Jet Collective celebrates 20 years

The artist collective on Bow St has hit two decades on the main street. 

Can you describe the concept that the Jet Collective was built on and how it operates?

The original concept of Jet was to bring together a bunch of Raglan creatives and provide a supportive and dynamic platform to showcase their work, sharing the responsibilities of running a gallery.

Tell us about who has been involved and who are the Jet artists of today? 

The founding members were Chris Meek, Che Rogers, Megan Hockly, Kim Marsh, Carrie Andrews, Sonja Jorgenson and Hayley Hamilton. Other collective members were, Jo Sweeney, Mark Purdom, Rochelle Cant, Ange Blaikie, Rebecca Dowling and current members are Jillian Lankshear  Jessie Galloway, Sarah Steed, Sarah Aitchison, Karla Stevenson and Hayley Hamilton. 

How has the collective evolved over the years ?

In the beginning there were 7 collective members and 7 days a week so each one of us covered a day and split the costs of rent; we were on a shoe string budget but it worked beautifully. 

As the years ticked by and people came and went we had to make a decision to take on other people’s work and sell their products on consignment, we then could cover our bills but stay true to the aesthetic of Jet. So what has evolved is still an artist run gallery but with a strong emphasis on New Zealand made and designed work. We now display over 40 different creatives pieces 

What have been the key reasons that Jet has thrived for 20 years ?

It is a really sensible way for an artist to sell their work without a huge financial commitment and only a small commission. Collectives work well if the communication and supportive environment are in harmony with the original goals of the concept. Like in any partnership there are ebbs and flows and you have to be realistic. At the moment we are a group of 6 women of all ages and with that comes real life stuff that far out-weighs any rule that we have written down. So we have to be fluid and support each other, its not just about the nuts and bolts of running jet.

Do you only feature the members work or do you include other artists?

We have work on commission from other New Zealand artists and we also buy a few select New Zealand made products, that we all agree to,  to help cover our bills 

How often do you come together and do you have specific roles? Has there been any challenges to overcome?

We come together once every 6-8 weeks normally, sometimes for business only chats other times for dinner. It’s pretty much like extended family. We have members that cover specific parts of the business and would be at a loss without them. There have been challenges like in any group of people trying to figure out a way forward, but I think our mantra is that we have to support one another no matter what. Is more than just a business as it is quite an unusual situation, there is no boss.  So a chat, a hug and a glass of wine or cup of tea normally sorts most sticky bits

What advice would you give to those who might think about a similar concept between fellow creatives?

A collective is a wonderful concept and a simple and rewarding way to sell your work. So if you are thinking of starting a collective be sure to understand, it is the way the world should work, but a big shiny idea that doesn’t involve compromise and compassion will ultimately fail. Communication and understanding are as important as the art. 

How would you describe the mix of artwork and products available at Jet? 

At the moment we have a very broad range of work; the members produce ceramics, jewellery, photography, handmade clothing and limited edition prints. Our stockists work ranges from books to body products, moccasins to undies, teas to teaspoon rings, plus the essentials of chocolate and honey!

People who are attracted to handmade local work are our customers, ranging from 8 to 88 year olds and beyond. We are in a time in the world where people really appreciate that someone has actually made what they are buying. There is an energy about it that you can feel.

Where are you situated and do you have a website?

 We are in the same spot we took over 20 years ago! 19a Bow Street, the metal fronted gallery next to the Shack. 

We are on Facebook and instagram