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New artists enrich Kerikeri Open Arts Studio Trail

New artists enrich Kerikeri Open Arts Studio Trail this Labour Weekend

New KOAST Members Include

Two Jewellers

Twelve new artists will add even more colour and variety to Kerikeri Open Art Studios Trail (KOAST) this Labour weekend. Artists’ studio doors will be open to welcome visitors to what is becoming a destination event for Kerikeri, and as such it is also attracting new participating artists.

Two of this year’s new artists are jewellers, each with a distinctive passion and technique.

Ben Flynn

When Ben went to buy a ring twenty years ago, he couldn’t find anything that appealed to him. So he made his own. That small step launched his career of creating custom-made rings plus other small unique pieces.

“I’m a bit of a pirate attracted to life’s treasure chest of precious metals and gemstones. My focus is creating handmade contemporary wedding and engagement rings using gold, platinum, palladium and silver with gemstones, and my style tends towards rustic and chunky with an age-worn patina.”

Ben set up Royal Jewellery Studio in Kingsland Auckland in 1998 selling his own work plus that of 35 other New Zealand jewellers, then made a life change 13 years ago when he moved to Kerikeri. “I’m now sharing a creative studio space with my partner/photographer Jess Burges, so I transitioned from working out of an interruptive retail situation to a dedicated workshop studio. I still own the Kingsland Studio and am down there once a month because it is a main-stay for my sales, plus I sell through the Quoil Gallery in Wellington and through my website.”

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“My inspiration is from being out on the water up here and from the materials themselves. I love trawling through historical work and I have a pirate-like habit of collecting and hoarding gemstones. Like any hoarder, I’m always hesitant to dip into and use my treasure – but it gives me a good reason to go and get more!”


Laura Haszard

Laura signed up as a KOAST artist before she even arrived in Kerikeri from Sydney to begin her new life. “I was involved in the art scene in Sydney including being part of an art trail there, so when we made a sea-change in our life to move to Kerikeri, I found out about KOAST and joined.”

Laura makes jewellery and miniature wall-art in cloisonné enamel, a technique little known in New Zealand. Laura - “Cloisonné enamelling is the ancient art of making designs with fine silver wire on silver, and then fusing transparent coloured glass within those designs in a kiln at 800C. It was historically used in both Europe and Asia and there has been a huge resurgence recently of the technique in UK, U.S.A. and now Australia, but it seems almost unknown in New Zealand.”

“I fell in love with the colours when I first started doing cloisonné 12 years ago. The brilliance of the transparent glass on silver and gold enables me to make jewellery that represents what I find beautiful. It is a lengthy process, but I find the results well worth the time.”

“Colour and nature inspire me and this is a gorgeous part of the world with such lush vegetation. Everything is so alive. I find that living amongst the beauty of the gardens and coast here gives me a rich resource of shapes and colours to create my eclectic designs from.”




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