Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Conversation With Lesley McIver

Lesley McIver is a glass artist who lives in New Zealand. She creates some of the most beautiful glass jewelry and sells her work in several galleries, at art markets and through her Glitz Art Glass web site. Lesley and I have been friends for a number of years, so you might read a bit of that. In addition, she is not a blogger (although she does read here), so this is new for one of my Conversations.

Lesley working in the early days.

Lesley, you have always been a creative person and have explored a lot of art forms. Would you give us a brief background on your creative life? In other words, tell us a little about yourself.

It’s funny, but as a child I never considered myself to be creative. Creativity was part of survival – you cooked, gardened, made clothes and maintained house and home, but I never considered this to be creative. Creativity was rather frivolous and for those people born with “talent”!

So, I began with an absolute obsession with fibre when I was about 10 years old. My maternal grandmother, a woman who had a huge influence on my early years, taught me how to crochet, and knitting was done by everyone in my family – even my father knitted his own jerseys. The fact that one could manipulate the fibre to make patterns in colour, texture and shape was a revelation, and I was soon making items of clothing – always useful :o) – for anybody who asked.

The “love bead” craze happened in New Zealand when I was just starting high school, and this gave me another way of creating patterns. I drilled seeds – pumpkin, sweet peas, apples – anything I could get my hands on, and strung them into long necklaces. I guess this was the first time that I made anything that wasn’t strictly useful.

When my son was a baby I learnt to embroider, and this led to a whole new obsession. Suddenly I could really express myself on fabric, and from beginning with tiny formal stitching like cross stitch and hardanger, my work got bigger and bigger – my creative genie was trying to escape! In the end I was using ribbons and wools and dyed cloth, and incorporating hard materials into the work. I now think that this was an effort to make my work more three dimensional.

In the end I developed sever over-use syndrome in my right hand, and can now only pull a needle for a very short time.

By then my creative genie had escaped and I was desperate to learn how to express myself. I began to use pastels, paints and pen and ink.

I discovered an on-line Interior Design course run from England which proved to be a turning point in my life, and I discovered art history, and a whole world of art that I hadn’t previously known existed. I also met my dear friend, Kim, who has been such a positive influence through this.

While I decided that interior design was not the direction I wanted to take, it did clarify my thoughts. I recognized that I have a need to be creative, and that I am allowed to create beautiful things – the all pervasive need to be practical has been erased!

Quite by chance my partner and I enrolled in an introductory 3 day glass beadmaking course run by an American glass artist, Dave Klien, and the rest, as they say, is history…I had discovered the medium that let me use all the knowledge I had accumulated, and would stretch my imagination for many years – probably the rest of my life.

A different way of using the same materials.

This is so interesting, Les. Like you, my early creativity was completely practical and going down the fibers/textile road was the perfect expression then. And I still enjoy it! I also found embroidery (which I still adore) which also pushed my hands into some issues with carpel tunnel syndrome (I am guessing it is the same thing). So a world apart and the two of us followed similar paths at similar times.

The parallels in our lives are fascinating! I just love that you live on the other side of the world, yet at a very deep level we are so similar! It never fails to delight me.

I’ve read an interesting book lately called “Thrift to Fantasy” by Rosemary McLeod, which details how women in early New Zealand (but I guess this applies throughout the world) put their fabulous creativity into utilitarian everday items, such as aprons, peg bags, doilies, tablecloths etc etc.

Though this wasn’t really happening in my lifetime, it was definitely part of my mother’s life, and can clearly remember so many beautiful things that we took for granted.

I think these lovely items were even scorned when I was a younger woman, and seen as being part of the bonds that held women in servitude, rather than their sole creative expression and items of great skill and beauty.

Yes, again, very parallel experiences. It seems to always help us progress when we understand from where we come.

The Magic Studio in Pohara, New Zealand built by Lesley’s husband.

You are married to a creative man and have a son who is also quite creative. That must be exciting to have all of that energy around you. Would you say they have an influence on your designs?

Murray and I have been together for most of our lives.

We both come from practical backgrounds, and our families were the typical pioneering New Zealand stock. Make it, mend it types. We are also products of our era, and were very tempted to take to the land and become self sufficient during the ‘70’s.

We both love the process of making things – looking at materials and envisioning them as a completed piece.

Murray became a technology teacher after learning a “trade” and owning a couple of “production” businesses, and continues to explore through his students. His dream is to make a living from his workshop, and we have plans to begin this process quite soon.

He has been a terrific driving force with the set up of my studio/s, and without his technical know-how I would have been sunk! I needed to learn about propane and oxygen tanks and lines, regulators and kilns before I could really learn about the glass, and having the help of his knowledge was hugely significant.

Murray built me a beautiful studio at our home in Golden Bay – a little magic cottage at the bottom of the garden, and the place where the work began.

He built all of our stall setup, which is much admired, and really sets off the work – looking good really matters in the market and show environment.

These days, when he is not teaching, we live a wonderfully companionable existence – he working in his workshop (at the moment he’s enjoying using the burner he’s just built for blacksmithing work) and me in mine.

One of the things on the wish list for my next studio is the space for a second torch so we can work glass together from time to time.

Our son, Iain, has inherited this love of making, and is in his last year of a mechanical engineering degree at university. He is also really creative, and we love to see him working on a project when he comes home for the holidays. He paints, casts, draws, sculpts – and finds his rest and relaxation in creativity.

Consequently our house is filled with hand made stuff – and tools and books and mess! As I write I have the dining table filled with beads and boxes and tools!

It is a joy to be able to share this creativity – we all get involved in each other’s projects and will bounce ideas around the meal table. As I write this I realize how truly blessed we are!

This has got me thinking about how these skills are inherited, and I’ve been tracing this creative line through my family. My great-great grandfather was a lighthouse keeper and made almost everything the family used, and I often wonder if his hands are guiding mine.

Les, this is a beautiful story about your family (all of them). Your studio in Golden Bay is a work of art, itself! I know when you shared that how envious I felt of that little cottage sitting there and the view you have from your property over the sea! So your entire environment there is so creative and that has to be so incredibly encouraging!

Ah, yes! I still dream of that little magic cottage! I wonder if I will return? I stood in the place where my work bench used to be just a couple of weeks ago and just soaked up my beautiful view!

You will return…we will focus on that happening for you.

A typical view from the Magic Studio.

How did you get started working with glass?

Until we did that course with Dave, I’d never even considered glass as a material that I could use, and it was only through sheer serendipity that I discovered it – and that Murray (my technical genius) was with me at the time.

I now wonder if my life will be long enough for all there is to learn about glass – I am completely and utterly in love!

Green, blue, purple, violet lotus flowers on transparent set.

Well, you know how I feel about that material! I can completely understand how you are in love with it! I think you have a long life to learn about glass, yet!

Kim, it would be wonderful if you could share some of the photos of your glass work here, too! How about it? I especially love the piece you made for Steve…and you also have some fabulous and inspirational pieces of other artists work!

Well, I never thought of that because I try to keep the focus on the artist, but if that is something you would like, I would be happy to do that.

This is the stained glass piece I made for Steve (25 + years ago) which Lesley speaks about.

WWhat would you say have been your greatest creative challenges?

In the first place just the technical challenges felt insurmountable!

I had never worked a kiln before and just learning the language of that equipment seemed huge at the time – especially with the requirements of glass, which is so finicky. However, I’m now onto my second kiln, and considering my third!

I’m almost completely self-taught apart from that three day course, and I read everything I can get my hands on. Sometimes I think that this was a handicap – it certainly felt like that at first, but at other times I think that my work is really uninfluenced by anyone else, and is completely my own.

There is a huge on-line lampworking community and a small group in New Zealand, but apart from the odd visit or chat here and there I’m happy to work alone.

You know I feel the same way about being self-taught…you truly do find what is right for you. And the methods which work the best way you work. With so many online communities, you can always get help with issues from others. Being an introvert, the joy in working alone is exceptionally appealing, too.

Another parallel! And yes, the online communities are wonderful – especially for people like us who are a little solitary!

Awaroa Christmastime. Lesley says, “we have trees here called Pohutukawa and Rata which have a red Haze of flowers right on Christmas time. Not far from Pohara, they flower over golden sand beaches - so this is my take on them.”

From where do you draw your inspiration?

I just love beautiful old china and fabrics! I have a house full to bursting with beautiful bits and pieces that I have collected, and I love to look at them and, say, take a colour combination from them to work with.

Whenever I run dry I pick up a book, or go for a walk or just sit and look through the glass rods and dream.

Oh, now that you mention that, I can see it so clearly! And I also hear you about the love of old china, crockery and textiles…old linens…how I love them!

Aha…I knew you would! That book I mentioned is another source of inspiration.

I love inspirational resources and have often thought organizing mine in some way, but you just never know when something is going to pop up.

Silver Sampler Set inspired by embroidery.

What are some of your favorite glass books, web sites and other references?

Glass lampworking books have been hard to come by, but I notice that there are more and more around lately.

Favourite lampworking books are Beads of Glass by Cindy Jenkins and Passing the Flame by Corina Tettinger.

There are a few lampworking networking websites, but my favourite is www.lampworketc.com – that’s a great site for inspiration, too! It’s good to find out what’s new in the glass world – new glass colours, tools etc.

Favourite inspirational books are Textile Designs by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers, 1000 Glass Beads by Lark Books, and of course, The Artists Way by Julia Cameron

These are great…I am sure you have people running for the book shop, now!

Fair Day as daylight breaks.

What is your time management secret? You get so much done and have been able to make great connections with galleries and markets.

Oh, this is the eternal knotty question, isn’t it?!

I am very driven to do what I do, and I need to make a living from it. So I need to treat what I do very seriously and actually produce the work.

I force myself to live by routines most of the time, though these can become pretty loose when I’m not pushed.

I find the routine part one of the greatest challenges. This clearly works very well for you, though, Les!

The routine part is mostly a chore and a bore, but I grit my teeth and do it – it’s worth it in the end when I get real time on the torch – the payoff!

So many artists feel this way and really do believe it is the best way of working. For me, I close down. I don’t know why, but it is one of the things I have realized about myself over the last year…believe me, it creates a whole set of problems, too.

Busy little caravan (RV) workshop in Tapawera, New Zealand – Jewelers’ bench, cat’s beads, etc. This is Lesley’s mobile studio.

What other artist inspire you?

I love the glasswork of Sharon Peters – her humour is infectious, Corina Tettinger – she’s a technical wizz and I love her sense of colour , Loren Stump – his work is so incredible that I don’t understand how he does it, Kristina Logan – fantasticly simple looking work belying its unbelievable skill, and Larry Scott whose sense of colour style really appeals to me. Oh, and Michael Barley…and …and…

So many lovely choices! It seems most artists have the same problem!

Beads in the Raw

I love the colors you use in your designs. Do you have a special way you make the decisions about colors and designs?

I just love colour! Bright, bold, happy, brave, delicious, juicy, calm, reflective, restorative, inspirational…there are so many wonderful words to describe what it does to us!

Colour is one of my major passions, and the Italian glass that I use fulfills this. However, glass has some added little secrets of colour that other materials don’t. You can mix some colours together and get a magical reaction between the minerals that make them – so suddenly plain colours are spotted or veined or outlined! You can layer it to change the colours, use transparency and opacity to create depth and tone….

Colour also heals us, and I use the colours of the chakras a lot in my work – and I believe that we are drawn to the colours that will heal us if given a choice.

You have a lot of color tricks up your glass sleeve! That is really cool and it is so great to understand all of the various tricks different materials can handle. Color is such a fantastic element of art. And the chakra bracelet you sent me gets to many fantastic comments and it makes me feel so good to o.

I also agree with you about being attracted to personally healing colors. I have seen that in different times in my life I am attracted to different colors…and also when I have lived in different places. So you have taken healing colors and created healing “bling”! Now how great is that?

I think there’s something in the feminine side of us that’s always looking for layers of meaning in whatever we do, don’t you? It lends us personal authenticity, which is so crucial for creativity.

I think you are absolutely correct in this observation of always looking for layers being a part of our femininity. That also addresses some of the issues women artists have had historically breaking into this world. We understand the world around us in a different way and we understand ourselves in a different way. When we honor what we know for ourselves, then our creative selves comes to the surface. It seems to me, when that happens everyone wins. Excellent point!

Green, Purple, Aqua on Black set. These are intended to work from the heart to the throat to the third eye to the crown chakras.

What would you say is the greatest artistic risk you have taken?

I’m not sure that there are a lot of artistic risks in glass…though if this can mean the simplicity and naiveté of some of my work then, yes, I think they are a risk. They look quite child-like, but are actually reasonably precise to make. They also allow me to use the colours that I so love in a child-like way.

And you did stick your neck out when you began with the glass. Being self-taught might also be seen as being risky to many…of course, as you pointed out, it doesn’t quite feel that way to you!

No! That part didn’t feel risky at all, isn’t that strange? I feel that this is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life!

Oh Fantastic! What a strong person you are to follow your dream, know it was right and march forward with it! Now that speaks loudly of your success!

Oh, another great book is “When the Heart Waits” by Sue Monk Kidd – it’s about periods of waiting in your life…

She is a wonderful writer. I am going to buy that one soon! I think we need to understand these cycles in our lives and what each one brings to the table of our lives. Thank you for the recommendation.

Inside the Magic Studio

What is your greatest creative accomplishment to this point?

I think the fact that I am able to spend my days doing something I love so much is a huge personal accomplishment, though I hesitate to take all of the credit for this. When I go into my work “zone”, I let go, and the work just comes to my hand. So the creative accomplishments come from that source, rather than from my brain.

I think through some of the technical issues, like the landscape beads and the cubic zirconia beads and prepare for these, but as long as the materials are to hand, the glass just flows with a will of its own.

I have to say that I think spending your days doing what you love is absolutely one of the greatest LIFE accomplishments! It is good to hear you feel grateful for that!

So very grateful – I give thanks daily for this “gift”!

Creative Mess! Caravan Studio in Tapawera.

Would you share your working technique (days) with us?

Because the work keeps my body so still, I need to exercise every day, so that’s what I do first. Then I meditate – another hugely important part of my day.

From then on I work, usually doing the office and website work over breakfast, then cleaning beads and making up crystal work, ordering supplies etc in the morning. I like to be on the flame by 1 ish in the afternoon, and in the evenings I usually have a tray on my lap, making up pieces.

I spend one day a week in town doing business and Saturday is a huge day at the market.

So your days are down right packed! I suppose it is lucky I was able to get to you in the middle of your winter, so we could work on this interview.

The craziness is all based on getting creative time, though, and I know you get this too!

Yes, it is as though my creative time is the glue of my life.

Chakra Meditation Beads

Can you share with us any interesting experiences with galleries, commissions or the art markets?

The gallery connections are the hardest thing to set up. I worried and worried about this in the early days, but as time has passed I’ve mellowed a lot. I realize now that when the time is right then the right outlets will come my way – you cant sit back and totally ignore the need to make new contacts, but I no longer buy into the “They don’t want my work – it’s not worthy – I’m not worthy” stuff that plagued me at the beginning.

There are just places where my work fits and places where it doesn’t!

Through doing my regular Saturday markets in Nelson – this is a wonderful art market, and has a great reputation – I meet a lot of people, and word slowly gets out that way. We also travel a lot to art fairs and shows through New Zealand, and this is also a high energy but great way to get your work known. I’ve made really good contacts through these shows.

Doing these shows is hard work but hugely rewarding! I get to meet the people who are buying my work rather than dealing remotely through galleries, which I find can be a bit sterile.

I have a few galleries that work well for me, and am looking for a few more, but I don’t want to get too involved with that style of work. Keeping up with what stock they have, what they need next, billing etc is a lot of work, and I will only put my work in galleries where it is well displayed and actually sells well these days.

Marketing our work is a huge deal, and the side we find most challenging. However, like most of our creative process, if we just let go and let it happen, then it usually does just that!

This is great advice for anyone looking for and working with a gallery. And you know, I think that everyone can sure identify with the personal things you faced early on, too. And you are right you do have the right to pull your things from a gallery which does not work for you. That is important to remember!

Marketing…you are right, this is a huge deal. Remembering to Let Go and Let It Happen! I like that…think I will put it in my quote section!

Oh yes! Always remember that you are the creator of your work, and you must be happy with where it sits in any gallery or selling position!

It is a lesson I need to learn better.

Art Fair booth by 10 am - Full of lookers and hopefully buyers!

Do you enjoy writing about your art?

Yes, in some ways I enjoy it, but I’d rather be doing it! I’m never happier than when I’m working, and I tend to get rather impatient with anything that keeps me from it.

I love to be inspired by words, but could never have the patience to write about what I do technically – unless it was just in the form of advice to someone who wanted to know how a certain process was done.

I understand being impatient with things that keep you from creating!

You know, I think you are really great writing about your work. You have always been wonderful explaining things to me and sharing so much of your work with me in emails, etc. Even before you were doing glass, you were the greatest with all of that. At least I always look forward to your emails and hearing about the details of your creativity.

Ah, but I love to chat with you, Kim! You make it so easy!

Sometimes when I explain our friendship to other people I find it hard to get across how close you can become to another person just through the written word. It’s a personal treasure!

It is very much a personal treasure. There are so many people who don’t understand the closest relationships I have in my life, so I understand what you mean about finding it difficult to explain. I am just here thinking how long it has been we have been doing this and building this relationship. I can’t remember exactly, but I think we are looking at about 10 years or so now.

Amber Glow Necklace and Bracelet

What other art forms interest you? In what way?

I’m always fascinated by all forms of creativity, and love nothing more than an afternoon at an art gallery, just soaking up the display of work. I just love to see what other people produce from their inner space.

I’ve always loved fibre, and still love to see fabulous embroidery, though I don’t think that I will become involved in any work of that type any more.

I love to play with pastels and paints, and will pick up a piece of wire and pliers to do a little wirework at times.

Apart from that, I’ve become so involved with glass that it’s rather taken over my life. It has become my grand passion!

And the passion shows a lot, too! I can say I have always loved all of your art, but the glass has really driven you and that is very cool!

Rainbow Chakra Crystal Set

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

The beads bring me close to lots of people in a very intimate way, and I have been very privileged to have been involved with weddings, love stories, funny stories, sad stories, funerals and family stories.

Beads are a part of nearly every society, and they are inextricably woven into our social structure. I’m always aware that every bead that I make will go to be used by someone and become an intimate part of their life story.

Because of the durability of the glass, each bead will probably last for thousands of years, so I hope that they will be passed on through families and create their own legends and stories.

I recently restored a crystal necklace for a woman who had been given the necklace by her mother’s bridesmaid after her mother had passed away – the necklace had been a gift from the bride to her bridesmaid. This is just one of hundreds of stories…

Oh Les, this is a beautiful story and it is so cool how you make these connections, too. Now there would be a great collection of stories collected by you through your work! And it is true about beads and about jewelry…how important have they been throughout history. It reminds me of Native American wampum (beads used as money)…I am sure there are lots of societies who used beads in this way.

Rock Candy Set, full crystal AB

Thanks so much for sharing so much of yourself and your art with us here. I know there are glass artist who read this blog and will be very happy reading all about your experiences. It has been a real honor for me!

Beads are used in almost every single culture throughout history – they were used as money, and human lives were even traded with them.

Yes, Native Americans called the beads they used for trade “wampum”.

Ivory and Gold Heart

You’ve got me thinking now about journaling the many stories…even if it’s just for my own pleasure.

You should…blog them and share. I have a feeling you would have a lot of readers

Thank you for the interview, Kim! It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to share my passion with you.

And Les, it has been an honor to be able to talk with you more about your glass work and to be able to bring your beautiful story to others. Thank you so much!

Gold on Dark Red Heart

I hope you have enjoyed this Conversation With Lesley McIver. As you can see, she is a phenomenal artist. Please remember Lesley is about 17 to 20 hours ahead of US times, so some comments will be delayed. She is also occupied late in the week, but I will be here to comment too. I hope you will take the time to explore her web site from time to time as she is always developing new work.

I will catch you the end of the week.


~Babs said...

Another beautiful interview, Kim!

I admire Lesley's driven nature as it pertains to her art.I also admire your saying: "creative time is the glue of my life",(and think it should go on your quote list.)
I really like the idea of the Caravan Studio,, it looks so completely organized and honed for work,yet has a very airy, pleasant,and comfortable atmosphere about it too.
I loved seeing all the beads and how she uses them in the finished product,,,and the photos of her at work also!
I'm so pleased to see both of you referring to embroidery as an art form,,,my Mom did the most gorgeous embroidery, yet always said she wasn't artistic, even though I tried to convince her otherwise.
I am especially taken with the two heart pieces,they are stunning in their simplicity!

Totally enjoyed this opportunity to meet Lesley, and see her fascinating work,,,,thanks to you both!

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Babs!

I thought you would like this interview. Her caravan studio was created when they needed to move to another part of NZ (she couldn't take her little Magic Studio, of course). I thought it was a great idea, too.

I feel embroidery and all kinds of needlework and fiber arts are indeed art. Lesley and I have had conversations about this and have found there are varying attitudes about it...but think of how historically women have relied on needlework to express their creativity? Clearly, it was easier to find/purchase thread than it was paint in times past.

I love those hearts, too. As you can imagine I have several pieces of Lesley's work and find them a great comfort. The glass is often cool, but will also take on the heat of the body when it rests against it. Lesley also made some beautiful pieces for Elizabeth when she graduated with her BA. It was extra special, I can tell you.

I am glad you enjoyed it, Babs! :)

You are always so generous.

Lesley said...

Hi Kim and Babs,

Kim, first I must thank you for the opportunity to do this interview with you. It was fun to do, especially with you - an old and dear friend!

Babs, thank you for your kind comments - but I think that that the quote you mention was actually Kim's!

Oh yes! I really do believe that embroidery is an art form! I have seen many many beautiful pieces that could only have come from that creative space. The fact that is was sometimes incorporated in practical objects, such as tablecloths etc. was just a fact of a womans life through history.

The caravan is lovely and airy and light in spring and autumn, but with the climate in this part of the country it's a real oven in summer and a freezer in winter! However, I shouldn't complain as it's been a great place to work while we have been away from home. Mostly I can disappear in there and become totally unaware of the outside world!

Arohanui (means lots of love in Maori)

Andrea and Kim said...


It has been a very exciting opportunity for me, as well. I am so excited you agreed to do this.

And that quote was your's my dear...another parallel :)

Ditto on the embroidery!

Isn't that the greatest thing about studios...they allow us the most incredible escape! Is that what we are really looking for? I never thought I would be good working in one of those studios where lots of people are about...

Arohanui to you as well, my dear!

Stitchbird said...

Hi Kim I have heard a lot about you from Les and it is great to "meet" you through your blog. Lesley it is great to see your work out there, you know I love it and you and that the rest of the world is playing catch up. L

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Lyndy, It is lovely to meet you here. I, too, have heard a great deal about you from Les. Her work so deserves to be spread around the world! I completely agree! Good point, the world is playing catch up with her! I like that!

I hear you are looking forward to a fun sister's weekend!

Come back again to visit!


Lesley said...

Hi Lyndy,

Ah....but families are biased, aren't they!

But thank you anyhow!


sukipoet said...

Hi Leslie and Kim. What a fabulous interview. What wonderful stories you have Leslie. And your jewelry is gorgeous. I love the way you weave healing colors into your work, and the movement of colors the chakras respresent. Your sweet studio is a place to envy. But why are you not there anymore?? I am nosy.

I love, love the traveling caravan studio. Brilliant idea. You seem full of energy and focus, and I agree with kIm that just finding your life path, doing what you love, setting your life up, even if unconsciously, so that you could do what you love, all these are so inspirational and strong and creative.
Thank you for sharing so much of your world with us out here in blogland. Be well, Suki

Andrea and Kim said...

Hi Suki, I had an idea you would connect with Lesley's healing colors jewelry and her stories.

Lesley is probably sound asleep right now, but she will be along to share with you about her Golden Bay studio (Magic studio). She will be getting back to that studio, soon, I am sure. :)

I am glad you enjoyed the conversation, Suki! It is so much fun to do these.


Andrea and Kim said...


some families are biased, but I don't think yours is off track here!

Lesley said...

Hello Suki,

Thank you Suki - yours was the first of Kim's interviews that I read, and I really enjoyed reading about your work - she's clever, isn't she? A born writer...and painter!

Murray and I decided to go off on an adventure when our son went to university, so he went back to teaching school and we moved to Waiheke Island (a tiny island in the far north of New Zealand)for a year, then down here to Tapawera, which is the mountains in the South Island of New Zealand. We've been here for two years now - much longer than intended, but that's another story. The caravan has been my studio during this time, and while it's not really mobile (all the glass and kiln etc must be packed to move), we can move it around the garden to take advantage of sun and shade as the seasons change.

My magic studio is in Golden Bay, which was our home for 20 years - a fabulous part of New Zealand, and indeed, the world! One of natures beauty spots, where creative people have been congregating for many years, it is quite an alternative community - very gentle and accepting.

At this stage, we're not sure whether we will return there - I feel the need to have my own small gallery/workspace, and wonder if Golden Bay isn't just a little too isolated for that. But the Universe will dictate what happens there - the property is on the market, and if it sells then we will move on - if not...then we wont! we'll be happy either way.

I feel that I have waited and prepared all of my life for this work, and feel totally blessed that it has come my way. A lot of people wait and seek but never find this.

To be able to free our minds to create is one of the most spiritually moving experiences we can have - you must know this too, with your work?

Thank you, Suki,



Andrea and Kim said...

Lesley! You say the nicest things to me! I think there are teachers who would disagree with you about the "born writer" part, anyway! But I completely thank you for the compliment. I will take it! Talk about feel good...the strokes are wonderful.

And I sure love what you said about the ability to free our minds to create being one of the most spiritually moving experiences we can have. I totally agree!

You have so much to teach...and who is such a great writer now? Come on!


Lesley said...

Hey Kim,

I'm gonna keep banging on about this writing stuff till I get you to take your talent seriously! Seriously!

I know you get the spiritual connection - it's really obvious in your work.

I'm terrible with writing - I can never say in two words what could be said in ten...:o).. No economy of style...


L x

Andrea and Kim said...

Hey Les,

Well, as you know, I have done a bit of writing in my day (remember all of those texts?), but I also seem to have those old tapes going in the back of my head from my high school composition teacher...I know I have to get over that, too. :)

Thank you, my dear friend...you know how important the spirit is to me.

LOL, you are funny! My family is always fussing about my lack of word economy.

...and like you, friends are biased! :)

got ya'

Lynette said...

OOOh I think I just fell in love with glass jewelry because the pieces in Leslie's photos are soo exquisite...I'm in awe! Kim, your stained glass work was gorgeous too and thanks for sharing another great interview!!

Andrea and Kim said...

Hang on for the ride, Lynette! I can confirm glass jewelry is very addictive....glass itself is addictive! If you like these photos, you are going to adore exploring her web site! So yummy!

I am glad you enjoyed the interview...it was great fun and a great honor for me to do this with Lesley. Now she is unable to get to her computer this weekend, but she will check back here later on.

I hope all is well with you, Lynette!

sukipoet said...

Hi Leslie and Kim. Thanks Leslie for your answer to my questions. I wonder if you know Dale Copeland and her husband painter Paul Hutchinson. I am not sure where they live in NZ. I didn't realize there were different islands. But they have a big mountain in their view, one that is on a NZ postage stamp and I think begins with a "T". Also Dales website is http://virtual.tart.co.nz

PS I too think Kim is a super writer. I see a book here....

Parts of your interview stayed in my mind, such as your description of all the creativity within your home and the sharing of ideas. This is sort of "Bloomsbury" like. I love it and that is something I have always longed for. That talk about art and work and the exchange of ideas. Kinda like living in an art colony.

I have yet to check out your website but can tell you I have been drooling over the chakra prayer beads bracelet. Well, everything, but that looks like something I might wear every day.

Also, having done a very few craft fairs, I will say I adore your set up. Wonderful with the green shade over it all.

And Kim, enjoyed seeing your glass work too, and cool that Leslie's generous question led you to show it.

Andrea and Kim said...

Suki, you all are really so generous to me! Maybe I should do this book and allow my artist friends to buy it with ART MONEY....what do you think? You know what I think...I would be getting the better end of the deal! :)

Oh do go to Lesley's web site. You would enjoy it. I have a chakra bracelet which looks different from the one shown here. I will try to get a photo of that to send to you. I have to tell you that capturing photos of glass is a tricky business, though. And I do wear my bracelet all the time and get more compliments on it than you can imagine. I am always giving out Lesley's web site address to people who stop me to ask about it.

Thanks Suki...the glass work I did is very, very old. I loved working with glass so much and have often thought I would love dabbling in it again. But I can't be flying off here and there and take it with me, so for now I am not getting involved. I will just be a collector.

Thanks for visiting again. You are always so encouraging. Thanks my dear!

sukipoet said...

Hi Kim, since writing the above I visited Lesley's web site. so many beautiful things. I jotted down her email address and will email soon about the bracelet. Yes, do your book and we'll pay you with art money. It's a hoot. Be well, suki

Andrea and Kim said...

Suki, I am glad you enjoyed Lesley's web site. I like going there, too.

LOL...well, Suki, I am exploring some possibilities along that line. Seriously. So we will see.... Did I tell you about your ability to inspire? :)

Thanks, my friend.

sukipoet said...

Following your lead, I signed up on the Artmoney site without signing up the bank account. tata, Suki

Andrea and Kim said...

It is an interesting concept. I wish they would take PayPal. S. said they could only deposit, as far as he knew, but there is still the issue of your account numbers going where you are not sure. So I am going to kind of watch them for a little while and see how I feel in a few months. I still want to support the concept, though.

Thanks Suki!

FTI...go to Suki's blog and see the post on Art Money!

sukipoet said...

Oh thanks for getting back about this. I'll wait too for that part.

Todd said...

Wow! Such lovely glasswork! Love those chakra meditation beads! Gonna check out her website. Thanks for stopping by my blog Peacethroughpottery! Come back again!
Todd in Santa Fe

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

I skimmed thru to see the art work and read bits and pieces.. will do more reading later. But I love her work and her studios. especially the one her husband built her.

Lesley said...

Hi Lynette,

Thank you so much for your lovely comments. As you can probably tell, I feel pretty passionate about glass!

I have long admired Kim's wonderful stained glass piece that she made for Steve - isn't she so creative? To even think of incorporating the pound note into the work as a memory for him...



Lesley said...

Hi Todd,

Thank you!

Have you ever tried to make ceramic beads? I believe that they're a bit fiddly to make, as the clay can be harder to get onto a mandrel, but they are so much fun - you can really experiment with glazes in a different way to a larger work, too!



Lesley said...

Hi Kim and Suki,

I must check out this Artmoney site...it sounds very interesting.

We had a "green dollar" system (no dollar) in Golden Bay, where I lived for ages, and it worked really well. There we exchanged all kinds of goods and services without using money - it worked really well for everyone!

Suki - I'm just catching up with my emails after a weekend of hanging out with my sisters :o)



Lesley said...

Hi Cris,

Yes, I'm very fortunate to have the support that I do - and my studio in Golden Bay is just precious!

The caravan (RV) is a bit of a challenge at times, but it has been wonderful to have my space while we've been away from home.

Thanks for your comments,



marianne said...

Wow what a beautiful things Lesley creates!!!!!
The colors!
The chakra meditiation beads........sigh
Wish I could buy them somewhere.
Kim thanks for always pointing us in interesting directions!
lesley thanks for your gorgeous beads and art

Andrea and Kim said...

Hello Marianne,

I thought you would like Lesley's glass...and aren't those chakra meditation beads incredible.

And Marianne, you can purchase them directly from Lesley. You can contact her through her web site www.glitz.co.nz Like most all artists, I am sure she would love to hear from you!

Marianne, you have been having quite an experience yourself...going to Beijing during the Olympics! A charmed life...

Thanks for stopping by...

Lesley said...

Hi Marianne,

Ah,thank you for your words. I just love colour, and making the beads makes me happy, so I guess it all works double!



marianne said...

Thanks for the tip Kim and lesley I know that feeling, i Love colors and working with them. I also truly enjoy painting and feel the healing power of the colors I work with.
I will visit your website !
love >M<

Andrea and Kim said...


Ohh, I am glad it is of interest to you.

Your love of color sure shows in your own work and the healing powers shows in your beautiful face! :)

Thanks Marianne!

marianne said...

Hi Lesley,

Just a note to let you know I have received your mail, thanks and I will answer but I"m working now and the mail is at home, but I will get back to you next week!

Greetings from not so far away this time:)

Lesley said...

Hay Marieanne,

We will catch up sometime - I look forward to that!