Using creativity, clay to make art, connections

Ear to ear ... Designer, creator and maker at Morrsion, Five Anna Kirkwood sells her clay earrings at the Gore Parents Center Winter Fete. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

In 2020, New Zealand was sent into its first Covid-19 lockdown and for Anna Kirkwood, this was the perfect time to launch her business.

Just before the first lockdown started, Ms Kirkwood began her business Morrison Five.

‘‘I’m not sure if that was a good time or a terrible time to start a business, ’’ Ms Kirkwood said.

She started the business because she wanted to create more neutral-coloured clay earrings.

‘‘Lots of the earrings that are made out of the polymer clay were really bright colours and that just wasn’t what I wanted to wear.’’

She began creating neutralcoloured earrings and posted them to Instagram and things escalated from there, she said.

Friends and family took an interest in the earrings and a website was then set up to sell the products.

Along with selling the earrings, she taught people how to create clay earrings for themselves, she said.

‘‘I’d take the earring kit to people’s homes and they’d have their friends come round and drink wine and make earrings together.’’

This led to the creation of the Clay & Play kits, she said.

‘‘It’s the same process of running a workshop, but they can do it all without me.’’

At her home, she created the earrings with cutters, an oven, pliers and earring pieces.

Ms Kirkwood said her mission with art was to ‘‘create connection through creativity’’.

‘‘The idea of bringing people together is obviously good for you mental health.

‘‘Being hands-on and doing something physical and creative is good for the mind as well.’’

Ms Kirkwood had been interested in art ever since she was in kindergarten, she said.

‘‘My mum always joked in kindergarten that I was the [sticky tape] queen.’’

Until her adult years she had never fully embraced her artistic side, she said.

‘‘I always thought creativity was an artist who puts things in a gallery, whereas now I see it as everyone is creative.

‘‘Even if you’re an engineer or a welder.’’