We are a group of like-minded individuals currently involved in the contemporary jewellery sphere, ranging from recent graduates to teachers, academics and established practitioners. Since early 2014, we have been working towards establishing a central location for an enthusiastic Auckland-based contemporary jewellery collective. We are community-minded with a desire to both educate and be educated.
Located in Point Chevalier, Auckland, Whau Studios offer bench rental options for jewellers and other artists in the community, as well as a range of beginner, intermediate and master jewellery classes and workshops.
Ilse-Marie Erl, Dorothy de Lautour and Laura Jer are the current partners of Whau Studios. They envisage an environment where jewellers can work, share, critique, discuss, exhibit, teach jewellery and learn, not only within their chosen creative field but also with other creatives from the wider community.
A further objective is to contribute to the social capital of the local community by providing an opportunity for anyone to get out of their house, interact with others, tap into their creativity and acquire new skills. Ilse Marie lends her vast teaching experience to the jewellery school, and Dorothy and Laura are Whau resident jewellers as well as tutors.
Whau is the common name for Entelea, one of the fastest growing New Zealand natives, while the Whau River is an estuarial arm of the southwestern Waitemata Harbour within the Auckland metropolitan area.
The Whau Lunatic Asylum was a psychiatric hospital on the Oakley Farm Estate in Point Chevalier, Auckland. Built in 1865 on Great North Road, it was one of the largest asylums in the colony. Reinvigorated in 1976 as a technical institute (now Unitec) the "cells" of Building 76 have been a hub of creativity for many crafts and home to students of contemporary jewellery.