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Feathers and Foliage – an exhibition celebrating 100 years of Forest and Bird – is being held from Tuesday 25 July to Saturday 29 July, at the Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba Street.

The exhibition will feature a variety of artwork from Wellington’s artists (see below), all of whom have been inspired by the natural beauty of our country.

Margaret Tolland
Margaret grew up in Taranaki, and knew from a very young age that she wanted to be an artist. Later on in life, she went to an art school in Dunedin and progressed to becoming a secondary school art teacher in Christchurch, and then an educator at Pātaka Museum in Porirua. While working full-time as an educator, Margaret had illustrated numerous children's picture books. 

Today, Margaret is a full-time practising artist, creating captivating murals and collaborating with schools through the Creatives in School program. Through her illustrations in Forest & Bird's 'Wild Things' magazine and selling artwork on the Forest & Bird shop website, Margaret explores the intricate details of New Zealand's flora and fauna. Her work is inspired by the unique endemic species of Aotearoa, which developed through illustrating books about them such as ‘Fantail’s Quilt’, ‘Go Green Gecko’, and the upcoming ‘Wētā Finds a Home’.

Botanical illustrations and the enchanting rhythms of native plants, such as harakeke, kawakawa, and kōtukutuku, also inspire her art.

Margaret's art that will be showcased looks into the resilience of birds as they battle against predators and reclaim their habitats. Through her work, she envisions a predator-free ngahere, where Victorian glass domes in museums showcase rats, stoats, and possums instead of extinct bird species. Don't miss the opportunity to experience Margaret's artwork at Feathers & Foliage! 

Shawna Chow
Born in Los Angeles to Chinese parents, Shawna now lives in New Zealand with her kiwi husband, whom she met on a wildlife reserve in Africa. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Interior Architectural Design from California State University Long Beach, she brings a wealth of creative expertise to her artistry.

Before settling in New Zealand, Shawna spent over 25 years as a creative director in her design firm in New York City. Her clientele included renowned names like Sony, Columbia Records, Jennifer Lopez, David Letterman, P Diddy, and the Malaysian Embassy among others. 

Beyond her design career, Shawna has been an advocate for children's rights. She worked as a behavioural therapist with children on the autism spectrum and played a key role in New Zealand's law change in 2017, outlawing the seclusion of children in schools.

Influenced by the fauna of New Zealand and the rich history of Chinese brush strokes, Shawna's artwork reflects her diverse experiences and her current place of residence. From the towering structures adorned by pigeons in New York City to the untamed beauty of Makara Beach, where she now resides. With a child-like optimism and passion for cartoons, Shawna's art captures the wonders of the natural world. 

Shawna finds inspiration in the ever-evolving moments and the enchanting birdlife that graces her daily life. Through bold colours and expressive brushstrokes, Shawna aims to evoke a sense of carefree animated movement, inviting viewers to embrace curiosity with a touch of mischievousness. Immerse yourself in Shawna's art at Feathers & Foliage. Don't miss her art demo and talk on Friday 28 July at 12 noon and Saturday 29 July at 1pm.

Rachel Walker
Growing up on the Bluff Hill in Napier overlooking the sea, Rachel developed a love for drawing and a deep appreciation for nature. After pursuing a Bachelor of Design, majoring in Illustration at Massey University in Wellington, Rachel has been a dedicated full-time artist for the past decade.

Her artwork, which draws inspiration from nature's organic shapes, patterns, expressionist paintwork and the enchanting world of flora and fauna, has been featured in the Forest & Bird online store and its magazine. Last year, Rachel created stunning artworks for the Forest & Bird centennial postage stamps in collaboration with New Zealand Post which was released this year. Her original and printed paintings can also be seen in galleries across New Zealand.

While Rachel has experimented with all kinds of art media at university, watercolour has become Rachel's medium of choice. She is captivated by their gentle nature, buildable layers, transparency, and the spontaneous potential they offer. With each brushstroke, she hopes to bring forth a sense of energy and expression, capturing the essence of her subjects. Explore the beauty of the natural world through her delicate and vibrant artworks. 

Helen Casey
Helen's artistic journey is a tale of two islands. Born to Scottish parents on the island of Cyprus, she spent her early years amidst the wild wonders of Scotland's Western Isles and later on moved to Te Ika a Māui Aotearoa with her family. Originating from small islands on the far side of the world, where cultural changes were scarce over a hundred years, Helen underwent a significant shift adapting to a new culture. 

Through this shift, it was her fascination with creatures of all kinds – from bugs to birds and fish – that led her to a lifelong passion for art, finding solace and expression through her pencil, creating intricate drawings of the natural world.

After graduating from Wellington Polytechnic School of Design in 1992, Helen embarked on a successful career as an illustrator. Now a full-time artist, her work beautifully merges the elements of her Wellington coastline and the nostalgic pull of her Hebridean homeland.

Her daily walks in the Botanic Gardens and the wild places of New Zealand fuel her creativity. Helen's art often explores themes of creation, envisioning the emergence of Cosmos from the void, all while celebrating her favourite subjects – birds, whales, fish, and the universe.

Creating art is a deeply fulfilling process for Helen; it allows her to share something valuable with the world and create art that speaks to people, decorating their lives with inspiration and happiness. For the Feathers & Foliage art show, her work focuses on creatures that Forest & Bird protects, highlighting their importance in our lives.

Witness the enchanting wildlife and Celtic-inspired wonders at Feathers & Foliage. Helen will also be doing an art demonstration on Tuesday 25 July from 12-1pm and Friday 28 July from 3-4pm.

Carol Theologo
Carol, an artist hailing from South Africa, found herself enchanted by the vibrant birdlife of New Zealand after relocating with her husband and 2 children in 2009. Previously living on the border of Zealandia, her garden became a haven for a variety of avian visitors, including the curious hihi, the scavenging tieke, and the boisterous kākā.

Immersed in the beauty of nature, Carol researched about her feathered friends, discovering the remarkable conservation efforts that brought these birds back from the brink of extinction. Feeling privileged to be viewing these birds and inspired by their characters, she spends countless hours observing and photographing them on her walks. Her paintings, composed from fragments of multiple photos, aim to capture the magical essence of these creatures while adding her unique artistic touch.

Working primarily with oils and using fragments from her own photographs, Carol blends and layers colours, creating captivating textures and employing various mediums to capture the magic of wildlife. Experience Carol's artwork first-hand at the Feathers & Foliage art show, where her passion for birds and nature come through her intricate paintings.

Vaune Mason
Coming from the picturesque west coast of Auckland at Muriwai Beach, Vaune finds inspiration in the enchanting nature of her childhood paradise. Surrounded by dense native bush and majestic ancient trees, she experienced the joy of the girthy hollow-trunked pūriri tree in her backyard, seeing glorious kererū feeding on native berries leaving an indelible mark on her heart.

As a lifelong artist, Vaune's creative journey led her to study jewellery-making in Wellington. Her passion lies in working with materials that possess a story, incorporating found or foraged pāua shell and carefully rescued native timbers. With each piece she crafts, Vaune seeks to convey the essence and energy of the animal or tree from which the materials originate.

Through her jewellery, Vaune aims to create intimate and cherished pieces that not only reflect her memories but also emphasize the importance of the animals and places she holds dear. Guided by the materials themselves, she allows their unique qualities to shape her creations. From crafting silver frames to showcase the iridescent pāua shell to incorporating references to water and rockpools, Vaune's work captures the spirit of the natural world.

Her collection includes earrings, pendants, and brooches, designed to be wearable treasures that transcend generations. Each piece tells a story and carries connection to the beauty of New Zealand's flora and fauna. Discover the captivating artistry of Vaune at the Feathers & Foliage art show.

Gillian Candler
Gillian Candler, an award-winning author and passionate advocate for New Zealand nature, invites children and families to explore the wonders of wildlife through her books. Her acclaimed book, 'At the Beach: explore and discover the New Zealand seashore; won the Elsie Locke medal, offering young readers an immersive experience in rock pooling adventures.

As a dedicated member of Forest & Bird, Gillian has contributed to the organisation's conservation efforts for decades. From planting trips on Mana Island to volunteering in pest monitoring, lizard tracking, and bird counting, she remains actively engaged in protecting the Wellington region's biodiversity. Her passion shines through her captivating children's literature such as the 'Explore and Discover' series that introduces families to various ecosystems, aiming to ignite curiosity and joy, just as Gillian and her son experienced during Kiwi Conservation Club field trips. Popular titles 'Whose Beak is This?' and 'Whose Feet are These?' delight young readers as they guess the identities of birds and animals based on their distinct features. 

Gillian's latest release, 'New Zealand Nature Heroes: inspiration and activities for young conservationists' celebrates Aotearo's renowned nature heroes, including Forest & Bird's own champions. Accompanied by engaging activities, this book empowers young readers to become nature heroes themselves. Discover Gillian's ten children' books at the Feathers & Foliage Art Show, and join us for a reading session at 11am on Saturday 29 July with Gillian herself.

Judi Lapsley Miller
Judi, a research consultant and professional artist, intertwines her passions for wildlife conservation and art. Through her captivating artworks featuring endangered birds, she donates 10% to organisations like Forest & Bird and Zealandia. Inspired by her involvement with kākā conservation at Zealandia, Judi shares the unique personalities and stories of these feathered friends through photography and fine-art photo-artistry.

Her artistic process involves representing experiences and stories in her pieces. Some artworks delve into imaginative realms, placing her characters in improbable situations, while others aim to recreate moments or showcase the personalities of birds.

For Judi, photo-artistry and digital techniques offer the freedom to experiment with the luxury of an undo and delete key, creating photo-art from the comfort of her sofa became a game-changer. Judi's artistry extends beyond digital media as she embraces mixed medi  techniques, combining Giclée prints with paint, pastels, inks, and other media to craft unique and tactile artworks.

In the Forest & Bird exhibition, she showcases special pieces, mounted on boards and enhanced with dimensional impasto brushstrokes, all first edition or artist proof archival prints.

Where imagination meets reality, experience the interplay of different artistic techniques first-hand at Feathers & Foliage.

Julia Brooke-White
Julia, a passionate gardener from Wellington, found her love for plants at a young age. As a young adult, she pursued her interests in academic botany and textiles. In the 1970s, Julia’s transition to yacht life led her to discover a new passion for photography, inspired by the stylish B&W advertisements she admired in The New Yorker. Eventually, she became a self-taught photographer which took her to the Fiji Museum, where she where she photographed Fijian artefacts for 5 years.

Today, Julia's photography aims to emphasize the vital role of plants in sustaining life on Earth, especially in the face of the alarming collapse of global biodiversity. Whether she is growing, planting, or capturing images, her mission is to make people more aware of the significance of plants in our ecosystem. 

Julia's dedication to environmental initiatives is also evident through her involvement with the Tanera Gully Restoration Project, which she represented on the Wellington Branch of Forest & Bird committee for some years, and where she actively contributes to the restoration of natural habitats.

From her recent tramping adventures in Southland, Julia has captured stunning native plant photos that will be on display at Feathers & Foliage.

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