Warwick Freeman

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Warwick Freeman
Warwick Stephen Freeman

(1953-01-05) 5 January 1953 (age 71)
Nelson, New Zealand
Known forJewellery, metalwork

Warwick Stephen Freeman (born 5 January 1953) is a New Zealand jeweller.


Warwick Freeman in his Auckland studio, 2015

Freeman was born in Nelson in 1953,[1][2] and was educated at Nelson College from 1966 to 1970.[3] He began making jewellery with Peter Woods in Perth in 1972.[1] He returned to New Zealand the following year and established a workshop in Nelson before moving to Auckland in 1975.[4] In 1977 he worked with Daniel Clasby, and with Jens Hansen in 1978.[4] Freeman was a member of the Auckland-based jewellery co-operative Fingers between 1978 and 2003.[1]

In the early eighties, Freeman was a prominent member of a group of jewellers who began exploring the use of local materials in contemporary jewellery. Their work reflected a changing New Zealand cultural and political environment. “We were caught up in a historical moment triggered by the new Labour government,” Freeman recalls. “They declared us Nuclear Free, and started developing a foreign policy that was about living in the South Pacific as opposed to being an adjunct of Europe. Our work got swept up in it and adopted by locals as ‘emblematic’ in the way jewellery can.” [5]

Freeman was one of twelve jewellers selected for the landmark 1988 Bone Stone Shell exhibition, developed by New Zealand's Craft Council for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and shown in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.[6] In 2002, he received an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award.[1] In the same year he was named 2002 Laureate by the Françoise van den Bosch Foundation, based at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.[1]

Freeman was the founding chair of Auckland contemporary craft and design gallery Objectspace, and in 2013 became a Governor of the New Zealand Arts Foundation.[7] In 2013 he was also the 'featured master' at the German contemporary jewellery festival Schmuck.[8]

Curatorial projects[edit]

James Mack called Freeman "one of the guiding lights" behind the 1981 Paua Dreams exhibition, which was instrumental in elevating the status of paua shell from its association with the tourist market to a precious material in contemporary New Zealand jewellery.[9]

In 1983, Freeman and fellow jeweller Alan Preston were asked by Mack, then director of The Dowse Art Museum, to select items from the Auckland Museum's collection for a 1984 exhibition at The Dowse titled Pacific Adornment.[10]

In 2011 Freeman collaborated with Octavia Cook on the exhibition Eyecatch at Objectspace gallery in Auckland. The first photographic exhibition held at Objectspace, the show looked at the relationship between jewellery and photography.[11]

In 2014 Freeman co-curated Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery with Karl Fritsch, a touring exhibition of New Zealand jewellery that showed at Galerie Handwerk in Munich as part of the Schmuck festival, at The Dowse Art Museum, and at the Auckland Art Gallery in 2015 .[12][13][14]


His works are held various New Zealand and international collections, including at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Powerhouse Museum, the Neue Pinakothek, The Dowse Art Museum, the National Gallery of Australia, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.[2][15][16][17][18]

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • Owner’s Manual: Jewellery by Warwick Freeman, various New Zealand locations (1995)
  • Given: Jewellery by Warwick Freeman, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam (2004) and various New Zealand locations (2005-2007)
  • It's Black or White, Starkwhite, Auckland (2007)
  • Shadowboard, Bowen Galleries, Wellington (2008)
  • Colour Slide, Bowen Galleries, Wellington (2010)
  • Jewellery by Warwick Freeman, The National, Christchurch (2013)
  • The Family Jewels, Objectspace (2015), The Dowse Art Museum (2016), MTG Hawke's Bay (2016) [19][20]
  • Prime, Gallery Funaki, Melbourne (2015)[21]
  • Warwick Freeman, The National, Christchurch (2015)[22]

Selected group exhibitions[edit]

Further information[edit]


Publications and articles on Freeman's work[edit]

  • James Mack, Warwick Freeman: Maker of Things, New Zealand Crafts, Autumn 1985.
  • Julie Ewington, Owner's manual / jewellery by Warwick Freeman, Auckland: Starform, 1995.
  • Damian Skinner, Given: jewellery by Warwick Freeman, Auckland: Starform, 2004. ISBN 0476004276
  • Andrea Stevens, Indesign issue 48 pg 199, New Zealand contemporary jeweller, Warwick Freeman, on making meaning from ‘found’ objects, Sydney: Indesign Media, 2011.

Publications on contemporary jewellery[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Biography, Warwick Freeman - Jeweller". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Freeman, Warwick". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  3. ^ Nelson College Old Boys' Register, 1856–2006, 6th edition (CD-ROM).
  4. ^ a b Schamroth, Helen (1998). 100 New Zealand Craft Artists. Auckland: Random House. p. 27. ISBN 1869620364.
  5. ^ Stevens, Andrea (2011). New Zealand contemporary jeweller, Warwick Freeman, on making meaning from ‘found’ objects. Sydney: Indesign Media. p. 199.
  6. ^ "Bone Stone Shell". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Three new Governors". The Arts Foundation. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Warwick Freeman". Art Jewelry Forum. 24 August 2013. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  9. ^ Mack, James (Autumn 1985). "Warwick Freeman: Maker of Things" (PDF). New Zealand Crafts: 10–11. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  10. ^ Skinner, Damian; Murray, Kevin (2014). Place and Adornment: A history of contemporary jewellery in Australia and New Zealand. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i. p. 141. ISBN 9781869538200.
  11. ^ "Eye Catch:Jewellery and Photography". The See Here. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Wunderrūma: New Zealand Jewellery". The Dowse Art Museum. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Wunderruma: New Zealand Jewellery". Auckland Art Gallery. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  14. ^ Jameson, Emma (15 October 2015). "Wunderrūma at AAG". EyeContact. Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Warwick Freeman". The National. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  16. ^ "Warwick Freeman". Luminaries. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
  17. ^ "Warwick Freeman". Stedelijk Museum. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  18. ^ "Collections Online - Made by: Warwick Freeman". Auckland Museum. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  19. ^ "The Family Jewels". Objectspace. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  20. ^ "The Family Jewels". The Dowse Art Museum. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Prime". Gallery Funaki. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Warwick Freeman". The National. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  23. ^ "The Bold and the Beautiful". The Dowse Art Museum. Retrieved 20 June 2015.