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Jen Hawkeswood works predominantly with acrylic and mixed media but in recent years, she has explored eggshell mosaic and pigment painting. Photo: SUPPLIED

Clay and eggshell mosaic to feature

Jen Hawkeswood is the first of Thames Art Gallery’s featured artists for March.
She is largely self- taught and is motivated by everyday life and community events in the Coromandel, having lived there most of her life. She works predominantly in acrylic and mixed media, but in recent years she has explored the tactile and sustainable qualities of eggshell mosaic and pigment painting. Jen is inspired by detail, by the colour and contrast in everyday life, who we are, how we live, where we work and play, the classic and the quirky.
Jen is a very versatile artist and is well known for her black and white genre painting, for which she has won awards. She is also the very talented artist behind colourful murals at the Thames Museum, Matatoki School, Coromandel Museum and Kopu Station Hotel.
Jen derives her inspiration and versatility from many artists over the years, including a number of NZ ones, whom she has witnessed up close at work.
She says that her greatest difficulty has been allowing herself the amount of time needed to achieve the standard she requires in her paintings, but acknowledges that down time is also very important. She finds bush walks and nature to be an anchoring force to achieve her goals.
Jen says that in today’s climate it is necessary for an artist to be adaptable, innovative, sustainable and affordable. When she is painting or creating, “all is right with her world”.
The second featured artist for March is Kay Ogilvie.

She first felt the magic of clay when pottery was taught at a design course she was doing at Polytech 30 years ago. She was immediately enchanted by the feel of the clay, the way it responded to every touch, the heat and noise of the kiln being fired, the buckets of sludgy glaze that would transform, usually, into beautiful colours. She is still captivated by that magic as much today as then, still experimenting, still learning, still loving it. Kay’s work is both decorative and functional.
Kay’s grandchildren are such an inspiration to her, the way they work freely and spontaneously, lay on lots of colours and don’t fuss with the finish. So, after 20 years of aiming for smoother, more even, more skillfully made and more perfectly glazed pieces, she is now experimenting with loose, freer shapes and indulging her love of lots of colours together.
It is never too late to try something different and with this Kay began making clay “ragged dresses”. She was cutting slices of clay and slapping them on the table, enjoying the patterns appearing, when a line of Leonard Cohen’s came into her head, “She’s wearing rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters” and without much planning the first ragged dress materialised.
DETAILS: These very talented artists and more can be seen throughout March at the Thames Art Gallery, 604 Tararu Rd, open seven days, 10am-4pm.