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John Cornish

Advanced Diploma Mentor and Facilitator

Dip Art & Certificate (Adv)

As a tutor, John’s aim is not only to help student’s access their creativity through art making, but make their engagement as personally relevant and sustainable as possible.

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Andrew Ginther


Dip Photography, Nat Cert in Adult Education & Training

Andrew previously tutored digital photography at the National College of Design and Technology and at Massey University Fine Arts School. He has studied at the Ilam Fine Art School at Canterbury University and at Christchurch Polytechnic.

Andrew’s photography is an amalgamation of 20th century work inspired by the cubist and surrealist movements. It combines the tradition of black & white and digital, with sculpture and other fine art techniques. His work features frequent use of bold colour and strong compositions. Landscapes and urban abstractions are a consistent theme as well as environmental portraiture and mixed media work.

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Sophie Saunders


MFA (Hons)

Having had a loose and arty upbringing with a musician father and potter mother, plus a rather rigorous art school education, Sophie has always had the tendency to question things and look for the higher purpose behind everything. She has exhibited widely over 25 years and has taught at various institutions for the last 16 years.

Always endeavouring to be true to herself, Sophie currently adheres mercilessly to a rather pared-down subject matter in her painting in a desire to get to the nitty gritty. Her view in her teaching and painting is that whatever feels right, one must follow it, leaving all else aside. This is the key to beginning to be what we really are.

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Rachel Astbury


BA Applied Art, Dip Art & Creativity (Adv)

Rachel is interested in all levels and experiences of art and finds it hard to pin her practice down to a particular style or genre. She likes to explore and develop her own philosophies and theories. Concepts and location are important to her, often influencing the choice of medium or format of the work. Rachel works across a wide range of media from large structural/architectural sculpture, performance and installation art, to watercolour drawings and everything in between.

Rachel graduated with a Diploma of Art & Creativity from The Learning Connexion in 2006. She went on to study Fine Arts at Massey University and Applied Art at Whitireia Polytechnic gaining a degree from the latter, while still chipping away at the former.

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Karla Vink

Mentor and Certificate Tutor

Dip Applied Art & Design, Dip Art & Creativity (Hons)

Karla’s background is in graphic design and illustration. Hailing from Taranaki, she has worked in the creative industry for more than 10 years. A former student and graduate of The Learning Connexion, Karla moved to Wellington for a change of scenery and to explore the fine art side of her creativity. As a student she felt she had found a place where there was the freedom to explore, make mistakes and learn, not just from tutors, but fellow students.

“I feel privileged to be part of our students creativity journey”.

On completing her Honours Diploma Karla become part of The Learning Connexion team as an on-site Certificate tutor and distance delivery mentor. Her own work explores a wide range of media, but oils are her preferred medium.

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Leo Semau

Children’s Art Co-ordinator and Certificate Tutor

Leo is currently studying the Advanced Diploma Programme at the Learning Connexion and teaches children's art classes, certificate classes and holiday programmes.

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Catherine Hayes

Painting Tutor, Mentor

Dip Art & Creativity (Hons), Dip Textile Design, Nat Cert in Adult Education & Training

Catherine came to The Learning Connexion as a mid-life student in 1998. She has been a tutor here since 2001 and teaches life drawing, watercolour, portraiture and icon painting classes as well as working as a mentor for distance delivery students.

“Art and creativity makes us feel good about ourselves and I do whatever I can to help encourage that”.

Helping people believe that they really are creative is something Catherine takes great pleasure in. It is her firm belief that creativity and caring will solve the world’s problems. Her own personal art making veers towards abstraction and symbolism. She enjoys being open to new media and different methods of expression and continues to look for opportunities to develop as an artist and a person.

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Robert Franken

Painting Tutor

BA Applied Art, Dip Art & Creative

To Robert, the process of painting is a journey and the actual painting, when finished, usually holds the key to the next one. He hopes to intertwine being an artist with whatever he does or thinks, thereby meeting himself in some totally unexpected places!

“It is my concern to act upon what I really know and screen out that which I have gathered over the years and which is not really mine. This, I guess, will be a continuous journey.”

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Roger Key

Painting and Drawing Tutor

BFA, Dip Teaching

Roger’s art practice encompasses painting, drawing and 3D. He does a lot of figurative painting and finds himself inspired by artists like David and Delacroix.

His artwork often takes digs at how the media present our reality to us. This might be as simple as taking a camouflage pattern and looking at how to uncover the stories and relationships that sit behind it. Playing with the relationship between things that happen today, with those from the past, and finding the humour within these ideas.

“I think creative process is something that all individuals find for themselves. My process is quite intuitive but I like to underpin it with firm ideas. I start with a vision and then work towards that vision.”

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Karen Lynley

Painting and Drawing Tutor

Dip Art & Creativity (Hons)

Karen came to TLC as an adult student in 1993. Unsure what she wanted to do with her career, she describes TLC as providing the encouragement and support she needed to follow her passion in art. During her programme, Karen recalls coming face-to-face with one of our core principles of creativity – risk-taking. Given 10 minutes to prepare to lead a life-drawing class, she vividly remembers standing in front of the class, utterly terrified, wishing she was anywhere but there! With that crash course in tutoring, she continued to learn more about adult education and went from being a student, to working in many roles at TLC, including helping to set up the very first distance delivery programme.

Karen has worked with tutors and facilitators, students and artists and is passionate about supporting people to explore their own creative potential. Her own art practice (recently reawakened) is in painting media (watercolour, acrylic and oils) and multi-media aspects including encaustic.

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Dan Wilkinson

Drawing Tutor

Dip Art & Creativity (Hons), Cert VCD

Teaching art is something Dan loves to do. He has spent a third of his life passing on artistic and creative knowledge and enjoys watching students progress and develop at their own pace. Dan likes to create an environment where students can express who they are, as well as what they see and feel.

He encourages a balance of working intuitively and developing skills that help to create works that are aesthetically pleasing. Dan's own work mirrors his teaching style; he is constantly evolving as he explores surface and media to satisfy his creative needs. Most of his work is driven by his love and passion for the environment he is surrounded by - Wellington's harbour, and the west and south coast.

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Iain Watt

Illustration Tutor

BA (Hons), MEd (Hons), PCCE

Iain Watt is a graduate of illustration from Dundee Art School in the UK. After graduating he propelled himself into commercial art, eventually establishing his own business within his hometown of Glasgow. Working on a diverse range of graphic assignments Iain has clients throughout the world. He has also lectured at UK colleges on photography, his other great passion, and taught art in secondary schools in England.

The Southern Hemisphere beckoned in 1997 with an invitation to tutor 2-dimensional design at Wellington Polytechnic. This led to his current position as a tutor at The Learning Connexion. Iain’s work provides an outlet and exorcism of the expression of anger and joy, and has evolved through perseverance, encouragement from family and friends and a solid Scottish education.

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Jude Robertson

Mentor and Photography Tutor

BFA (Sculpture), Cert. Photography

Jude is an installation artist and mentors students who study via distance at TLC. She has a strong creative curiosity and environmental conscious. Her work explores the relationship between people, space and place.

Exhibition highlights include Illuminated, a window installation at Lopdell House Gallery (off-site) in 2013 and attending a post-graduate art lab in Singapore in 2014. She is currently completing a MFA at Massey University.

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Leigh Mitchel-Anyon

Photography Tutor

Leigh has over 25 years experience in commercial and fine arts photography and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from WRCP as well as a Post Grad Teaching Diploma from Victoria University in Wellington.

In his own photography he enjoys hands-on, edgy experiences. In his late teens he photo-documented the Korean and Japanese fishing boats he was working on, and in his 30’s stalked live volcanoes, such as Mt Ruapehu.

Leigh believes in taking this hands-on approach into his teaching practice at The Learning Connexion. For example: making a life size temporary photogram of himself and building a walk-in camera obscura with students. He likes to encourage students to get right in there and explore lots of different photographic techniques to express their creative ideas.

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Marci Tackett

Printmaking Tutor

BFA Printmaking, BA Humanities

Marci loves the process of making art and being a member of a culture and community invested in nurturing the development of the creative process in all people. Through her personal exploration as an artist and tutor, she has come to understand that anything is attainable if engendered with passion, commitment, patience and knowledge.

“I understand that each of us has a unique story and point of departure for the development of our creativity. I value the opportunity to work with people from diverse backgrounds, interests and goals. These differing perspectives and experiences create compelling dialogues, producing even more vital works of art.”

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Hanne Eriksen Mapp

Jewellery Tutor

Dip Craft Design (Adv), Dip Visual Arts & Design (Adv)

Hanne studied in Denmark, California and Japan, and has been working within the field of art for the past 37 years. After 22 years as a professional ceramicist she began making jewellery in New Zealand during a years sabbatical. Hanne has been a part-time tutor throughout her career and enjoys interacting with people: "The Learning Connexion is unique in the way individuals are valued and allowed to develop and express ideas at their own pace."

Beautiful items, whether made by nature or mankind, are reflected in her art. Treasures such as amber, jade, coral, turquoise, precious stones and lapis lazuli inspire her. She uses this matrix to craft jewellery that reflect her travels, knowledge and background as a Viking.

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Vaune Mason

Jewellery Tutor

Vaune has always been a maker and a collector and loves being a part of The Learning Connexion family. Jewellery making has been her passion for the last 17 years. She has taught jewellery making for more than 10 of these, and enjoys passing on her creative knowledge to her students, helping them discover their own talent.

For Vaune, one of the many rewarding aspects of jewellery making is that you are always learning new ways to do things. With so many ways to create jewellery: cutting, hammering, carving, soldering – there is always something different on her bench. Her personal work uses a variety of materials, including found and recycled objects, precious stones and metals, fabric and paint.

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Natalie Halley

Jewellery Tutor

PhD, Dip Art & Creativity (Hons)

Natalie always loved creating. As a child she’d spend hours in her father's workshop, constructing furniture for her dolls. In her teens she worked with wood making board games, and explored using Perspex to design sculptural clocks. Producing sculptural birthday cakes became another hobby. Despite this urge to create she pursued a career in science. But, her creative spark was unfulfilled and she returned to art. Enrolling in our Certificate programme, she stayed on as a part-time student for several years.

Whilst her main interests initially lay in sculpture and photography, a weekend class in jewellery making changed everything. She had found her true passion. Natalie loves working with precious metals and the challenge of producing miniature works. She creates jewellery from her home studio, often with sculptural or mechanical elements.

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Aaron Frater

3D Tutor, Mentor

BA (Hons), Dip Art & Creativity (Adv)

Aaron’s sculptural work and paintings are inspired by his surroundings and the nature of the materials, as much as his own internal landscape. His art reflects a dialogue between himself as a creative, and the natural world.

“Art is a language. This language continues to evolve as I use new materials and respond to new stimulus”.

Living near Wellington’s south coast, Aaron’s sculptural forms engage, through form and image, New Zealand elements. He likes to work with contrasting and similar elements, expressing the idea of culture and nature meeting and engaging. Aaron’s paintings are a cross between inspiration, the materials used and how they behave. He mixes carving with painting, using plywood and plastic along with timber and stone.

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Dennis Berdinner

3D Tutor

BA (Hons), Dip Teaching

Dennis is a member of the Sculpture Symposium Trust and tutors students in the techniques of sculpture. Sculpture is a life-long passion. He has been sculpting for as long as he can remember and works with soft and hard stone, wood, metal, snow and ice. His art draws on two sources: the external coastal environment where he lives and the inner world of his own imagination. Dennis likens creating sculpture to a mirror of his awareness and a process of self-revelation: “Through my work I explore my relationship with time, place and people”.

The scale of his commissioned work ranges from hand-held netsuke-like pieces (miniature sculptures invented in 17th-century Japan), through to desk sculpture and larger work for outdoor spaces. Pieces that function as family heirlooms, gifts, adornment and indoor/outdoor installations.

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Mel Ford

Ceramics Tutor


If making art is an open ended question, then Mel reckons her personal creative mantra might go along the lines of, “I wonder what would happen if?”...

Working with students at The Learning Connexion, Mel enjoys being constantly exposed to new creative challenges as she assists students to explore. Constantly learning, it is also rewarding to watch others begin to trust their own intuition and allow their creative processes to unfold.

Part mad scientist, part obsessive compulsive, Mel’s own art making is all about the exploration of an idea, a concept and a material. She believes that the potential of something includes its limitations. The more you play with something the more you know about it. Doing is indeed thinking and knowing is frequently arrived at after a mistake (or three).

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Leda Farrow

Children's Art Co-ordinator/Tutor

Youth Art Co-ordinator/Tutor

Leda teaches the Children's Art Classes and Holiday Programmes.

As an artist in her own right, Leda has worked in wide range of media with her main focus on being animation, multimedia, and puppetry. She has a fascination with trying to combine theatre and art together.

Her studies in the arts at Massey University (Wellington) include a Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours in 2011, majoring in Installation and Performance Art.

In 2009 she studied at UC Berkeley, where she took courses in sound and video art and, in 2011, she worked with Bread and Puppet Theatre, a political puppet theatre company based in Vermont, where she learnt the art of animating objects and constructing large scale puppets.

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Marc Hill


Marc’s background is in film and the stage. He started out at Shepperton Studios in London where he worked his way up from stage-hand to art director, and eventually to producer. He has been lucky to work with many highly creative people such as Terry Gilliam, Bookbinder, Duffy, Ridley Scott, Genesis, HR Giger and Bernd Benthaak. They taught him many valuable lessons for which he is eternally grateful.

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Valetta Brenzón

Experimental Video Tutor

Cert. Film and Television

As a freelance photographer and videographer Valetta has worked internationally with musicians, artists and performers creating inspiring photographic art and video. Her documentary work and exhibitions focussed on positive body image and self-acceptance, and her latest video series ‘Creative: I Am’ promotes artists of the Wellington region.

“All of us are natural creators; whether we realise it or not we are creating every moment we live. My role as a tutor is to help students channel their energy into creating the most truthful artistic representations of their inner selves.”

[email protected]

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Alan Poole

Digital Art and Design Tutor

BA (Hons), MA, Dip Art and Creativity (Hons)

As well as tutoring at TLC, Alan also works as a freelance illustrator. He has worked on a variety of projects, both in print media and in the digital domain in the form of web-based interactive digital products.

When tutoring students, Alan prefers to discuss with them what their project is and to offer advice and techniques that will help them bring their project to fruition. He believes that this focus on a student’s personal goals motivates them to explore their own creative ideas further, ensuring they don't lose what it is that makes their work unique and novel, especially in a commercial context.

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