The Garden Party

Let us introduce you to some of the suppliers who make the fabulous, curious and beautiful gifts you'll find at The Garden Party. We are passionate about local, New Zealand made arts and craft, and it's our pleasure to support these small enterprises by bringing their wonderful wares to you. Scroll down to read more about these talented people and the inspiration they get from our beautiful country.

Art By Design - Michelle Bow

Michelle Bow, of Art By Design says she "fell in love with clay 35 years ago at teachers college, but it was only in 2001 that I had the opportunity to pursue it as a career."  Initially she sold her ceramic creations at markets and then moved on to co-op stores. She loves not just the creation of her pieces but the seeing people respond and love her work.    "It was a real thrill when other people, not just family and friends, wanted to buy what I made,", she says.
Michelle is most proud of the fact that she makes quality products which connect people. Her work is bought and given as meaningful gifts. It is popular in New Zealand, is purchased by tourists and is also sent overseas.

She thinks a major factor in running a successful business is having a loving, supportive husband who encouraged her 9 years ago to keep going and keep growing.  Maak Bow also started working in clay 6 years ago, has been a finalist in four Portage Ceramic Award Exhibitions and last year joined her as a full-time ceramic artist. The passionate about pottery couple have recently constructed to a purpose-built ceramic studio in the country. 
She proud to be a New Zealander and says "I am constantly inspired by the beauty of this country. My art is heavily influenced by my New Zealand heritage and love for Aotearoa.  I am grateful for the support of New Zealand retailers and their customers who buy kiwi made."

Glenn Jones Design

Glenn Jones design is a dynamic husband and wife team – Glenn and Julia. From their Auckland home they dream up, create and produce some of New Zealand’s finest and funniest art prints.

Glenn is the creative genius behind the art and has worked on successful campaigns for Google, facebook, Countdown, Cadbury and more.  You’ll see his bright, clean designs all over the place.
And deservedly so.

Glenn’s art has, as he puts it “a sense of humour, a hint of nostalgia and always proudly celebrates what it is to be a Kiwi’.

Glenn is a prolific artist and is always producing more work. We sell his art prints so well because they incapsulate how fond Kiwis are of New Zealand – a love of this country often expressed in a gentle, humorous way.

While Glenn is creating the art Julia is overseeing the day-to-day operations, sees the big-picture strategy and keeps their three young kids from knocking on Glenn’s door too much.

Together they make art that makes people smile, and that’s what keeps them happy, their brand very successful and their customers coming back.

Kat Merewether - an amazing Kuwi

Kat Merewether is a busy creative and passionate person.  She is the writer and illustrator of the well loved Kuwi the Kiwi series of books.  For these she has won numerous awards and they feature regularly in New Zealand's best sellers lists.  She is an artist in her own right and works as an illustrator and in a design collective.  She has just released her first cookbook - Kuwi's Kitchen.  Her stunning illustrations are featured on kids products like puzzles and dinner ware.

She is also an official ambassador for the charity Kiwis for Kiwi.  She is committed to helping save our national bird. She donates a portion of each book sale to this charity and has so far raised more than $15,000 for Kiwis for Kiwi - enough to protect 150 kiwi for one whole year!

She lives in rural Waikato with her husband and her 3 daughters, Opal, Florence and Willow. 

This is how she describes her life: "I get to travel around meeting kiwi kids, talking about illustration, writing, book creating as well as helping to educate and raise awareness for kiwi conservation, as part of my role as ambassador for Kiwis for kiwi. I really LOVE my job."

We love Kat's work - it is funny, colourful and yet full of wise advise.  So do kids and adults alike, as her books are one of our best sellers. And we find her commitment to conservation inspirational.  The Garden Party is now also donating a portion of the Kuwi the Kiwi books to Kiwis for Kiwis for the month of October.

The Natty Duo - Cat McKay and Fiona Gibb

The Natty duo are Cat McKay and Fiona Gibb, two Wellington based ladies whose collaboration was born from a shared vision for the 'dream job'. Both full-time mothers whose boys happened to start primary school in the same class, Cat and Fiona bonded over the mutual desire to work for themselves somewhere close to home.

They began making jewellery from old vintage books, which they would sell at weekend craft markets. Their pieces proved to be popular, as there quickly grew a demand from local shops to sell their work. Natty is now a full time operation for these busy ladies, with their own workshop and several stockists across New Zealand.

The name Natty is an "old school work you don't often hear among the living", as Fiona explains, "Your Great Grandmother may have used it when she wanted to express how jaunty your Great Grandfather's suit looked on him." And it suits the business perfectly. Their pieces emanate retro charm while maintaining a unique, quirky element that keeps them very much current.

Like many New Zealand artists, they take inspiration from the beauty in their natural environment, using many natural products such as polished woods in their work. Cat and Fiona also share a keen sense of humour, finding inspiration in their more immediate environment, as perfectly illustrated by Fiona: "The kids were bouncing on the tramp the other day and one said 'Tanks' (shortened form of thank you). I texted Cat ...Tanks and a picture of a tank.... she texted back....Army Tank, Fishtank and Tank Top....then she sketched it and viola, new Natty Thank You card"

Tanya Wolfkamp - Artful Illustrations

New Zealand illustrator and textile designer Tanya Wolfkamp is a well known name in the New Zealand art community.

Inspired by the father of the arts and crafts movement, William Morris, Tanya belives in his idea that you should have "nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful".  She also shares the philosophy that good art should be available to all, and not just a select few. It is this belief that lead to her pursing a career in applied art.

Based in her Waikehe home studio, she draws inspiration from the same sources as Morris, her work showcasing the aesthetics of the natural world and belief that even the most simple and humble objects should be beautiful.  She also is a proud proponent of the beautiful New Zealand landscape.

Her work features many birds and plants native to New Zealand. Her work reflects her broad creative talent, utilising a variety of different tools and materials to create a diverse range of beautiful craft objects.  Her range includes gorgeous household items such as the Kiwi alphabet card set, bunting, calendars and phone covers.  All of which can be found on this website and are extremely popular sellers for us.

Bob Steiner - NZ Ceramics

Inspired by his fascination of nature, Bob Steiner’s designs draw on the geometric and organic forms which exist in the natural world.

Bob Steiner’s passion for pottery seems innate, spending his childhood weekends playing and experimenting with clay. His future was set when his father gave him his first throwing wheel for his 15th birthday.

Having graduated from Elam Art School during the 1970s, Bob began his career in pottery sculpture that has stretched across four decades. 

He is now regarded as one of New Zealand's most well known and much loved potters.

His handmade sculptural ceramic pieces feature New Zealand’s unique and diverse fauna and flora, such as the fantail (piwakawaka) and the Ribbonwood flower (Hoheria lyalli).

His work is certainly testament to his mastery of ceramic art.

Blunt™ Umbrellas - best in the world!

The Blunt umbrella is taking the world by storm.  

Here, finally is an umbrella that is strong, (really, really strong) looks great and will last many years.  And they have been designed right here, in New Zealand.

Product engineer, Grieg Brebner and Scott Kingston head a small tight knit Auckland company that is changing the way we look at umbrellas.

The patented technology of a Blunt Umbrella makes then different to other umbrellas because the frame has been completely re-designed to create a super tight tensioned canopy that handles wind extremely well and its revolutionary Radial Tensioning System means they are near impossible to invert.  The Blunt tips housed in the canopy pockets give the umbrella its distinctive, rounded silhouette and also makes them safer round people.

As part of the recent movement towards an anti-throwaway culture, the philosophy Blunt has is to provide a quality, functional product that is made to last.

Buy once, buy right.   "One of our underlying philosophies is that if you create a product that's better, you're not going to have so much wasted resourses down the track", Kingston says.

The Blunts have been receiving positive publicity all round the world.  As the Wall Street Journal put it, “the Blunt™ falls somewhere between suspension bridge and NASA space probe."

If you don’t own one already, you’re likely to have seen them parading the streets on a rainy day. They have come to be known as the ‘Rolls-Royce of umbrellas’.

Reuben Price -100% New Zealand

Reuben Price started off as a young photographer and art student, travelling the country and the scouring the world for inspiration.  He started a small business - 100% New Zealand,  so he could follow his passion for travelling the country taking photos.  But the product range quickly grew as Reuben could see potential in Kiwiana based art and products.  

Reuben has a great eye and is a wonderful supportor and promoter of New Zealand artists.  He is all about producing Kiwiana with a difference, combining innovation with stunning New Zealand imagery. His products represent our country and it’s something he is very proud of.

The 100% New Zealand workshop is based on Auckland's North Shore and has many state of the art machines so that Reuben and his team can design and produce high quality products,  right here.  The quality and design asthetic remains uniquely New Zealand. But Reuben still enjoys travelling and sourcing interesting and new innovations from round the globe.

Since 2002 the company has quickly grown as a supplier of photographs and related giftware products to leading design and gift shops around New Zealand.  The 100% NZ products are some of the best selling items at The Garden Party

Proudly 100% New Zealand designed.

Ian Blackwell - wood-crafter and creator

Ian Blackwell creates wooden homeware products from kiln dried New Zealand Rimu Veneer, finished with an organic citrus based oil. Because Rimu has such a distinctive grain every one of his products is truly unique.

Born and raised here, Ian has always felt passionate about New Zealand and our ‘can do’ attitude. He tries to infuse a slice of Aotearoa into every piece created.

His love of New Zealand timbers took over from his original career in footwear design, and he and his wife Kitty now work from their studio on Auckland’s West Coast, designing products which are then lovingly created by their talented team in Riverton (outside Invercargill).

Cut using the latest laser technology, every product is then assembled and finished by hand, so the team approaches each piece with great care and attention to detail.

Ian says ‘I feel privileged to do what I do and love representing this land in my work,’ which is why this company is proud to be New Zealand made.

Kate Watts

Kate Watts is an established New Zealand designer with a degree from the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology. She has been involved in the garment and design industry for a number of years as a clothing designer and has also enjoyed several years working in the wardrobe departments of the Court Theatre and Southern Opera. Her designs are inspired by all things vintage.

Kate recently escaped earthquake-ravaged Christchurch and set up a new, more peaceful studio in Oamaru.

Kate is passionate about quality, service and craftsmanship. All of her designs are hand printed and sewn in the South Island of New Zealand.

Nellie Tier - natural skincare

Annie Porter and Sarah Sadd, cofounders of Nellie Tier, started their business next door to The Garden Party on Ponsonby Road. The company began with their desire to find skin care products that were luxurious, safe and specifically designed for mature New Zealand skin.

After months of research into herbal skincare, aromatherapy, soap and perfume making as well as old cosmetic formulas, the pair formulated the Nellie Tier range of boutique hand and body products. Made locally in small, hand-blended batches from mostly New Zealand sourced and organic ingredients, these products are rich and wonderful to use.

For Annie And Sara, business is a family affair. Nellie Tier is the name of Annie's grandmother, and their business pays tribute to the all the women in their families, who they describe as 'highly intelligent and resourceful women, who taught us to believe we could try anything'. 

If you look closely, every product features the names of their mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, nieces and great nieces in an ever expanding label that needs constant updating!

Now Nellier Tier has produced a new skin range specifically designed for teenage skin. Its called Tier for Teens and its amazing.  Our teens use it and it really works.

Jill Main - NZ jewellery

From humble beginnings at a kitchen table, Jill Main began creating unique and inspired pieces for everyday wear.  Over the past 22 years they have secured a firm fan base not just here in New Zealand but all around the world. 

100% created and handmade in New Zealand, their products are born of genuine Kiwi ingenuity and an unwavering commitment to quality. 

What's more, Jill Main is proud to be an eco friendly producer, sourcing local raw materials and supplies wherever possible.

Inspired by the natural beauty of Aotearoa, Jill Main’s carefully crafted range of gifts is made with the ideals of a Kiwi lifestyle in mind: whether you're off to the boardroom, hanging out at the beach or staying put at home.