Fine Arts Whanganui's newest member Amla Meijer describes herself as a "Jill-of-all-trades."

She is a jeweller, sculptor, painter and her works range from minuscule to enormous.

"Making jewellery and drawing are my meditation and current interest," she says.

Meijer was born and bred in Pretoria, South Africa, where she studied fine arts, and later learned jewellery making in the Netherlands.


"I have been commissioned to paint and sculpt murals all over the world, from London to Whanganui and a couple of places in between.

"We came to Whanganui 10 years ago when my husband was employed as an anaesthetist at Whanganui Hospital.

"At first we thought it might be a stepping stone to somewhere else but we loved it so much we decided to stay."

The couple settled in Westmere where Meijer has her studio and they are raising two children, now aged 9 and 11.

"I love Whanganui's clean air and our rural house with its gorgeous vista of the rolling farm lands and the windy Whanganui River," she says.

"I love old chippy junk and abandoned buildings, pretty fabrics, vintage medical quackery and the way old books smell."

She will have the opportunity to indulge all of those passions when she decorates the Fine Arts Gallery for Vintage Weekend in January.

"It's great to have Alma join us," said collective member John Archbold.

"She has agreed to be the props person for our Vintage Weekend exhibition and she has some wonderful ideas."

Meijer says recycling and salvaging are important to her and she loves incorporating fun and unexpected styles of craftsmanship in her work.

"I enjoy challenging myself to have as little impact on the environment as possible."

Since Fine Arts Whanganui formed with 12 artists just over two years ago, they have had a couple of line-up changes but the group has gone from strength to strength.

With an impressive mix of painters, photographers, print makers and multi-media artists supplying the gallery as well as exhibitions by guest artists, they have had another very successful year.