Student story

Elsie Lundy

Elsie chose a career in Art and Design

Jade2022 12 Elsie Lundy

A significant change in family circumstances motivated Elsie Lundy to finally act on a long-held interest in carving.

When her father underwent major surgery and required on-going support at home, Elsie realised that working long hours in hospitality wasn’t sustainable. “I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue working in such a demanding field.”

Born on the West Coast and having always been arty, the former head chef at Treetop Walkway decided to enrol in Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s New Zealand Diploma in Art and Design. “I’ve always created art as a hobby at home, but this was the first time trying to study it on a professional level.”

Elsie says the programme gave her the flexibility to support her family when she needed to, while still allowing her to work full time at Shantytown Heritage Park.

At Tai Poutini, she particularly enjoyed learning about stonework and the techniques involved with carving, along with “learning how to see things as an artist and how to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary”.

Elsie currently carves part time, on contract at Traditional Jade in Hokitika, while she builds her own workshop. “I also have my own carving commissions business, Erstwild Stone. My goal is to work full time carving my own work and I’m nearly there already.”

Elsie has some good advice for anyone thinking about studying art and design at Tai Poutini. “It’s a good opportunity to create a lifestyle where you’re working for yourself and finding your own path. If you think it might be something you’d enjoy, then give it a go but you have to be driven, motivated and passionate to make it a career.”