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Cathy Jane Designs – Cathy Jane Brickhill.

Mountain Whispers

17th August – 25th September 2023


Instagram: @cathyjanedesigns


We are excited to be adding Cathy Jane Brickhill of Cathy Jane Designs to our community of artists here at the studio gallery. Many of you will know her outstanding stitched works but for this opportunity Cathy Jane has been working hard to create works inspired by Taranaki.

Short Artist Statement:

This exhibition is about my hometown of New Plymouth, and the bond between myself and the mountain with all of its great forests, waterfalls, intricate moss covered trees and incredible wildlife that keeps calling me back to come and explore and feel it’s beautiful calming energy within.  As a self-taught artist, I use everything in nature to provide me with ideas, enthusiasm, intrigue, and wonder.  I love the wildness of Mount Egmont (Maunga Taranaki) its beauty, and its dangers.  

  • Hello. I’m Cathy Brickhill of Cathy Jane Designs.  I’m an award winning New Zealand based textile artist, and I specialise in designing two and three dimensional sculptural embroidery art.  I love nature, and I like to re-create the immense beauty of the natural wonders found in New Zealand into textile sculptures.  I like to explore our native bush to observe bird species, to collect feathers, shells, skeletal leaves, pieces of fallen bark and mushrooms that I gain inspiration from for a new art work.  I draw my focus on native species to highlight their fragility and their importance to our ecosystem.  I have an obsession with design and creativity that has led me to study fashion design for a number of years and I am a fully trained dressmaker.  

My love of the outdoors, and being in the wilderness impacts a lot on my work, and I find inspiration from everywhere I go.  It gives my work that extra detail that it needs.  My work has featured on the cover of NZ Threads magazine in the October 2021 issue.  The piece that was featured was the ‘Tui’ that took a painstakingly long time to hand-stitch.  A couple of my proudest achievements were being selected to sell my work through the Poi Room, a leading Auckland Gallery, winning 3rd place in the NZ Art Awards in the sculpture section 2019.  Winning 2nd prize Trusts sculpture awards, and a merit award for another sculpture, at the Greater Auckland Art Awards 2022 and being selected to be the key-note speaker for 2022 Embroidery Guild Conference.

I’m based in Auckland on a rural lifestyle property in Dairy Flat where work as a 3d sculptural embroidery artist.  I teach the traditional art form of Tambour Beading.  An art form that is still used today in the fashion houses all over the world.  I love to teach entry level tambour beading using a tambour hook, creating dimension and detail using seed beads, vintage beads and sequins imported from Europe.  

  • Education/Development:
    • 1994 – Fashion Design Course at Unitec ‘Certificate in Pattern making & Garment Construction/Tailoring.’
    • 1995-  Fashion Design College at Design Academy ‘Diploma in Pattern making, Garment Assembly, Business in Fashion, Fashion Illustration, End of year fashion show.’
    • 1996-  Creating and selling high end fashion garments alongside other emerging designers at a Collab in Newmarket, Auckland.
    • 1997 – Full time employee at Centrepoint Fabrics on Queen Street, Auckland.
    • 2001-2002 – Designing and making fashion garments for a shop called ‘Frost Dressing’, based in Ponsonby, owned by Megan Webster.  
    • 2002 – Designing and making hand-crocheted swimwear for a shop called ‘Blue Dude Swimwear’, based in Durham Lane, Auckland.
    • 2004 – Designing and making custom handbags, each one hand stitched and embroidered.  Featured in NZ Bride & Groom Magazine, stocked at Vanilla Ink store, and Caramel on Ponsonby Road.   Sold privately and through Dunkley’s Great NZ Craft Show.
    • 2014 – Certificate in Tambour Beading and bead application with Hand & Lock of London. 
    • 2019 – Certificate in Couture 3d bead embellishment, and Tambour Beadwork with Charlotte Appleby of London.
    • 2017 to current date – Owner of Cathy Jane Designs.  Bespoke fashion design, and sculptural embroidery artist.
  • Awards/Recognition (Cathy Jane Design specific):
    • 2018 – Corban Arts Estate Awards 3rd placing for my ‘Kelp Fingers’ sculptural embroidery.  1st placing for people’s choice awards.
    • 2021 – Two page article featured in ‘Threads’ magazine (NZ embroidery guild magazine). October 2021.
    • 2022 – One page article featured in ‘Forest and Bird’ magazine.
    • 2022 – The Trusts Awards 2nd placing for my ‘NZ Bark & Lichen 3d sculpture embroidery.’  Merit award placing for my ‘Sunburst Lichen’ sculptural embroidery.
    • 2022 – Being chosen to be the Key-note speaker and invited tutor at Stitch-a-plenty Embroidery Conference in Tauranga.  July 2022.
    • 2022 – ANZEG touring tutor at workshops all over NZ teaching sculptural embroidery.
    • 2022 – Charity Auction fundraiser – I designed an embroidery of a Banded Rail, and the artwork was sold via an auction, with 100% proceeds that went directly to Birdcare Aotearoa (Auckland’s largest bird rescue centre).
    • 2022 – Being chosen as a recognised artist and my work being offered for sale through: The Poi Room Art Gallery.  (Two stores in Auckland).
    • 2023 – Two day workshop teaching sculptural embroidery at Selwyn College.  Auckland.
    • 2023 – One day workshop teaching botanical drawing and interpreting your sketch into a stitched art form on the sewing machine.  Auckland Botanical Gardens.
    • 2023 – Article published in New Journey magazine all about my art work techniques with a lovely write-up and photographs.

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