Essay

At Home and in the Studio: Erica van Zon

I'm currently on parental leave with baby Maaike who is now four months old.  The COVID-19 lockdown doesn't feel too different to being a stay at home mum in the early days with a new-born, when a trip to the bakery feels like a massive achievement for the week! 

Before Christmas we moved from an apartment in Aro Valley to our own home in Berhampore. With the move came the loss of my studio, the contents of which is now temporarily in storage. Over the last couple of years I've been making art on the couch in front of the TV rather than in the studio, so I'm used to a domestic set up. Eventually our spare room is going to be a home studio, my stash of textiles is currently stored there, whilst I'm feeding Maaike in her room next door I dream of what I will make in the future. 

I don't generally have my artwork on display where I live, because I can always see the flaws! Rather, I have a collection of swaps from over the years by other artist friends. I do have a work of mine in the baby's room though, a charm chain of souvenirs that I made when I was in Beijing, China in 2011. I bought one souvenir each day I was there and attached them to wire rings on plastic chains. It was year of the rabbit so there are loads of rabbit-themed items on it. 

I've been flat out being a mum, so here are a few images from the last few months of various artworks and things around our home.

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Erica van Zon currently lives and works in Wellington. Since completing her Masters at the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 2008 she has exhibited in artist-run spaces, private galleries and public institutions. Solo exhibitions include: Peppermint Twist (Jhana Millers Gallery, Wellington 2018), Opal Moon, Local Lime (Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui and Objectspace, Auckland 2017-18),  Coffee Perhaps (The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, 2016-17) Murky Waters, Murky Horizons, (Melanie Roger Gallery 2015),  Dogwood Days (Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 2013-2014); The Light on the Dock (City Gallery, Wellington, 2013-14), Moving Forward (Rm, Auckland, 2012), Prismatic Time (City Gallery, Wellington, 2011) and Take This With You (Newcall Gallery, Auckland 2009).

She has also exhibited within curated exhibitions and group shows such as: Six Days in Samoa (Millers O'Brien at the Auckland Art Fair, 2019), Everyday Lines (Hastings City Art Gallery, 2017), The Quiet Earth (Ramp Gallery, Hamilton, 2015), Knitted and Knotted (The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, 2011) and Tender is the Night (City Gallery, Wellington, 2011). 

Van Zon has received significant recognition for her work, in 2007 she won the inaugural Iris Fisher scholarship at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts. In 2011 she participated in the WARE AsiaNZ/WCC residency at Red Gate in Beijing. In 2014 she was a visiting artist at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and in 2016 artist in residence at Tylee Cottage, Whanganui.

Van Zon is represented by Melanie Roger Gallery, Auckland and Jhana Millers, Wellington.

Our fridge with various cards and the beginnings of my Pinocchio collection. Julian Dashper used to collect Pinocchios and keep them on top of his fridge, he had heaps of them in a range of sizes. I'm trying to replicate this but it's early days!

Pic of me at City Gallery before lockdown with Elisabeth Pointon's work "Would You Look at That"

Flowers from the garden arranged by Richard Orjis in a Maia McDonald vase

A traditional Dutch gift - Muisjes for the birth of a baby girl - aniseeds coated in candy on a twice baked bread disc, pink for girls and blue for boys, on a Paul Melser plate

Robin White postcard "Mere and Siulolovao, Otago Peninsula, 1978". Sent to me by Rebecca Hobbs

During lockdown my partner Brett and I have finally gotten around to sending out thank you cards for baby gifts

My Chinese Charm Chain from 2011 in the baby's room

Judy Darragh's "Weeping Wall" above the bed. I was reminded of Judy's fabulous beaded works when I visited Te Papa's "Curious Creatures & Marvellous Monsters" exhibition in 2018. Judy made these pieces for me as a swap.

Every night at 6pm Maaike has her "spa." We change the lights and put on relaxing music, she's started to really love it, we're trying to establish a routine. We have a Jennifer Mason photograph above our dining table.