Studio Visit — Honeymoon Sea

On board with artists Hannah and Benedict Maurice...

This was no ordinary studio visit... Carried from the shoreline of Oneroa, plonked into a rubber dingy, and motored out to a breathtaking sailboat in Waiheke Island, we visited the home and working studio of artists Benedict and Hannah Maurice, and their dog Hughie.

Benedict is an artist that discovers the world with his physical body, learning whilst doing, and by being in an environment. His jewellery work, Honeymoonseastudio', is a reaction to his everyday findings: shells, metals, stones and more, all discarded objects up-cycled and turned into something rather magical in Benedict's hands...

Their sailboat came into their hands while they were rowing around the island one day, and came across an old, abandoned vessel, "paint bubbling and so water logged it looked like concrete, no one would touch it." After a look around the deck, they discovered that the sailboat was in fact a beautiful hand built sailboat from the 1970s. The couple contacted the owner and made him an offer to his otherwise discarded and forgotten about boat.

"Everything was stiffened, stuck, and not working, I had to figure out how to make it run again." Not knowing much about boat building, but armed with years of experience as a professional furniture maker, Benedict, again, learnt with his hands. Tweaking, experimenting and listening to the boat, he has brought it back to life over the past two years. Inside, the couple have each carved out a space to create, Hannah with her clay and painting corner, paint pots stored underneath the wood where her feet rest, and Benedict a swivel desk in their corner bedroom, fully equipped with a wall mounted lamp and jewellers tools all powered by solar energy. They decided to paint their sailboat, what they describe as "seedpod green", a bright and earthy green that hums on the eye, but does not look out of place floating like a queen on the blue, blue waters of Waiheke Island. Hannah painted two eyes at the tip of the boat, guiding them through the sometimes rough water around Aotearoa, alongside its name Honeymoon.
Images by Ophelia Mikkelson Jones. Words by Yasmine Ganley.
Hannah and Benedict Maurice of Honeymoonseastudio.

Dotted around the boat are fragments of Benedict's work. One: a crown made of almost transparent shell disks, positioned at the end of reclaimed metals, almost antennae-like in structure. And both wear a multitude of his works: a pearl ring and silver bracelets, each peppered in unique details, like love letters to the wearer.

One can't help but feel more present in the body after meeting them, experiencing their boat lifestyle, it is a primal state of being, and this quality seems to resonate throughout both of their art practices. Living gently on the land, being close to nature's energy, and devoting their time to art and beauty are philosophies deeply embedded in all that is 'Honeymoonseastudio'.

Over a pot of tea and a handful of their recently-foraged guavas, Benedict tells me about his encounter with a manta ray, while sailing into Aotea, Great Barrier Island. "It was like a car emerging from the water, huge! We had to look it up, I wasn't sure we had such a creature in these local waters."
See one off unique pieces from Honeymoon Sea, here.
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