Judith Le Harivel

Judith Le Harivel


My Story

I was born into a working class family in Oldham, Lancashire, England. My parents, William and Vera Moores had three children, Veronica, Malcolm and me, the youngest. Never having liked my surname, I swapped it for my husband’s more interesting Le Harivel when I came to New Zealand in 1995.


I don’t remember my primary school years much. I was ill a lot as a child and didn’t attend school regularly. I spent a lot of time at home making things – sewing dolls, making shell pictures, pressing flowers. I remember I won a hamper of Cadbury’s products for a picture I made out of chocolate wrappers. I was in heaven and I’ve still got one of the tins.

I didn’t enjoy my rather conservative girl’s secondary school, but I suspect it gave me the impetus to go to university and develop my career. I studied art but I wanted to have a career that combined both arts and science and applied to study architecture. The headmistress didn’t think it was very appropriate for a working class girl, but my art teacher, Mrs Woods, was very supportive.

I spent five years studying architecture at Nottingham University and what is now the University of Westminster, London. As a generalist, I enjoyed the mix of arts and science. The course gave me excellent design training and a broad understanding of a wide range of subjects. My most influential tutors were practising architects who combined practicality and realism with creativity - an approach that I have found valuable.

Later I studied for a Master of Public Administration - not art-related, but it broadened my education immensely and confirmed that the thinking process of an artist/designer is quite specific.  (A friend of mine, having been sent on a design course, commented that now she understood why I think differently).  It’s interesting to note that educationalists are now promoting creativity in non-artistic professions.

Work History

I have had a few careers, mostly outside the arts. I worked as an architect in Kenya (VSO), London and Glasgow, mostly in housing and latterly in a co-operative working in deprived communities. I began to enjoy the community housing work more than the architecture and I started to work with housing associations in development and management. When I came to New Zealand I became a public servant, working in housing policy and operations.

While working, I explored courses in textiles, embroidery, stone carving and glass. Although I enjoyed my paid work I was always making objects and became increasingly frustrated with the bureaucratic requirements of my job. I realised I needed more than a few weekend art courses to re-kindle my creativity. I enrolled in The Learning Connexion and am currently completing my honours diploma in creativity. I used to have a narrow view of arts practice as painting and drawing; TLC has encouraged my creativity and shown me that I practise art as a maker.  As with my previous education I’ve been influenced by and learned much from tutors who are also practitioners and significant artists/makers – Mel Ford and Sarah Brock in particular, but also Dan Wilkinson, Robert Franken, Perry Scott, Dennis Berdinner, Marci Tackett, Hanne Eriksen Mapp, Aaron Frater, Keith Grinter amongst many others.

Art Practice

Basically I just like making objects, particularly additive sculpting, so I’m always keen to explore different materials and ideas. I’m a Pisces and sometimes I think that my art swims in two (or more) directions - cast glass (mostly abstract and refined) and ceramic/ Pal Tiya (mostly quirky animals).  But I’m also besotted with textiles so I’m thinking about how I can use textiles differently and with other mediums. I’ve collaborated with other artists on exhibitions and would like to do more. My goal is to produce well-crafted works that people enjoy and admire. My TLC studies have given me confidence to develop my art work and to exhibit. I have taken part in a number of exhibitions and I’m most proud of being accepted for the Shapeshifter 2016 exhibition and selling all my exhibited artworks.

There are so many artists I admire – Kirstie Rea, Mari Meszaros , Karen Lamonte, Irene Frolic, Gerry King, David Reekie, Christina Bothwell, Karen Lamonte, Masayo Odahashi, Anne Robinson, Christine Cathie – glass artists who push the boundaries. Sophie Ryder, Sally Matthews, Beth Cavener Stitcher, George Lafayette, Ousmane Sow, Evelyne Galinski, Di Conway, Grayson Perry, Yinka Shonibare – sculptors/ceramicists whose work evokes an emotional response and makes me think.

I enjoy working in 3D and am currently experimenting with sculptural forms in glass, ceramics and Pal Tiya. I enjoy natural and organic forms, using different media to bring alternative perspectives to my work. As a maker I strive to create well-executed, thoughtful and at times quirky artwork.

This quote best sums up how I feel about art:

"Art wasn't supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something."

- Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park.


My work can be viewed at Tutere Gallery & Creative Space where I exhibit regularly 


Judith  Le Harivel