Opium Measures- London University

There is such grace in the form and scale of these pieces.

These are part of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at the University College London Collection. A stunning collection.

With these pieces, the idea of decreasing scale while using a similar shape interests me.

While similar, each piece is unique with the handle sitting in different places within the bowl. There is a softness in the smaller units.

Opium was used to aid sleep, calm children, and as a pain relief from the 1300's during the reign of Tutankhamun. The use is even mentioned in Honer's "The Odyssey".

I look forward to exploring the idea of scale, form, and variance using these measures as a springboard.


Black frames- Milan

When in Milan, the hotel that we stayed in had empty black frames which, fraankly, looked odd.

Being me, I'd packed black card and double sided tape, and, inspired by what I'd seen that day in the galleries, the opportunity to play was too much to resist. My fingers had been itching to do something after all the art I'd seen.

It was fun to do low-tech play. I had no scissors, so they were raw and fast.


Circles- obsessed

Circles Those who know me know I am a little obsessed with balls/circles/orbs and the cylindrical.

This image inspired me to do my gold circles pieces.

In this photograh there is the modern mixed with history- the stop sign shows symbology and a visual language we have used for many, many, years and the architure reflects the same form.

It feels like there is a human connection with the shape of the "round".

Gios Bernardi


What an eye. What images! What an artist!

So many of them speak to me of jewellery.

Those who know me know I have an obsession with balls and circles.

This image is a perfect example of this.

I had the incredible pleasure of going to Trento, Italy, and meeting Gios Bernardi (100 years) and his daughters Paola and Anna and his grandson, Michele, and enjoying their generous hospitality.

What a time! One of the most wonderful and invigorating days of my life. So much art. So much inspiration.

Photo: Gios Bernardi (title and date of work unknown to me).

Milan 900 museum


This piece was so remarkable- the mix of raw and polished was incredible.

The perfect combination of nature and the makers hand.

I'm embarrassed that I can't site the artist.

Wall jewellery- Milano

Wall Jewellery - Milano This piece so lends itself' to wall jewellery.

The work feels very bead-like.

I love the simplicity and the reductionism.

So clean and clear.

Fausto Melotti, Scultura n. 16, 1935

Space jewellery

Gold Orb This work by Arnaldon Pomodoro (1965) is the very essence of "space jewellery" to me.

Space in regard to the physical area it occupies, and the sense of the futuristic.

In saying this, I'm diluting the intention of the artist. But how we react to an art piece comes from our way of viewing the world.

I view the world through the lens of jewellery.

This image does the work no justice. It is remarkable in its jem-like qualities.

Jewellery is where we find it

Carole Rama This piece spoke to me so much of jewellery.

It isn't jewellery.

But I look at photos of myself wearing tassels from the neck to below the waist and I feel I would wear this.

My understanding is that this relates to the prophecy from the three witches in Shakepeares' Macbeth.

Carole Ramam "Omens of Birnam", 1970. Bicycle tires on wire.


Fabio Mauri The nature of a mirror is that it reflects you as an individual back at you.

How you relate that view of you as an individual is up to your perception.





This work is by Fabio Mauri: "Solid light cinema" 1968

I look forward to investigating the nature of a mirror and all it's associations.

Informing this part of my practice was why I went to Europe. To absorb all of visions of other artists that I could... opening new creative doors.

BelongingAndSeparateness TeUruInstall

Belonging and s e p a r a t e n e s s -

Belonging and s e p a r a t e n e s s (2019)
I made this piece prior to the COVID epidemic. Today, when I look around the globe at "belonging and separateness" the idea of increased isolation takes on a different meaning.

My statement at the time was:
"We live in a world in which we are forced to live on top of one other yet, as individuals within a society, we’re becoming more and more isolated. The idea of belonging (being part of something bigger than ourselves) and separateness (being dislocated from others) is the concept upon which the thought of the “totem” was built."

Te Uru installation as part of the "In site" show at Te Uru Gallery, Auckland.

Photo: Sam Hartnett


CHAINreaction- work in progress image

This is a snap of me working on the largest "necklace" I've made to date.

I like the "second necklace" created on the drop cloth while making the piece...

The finished piece is for Nelson Jewellery Week and is part of the Handshake project exhibiting at Refinery Art Space. 49 artists are creating a continous link of their version of a "chain" to fill the gallery space.


Bringing the outside in

When making work in response to the Te Uru space I thought about the bringing of the outside, in.

I looked at the gallery rooms and saw that from one of the spaces there’s a window from which you have a view of trees and the sea. It was this that informed my material usage.

Sand and wood. Bringing the outside, in.

This also fits with the concept that I’m making to. “BELONGING and S E P A R A T E N E S S”. The idea of duality.

Inside and Out. Together and Apart.

Stendhal Syndrome

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I have a fascination for psychological terminology- this has most recently been seen in my enthusiasm in response to the Placebo and Nocebo Effects, which I've based two bodies of work on.

When I heard of the classification of Stendhal Syndrome I was excited.

Stendhal Syndrome is: "A psychosomatic response—tachycardia, vertigo, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations—when the ‘victim’ is exposed to particularly beautiful, or large amounts of art in a single place e.g., Florence (Italy), which has a high concentration of classic works; the response can also occur when a person's overwhelmed by breathtaking natural beauty." (https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Stendhal+syndrome)

When I was in Munich I went to The Glyptothek (Munich's ancient sculpture gallery) and I had an experience similar to that described above. I was blown away by the artistry of the sculptors. It felt like a religious experience.

While the idea of classifying emotional responses, and thought processes, always feels somewhat confining the "science" behind it I find very interesting. I put the word science in quotation marks as, despite spending the best part of a decade studying Sociology and Psychology, I still question their legitimacy at times. Not all of it- but portions of it. It's forever developing and things that were previously deemed to be disorders are now understood to be part of the experience of being human. Varied.

This article includes some interesting historical reports of the experience I've mentioned:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991758/

Photo: Nik Hanton



There are so many times in making when talking through your work helps to clarify/solidify your thought processes- provided you’re talking with the right person.

I had my kōrerorero with Sian van Dyke from the Dowse Art Museum and it offered just that.

In explaining my approach it helped me to further confirm my direction.

I’m on path and ready for the final push.

(Work in progress: Nik Hanton, “My Heart”, 2019, PLA, sand).

Frank Stella on artistic reinvention


One of the things that I love about making is trying new things. New materials. New forms. New techniques. New colour palettes.

Frank Stella is an artist whose work and career one can't help but admire. With a practice spanning over half a century, his work continues to be fresh and new. I found this article written about his lack of belief in artistic reinvention interesting.

He says of artists and the idea of "new" work; "The underlying structure, the way they handle things, the way they relate parts to each other and put everything together—that doesn’t change much. I think that’s what they call "style." "

When I look at my making I see this is true. While I try new things and each body of work is distinct, I can see that there are themes that run through my approach. I see this in the other artists in the Handshake programme too. While I can often pick which jeweller made what works that doesn't mean that they're not making different work, just that their voice is clearly apparent.

So what does this mean when responding to the three artists' work for the CODA show? My approach to my making will be unchanged, if we agree with Frank Stella's belief, yet I'll be influenced by elements of their "style" (to use his word). And this is the intent of the show. One maker responding to the work of three different artists.

The brief of responding to someone else's work is liberating. When you'd think that it wouldn't be. You'd think that it'd be limiting, but it's really not. There are so many ways to respond and it gives you a springboard from which to leap.

The article including his thoughts on artistic reinvention can be read at: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-frank-stella-artistic-reinvention Image: Frank Stella, Nessus and Dejanira, 2017, Marianne Boesky Gallery

Art you can dismantle

RothschildToothAndClawThe showing of Eva Rothschild’s, Kosmos, at the Wellington City Gallery couldn’t have happened at a better time for me. I’ve already been looking at her work intently over the last few months so the opportunity to see it in person is an excellent opportunity.

While the above work, ‘Tooth and Claw’ (2018), isn’t part of the show, it’s one that resonates with me with. I particularly like the use of the pared-back colour palette and, despite its strong form, sense of delicacy.Whattheeyewants

Her use of form, interactivity, and space is inspiring as I think about these elements while making work for the Te Uru show. In the, yet to be named, Te Uru show each member of the Handshake 5 group is asked to respond to one of the unique gallery spaces at the museum. At this stage, I’m working with a central space with a series of free-standing totems.

Trinity of artists


The works I’ve been given to respond to are made by a trinity of artists I’ve long admired.

It’s a daunting prospect, but an invigorating one.

It’d be daunting enough to respond to each artists’ work in isolation, but to respond to them in concert with each other is another level again.

The questions I’ve been asking myself are:

What do they have in common? Where do they differ? The elements that I have chosen to pull from these remarkable works are:

colour texture voids gemstones the combination of disparate materials – organic/synthetic The above triangle I’ve sketched illustrates my thought processes in regard to the intersection of the three works and the three artists.



I’ve been working on the idea of creating a series of modern “totems”. This raises the question of cultural appropriation for me. While I won’t be using motifs from any culture apart from my own, even the term “totem” sits uncomfortably with me. The issue is that I can’t think of a better word to describe the concept and the form.

“Stack” isn’t right”. “Assemblage” isn’t either.

So I’ve had to accept that sometimes there is no better word to describe something than what it is- and that’s okay. No matter how awkward it may make you feel.

Above you can see the work of Tanya Ragir and her bronze sculpture entitled “TOTEM”. I feel that despite her use of the term totem there is no sense of culture approrpriation and it refers to the form the work takes- which is very much that of a totem in its broadest sense.

Strangling space


When a collection of works is in response to a gallery space the volume and shape of the space can (potentially) over-ride/rule the works, if we let it. What if we “strangled the space” and bent it to our will rather than being beholden to it? The space becomes no less important with the strangling. Maybe it becomes more important? More relevant?

Below is a link to the interview with David Hockey on the influence of Vincent van Gough on his work. The term that resonated with me from the interview was the phrase “strangling space”.


An interdisciplinary influence.

As Hockney says, “But you really need to look”.

Zig Zag


My personality is one that thrives on order. While not a precise person by nature I do like things to be “tidy”.

There’s something about a zig-zag that fits perfectly with my desire for order and my inability to subscribe to strict precision.

Terhi Tolvanen has entitled the piece of hers, that I am to respond to from the Coda collection, “Zig-Zag”.

To my eye, there’s the perfect combination of organic/free form and precision/order. It feels unified and tight, but also relaxed and natural. The colour palette is reduced and lets the forms speak without too much visual distraction, despite the texturing.

I’m looking forward to trying to take the lessons learned from this piece and transform them into pieces that have my voice.