We have added a new gallery to our community from Wellington, New Zealand. Quoil Gallery, opened by Belinda Hager in 1997, shows only New Zealand jewelers. Phillipa Gee took over the management and ownership in 2007, and today the gallery represents about 37 jewelers from all levels of achievement. The recent show Kohatu by Keri-Mei Zagrobelna reveals the connections this artist has with her Maori background.
Susan Cummins: How did you discover you wanted to make jewelry?
Keri-Mei Zagrobelna: I am not sure if I discovered that I wanted to be a jeweler, or if jewelry discovered me. Growing up in an environment of artifact, object, and art, it seemed normal that I should naturally fall into it. I spent a while in my youth travelling throughout New Zealand and dabbling in art and craft, but I avoided taking it seriously due to a lack of confidence and courage. It wasn’t until my mother passed away that I had the epiphany that I had to go to art school and make it happen and that life was too short to have regrets or avoid things. It was also a creative outlet for my emotions at the time. Jewelry was my silent ambassador. It was always there for me and taught me new things. Then, I started to see potential in myself and the others around me. I could use the language of jewelry to relate to others, and not only did it help me, but I could use it to help heal others.