Kelly McDonald



Kelly was born in the 70s. She grew up in Moe, (meaning ‘swamp’ in the local Aboriginal dialect) a rural industrial power town east of Melbourne, Australia. In the 90s she completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts, majoring in Jewellery & Object Design and later moved to Wellington’s south coast as a 30 year old. Following concurrent careers in the art department for film and children’s television and stints as a registered nurse, she resumed her childhood love of making objects and jewellery.

She has a broad commitment to the jewellery community as a teacher at Whitireia NZ since 2007; as a member of Occupation: Artist, and the window gallery group, The See Here. Kelly was also a participant in the Handshake programme, a project initiated to support and progress emerging jewellers. Career highlights include selection for both Talente and Schmuck, and inclusion in the travelling jewellery extravaganza Wunderruma, curated by Karl Fritsch and Warwick Freeman. Her work plays with questions around utility; How do function and aesthetics balance within an object? Can an object’s design transition over its life-time to perform multiple functions? Can these ideas translate into wearable objects? How do humans read these ideas?



1995 – 1997
Bachelor of Visual Arts: Jewellery & Object Design, Sydney College of the Arts, Australia

2007 – Current
Tutor at Whitireia New Zealand – Bachelor of Applied Arts – Jewellery, Wellington, NZ


HandShake 3, 2 Year Professional Development Program

HandShake 2, 2 Year Professional Development Program

2013 – Current
Member of Occupation: Artist

2010 – Current
Member of The See Here, Window gallery


Reflect, HandShake 3, The Dowse Museum, Wellington, NZ
A love letter to street sweepers, plumbers and The See Here, The See Here, Wtn, NZ
HandShake 3, Frame Galleries, Handwerksmesse, Munich, Germany
Schmuck, Munich, Germany
It will all come out in the wash, HS3 & DC Collaboration, Munich, Germany

Specials – HandShake Alumni, Einsäulensaal, Residence Palace, Munich, Germany
Golden Section, Park(ing) Day, Wellington, NZ
– HandShake 3, Objectspace, Auckland, NZ
Playthings, The Refinery Artspace, Nelson, NZ
HandShake 3, Platina Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden
An Asemic Narrative, installation, The See Here, Wellington, NZ

HandShake 2, Pah Homestead, Auckland, NZ
Contemporary Wearables ’15, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, Australia
HandShake 2 Mentors & Mentees, Avid, Wellington, NZ
Occupy Crossley Street, Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne, Australia
Wunderruma, Auckland Art Gallery, Curated by Warwick Freeman & Karl Fritsch, Auckland, NZ
Occupy Anna – Occupation: Artist @ Wunderweek, Anna Miles Gallery, Auckland, NZ
HandShake 2, Stanley Street Gallery, Sydney, Australia
Wear the Wares, Adorned Spaces Exhibition SNAG Conference, Boston, USA
Ornament/artefact with Vivien Atkinson & Petra Stueben, Toi Poneke, Wellington, NZ
Penumbra/Antumbra, with Becky Bliss, Avid, Wellington, NZ
Play, installation, The See Here, Wellington, NZ
Tinker, Tailor, The See Here, Wellington, NZ

HandShake 2, Toi Poneke, Wellington, NZ
Wunderruma, Galerie Handwerk, Munich, Germany
Wunderruma, The Dowse Art Museum, NZ
Penumbra/Antumbra, with Becky Bliss, The National, Christchurch, NZ
Temporary Loan: Collection of the Artist, installation, The See Here, Wellington, NZ



  • Art News, Winter 2017, ‘Our contemporary jewellery artists shine at Schmuck’ image & text p.96-97
  • Schmuck 2017, Exhibition Catalogue, Munich, Bayerischer Handwerkstag, p.62


  • Tool as Jewel, Publication ed. Mary-Jane Duffy, 32 page Artist’s Catalogue. Link here
  • Specials – HandShake Alumni, Exhibition Catalogue, Jembooks, p.17
  • SPANpoints, HS3, Exhibition Catalogue, Jembooks
  • Jewels of Whitireia, Connection Devices – co written with Peter Deckers, p.7 Link here
  • What do people do all day? No.6, Interview by Kirsten McDougall, The Invisible Writer, Link here


  • Jewellery across the miles, Interview, Stuff, Link here
  • Avid, Interview, Art Jewellery Forum, Link here
  • Arts Commentator Courtney Johnston, 9 to Noon, Radio NZ Podcast, Link here
  • Shows and Tales: On Jewelery Exhibition-Making, Ed. Benjamin Lignel, p.252-3
  • Fishhead magazine Issue 47 April, p.82


  • Wunderruma, Book – Warwick Freeman & Karl Fritsch, p. 58





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