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Studio Space - an eclectic collective of artists and artisans

Vonney Ball Studio Space

Ceramicist Vonney Ball has held successful exhibitions at her Studio in Williamson Avenue, Grey Lynn and during Artweek she is opening her doors so visitors can see her distinctive pieces for themselves.

Vonney was born in England, and began her practise in ceramics in the early 80's after

graduating from Middlesex University. She came to NZ in 1996, and has been here since in Auckland, with regular visits home: “I have two places I call home. These connections are important to me - hau kainga…where you come from - New Zealand, and England, also being surrounded by European architecture and history. I remember being inspired by an uncle and aunt who used to take me around looking at old buildings. I like looking at the historic aspects of ceramics or pottery from different eras that feed into my practices. It is about where you are now yet referencing where you’ve come from.”

She says Papatūānuku is mother earth, so she sees Grey Lynn & Around’s theme for Artweek fits with the stories of her work.

“In my agateware there is the earth, and geological forms. I have refenced the two cultures of the NZ and European heritage..for example the ceramics have hand-decorated willow patterns, with references to New Zealand with palekiki designs.

Vonney says of her work that traditionally she was a designer and maker of slip cast ware –designing the shape, making a mold and casting into it.

“Having established the shape I can change its form by the surface decoration. This year I’ve turned back to hand making work just as a break from pouring into mold – to touch the clay, inspired by agateware – marbling in the clay…rolling and cutting in strips, rubbing colours into the clay to change its appearance.”

“If I’m not creating something I’m not feeling right, my art is how I see things and my place myself in the world,” says Vonney.

Contact Vonney at

Studio Space

Vonney is hosting an eclectic collective of artists and artisans…

There are three jewellers: Fran Allison, Carlina Goth, and Michelle Johnson.

Helen Schamroth will exhibit her stitched textile works; Lauren Drescher will show her collages. Sarah Guppy is a potter painter and a guilder.

Carlina Goth

Carlina Goth moved to NZ from the UK in '94 where she had worked from Clerkenwell and Covent garden London. She went to the same UK art school as Vonney and the two have collaborated on several projects

She says her work is influenced by nature, the human form and the traditions of silversmithing.

Carlina exhibits and sells her work at Burning Issues Whangarei, Pa Homestead Auckland and the Waiheke Art Gallery. She does commissions from her home based practice.

Helen Schamroth ONZM was born in Poland and spent her formative years in Melbourne before moving to Auckland in 1968. She has produced art using textile processes for more than four decades – it is an integral part of her life – and in the past two decades a number of her works have reflected her Polish Jewish heritage from the point of view as an immigrant, first to Australia, then to New Zealand.

She has had several solo exhibitions in New Zealand and Melbourne and has represented New Zealand at the 13th Triennale of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland in 2010. Her arts practice sits beside her work as a writer, including the award-winning 100 New Zealand Craft Artists and Vonney Ball: Ceramics. She has also worked as a curator, arts consultant and arts advocate, with six years on the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand. Currently she is the Chair of Kaipātiki Public Arts Trust.

Helen Schamroth artwork is:

Aria 2019

Silk organza, silk threads on paper

Michele Johnson

Previously from Grey Lynn, jewellery maker Michelle now lives in Karekare and works at the Karekare house artists Residency in the stunning Karekare valley situated on Auckland’s beautiful west coast. She says her work is very much influenced by the patterns and forms of the natural environment that surrounds her. Michelle mainly work on silver using age old techniques to create contemporary work.

Lauren Drescher

Lauren divides her time between Auckland and the French Pyrenees. As a traveling artist she has adapted her printmaking practice to fit into a suitcase. A long time traveller and collector of ephemera, she frequents flea markets worldwide in search of old paper such as antique ledgers, children’s notebooks rich with old penmanship and forgotten envelopes from dusty attics. The artist posted 20 kilos of antique French paper to NZ for these works. The paper fragments each with a history lend an insight into the quotidian. Paper produced pre 1950 is acid free. Much of the material is over 100 years old. Each element is carefully selected for its markings, colour, or texture.  

Using printmaking as a starting point, watercolour, pen and ink or collage are employed to illuminate the drawings. The artists hand is present in each piece, no two works are alike. In this exhibition there are selected works from different series lending insight into different printmaking techniques including; relief prints, dry point etchings and chine-collé.

Chine-collé is a technique in which an additional layer of paper is applied to the etching plate before it is passed through the press, incorporating the collage into the final print. The imagery is palimpsest. 

Drescher trained at Cooper Union School of Art in New York City. She arrived in Auckland in the mid 90’s from Indonesia where she was working as a midwife for an NGO. After a decade spent working in Women’s Health, she came full circle to complete a printmaking degree at Central Saint Martins in London. 

Lauren has exhibited widely in the UK, USA, France, India, South Korea and NZ. This is her first exhibition in Auckland. For further information please visit; 

instagram : lauren.drescher

Fran Allison is a designer and jeweller, born in New Zealand, and like Vonney lived in the UK and graduated from Middlesex University and the Royal College of Art, London.

Fran is currently living and practising in Auckland. She was for some years a special advisor to the programming committee of Objectspace, a public gallery dedicated to promoting the applied arts. She has shown her work in number of solo and group exhibitions including Assorted Titbits at the Dowse Art Museum and JOC (Jewellery Out of Context), which toured internationally. She currently lectures at Manukau Institute of Technology.

Sarah Guppy (Please see separate article)

"...My brothers home in Tanger looks down to a terraced two acres garden, across the Mediterranean to Spain. I have travelled there many times and been inspired by ceramic objects, the mystery of a walled city with its cultural colour and daily rhythms. Henry Mattise, Mary Fedden and Francis Hodgkins were among many others who were captivated by the light which washes everything in a blue white. Historically artists have often used ceramics as sculptural form in landscapes, a kind of invitation through a still life, window or doorway. Composition my teacher Maggi Hambling (at Morley College London) said was more than half the painting.

My love of clay developed early in my life, as my mother had a ceramic shop in Parnell in the mid 1970’s. School holidays were spent in a red Hillman Imp trolling around Coromandel collecting pots that filled the tiny car. It was not until my return to New Zealand after nearly 20 years in the UK that I turned my hand to clay.

During my time in UK I was taught the art of gilding by Christina Leder from Vienna. Learning a technic as ancient as Egypt has given me a skill, and also a love of surface, detail and subtly."Sarah Guppy

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