Local artist features at The Mandarin Tree

A new exhibition launches at The Mandarin Tree next week. Of Glass and Stone features the work of mixed-media artist Jo Pervan. One of her pieces will be auctioned to raise money for charity. She tells Annette Taylor more.


Jo Pervan
Jo Pervan, foreground, and Karin Barr work on a large piece of Hinuera stone. Look for this artwork at Woodlands Café.

Where you from and what is your background?
Living in rural Waikato is a great privilege. I am surrounded by glorious views and some of the most supportive and giving people. My family immigrated from England and I am proud to say I was born and raised here, in New Zealand.

One of your pieces is to be auctioned and all the money donated to charity For the Sake of our Children. Please tell us more.

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way by learning about what happened to the Kahui twins, or another tragedy like theirs. I’m just an everyday person and I wanted to do something where some little bit of good would come from their story.

The artwork is called Safe House and made of Oamaru stone and cast glass. Safe House is about not taking for granted how I was nurtured growing up, and being thankful for my own childhood. You can bid on the artwork by coming into the gallery and writing your price and name on the silent auction sheet. Or contact The Mandarin Tree and bid by phone or email. The winner who has the highest price will be notified at the conclusion of the exhibition, which ends 22 November. It has a retail value of $510 and 100% of the funds will go to the charity. Safe House can live inside or outside, and I am happy to advise on location or anything to do with the best place for it to be displayed.

How long have your been working on the exhibition?
It is a result of ongoing themes that interest me to do with belonging, home, freedom, and life being a journey. Some of these artworks have taken years to finalise and figure out.

Raku house
Raku house

How (and when) did you start?
I am lucky that I just never stopped making art. My parents have always supported my little painted creations and experiments with different materials, and somehow I have managed to continue that from my childhood through to now. The feeling of being completely relaxed and yet fully engaged and alert when I am creating (and it is going well, it doesn’t always of course) is quite addictive.

Could you describe your art?
I struggle with this question. Is it traditional with a contemporary edge? I like to create flowing calming artwork usually stylised and quite simple. I like contrast, texture and form. I love a sharp line, a good shadow and I enjoy an injection of colour. I welcome feedback from others who might have a better description for what I do.


Cast glass cresents and boats
Cast glass cresents and boats

What has been the feedback/reaction to your work?
I think I have had the works, from ‘It’s not really art’ to ‘I absolutely love it!’. Then there are the people who it doesn’t mean anything to at all, and they don’t even see it. I’m really happy if I can uplift someone in some way, when they look at something I made from just a bunch of raw materials. That is just the best feeling, so I absolutely love to hear that.

What challenges have you had to face?
My biggest challenge so far has been self-doubt. It is pretty easy to beat yourself up when you are striving for perfection. Having a supportive group of colleagues and friends are invaluable.

Where do you get inspiration? (For work, and for life.)
Anywhere, everywhere. As a highly visual person, I notice fine details that my friends may not notice. This is why, much to my children’s frustration, I can drive past the turn-off I am supposed to take, because I was too busy noticing the colour variation on the leaves of a tree on the side of the road or something.

What is your advice for someone starting out?
The more you do, the better you will get so do more of what you love. We all started somewhere. It’s no one else’s journey but yours.

  • Of Glass and Stone, by Jo Pervan, opens at the Hive on Wednesday 11 October and runs until Wednesday 22 November. The Mandarin Tree is at 1035 Gordonton Rd, phone 027 777 8733.
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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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