Bronwyn Mohring

Bronwyn’s work adorns her studio walls

On Thursday afternoon I headed down the Port Chalmers road with a valuable piece of paper lying on the passenger seat – my directions to Bronwyn Mohring’s home. After the 80k sign, indicate left, take the one way and my house is the third driveway, there’s no letterbox.  I passed a driveway and then a farm gate which looked as though it might lead to a farmhouse so I wondered if that was driveway number two? And while pondering that I drove on missing what might be number two driveway or possibly three………… Eventually, after putting my reversing skills to great use, I ended up at what I hoped was Bronwyn’s place!  Apart from native plants the garden also featured ceramic creatures, a clear indication I was at the right address.

The front door was open but no one was about so I followed the knocking sounds coming from under the house and came across Bronwyn working away in her basement studio.

Bronwyn in her studio

Bronwyn hailed from Te Aroha but has settled very happily in Dunedin. Along the way she had a taste of University life in Christchurch, worked in a market garden for three years, and completed a Diploma in Craft Design at Christchurch Polytech – she specialised in clay in her last year. She then heard about the Diploma in Ceramics at Otago Polytech so moved down to Dunedin.

When I asked Bronwyn how she became interested in art she admitted she was always a bit of a loner as a child. In fact she was drawn to older people and used to accompany an elderly neighbour on his walks. She now wonders if he was driven crazy by her incessant chatter! If there was ever a choice between joining in with other kids or staying indoors drawing, Bronwyn chose the latter with no hesitation.

Sheet music and …….

At school she loved fairy tales and was most annoyed when at the end of the tale the children awoke to find themselves tucked up in their own bed or rescued and taken home. She couldn’t see why reality had to enter into the tale at all. She was furious at C S Lewis for insinuating that Aslan was Christ. She wanted him to be nothing but the magical mystical Aslan.

So tell me, I said, was becoming a full-time artist a massive step to take?  Bronwyn replied, well it’s all I’m good at, apart from shit shovelling. And then she went on to explain she has 2 horses and spends a lot of time in their small paddock scooping up poo!

Two of my three rocking fantails – I purchased these from a gallery last year. At that stage I’d never heard of their creator, Bronwyn Mohring!

Discounting Australia, as that’s not really international travel, Bronwyn has been to the UK and Malaysia. She visited Taman Negara, which means “national park” in Malay. Taman Negara (total area 4,343 km²) has a reputation as the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. Bronwyn lives in a bush setting so I could see why Taman Negara appealed to her.  But, travel has never inspired my work. I’m not a visual artist. I work more from feelings.

Bronwyn’s first exhibition was at the now closed Renaissance Gallery in Ravensbourne. She liked the gallery’s setting, its very natural and earthy surroundings. She’ll spend 6 months working towards an exhibition – the Koru Gallery in lower Stuart St plays host to her annual exhibition. Still shy, she’d rather not have the limelight entirely centred on herself so is happiest when sharing an exhibition with a fellow artist.

Are you picking up a theme here?

Satisfy my curiosity, I said, how do you wind down after an exhibition? Bronwyn laughed and said, Oh I have a migraine, every time. Once the pressure is off, my body demands some ‘time out’ and that’s the way it gets it.  Her very matter of fact answer left me speechless. Obviously she’s used to this, is very accepting and just ‘lets it rip’ so to speak.

So commissions, I ventured, are they a major part of your creativity?

Not interested, Bronwyn quickly replied. I’d rather people just purchase my completed work. Commissions can be very restrictive.

Do you work to the accompaniment of passing trains, the radio, music?

Oh stories, always stories, Bronwyn said. I love working while listening to stories – children’s stories, horror stories, supernatural stories. Harry Potter– love those books. When I suggested Enid Blyton’s, The Far Away Tree, she laughed  – yes definitely.

Bronwyn’s haiku. We’re not giving any more away than that!

With 6 weeks until our exhibition I was keen to know if she’d made a start on her contribution. Bronwyn jumped up and said yes, look at these, I’m trying to get the right glaze and it’s going to be – (well here I have to do some editing because there’s no way I’m revealing Bronwyn’s masterpiece!!) She is excited, I’m excited and I jotted a note to myself to ring Pauline Bellamy to ask her to allow more space for Bronwyn!

Don’t go hunting for further information about Bronwyn’s art on a website, blog or Facebook. When I asked if she used social media she said, what’s that? and laughed. But you might find an entry on Facebook via the other passion in her life – bellydancing.

Oh ok, here’s another glimpse, but definitely no more!

Bellydancing!!  And you say you’re shy, I laughed.

Well I went reluctantly, just to keep a friend company, and fell in love with it. I love the choreography and I make it tell a story,  that’s the way I work, in stories. I dance with Cindy and together we perform as Tribal Echo. I formed and perform with the musical group The Unfortunate Repercussions. I’m actually teaching a friend belly dancing and in return her husband is teaching me how to drive a truck. 

As we parted, Bronwyn was heading away to teach her belly dance class, I looked around the bush half expecting to see some storybook creatures peeping out from behind the ferns! Look out for Bronwyn’s work at the When North meets South exhibition. It’s been created with excitement, passion, skill and….. a sprinkling of magic!

a glimpse of another wall hanging – keys, owls, birds, music, box brownies…………reoccuring themes

One Response to “Bronwyn Mohring”
  1. Ali Wilson says:

    This is one great artist alright, I should know I was in her art class at Te Aroha College. She needs to get back to painting though, she has soooo much talent.

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