Crown Lynn Swans and Family Connections

Crown Lynn pottery has acquired an iconic status in New Zealand, and most Kiwi families have a piece somewhere among the treasured family heirlooms.  During the restrictions imposed because of WWII only utilitarian items could be produced, so Crown Lynn combined beautiful ornaments with practicality and called them vases.  Many of these are now highly collectable.

My parents both worked at Crown Lynn for a time in the early 1950s, and when they married they received many gifts of Crown Lynn pottery.  These became loved items for me as a child.  I am exploring symbols of tradition and memory in my paintings, and to me Swans are symbolic of a long loving relationship, and my own collection of Crown Lynn is a very tangible connection with my heritage, family connections, traditions and memories.

I’m producing a series of explorations of the forms, some abstracted, some representational, suggesting distance in time and memory.  These works are 200mm Tondo, Charcoal on Hahnemuhle Paper, marouflaged on board – part of the Group Show: Works on Paper at Railway Street Studios for the next couple of weeks.

Did you ever tie a knot in your handkerchief?










Oil on marouflaged Linen

Ovato Tondo 300mm x 400mm


When I was a child, my Grandmother told me to tie a knot in my hanky to remember.  I might not remember why I tied the knot, but  I think of her every time.

When I began painting drapery it was because I was exploring traditions and memories passed from one generation to the next, and using fabrics as symbols of that.  I found that these fabrics became loaded with symbolism well beyond my personal memories. They can be seen as intimate and personal, but also universal and timeless.

My Grandmother has long since gone, but the love, the traditions, the memories linger… happily.