Tui Slater Conceptual Artist



My sculptures arise from the mechanics of the materials I need to use to develop my concepts. I work in two forms of sculpture. One of taking away material, such as the bone work I do. The other where I add material and items to the piece, such as metal, cloth, wood, clay, or wax to create the structural work.

When making 3D works, form, styling, and the consideration of all sides must be taken into account. Sculpture therefore provides me with different challenges, a different way of thinking and working. Using other materials to bring my ideas to light often means having to learn on the job how best to work with them. Some pieces are large, grunty works, others may be small or delicate, but it's the thought that counts I think!!

Read more..

Copper dresses
Aoteroa Vogue - copper
Galvanised dresses
Aoteroa Vogue - galvanised metal

Ollie and Delphi Construction

Ollie and Delphi

Taste Test Sculpture

Taste Test

Liaisons Sculpture


Galvanizing Thing Sculpture

Galvanizing Thing 

XX Big Buddy Sculpture

XX Big Buddy

I am not a sculptor, a sculptor of clay or marble, etc. That is not my style, although I do use clay from time to time as a canvas and enjoy the tactile nature of it. I sculpt my ideas, and make sculptural works from objects, or with objects.

Metal mesh used in reinforcing concrete slab has been used in one of my sculptures. That was a very large work. Other times I have made small pieces to sit on a book case. Some out of wood, some from wax.

Recently I have taken to bone carving, not in the style of pendants, but free standing works. These are delicate singlet / dress forms with the outline of the canon bone off a cow as an integral part of the story I want to tell. Canon decrees. Becoming intimate with the a bone is a privilege I guess. Cleaning: out comes the precious marrow, scraping, soaking, scraping, scraping, soaking scraping. Feeling the grain of the bone beneath my saw blade. Thinking also of the provider and the provider – the bread winner / hunter and the roast the cook cooks. I value in my bone sculptures, as I must with all my sculptural works, the flow and view from all angles. With bone you take away, leaving views you cannot change without ruining the whole piece. With metal or wood pieces you add, making sure the view works from every angle - top, bottoms, sides. I also love the extra dimension that you get when making a 3D work - the negative space. Most important.

Sculpture is another discipline to two dimensional works which are confined to the limits off the sides, be they four, eight, or circular as in my pot lids works and as often quoted, “a picture paints a thousand words”. Sculptures are strong, and are the picture really.

Three dimensional works should, in my opinion, be seamless from beginning to end. Working with concepts in sculpture is a bit like my jewellery making. The final work must stand on its own, uncluttered. Therefore I limit my ideas, paring them down so the main ingredient is the focus. Any sauce is purely the icing on the cake - enhancing.

Cliches abound, it is damn hard at times thinking and working outside the square, but it is very liberating to pull yourself in and work with “a limited pallet” of one idea, one focus, that stands alone, but says so much if executed well. That is what I like about making my sculptural works.

Back to top...


Pure "Tuiana" - my parody on Kiwiana. Tuiana is my passion; observing and toying with New Zealand's iconography. I wonder who it is that defines our culture, what our gender and associated roles should be?

The majority of my present work is based on one of two themes:
Black Singlet
New Zealand Landscape
Find Tui Slater on Facebook. Facebook ® is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.