Exhibition Blog

Show & Tell: Artist Jo McLean

Jo is an English born artist with a B.A. (Hons) in ceramics. She moved to New Zealand in 1994 and has been a busy little bee in her Auckland studio these past few years. We popped by to visit her and her flock. 

Birds have been Jo's main focus as her subject matter because for her, they represent a lightness of spirit, freedom and escape. She finds they have the ability to inhabit two worlds, two elements simultaneously.

Just a few weeks ago Jo sent us an email letting us know she is going to be focusing on some new ideas and creatures. We are chomping at the bit! If they are anything close to the gorgeousness of her birds, we are all in for a real treat.

Enjoy the images below of her studio and read on to find out what makes the artist tick.

You can see Jo's works on the KINA website. Just click HERE


How long have you been creating? Has it always been this medium?

I have been creating as long as I can remember.I was an only child living in a very boring bit of British suburbia. Drawing, sewing, cutting and gluing things was what I did to occupy myself. I used anything and everything I was allowed to cut up to ‘make things ‘ including my mothers wedding dress.


Who taught you or how did you learn your craft?

I left school at 16 and went straight to the local art college to do a 2 year foundation course in art and design and from there I was accepted into art college in Wales to do a 3 year B.A. in ceramics.


If you weren't creating your art works what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t creating I’d be drinking.


Have you passed your techniques onto others?

I have taught ‘pottery’ in all kinds of places from schools to residential care facilities. I’d rather be making than teaching though.


Is there a specific piece you have created that is dearest to your heart? If so why?

There is an owl I use on my business card that was a break through piece for me. He’s quite loose and painterly compared to my other stuff but I haven’t managed to repeat the style again. Maybe I need to go and look at him one more time…


If you could plan your perfect day what would it consist of from start to finish?

My perfect day would be to ditch the kids and spend the whole day in bed with my husband in a fabulous hotel suite where we would watch movies, empty the mini bar and order everything from room service.


What is your favourite meal and who would prepare it for you?

My favourite meal would be Holly Roach's special rice pudding made with coconut cream. I’d have it for main and dessert please. Maybe a bar of her homemade white chocolate rocky road crumbled on top…hint.


If you were to be an animal which one would you be?

If I were an animal I would like to be my cat Minnie aka The Black Assassin; slinky, dark and dangerous.