I am a Virgo although I have been told that I am more easy going than most Virgos and not such a neat freak.
What do you usually have for breakfast?
I always start the day with a lovely cup of tea – and gluten free toast or muesli - but I had gluten free pancakes today!
What was the last book you didn't finish?
I started reading Junky by William Burroughs and for some reason never got to the end or even the middle!
So you have been collecting wind up mechanical monkeys for 20 years. Why did this collection start?
This collection started when I realised that I had more than five and still wanted more. I used to collect lots of vintage toys but my flat was becoming overtaken with them all, plus I was going overseas so I made a decision to stick to collecting one type of vintage toy and the monkeys won. I am glad I made that choice because I am born in year of the monkey (going back to starsigns!) and I like connection between the word monkey and a habit or addiction (as in “monkey on your back”) - I guess you could say I am a monkey junky!
Who was your first monkey?
It is a stuffed monkey with blinky eyes. It came from an op shop in Wellington. He is a bit floppy and has lost some stuffing.
Is the first one the most special to you? Or do you have another favourite? (Personally I love the bubble blowing guy. He is so clever!)
It is hard to think of my favourite. I love them all for different reasons. The bubble blowing monkey is very cool! I like the musical monkeys a lot- the guitar playing monkey is really amazing, he really plays the guitar he is holding you can see his hand strumming the strings. If you go to the video clip on YOU TUBE (below article) you will see him in action! I adore the wind up monkeys. Whoever designed them is an absolute genius! The movie Hugo comes to mind when I think about that. I really love the drinking monkey that you can see in the photo. He is pretty special. You wind him up and he fills his cup from the bottle then lifts the cup to his lips! GENIUS!
Oh yes, most definitely. Some are super cute, others are a bit creepy and some are divine works of art. But no matter what, they are all 100% beautiful!
Where have they all come from? Have you collected some through travelling?
Some of the monkeys are gifts. Some are from my travels overseas and around NZ. It is always such an adrenalin rush to spot one in an antique store or op shop. Most of the thrill of collecting is the hunt!
Can you tell us a bit about the quality of your monkeys and the workmanship?
There is such a difference between the vintage monkeys and how they are made compared with new toys. The materials used and how they are constructed is superb. Anyone who loves vintage or antiques clothes or collectables will know what I mean. These old monkeys are beautiful, they have a quality that is lost in most of the plastic, disposable, soulless trash that kids are playing with today- it’s a bit sad really!
How old you think your oldest monkey is?
Hmmm…I think some of my monkeys by a famous label Schuco are over 70. They are truly gorgeous - the details have a wonderful art deco feel and they have fabulous keys that wind them up.
How did you come to showcase your monkey collection at Te Papa?
I was looking at all my monkeys one day and thought, “My god, my house looks like a monkey museum!” Then I thought it would be really cool if others could see them. I contacted Te Papa and told them about my collection. They were thrilled to have them on loan as part of their Delectable Collectables show.
Would you ever sell your monkeys? Or would that be like selling your children?
Maybe - isn’t there a saying that everything is for sale and that everything has its price?? This would never apply to my children though!
How have the public/other people reacted to your monkeys? Any negative feedback? Has anyone been scared of them? (The wind up monkey in Toy Story being portrayed as a villain can't have helped!)
The feedback I have heard about the monkeys has been really great. Everyone thinks they are really cool. I feel so proud! I am sure that there have been some that are scared of them- the Toy Story monkey can be pretty frightening! Look at his teeth and those bulging eyes- it’s the stuff of childrens nightmares!
Do you have any other collections?
Blush…blush… embarrassing to admit- but there are groups of things around my house that could easily qualify!
Are you a hoarder?
Yes - also embarrassing to admit. I try to purge things but sometimes I end up regretting it . I really hate clutter but I am a magnet for cool stuff- it just finds its way into my heart and into my home!
What do you do for a living?
I am a kindergarten teacher and an artist. But most of my living comes from teaching.
What do you do (other than collecting) to nurture your creative side?
I love making art. I recently received a grant from Creative New Zealand to do a public performance art work that will be in Wellington really soon. If you are interested check out the website for it at: www.waitingroom.info
So how for much longer can we see your amazing monkey collection at Te Papa?
They are only there until the end of February. Then they come back home.