Lynne Wilson has always been creative, saying she was “lucky enough to have one of those grandmothers”.

“Whatever the project was at the time, my grandmother and I would be doing it.”

The ceramicist and landscape/garden designer’s mother was also an artist, as can be seen by several of her stained-glass works that share Wilson’s Cromwell house and studio with artworks from many of her friends.

Eight of those friends, including Wilson, make up Indigo Artists, an informal collaboration of Central Otago artists who curate and mount group exhibitions of their work.

“Indigo has been a wonderful, wonderful thing for all of us,” Wilson said.

“We have all known each other for such a long time and we understand each other’s strengths.”

She said her two creative outlets of art and gardens meshed together well, but she only started working with clay in 2001 when she moved to Cromwell and “stumbled across” the local pottery club.

The club was doing a lot of raku firing at the time, in which the items are removed from the kiln while red-hot and placed into combustible material, such as sawdust.

The results can be unpredictable, which results in unique artworks when the creative stars align.

The artist can also see the finished product very quickly after firing, rather than waiting for traditional pottery to heat then cool over what can be days.

“I loved the challenge of it and also the immediacy. You lift the lid and you see what you have.”

It would be difficult to earn a living from ceramics alone but the process of gardening and landscape design was both stimulating and satisfying, she said.

“I paint with plants.”

Wilson was recently offered the opportunity to take part in the “future-proofing” of Cromwell’s St Andrew’s Church, and is excited to work on what is being called a “remembrance garden”, but what she called a “sanctuary garden”.

“My brain is fizzing,” she said.

“There have been times in my life that wee church gave me the sanctuary I need.”