Right royal jewellery workshop
When Ben Flynn had trouble finding a ring he liked, he decided to take a hands-on approach.
Sitting at his kitchen table, he created his own ring with the New Zealand motif he was looking for.
“It just snowballed from there,” he says.
Thirteen years later, the self-taught artist is celebrating a decade of business at the Royal Jewellery Studio in Kingsland.
His sister Myfanwy Rees found the old theatre in 1994 and took three years to renovate it.
Uninspired by the studio he worked for in the city, Ben moved his workshop to Royal in 1998.
“I really wanted to create an environment where people felt comfortable in a relaxed setting,” he says.
He says he also realised New Zealand had an immense amount of jewellery-making talent.
“There was room in Auckland for more than one contemporary jeweller.”
Today, five of the jewellerywho were in the opening show in 1998 will return with new collections.
Although he has lived in Kerikeri with his partner and children for the last five years, Ben returns every fortnight to work in the Kingsland studio.
He says 10 years has “just flown on by”.
“It’s a big achievement for us,” says Myfanwy, who manages the studio.
She says it’s also nice to give the jewellers who have stayed with them over the years the chance to make special exhibition works.
“It gives them a free rein to do something that’s a bit more out there.”
Artists showing at the exhibition are Anna Wallis, Penelope Barnhill, Ben Flynn, Lisa West and Jane Dodd.
The 10 Years Making exhibition at the Royal Jewellery Studio runs until November 6, and is the first of a series of shows running over the summer.
The studio is at 486 New North Rd, Kingsland.
Royally established: Studio manager Myfanwy Rees says the old theatre building was “pretty derelict”.