Exclusive Interview: Helen Holmes

Woodland forest branches, squirrels stowing away their acorns, and oak tree leaves as big as your face… the new jewellery pieces from New Zealand-based designer and artist Helen Holmes has us thinking about all of the beautifully natural things that the winter season has to offer…

We talked to the artist about her love of swamp Kauri, her old Victorian shop-front studio, and her love of a gluttonous degustation menu....

- When did you start creating your jewellery and what was the motivation for doing so?

I started in the late '80s, finishing a BFA that morphed from printing to textiles into jewellery. Fingers jewellers was a huge influence for me, especially with their use of natural materials and proudly being kiwi owned and operated.

- Tell us about your current collections that are in store at Tessuti. What were some of the inspirations for these pieces?

The collection at Tessuti follows on from a solo show I recently had in Wellington "the cult of the kauri" which was based on the idea of the plight of New Zealand's most ancient and iconic trees.

- Tell us a bit about your workshop space.

My workspace is a corner of an old Victorian shop-front in my home... I also use a packing shed in Oratia for my larger pieces.

- Any artists/designers who work you admire? Where do you draw your inspiration for ideas from?

I draw inspiration from antiquity (think Greece), for its style and grace and costume jewellery, for its theatricality and lack of pretention ( circa early-Coco Chanel).

- Best place to eat out?

I love Cocoro's degustation menu for a healthy, beautiful gluttonous meal.

- Favourite dish to cook friends at home?

The last meal I cooked for friends, was a leg of wild pork they gave me which I slow cooked with quinces and wine!

- Where might we find you on a Sunday?

On Sundays you would probably find me outside the packing shed carving Kauri swamp wood for Sculpture Onshore - coming later this year...


See our range of Helen Holmes jewellery in store and online

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