Arts Alumni's Nelson Gallery Blows Minds (And Glass)

13 Aug 2014

Angelene Thompson's career in art has seen her go from a Waiariki student, to director of Nelson's Lustre Gallery, with many varied and exciting roles in between. Now producing astonishing works in a variety of mediums, including glass, with a perspective that has developed over the course of her adventures, we asked how Angelene felt looking back on her time at Waiariki.

"I enjoyed all four years at Waiariki. Staff and students were wonderful" she responds, with her time on the one year Certificate in Craft Design – Maori and three year Diploma in Craft Design-Maori in mind. "I am grateful for the broad range of skills that I gained while there, especially raranga (Maori weaving techniques), ceramics and good design practice."

With a personal approach she describes as all about being connected to the environment, Angelene is currently enjoying using glass in her art, and exploring ways of using recycled material where possible.

"I love process, so there is a lot of problem solving involved with melting and forming different co-efficiencies of glass. My first love will always be raranga, but I like exploring the possibilities of using a combination of traditional and non-traditional materials in my weaving. I have begun weaving glass and it is very challenging but rewarding when it works." Angelene says with a smile.

With her original goal post graduation at Waiariki, Museum curating, a clash with future studies meant she deviated for a time into studying teaching through AUT. It was during this time she became more involved with raranga as a tutor, a role which saw her return to the Waiariki rohe to teach the art and design to its peoples, before embarking for a two year stint in England.

While she reflects fondly upon her time teaching stop-motion animation in East London, her pride and joy is now clearly having her own gallery in Nelson, a gallery that has been well established for over two years. "It is hard work, but I set my goals and have creative freedom. I am learning a huge amount about running a business and all that it involves" Angelene elaborates.

"My advice to other creative souls is to ‘follow your bliss’ and be prepared for hard work. Having a broad range of skills is really helpful and makes you more flexible in the job market. Never be afraid to give something a go, you never know until you try, the possibilities are endless."

To see more of Angelne's works, please visit Lustre Gallery online at or on Facebook, at

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Page last updated: 02 May 2017