When sculptor Simone Jacquat moved to Whanganui, she was hoping to make connections in the art world.

"In one strike, I made connections with 10 artists," she said.

Ms Jacquat, who moved to Whanganui from the Hokianga five months ago, is the newest member of Fine Arts Whanganui collective, based in Taupo Quay.

She moved to Whanganui because of its affordability, its history and its arts community.


"I was looking to make connections with galleries here, so I went into Fine Arts Whanganui and showed them my portfolio."

Fine Arts Whanganui member Julie Laird said the collective was on the hunt for new members after two of its original members left.

"We all talked about it, and we thought Simone was exactly what we were looking for," Ms Laird said.

"I've done some 3D work; but Simone is the first artist we've had dedicated to 3D art."

Ms Jacquat discovered sculpting by accident in 2001 when she wandered into a barn to find someone sculpting. She bought a piece of soapstone - and so began her career as a sculptor. By 2002 she was already working in a studio and holding regular exhibitions.

Ms Jacquat, originally from Switzerland, works mostly in hard stone - especially marble, granite, basalt and limestone - as well as wood.

She favours simple, uncluttered designs and loves to include contrasts in her work, such as smooth and rough surfaces.

"I think it's great when people can't help but touch my work. I like that."

Find out more about Ms Jacquat at www.simonejacquat.com.