Nicola Dench - Ceramic artist
Nicola is a full-time ceramic artist. See www.claypenquin.co.nz.
She creates her work in an open gallery and workshop at her home in Hector Street, Seatoun, where she also tutors children and adults in clay sculpture and ceramic art.
The story of her BraveArt work follows the success story of the native Chatham Island Black Robin.
See their conservation success story here.
The species came back from the brink of extinction when a single remaining breeding pair of birds named Old Yellow and Old Blue began the 30 year battle to bring the population back to its current numbers of 250 birds. Nicola wanted to parallel this powerful survival story with the story of the breast cancer survivors in the BraveArt project. She chose the motif of the Chatham Island Black Robin and the two colours - blue and yellow - representing the last pair of robins. "The cross hatch, net pattern of the two colours" she says "is to create an optical illusion as a camouflage for the scars created by breast cancer surgery."
She has won awards for her work, but says the most rewarding times are when people connect with her work, or through her work. Working on her recent “Threads of the Community” exhibition has been a highlight.
Her grandmother was affected by breast cancer, and she recognises the journey through the disease “as a brave and courageous one.”
Margot McErlain-Munif - CanSurvive
Margot credits the CanSurvive Dragon Boat Team with teaching her to push herself harder.
“I love how it has brought out my competitive side,” she says.
She has been a keen member of the team since 2010 and is thrilled that they have become strong enough to win the national title in 2014.
Originally from Ireland, Margot settled in Wellington with her family, and then lived in London for 26 years before returning to Wellington in 2006.
Margot was diagnosed with breast cancer in her mid 40s. She underwent right side mastectomy surgery as well as follow-up chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
“Having cancer has taught me that this is not a rehearsal,” she says. “We must remember to seize every opportunity and cherish every moment.”