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Nestled in an idyllic location amidst the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Karangahake Gorge and the powerful heritage of the Waihi region’s gold and silver industry, the town of Waikino has inspired artists for years. The nearby Victoria Battery, which processed much of the region’s gold ore, wound down its operations in the 1950s. In the following decades, the area became home to artists and craftspeople from across the country seeking inspiration and community.
Today, this rich tradition continues with a quietly thriving arts community grounded in Waikino’s heritage and shaped by its magnificent natural environment.
Focus on nature and culture through mosaic art
Con Kiernan of New Zealand Mosaic Art brings a contemporary designer’s eye to an ancient art form at his workshop in the heart of Waikino. He specializes in capturing the essence of native New Zealand flora with vibrant compositions that present a creative perspective on iconic trees and flowers. Con also finds inspiration in the surrounding community: several compositions depict the region’s mining history and herald the hard work of the miners who built the town. Others raise issues facing the town’s young people today. Visitors can preview this work online and visit the artist’s gallery to see a remarkable range of compositions.
Find inspiration and learn the craft
Con’s studio is tucked into a quiet green haven that provides a refreshing and inspiring location to work and study. You can put this inspiration into action with his five-day live-in mosaic course, a challenging and motivating experience that will equip both beginners and more experienced artists with sound knowledge and skills in the art of mosaics. The course includes no more than three students at a time (it’s an ideal experience to plan with a few friends) so you receive personal attention and can work at your own level. By the end of the course, you will create your own mosaic piece and will be prepared to move forward on the path of exhibiting your art, seeking commissions or selling your work. Students stay at New Zealand Mosaic Art’s charming retreat for the week, where all meals are included with the course.
Experience Waikino’s arts community
Each year around Labour Weekend, the Waikino arts community comes together with ART Waikino. This exhibit and celebration spotlights work from Waikino artists and artists across New Zealand, with formats ranging from paintings and crafts to photos and, of course, mosaics. Visitors can stay in the area’s wealth of bed and breakfasts, luxurious lodges or camping options and take in heritage experiences such as the Victoria Battery while in the area. The historic Waikino Station offers a cozy spot to eat and catch up with friends before embarking on a breathtakingly beautiful cycle ride (you can hire bicycles at the station) on the Hauraki Rail Trail. Check www.thecoromandel.com for event information.
Learn more and get ready for an inspiring visit to Waikino at www.thecoromandel.com.