About Louise Rutherford

Printmaker and jeweller


I’ve been working on this body of work all week, to the exclusion of most else. When I close my eyes I can see dark brushstrokes and delicate silhouetted plant forms; balanced patterns of light and shade.  I started out tight and restrained.

After a week, the movements of my bamboo stick over inked butter paper are free-form, expansive, relaxed.  The intense contrast evokes light.


Seeing these images is seeing my mind laid out in its hidden frameworks before me.  feel joy when I look at them all; that my mind has the capacity to generate this beauty and sense of coherence.  Is it coherent? It is to me.  So fascinating – a secret language to explain myself to myself.


I was at the pharmacy today, bored, waiting for my medicine.  They have a whole lot of perfume on sale at my pharmacy; last seasons hot scents that are still new for the people who never get out of the suburbs.  I like trying them on and imagining buying them.

At school in the 90s, the cool girls used Lynx in the changing rooms.  I just smelt sweaty, or, I probably didn’t, because I disdained any effort at gym.  It didn’t sit well with the academic image I was trying to cultivate (so I thought then).

Perfume is so gender-neutral now, or so the sales-assistant at David Jones tells me.  My best friend in high-school used guys’ scent. She always smelt a bit dangerous and exciting; roses and cigarettes. I’d love to be cool, even now, when I should be old enough to know better.

I try out some perfumes from the mens section, feeling powerful and trend-setting.  When I get home, I smell like a man.



Old new work

I can hardly believe that the last time I worked on an art project was more than a year ago! Here’s an update, then, on what I’ve been doing since last year, apart from having a two year old and various other life events. These are fimo and resin, with gold leaf. They feel a bit like finds from Atlantis, eaten away by time.

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The changing state of manufacturing

Ever since I got interested in 3D Printing and linked it up with quick-turnaround manufacturing, I also got interested in MakerSpace, FabLabs and other places where regular citizens can hire equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters to do art projects, or commercialise their ideas.

I’ve got an Etsy site of my own, although I’m no good at keeping the content fresh, so my jewellery has slid down into the mud place where all the fossilized jewellery sites from 2011 go on Etsy. Etsy was all about handcraft, until now, when it’s now got Etsy Manufacturing http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/09/14/business/etsy-welcomes-manufacturers-to-artisanal-fold.html?referrer=&_r=0

Changing New Zealand with better information

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about what I can do to change things, what difference I can make in the world.  At heart, I’m a people person. When I look back on my life and think about the change I made in the world, I want to think “I made people’s lives better”. So I’m putting a question from one of my favourite books to myself: “What can I do with the gifts I have?”

What can I do with my creativity, project management skills, information management skills, communication and people skills, research skills, and writing skills to change people’s live’s for the better?    I love information, it has to be something to do with information. Translating information into forms that are useable.  That’s the key problem I see in society right now that I have the best chance of contributing to solving.

There’s more information out there on people’s lives than ever before.  It’s so frustrating that all the answers are probably out there by now, but there is such a volume of data that we can’t see the meaning for the noise.  More data than we can make use of flows around us constantly.  Helping harness data to improve outcomes and make people’s lives better.  A good goal.

The Economist argues that these faster, bigger flows of information are changing the speed at which we perceive time moving:

“There is no doubt that there are far more data coursing round firms than there were just a few years ago. And when you are used to information accumulating in a steady trickle, a sudden flood can feel like a neck-snapping acceleration. Even though the processes about which you know more are not inherently moving faster, seeing them in far greater detail makes it feel as if time is speeding up.

This unsettling sensation is common to most chief executives—a straw poll suggests that they receive 200-400 e-mails a day. Their underlings are deluged with information, too. AT&T now tracks faults on its telecoms networks by monitoring social media for grumpy customers letting off steam online. Big consumer brands are subject to a rolling online plebiscite from their customers. This abundance of information gives firms a cloak of hyperactivity.”

“More information provides firms with an even broader range of time frames over which to exert their transformational powers—to operate second by second, if they so desire.”

“New technologies spread faster than ever, says Andy Bryant, the chairman of Intel; shares in the company change hands every eight months. But to keep up with Moore’s Law—named after Intel’s founder—the firm has to have long investment horizons.”

What does this mean for New Zealand? We have to plan strategically, far into the future, about how and why our data is going to be used, even as we are constantly shifting technologies and ideas in the short term.  Agility in the short term, but on a solid, secure long term base.

I was recently talking to someone about what we need to change in New Zealand to improve outcomes in the health sector.  I believe we need to start by developing trusted, high quality data sets. Jayden McRae is doing great thinking in this space.

I’ve been reading Anthony Townsend’s recent book on Smart Cities: big data, civic hackers and the quest for a new utopia, and I really like his definition of smart cities as “places where information technology is combined with infrastructure, architecture, everyday objects, and even our bodies to address social, economic and environmental problems.” (p. 15)

It upsets me when the cool new technology comes before the people who the technology is FOR. Anthony Townsend is on the same page. I’m a huge advocate of smart technology and the use of software to catalyse change, but to me, every so called ‘technology project’ is actually a ‘people and change project’, enabled by technology. This quote articulates the place of technology in innovation for me:

“Many people have placed their bet on a better future delivered through technology. Not me. I get nervous when I hear people talk about how technology is going to change the world.  I have been around technology enough to know its vast potential, but also its severe limitations. When coarsely applied to complex problems, technology often fails.  What’s much more interesting is how we are going to change our technology to create the kinds of places we want to live in.” (p. 17)

As an information management professional I see myself as a translator and synthesiser of information.  I draw information together, separate the meaning from the noise, sort it into a meaningful pattern that is more than the sum of it’s parts.  organisers – making things easily accessible linking people to the information they need, when they need it.

Creativity fits into it for me, because I see designers as the same –except they’re translating ideas into visual form rather than written form.  I like this quote:

“In the future, designers will become the reference point for policy makers, for anyone wanting to create a link between high-faluting and hard to translate, and reality, and people”. Paola Antonelli,  1hr6mins Objectivity, 2009

Amazon’s solution to an information management problem

For the record, a few articles on information management. And an information management problem. I have so many different places I put the links I like, I can’t ever remember where I’ve put one. Google tries to remedy this by just not categorising at all. if I can remember any keywords, I’ll just trust its still out there and google it again. But some things are just impossible to find on google.

How do you design the library of the future?


Here is how Amazon does it – fascinating! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1F12fyVF0PO2fSmkOI2_R1IFigTaznaertxiVXlEbas4/mobilebasic

Rockpool: exhibition at Gilberd Marriott Gallery in December 2014/ January 2015



Feeling so great about my exhibition!  I can hardly believe I managed to make this happen with a three month old baby.  I imagine the next one won’t be for several years! (although I’ve got heaps of ideas already).

The opening was nervewracking but fabulous; after I get over my nerves and into the swing of it, I love having the opportunity to talk about my artwork, how it’s made and what it means.  One of the reasons I wanted to have the exhibition was to have the chance to share all I’ve been learning about 3D modelling and printing – it seemed so mysterious.

Here are some of my prints hanging:

IMG_20141128_165327Me taking my baby to see the exhibition even though she’s too young to appreciate the finer points…


3D printed brooches




3D printed ceramic bowls



3D printed metal jewellery

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Technology and the Handmade Print: Developing my Folio for the Baldessin Press Printmaking Forum

BaldessinForumThis fascinating forum is happening soon, and I’m so disappointed that I can’t be there in person!  I’ve been working on my portfolio for months, and I also bought my ticket to Australia months in advance (what a swot! 🙂 ) but I’ve just had a baby, and we found out that because there’s a bit of an epidemic of whooping cough in NZ and Australia at the moment, its advised not to take babies overseas until they’ve had all their whooping cough vaccinations at age 5 months.  Oh well, at least I can be there digitally and on paper!

I sent off my portfolio a few days ago:

So proud of myself for actually getting this packed up and sent with a two week old baby in the house!

So proud of myself for actually getting this packed up and sent with a two week old baby in the house!

Because I can’t be there in person, I thought I’d write this blog post to explain a bit about my folio and how it was developed, including info and working processes so I can give people an inside look at my art practice.

I enjoy working at the border between handmade traditional craft and digital media, so I wanted to use this opportunity to explore different types of technology and how I could get them interacting with the handmade printing process.

Here’s an overview of my folio, the first three pieces :



The second three pieces:




Now here’s a record of my research into how to make printmaking plates using a laser cutter.


Me having fun with the laser cutting machine


Making notes on how to get a plate that works!


Setting up the software for laser cutting and importing my file from Adobe Illustrator

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The laser cutting machine in progress

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An early attempt at laser cutting – this etch was too deep, and it burnt the wood


Taking the scientific approach – I made a laser etching test plate


3D Printing