Tikanga | Ethos

We strive to make Workspace a welcoming, supportive and vibrant place to study, work and create.

Jewellery making has been a creative and spiritual practice for us and we believe the artist or craftsperson has a responsibility to pass on mātauranga (knowledge/skill).

We are proud to be female led, inclusive to all people and 100% owned by these two founders, Vaune Mason and Annie Collins.

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Workspace was founded in 2004 by Vaune and Annie after they met at Whitireia Polytechnic in Porrirua, Wellington, back when the Art department had a dedicated jewellery school.

When they graduated in 2003 they felt they had nowhere to go, no obvious next step, to become practising jewellers.

This gap in the support network led them to start Workspace Studios, a well supplied workshop with space for jewellers and small object makers to rent benches and make their work with access to the equipment they needed.

Teaching classes was a natural progression from there, first with just Annie and Vaune teaching and now with 12 other tutors across two workshops in Wellington and Christchurch.

We love supporting creatives at whatever stage of their journey they are on, from taking their very first class, through to renting a bench, then maybe teaching classes for us or selling in our beautiful gallery, Mason & Collins.

It is of great importance to us that our workshops are as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. We keep waste to an absolute minimum. Our silver, copper and gold is at least 80% recycled, in most cases 100%.

Workspace believes in teaching the foundations with a minimum of tools and equipment, so that when students are working on their own they are able to get by without a lot of expense.

The next phase for Workspace is launching some new Online Classes to help reach every corner of Aotearoa and hopefully overseas as well. To support these classes we are constantly improving our tool shop to make sure there are quality options at great prices for those who want to set up at home.

Our Team
We feel so lucky to have such an amazing crew of tutors at Workspace. They have such a diverse range of skills, styles and ideas, but are all warm, friendly and passionate about passing on their knowledge!

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Vaune Mason

Creative Director

" I absolutely love sharing my enthusiasm for making with my students. Professionally, I have been working as a jeweller and a tutor since 2005. I now live and work from my home-based studio in Apiti, in the beautiful Manawatu - so I am a long way from our original Workspace studio. However, due to the wonders of the internet I am still an active member of the Workspace team.  I work on my own jewellery,  The Wild Jewellery which is a brand I created with Annie Collins, and I am a creative Director for Mason & Collins, our jewellery gallery.

For me, the challenge is to find creatively fulfilling time for myself at the bench - in between the admin of managing several arts-businesses. 

When I am not at work, I enjoy gardening, spinning,  chilling with my three small dogs, and caring for a small farmlet "

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Annie Collins

Creative Director

" I've been making jewellery for 20 years and teaching for 16 but students continue to surprise and challenge me! I think the best things about teaching are creative problem solving and meeting people from all walks of life who discover their own joy in creating. Our Christchurch workshop is lovely to work from and we're offering new classes all the time. When I'm not teaching and running Workspace, I am making and selling in galleries around New Zealand under my labels Buster Collins and The Wild (with Vaune Mason), as well as being a Creative Director of our gallery, Mason & Collins and a mum of three."

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Nataliya Oryshchuk

Admin/Scheduling/Chief of Sorting It Out

"Born and raised in a far-away land of Ukraine, in Kyiv, I am a Christchurch based theatre-maker, founder of NO Productions Theatre company, educator and writer who recently joined forces with the lovely jewellery-makers at Workspace Studios.

I really enjoy helping my fellow artists in an administrative capacity and relish the creative atmosphere of the “office”.
Being a bit of a degree hoarder, I have assorted qualifications in Theatre, English and History, and secretly dream of building my own theatre guarded by marble lions and gargoyles."

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Debbie Bishop

 Workshop Manager - Christchurch

"My curiosity for jewellery came at a young age, however the fire under my passion was not lit till 2009 when I melted sterling silver for the 1st time, watching sliver gracefully roll around in the crucible is when I fell heart and soul in love with the jewellery making process.

I thoroughly enjoy teaching, the best part for me is when I watch a student admire a finished piece, seeing that look of pride and happiness on their faces, and knowing that feeling, brings me great joy to know I helped them achieve that feeling."

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Thorn Richards

Tutor - Wellington

"The mystery and alchemy of metal-smithed jewellery has fascinated me since childhood, especially treasures ancient or uncanny. After studying sculpture for a number of years it was Workspace Studios that reignited this interest in jewellery and helped me embark on a treasure crafting journey of my own. To me, jewellery is like sculpture that hugs, clings from, armours and extends our bodies. The creative environment here and the opportunity to help students along their journeys is deeply rewarding. As evident in my work, I love the organic yet alien forms found in crustaceans, thorn woods, insects and bones."

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Natalie Halley

Tutor - Wellington

"Creating jewellery provides me with a deep sense of fulfilment. I prefer working on one-off pieces, giving myself a challenge with each new body of work. What I love about jewellery making is the wealth of techniques and materials, ensuring a lifetime of learning and improving. I enjoy adding an element of playfulness to my works, often with moving parts. With a background in science, I particularly relish the technicality of little engineered pieces. I feel very lucky to be able to work from my home studio, overlooking the beautiful Wellington harbour and a nature reserve - surrounded by birdsong and my own various pets."

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Claire McSweeney

Tutor - Wellington

 

“ Back when I went to Art School I thought I would be a painter or maybe a printmaker but then after trying my hand at Jewellery & Metalsmithing I knew that was the medium for me. I just loved experimenting with different materials to create jewellery that can tell a story for the person who wears it.  When I moved to Wellington just over 3 years ago I was lucky enough to find Workspace Studios where I work from both tutoring night classes and making jewellery. I really enjoy sharing my knowledge with a wide variety of people, challenging myself to learn new techniques to teach and seeing the pleasure students get from making something with their own two hands! "

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Emily Napolitano

Tutor - Christchurch

"I started my lampworking and silversmithing journey in 2004, training at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago.  I went on to teach lampworking classes there and to showcase and sell my work at a number of Chicago galleries and shops. I love the way glass moves in the flame, and how something as simple as a round bead can become infinitely complex. Outside of teaching at Workspace Ōtautahi I am Head of Textiles at Rangi Ruru Girls' School and am a company member and choreographer with Rebound Dance Company."

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Charlie Lattimore

Tutor - Christchurch

"Hi,

I am Charlie from Jewellery By Design NZ, one of the tutors here at Workspace Studios Otautahi I make medium to high-end bespoke jewellery with a focus on clean and crisp designs and using ethical gems and recycled metals. As a teacher I love to help people understand the art of jewellery something I have a real passion for, whether that is starting the journey with just the basics or finally taking the plunge into the precious metals and learning stone settings."

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Becci Short

Tutor - Christchurch

"What I love about working with metal is the connection and understanding you acquire with the process. I find it hard to describe, or maybe you just have to ‘feel’ it for yourself. With jewellery making, it feels like there’s just such a creative array of new techniques and processes to feed my knowledge hungry brain. I feel I’ve conquered one challenge then realise there’re many other elements available to learn! Be it new settings, new metals, new tools, a never ending exploration, It’s great! I started to turn a curiosity in to a passion 2 and a half years ago, as a student at workspace. I loved it. I also love to be around people so I enjoy helping teach others, seeing them experience, learn and feel the process for themselves, helping them to create and bring their ideas to life."

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Odette Anscombe-Smith

Tutor - Wellington

"At a very young age I worked out that I have a 3 dimensional mind. I could see colours and textures differently to others around me. I spent my youth wallowing in colours and textures trying to understand what my mind was seeing and how to use this in some creative way. Then I found jewellery and I have never looked back, spending  25 plus years working primarily making jewellery by hand. 
My first taste of jewellery was at age 13 doing night classes at an art school on Auckland, then at 17 I went onto study contemporary jewellery and design.
I searched to find a trade apprenticeship that could satisfy my need to learn as many skills as possible and then apply my own creative mind to make jewellery that is full of colour and has a strong focus on construction and form. I moved to Wellington in 1996 and completed a trade apprenticeship as a manufacturing jeweller in 2002.
I aim to follow the ethos  of the jewellers who taught me quality and substance over fashion.
My pieces are built to last many generations and are completely hand fabricated In my studio , with a strong focus on recycling old family gold and gemstones into new personalised pieces to be celebrated for years to come. Here I am in my native environment, my happy place, my messy bench!!"

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Callum Davidson

Tutor - Christchurch

"I started learning to blacksmith and make knives on my own 8 years ago. At that time there was very little in the way of good tuition in that field in NZ and so I spent many hours trawling the internet and libraries for any scraps of knowledge I could concerning this seemingly arcane art. Now, thanks to the internet and media exposure, the awareness of this craft is growing exponentially. It is my mission to share my hard-won skills with my students, hopefully teaching in days what took me months to learn on my own and kindling new passion in my craft that will hopefully allow it to grow and develop for many more generations. "

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Jess Kitto

Tutor - Wellington

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Jennie Deniston

Tutor - Wellington

"I have always felt I was a creative person but could never find my medium - I am terrible at painting and drawing. Then one day I sat at a jewellery bench and something just clicked for me and I realised I'd found "it".  I started making jewellery full time in 2019 and have not looked back. There is something about waking up with an idea and being able to hold it in your hands by the end of the day that I find so satisfying and fulfilling! I love working with texture in metal and crafting one of a kind pieces. 

 

Along with teaching at Workspace since the start of 2021, I also run my own jewellery business called Heavy Metals Jewellery. "