Bronwynne Cornish

Bronwynne Cornish


Bronwynne was born in Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington in 1945.

In the early 1960s she studied industrial design at the Wellington Polytechnic School of Design, and it was there that she met Denys Watkins her future life partner. She was introduced to clay by Helen Mason in 1965 but it was between 1968 and 1970 when she worked with Helen in the Waitakere’s that she took seriously to the medium.

From 1971 to 1978 she worked on Waiheke Island, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. In 1978 she attended a sculpture symposium in Toronto, Canada, with a small group of other artists. In the 1980s, Bronwynne was a visiting tutor at the Otago School of Ceramics and the Waikato Technical Institute, and in the 1990s she was a full-time tutor in ceramics at Carrington Polytechnic, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

In 1998 she was one of thirteen participants in a clay symposium at Otago Polytechnic, and the following year she undertook a Sarjeant Gallery, Tylee Cottage residency in Whanganui. In 2008 she undertook a residency in New Delhi, India. Bronwynne has exhibited in Japan, Australia, and widely throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. She received merit awards in the 1987 and 1993 Fletcher Challenge Ceramics Awards and a major survey of her work was shown at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, Ngāmotu New Plymouth in 1986.

Bronwynne’s work images anything from frogs to household objects, temples to figures, many referencing historical imagery and ancient cultures, but all expressed in her own personal way. She was one of the first clay practitioners to take studio ceramics from “craft galleries” to the major “Art Galleries” of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Her installations, not only being important milestones in her career are also acclaimed works in the Aotearoa New Zealand art scene.

Rick Rudd