Lisa Walker, a career in pictures

Lisa Walker has always questioned what jewellery can mean and be. Swipe through to trace the career of this important New Zealand contemporary artist.

“Now and then I question why I make jewellery and not simply objects, but the reasons keep coming – jewellery has me in its grips.”

Lisa Walker in her workshop, Wellington, 2018. Photograph by Kate Whitley. Te Papa

Lisa Walker: I want to go to my bedroom but I can’t be bothered. Survey exhibition developed by Lisa Walker and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 17 March – 22 July 2018.

Photograph by Maarten Holl. Te Papa

Here she is at her bench in Workshop 6, a women’s jewellery collective which she helped establish in Auckland in 1993.

Photograph courtesy of Lisa Walker

“It’s about dropping the intellect...and entering somewhere else, letting your hands speak.”

In 1988 Lisa entered the newly established craft design course at Otago Polytechnic. A year later she specialised in jewellery where she began to explore the meaning of jewellery.

Left photograph by Lloyd Godman. Right photograph by Michael O’Neill. Te Papa

Explore kōrero, storytelling and how stories are treasures linking us to who we are and where we have come from, through written language and visual arts. We use SculptGL to create story pou with symbols and designs relevant to us..

This episode is designed for students working at levels 3-5 of the NZ curriculum.

Moving to Auckland in 1992, Lisa shared a workshop with jeweller Matthew von Sturmer.

Photograph courtesy of Lisa Walker

“I prefer to stretch and manipulate sheet metal rather than add to it, leaving few hidden seams or solder joins.”

Lisa alongside ‘Folds’ in the touring exhibition Open Heart: Contemporary New Zealand Jewellery, developed by the Dowse Art Museum, 1993-94.

Photograph courtesy of Geoff Walker


“Can I let something that is not a tool or a piece of metal or directly about goldsmithing – can I let that enter my work?”

Newly arrived in Munich to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, Lisa began to consider introducing new materials into her work. 1996.

Postcard showing Lisa’s work on a bed of snow, 1996. Courtesy of Lisa Walker

“A piece begins in the moment where I choose, buy, find, or receive a material.”

Lisa in Marienplatz, Munich (left) and at the Academy of Fine Arts (right), where she undertook six years of post-graduate study under Otto Kunzli.

Left photograph courtesy of Lisa Walker. Right photograph courtesy of Geoff Walker

Sonia Snowden, weaver, ‘Matariki’ tukutuku panel, 2011, Otaki, kiekie, raupō, kakaho, pīngao. Te Papa (ME024103)

“It’s ok that my work doesn’t make obvious sense as jewellery, and it’s ok that it may seem a bit wearable-small-sculpture-art-object.”

Lisa’s 2004 Diplom exhibition at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.

Photograph courtesy of Lisa Walker

Lisa and Karl Fritsch, Munich.

Photography courtesy of Geoff Walker