Mt Taranaki Whare
Hand crafted tin whare
60mm H x 190mm L x 85mm W
Susan Braithwaite is an inventive and quirky artist. She was born in Liverpool, England and raised on a council estate on the outskirts. Susan studied silversmithing at Manukau Institute of Technology.
Susan turns vintage tins into quirky, kiwiana inspired artworks and jewellery. The books and stories Susan read at the time growing up dealt with children who would have spiffing adventures with kindly grandparents who lived in picturesque cottages where they would spend their summer holidays, where, of course, the big adventure would take place.
Her work is nostalgic for what she really wanted to experience as a child. Old kindly grandmothers with dusty attics full of treasure, countryside rambles with a bottle of pop and a scruffy dog. Susan uses nostalgic-inducing antique tins and other found objects to make her unique artwork.
Susan doesn’t always have a meaning to why she first starts to make something. It’s usually total chaos and mess at first. She will spread everything out and stare at it for a while. Sometimes later on, walking past a piece she has started, and then answers or meanings will come. Sometimes, there is no other meaning than just to make something quirky, or pretty and have some fun.
“The beginning of lockdown was COLD. I moved two weeks before Level 4 started, and therefore couldn’t get insulation or heating until the beginning of Level 1. Huddled in front of a plug-in heater making tiny landscape buildings. I couldn’t have got through it without the many phone calls, lots of conversations about doing nothing, and television. I wouldn’t have got dressed if it wasn’t for the dogs. They loved it, of course. Loads of walks. We barely saw anyone on the mornings. Once travel restrictions were lifted, we went to a lot of beaches. I wish I had bought more art supplies. Bring on the summer.”