09/04/19

Studio Visit | Zelda Murray

Perched on the hill, with a view over native Kauri and Nikau, we visit Zelda at her home studio in Titirangi...

With a rich knowledge in traditional crafts and art history, New Zealand jeweller Zelda Murray's own work is anything but conventional. Encouraging a tender conversation between materiality and shape, each of Zelda's jewellery pieces are a celebration in colour and texture, that conceptually play on the tension between romanticism and power.

Perched on the hill, with a view over native Kauri and Nikau, we visit Zelda at her home studio in Titirangi — a fascinating nook of hardware, dried flowers and collected beads. We find the maker bouncing between purposefully unfinished projects, such as a drying board of four leaf clovers (found in her garden), and bundles of coloured raffia from which to weave hats (left out in a pile for her cat to sleep on). Zelda's love for making and exploring different crafts is evident, an energy that inevitably feeds into inspiring her jewellery collections, and perhaps the reason why we haven't found anything else quite like it.

Shop all Zelda Murray  here

— What sort of things were you doing, or seeing, or enjoying at the time you made these pieces?

 

I was deep in summer mode so lunch breaks in the garden or at the beach, swimming as much as possible and eating endless fruit. Rediscovering old favourite music to listen to while making or listening to the news. Cooking lots of Indian food. Mornings were daily runs and evenings were watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
— Are there any special techniques you practiced or explored with these pieces?

 

With the Etruscan earrings I used more of my background in traditional jewellery making which is always enjoyable. Making every component like jump rings etc and working on a satin finish to the silver. I love how these turned out like a modern version of a romantic old fashioned shape. As a counter to these I liked working with colour because it feels removed from traditional metal work and more painterly.
— We love your use of materials. How do you go about choosing these, is it required, or organic?

 

Sometimes for me ideas start and I have to search and think about materials that will suit that idea or it starts out with a material that I am fascinated in and then I think of a way to use it. I like colour to be involved when it fits so by using beads (glass, wooden or gemstones) or materials other than metal I can introduce a different layer and texture. Its sort of a way of painting a colour palette on people. I keep my use of materials really open as to what I think works or what I am interested in portraying at the time.
— What do you love about working from home, and also from Wood Bay area?

 

It's such a beautiful area to live so I'm glad my studio is here also. Working from home has its good and bad things about it but I love my workshop and making things is what I enjoy so to be able to mix that with my home and daily life is such a rewarding thing for me. My co workers generally consist of my cat and tame blackbirds that will come inside and bees in the flowering rocket in the vegetable patch. Theres lots of distractions but they are all pretty enjoyable ones.
— How do you enjoy the local creative community, any favourite places to visit, see new works, read, etc?

 

I think nature is the best local creative around here! But I do see people creating things everywhere from my neighbour growing chillies and making chilli jam an older man I talk to about his lovely garden, the darts champion at the RSA and the great chef in the fish and chip shop who is so passionate about good food. There are lots of artists out here but I think humans and nature are creating everywhere all the time so you just have to notice and enjoy it.
— What are you most looking forward to about the autumn season ahead?

 

The different plants and pace in the garden. A cold windy beach walk is great for “blowing out the cobwebs” a favourite saying of my grandmas. So I will do that while wearing some old favourite woollen jumpers and light the fire when I get home. I will mourn summer but keep enjoying the sun when I can. 
Sometimes for me ideas start and I have to search and think about materials that will suit that idea or it starts out with a material that I am fascinated in and then I think of a way to use it.
Interview and photography by Yasmine Ganley.
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