New look and more at The Mandarin Tree

Claudia Aalderink


There’s a new look at The Mandarin Tree, and a new exhibition about to get underway. Claudia Aalderink tells N8N’s Annette Taylor 2018 is a year full of opportunities.


Tell us about the exhibition.
The first exhibition will be mine, focussing on beehive artwork and painting. It will be a Blue exhibition and the recycling theme will be continued in the paintings as well. It’s still a work in progress, I was hoping to open in March but it will be April now.

What plans do you for this year’s exhibitions?
The plan this year is to have new, exciting exhibitions with two artists showing together. The idea is to combine two mediums and create new work from there, where each artist adds their part to ‘the story’. For example, ceramics and wood or photography and textiles…
The constant in these exhibitions will be me, as the gallery owner. I will show with someone else.


Claudia Aalderink



How many artists exhibited in the gallery in 2017?
Last year was the first time I held exhibitions and it was very exciting to say the least. There were five solo exhibitions in a variety of different media. We had sculptures, drawing, ceramics, pottery, recycle art, glass and all right here in the gallery. (Click here for some of those stories.)

What sort of art do you specialise in?
I consider myself a creative butterfly that enjoys life! Everything around me inspires me to create, and in particular nature. I am a photographer/ artist and have recently picked up a paintbrush to explore painting – I love it!
My main focus at the moment is on my beehive art which I create from recycled beehives. I have made some very different pieces last year and I am constantly trying to keep the creative juices flowing.

Describe your art.
I am a born recycler and I try to reuse as much as I can. The beehives I use are being disposed of because maybe they have a broken corner so they don’t stack well or are wobbly. I like all of them and remember when I first started ‘collecting’ beehives I had to rent out a shed to store them in because there were so many! I use the nails, staples, metal strips and as much of the wood I can use.
My beehive artwork is wall art and is versatile – it really doesn’t matter how you hang it. My perspective is merely a guideline. There are no rules… I don’t like rules!

Small blue painting on recycled wood.


What is the background of the Mandarin Tree?
I started the gallery in October 2014 with the idea to produce a creative space for NZ artists like myself to showcase our artwork. There was nothing like this on this side of town (Hamilton) I thought it would be a great opportunity to introduce this humble gallery to the community.
Initially starting with approximately 20 artists including myself, it has now grown to around 100 and a waiting list for artists to show their work.

What challenges have you had to face?
My biggest challenge as an artist is always a personal one. I’m my own worst enemy and I think a lot of artists are like that. Self-doubt pops up every now and then. Do I hang this up, can I sell this, is this good enough… most of the time this feeling is based on fear and turns out to be unnecessary. Still I think it’s a good thing because it keeps you on top of your game and critical.


Claudia Aalderink


What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
2018 is a new year full of opportunities and I hope I can grow as an artist and continue to feed The Mandarin Tree with more beautiful NZ-made art.

What is your advice for someone starting out?
Don’t be scared! Just do it! Talk to other people in the field, prepare yourself for a lot of hard work but most of all have fun and enjoy the ride!


  • BLUE, by Claudia Aalderink, runs from 7 – 21 April at the the Mandarin Tree in Gordonton Village, 1035 Gordonton Rd, phone 027 777 8733.
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One thought on “New look and more at The Mandarin Tree

  • March 9, 2018 at 5:07 am

    There is a fricken beehive here!. made me laugh, hahaha.


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