Meet the carver - Josey Coyle
27 Oct 2020

Meet the carver - Josey Coyle

Elam School of Fine Arts graduate and emerging artist Josey Coyle learned her craft on the West Coast of the South Island. Jade Country. Josey uses carving as nourishment for her feminine creativity, and the sensuousness of natural forms inspire her designs.


Josey Coyle Greenstone artist


How did your journey as a carver begin?

When I decided to give carving a go, I was working at an art gallery in Auckland and searching for a lifestyle that would allow me to be creative and connect myself with the natural world. I’ve always really loved greenstone and thought of it as a treasure, something super beautiful. So when I heard about the carving course at Tai Poutini Polytechnic on the West Coast I decided to pack up my car and take off!


Josey Coyle greenstone jewellery carver 

I started carving in 2016 and just instantly fell in love with the craft. My course lasted two years, and I was fortunate to have mentor relationships with local carvers as well as my tutors at the polytechnic.


Contact with other carvers has been quite vital for my progression and the development of my techniques.


greenstone jewellery carving by josey coyle


What do you enjoy most about carving?

I love the process of carving itself and the momentum of what my work goes through in its stages of creation. There’s almost always a period of self-doubt that I go through with each piece, but I’ve learned that this is part of my working process and it teaches me to value patience and persistence.


Greenstone leaf necklace


I also enjoy always striving for perfection, even if it is unattainable, and I’m very conscious of producing work that has craftmanship and integrity – there’s nothing more beautiful than something that has been created with patience and dedication to the craft.


I love the possibility of my creative desires being completely fulfilled every time I carve.


Pounamu flower necklace by Josey Coyle


Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?

Feminine curves and the sensuousness of natural forms have always been a big inspiration for my designs. When I was first interested in jade, it seemed that only the more traditional designs and forms were out there. That drove me towards making more feminine greenstone designs that would connect women to the stone. I love working with silver and I think that also adds to the feminine nature of my work, making my designs pieces of jewellery, rather than traditional pendants. 


greenstone silver jewellery necklace by Josey Coyle


What does the future hold?

I think my work is always transforming and changing even with my mistakes and failures, but I’m always on the pursuit of elegance. I’m currently in Hokitika but I’m getting ready to pack up and move to Motueka where I’ll be moving into a new studio with a much larger workspace – so I’m quite excited about that! One day I would love to open my own store or website, but right now I plan to keep focusing on my craftsmanship and developing my style. 


Josey Coyle Greenstone tooth necklace


Jade connects me to my natural environment on the West Coast, so I don’t envision working with any other materials soon. Although, I would love to pair the greenstone I carve with gold! I’ve also just been looking at my off-cuts of stone and considering the possibilities of what they could become! Whatever comes next, I think carving will always nourish my feminine creativity!


Josey Coyle's pounamu collection




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