Christine Spain


I met Christine many years ago when she came over with her husband, Alister, to visit his mother, Olga, who was our great friend and neighbour.  As Olga became increasingly frailer their visits from Australia became more frequent. When Olga died I thought that would be the end of their visits but to my delight they purchased a house in Dunedin. We now have the pleasure of their company for at least three months every year when they come over to escape the heat of Magnetic Island’s summer.

Christine is a great storyteller and whenever I’m found sitting at my laptop laughing myself silly my family know it means an email from Christine has arrived!

Introducing Christine Spain


I have one husband and two adult children. Alister is a soil scientist so I’ve followed him in many of his travels – as dirt is conveniently available internationally. Moscow presented a challenge with dirt of the frozen variety. I’ve washed, dried and weighed earthworms in the Ivory Coast, marvelled at blue earthworms in Martinique…….  Last year I took the opportunity, while he was working in Ecuador, to teach mask making there. With the aid of many hand gestures and an interpreter the students successfully created  some wonderful masks!

mask 1

Fine Arts   – Christchurch and Auckland
Performing Arts and Gold and Silversmithing -Townsville

17 years, Primary and Secondary School
Drama at TAFE
Classes in creative drawing, painting, stained glass, mask making, theatre props
Weekend art workshops in remote country areas.


Free-lance Visual Artist /Designer since 1989
Taxonomic drawing, book and brochure illustration, banners, posters, interpretive displays, stained glass panels, decoration of conference venues, backdrops for functions and large murals in small towns. A fun highlight was making party dresses for palm trees for Townsville’s Strand Ephemera and winning a people’s prize.


My obsession was the theatre: the art of fantasy and illusion, making something seem to be what it was not.  I created costumes, masks, props, backdrops, anything exotic and colourful for plays, musicals, light opera and dance. I worked with La Luna Youth Theatre and Dance North designing Children’s shows, directed two school musicals, performed in and designed many local productions.



My passion for fabric came later in life.….. resulted from a dance sequence involving a magic quilt.  The seamstress didn’t have time for my complicated design so I tried my hand at machine sewing.  The result was dreadful but from fifty paces no one noticed and I was so entranced with the medium I designed ( and sewed) the entire show in quilts.  Working in air con surrounded by glorious bits of colour was very pleasant compared to clambering up and down ladders in the sticky summer heat clutching inconvenient tins of messy paint.  I was hooked.


My most recent exhibition, Fantasy in Fabric, was held in the Barefoot Gallery on Magnetic Island.  All proceeds were donated to the Brain Health Research Centre in Dunedin.

I sourced these photos and information from the Magnetic Island newsletter.

September 6th 2012

fantasy in fabric



Fantasy in Fabric. Christine is a mature artist of national standing with a background in printmaking, theatre design and, of course, fabric. Her innate sense of design and use of colour will be instantly apparent. The show starts at Barefoot Wine and Art in Horseshoe Bay and runs from 6.30pm to 8pm and continues right through to October 7.



One Response to Christine Spain

  1. Alister Spain says:

    Looks great, Ruth; Christine mildly embarrassed!, Kind regards to you both, Alister.

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