middleditch

Maurice Middleditch

Maurice Middleditch is a landscape artist who works in oils and watercolour. His work can be seen in the ‘Ice and Snow Experience’ at the Antarctic Visitor Centre in Christchurch, backdrops to the pre-European Maori displays in the Canterbury Museum and in many galleries and exhibitions around the country.

His lifelong connection to the Central Otago district with its dramatic light and distinctive landforms has always been an inspiration for Maurice.

Maurice has received several local and national awards.

Richard Parsons

Richard Parsons

Richard Parsons is an artist and farmer from Waikerikeri Valley, Clyde who has been painting for the past 30 years. He has farmed cattle and sheep with his wife Jacqui for the past 32 years. They have 3 grown up children.

Richard has been involved in art for the past 45 years; writing and illustrating his own picture books before moving onto sketches of animals in his teenage years. Over the past twenty years Richard has explored with oil and canvas, capturing the beautiful surroundings of his home and region in stunning landscapes. He soon developed his own unique style to capture the dramatic landscape of Central Otago and the West Coast.

Richard has always had a rich appreciation for the stunning landscape of New Zealand and tries to capture the land with a timeless feel and the trappings of man tastefully erased. His paintings reflect the subtle lights and colours of Central Otago. He also does interpretations of West Coast scenes and Rivers.

He achieved 1st place in the Blossom Festival Art Exhibition in 2014 and 2010 and 2nd place 2008 and 2009. Merit award 2007.

Jim Robbie

Jim Robbie

A working life of making things from pieces of wood. From houses in the 1950s till today, Jim Robbie has enjoyed the pleasures of creating things, objects, out of that beautiful material, wood. And for Jim, perhaps the two most enjoyable aspects of it all are one when people wish to make something he has created to be part of their home, and secondly being able to pass on his learned skills to other folk, both young and old.

Jim has been full circle, right from restoring antique furniture, to making new furniture both indoor and outdoor of different styles right from detailed Victorian and Shaker to country cottage, all the way earning the art of wood turning.

“To cut a piece of wood on a lathe with a sharp chisel is the most pleasurable way of shaping a piece of wood, in my opinion, and in so doing beautiful shapes can be formed. Wood turning remains my  favourite.” Jim is currently creating effects with Milk Paint which completes the circle back to the 70’s fashion which is in vogue yet again.

Eric Schusser

Eric Schusser

Friend of the mountains and the snow.

Photography has fascinated me since I was a boy and watched my father taking photographs and printing in his darkroom – a darkroom we dug out under the house.

I have a diverse style and portfolio that covers social documentary, landscape and fine art. I specialise in classic toned black & white fine art images. Contemporary fine art black and white prints have led to me being the Central Otago winner of the biennial National Arts Gold Awards in 2013 and 2015. In 1999 I completed an Advanced Diploma in Photography at Massey University of Wellington and in 2007 was awarded an FPSNZ, Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.

For the last 35 years I have worked as an Outdoor Education teacher at Dunstan High School in Alexandra. My office has been the valleys of the Matukituki in Mt Aspiring National Park as well as the snow and mountains of the Snowfarm on the Pisa Range.

Murray Sheppard

Murray Sheppard

Following his retirement, Cromwell based sculptor Murray Sheppard, decided to return to his boyhood interest of working in wood. He enjoys hand-carving and sculpting and has completed a number of successful commissions.

From an early age having a father who owned his own Design Furniture/ Cabinet making business he was fortunate to spend hours having fun in his workshop. However, when leaving school the call of the outdoors saw his involvement in the Stock and Station industry.

“On retirement in 2003 it seemed natural for me to return to my boyhood interest in wood. By coincidence during my first winter the wood lathe broke down. While it was being repaired I tried my hand at sculpting/carving and enjoyed it so much I have continued that direction with my art. Although I have completed a number of commissions I prefer to design and complete work of my own imagination.”

Judy Smith

Judy Smith

Although I live in Dunedin I spend a large amount of time in our orchard in Earnscleugh near Clyde.

Expressing colours in painting is very important to me. The seasonal colours of Central Otago offer the most amazing palette, as do the beautiful skies,  sunrises and sunsets. I have always loved the styles of the Impressionist painters, particularly the wonderful earthy landscapes of Cezanne. Other influences have been the New Zealand regionalist painters of 1930s and 40s such as William Sutton and Rata Lovell – Smith.

My printmaking involves woodblock printing and I am inspired by the work of the  American woodblock printer William Seltzer Rice.

Ian Thorne

Ian Thorne

Ian Thorne has been carving for 29 years. His styles cross a broad range, being influenced by Maori, Celtic, African and contemporary design. All his work is of top quality finish and he specialises in carving to order, especially with original designs.

“I was trained in the studio of Wellington/Motueka carver Chris Bone in 1988 where I learnt that if it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t finished and that it wasn’t “What can you carve?” but “What can’t you carve?” The answer was “not much!”

One of my greatest pleasures in carving is being able to use a wide range of materials such as the variety found in whalebone (ribs, jawbone, shoulder and teeth), recycled ebony (statues), shells (mother-of-pearl and paua), teeth (pig tusks and seal teeth [found]), deer antlers and horns. The colours, textures and forms of these materials make every piece a challenge and a pleasure to create.

Ian now resides in Alexandra, Central Otago.

Kahori Uchida

Kahori Uchida

Kahori Uchida is from Saitama, Japan. She moved to New Zealand in 2012 and was immediately taken by the natural beauty she encountered as she explored New Zealand.

With a background in desktop publishing, she now enjoys focusing on her true passion, creating beautiful botanical art using colour pencils.

Kahori’s drawings feature traditional flowers, New Zealand native flowers, and since moving to Central Otago, fruit blossoms, inspired by the many orchards in the area.

It is Kahori’s hope that her images give viewers and collectors of her work, as much enjoyment now and in the years to come, as they have given her whilst creating them.

2015 ― Central Otago Art Gold Awards Finalist.

2016 ― Blossom Award, Blossom Festival Art Exhibition.

Noeline Walker

Noeline Walker

I originate from Dunedin and my interest in creating unique jewellery pieces was kindled in 1990, after attending classes run by the Silversmiths Guild of Canterbury.

Working from my studio in Christchurch, inspiration comes from all around me and a career in Interior Design developed my eye for balance and form. By attending and taking courses in design, workshops run by individual practitioners and the Silversmiths Guild, my skills have developed and my ideas are constantly evolving. I see a piece in my mind’s eye then work out how to put it all together. I use texture to create interest. Roller printing, scratching, corrugation and Keum Boo (fusing 24k Gold to sterling silver) are favourite techniques and I am currently working with slate recovered from the Christchurch Cathedral when the roof was replaced in 2006. I prefer a satin finish with highly polished highlights.”

Each piece of jewellery is handmade and all the pieces I design, I make for myself – they are what I would want to wear, what I feel comfortable with.

Lynne Wilson

Lynne Wilson

I discovered the joy of working with clay and the Raku Kiln in 2002, after stumbling upon the Cromwell Pottery Club premises in Old Cromwell Precinct. At the time I was seeking new mediums through which to express myself.

The simple convex shape of my wall plates serve as a canvas to be carved, imprinted and folded to represent landforms, or painted with paper clay slurry to create highly textured surfaces with a strong sense of movement.

My choice of glazes and instinctive tendency towards lazy lines are representative of my immediate environment but have a universal appeal, as is evident in increasing sales to overseas visitors.

Ceramic art is an extension of my work in landscape design and vice versa … perfect.

Nigel Wilson

Nigel Wilson

Born in 1957, raised in Wellington, Nigel Wilson has been a full time artist since leaving a teaching profession at Cargill High School, Invercargill, in 1997 where he was associate art teacher for 7 years. He has a fine arts degree from Ilam, University of Canterbury, completed in 1982, where he was tutored under Don Peebles.

Since then, he has exhibited regularly, winning a number of painting awards. He is well represented in public and private collections throughout New Zealand and overseas and has more than 40 solo exhibitions to his name. In the year 2000 Nigel moved to Alexandra, where he continues to boldly paint the Otago landscape.

More recent involvement with the Central Otago Art Society saw his appointment as President in 2008 through to 2016. He was made a life member in 2015.

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