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Clay Sculptor: Jean Kahui

He honore, he kororia ki te Atua

He maungarongo ki te whenua

He whakaaro pai ki ngā tangata katoa

Born in Poneke/Wellington 1960, youngest in a family of mixed heritage including Ngāti Haupoto-Taranaki and Pākehā, my connection with Mother Earth, Papatūānuku, Aotearoa/NZ was assured. I have raised two healthy sons and now enjoy watching on as they and their partners raise my lovely grandsons and they and their partners in turn, raise great-grandchildren. Life flows. I lived and worked in Ōtaki for 20 years and in 2007 moved to Waikanae, both beautiful coastal towns north of Pōneke/Wellington surrounded by sea, river, and ranges. The last eight years I have enjoyed in Ashhurst, Manawatū with whānau, and now we are in the process of moving back ‘home’ to the Kāpiti Coast.

Clay has offered me a perfect medium to develop and express ideas and desires. The mixing of earths basic elements is old knowledge from ancient times and yet today, it still holds much mystery and challenge. My sculptural work continues the exploration of relationship between Women, Earth, Creation, Sexuality and Spirituality. These themes have also been of common interest through the ages and I enjoy being part of that community and continuum.

My trademark Fire Goddesses have received special attention and featured at evening gatherings, lighting the entrance to events such as exhibition openings. They are also included in ceremonies of a spiritual nature like civil unions and memorial services. It is a pleasure to createworks that offer and symbolise important connections to and for the wider community. In 2003 I started to exhibit my work. In 2006 my Fire Goddesses were exhibited in Notting Hill London and are now in private collections internationally, including the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury England.

For the past 20 years I have exhibited work and taught many classes on how to sculpt with clay and I still enjoy teaching and sharing my skills. ‘A Goddess for Your Garden’ is a very special two-day workshop where participants travel with me through the process-both practically and creatively-of building a goddess for themselves, from clay. I hope to continue working with clay and people interested in clay for many years to come. Nature provides so much to marvel and emulate.

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