WHO IS PHILLIPA GEE?
Phillipa Gee is an Auckland-based Jeweller who enjoys the process of making & experimenting through the tactile art form of jewellery design. Phillipa completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Contemporary Jewellery at RMIT in Melbourne (AUS) & went on to further her education with a Graduate Diploma of Applied Arts at Whitireia.
A love & passion for Jewellery has always been evident within Phillipa's life; she recalls the delight of exploring her mother's & grandmother's jewellery boxes as a child. Her early forays into jewellery making were not met with the enthusiasm she had hoped for (cheap plastic beads strung on a cotton thread), however not to be daunted by the initial reaction, Phillipa continues to this day.
After spending 12 wonderful years as the owner of QUOIL Gallery in Wellington, Phillipa has found herself back behind the workbench as a full-time Jeweller. Phillipa Gee's jewellery pieces explore a variety of techniques & materials - she enjoys incorporating colour, pattern & texture within her works.
WHAT DO YOU MAKE / WHAT IS YOUR ART PRACTICE?
I am a jeweller working mostly in silver; I also like to have fun making jewels with Perspex, thermoplastics and vitreous enamel.
WHAT DOES A NORMAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I get to the studio about 8am and spend until 9am answering emails and attending to the business side of things. Then I'm free to create for the rest of the day. I have an alarm on my phone that goes off at 4.45pm reminding me to leave. In the evenings I'll often do some machine knitting; a hobby I started learning a couple of years ago. I also recently made a dream of mine come true: I bought a horse! Once I can move her closer to where I live; I'll be riding her in the evenings too.
HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN - WHERE DOES THE PASSION FOR THE ARTS COME FROM?
I was lucky to grow up in a family where the arts were appreciated; both my parents had spent several years in Europe before they were married, and both loved music. My mother was a very clever person; her interest was in textile arts; so I learnt to sew, knit and spin from an early age. I think being exposed to creative practices fostered the idea in me that I could do that too.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION AS AN ARTIST?
My mind is constantly thinking of new ideas for jewellery. I am also inspired by techniques; lately I have been exploring enamelling; and the process inspires me to come up with new ideas.
WHAT ARE THE THEMES/IDEAS/INSPIRATIONS BEHIND YOUR ARTWORKS?
I love pattern so that is a big part of my work. I also like to discover what a material can do, and sometimes I'm inspired by an artwork in a different medium.
WHAT DO LOVE ABOUT WORKING & LIVING IN AOTEAROA (NEW ZEALAND)?
OMGosh I am so thankful I live in this amazing country; I count my blessings often. I love the isolation from the rest of the world, I love how independent we are as a nation, the beautiful countryside, the quality of life, access to amazing food, knowing that we are a culture with a high respect for human rights, I could go on and on... I just look at the news and remember how blessed we all are to live here.
WHAT IS YOUR STUDIO/CREATIVE SPACE LIKE?
I am very lucky to work at the wonderful Whau Collective in Pt Chevalier here in Auckland. It is a lovely shared jewellery studio, great space and tools, with lovely people.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR LASTING IMPRESSION / LEGACY TO BE AS AN ARTIST?
I'll often look at someone's creative work and am struck by the thought, care and attention to detail that has gone into making it. I hope that my work in some way does that to people, and mostly that they love wearing what I make and it makes them feel good.
WHAT DREW YOU TO WORKING WITH THE POI ROOM?
I met Melanie-Jane about 14 years ago when I had just bought QUOIL Gallery in Wellington. I was impressed by her, and also how she and Clayton had developed their business, and I thought they would be great to work with. And I was right! They both have made me feel very welcome and part of the whānau. As an ex-gallery owner I know how hard they work, and it shows in their successful stores.