The tenderness project

Art by Fleur Wickes. Home design and styling by Carolyn Nicklin.

Saturday 4th May, 2019, St John’s Hill, Whanganui

On a warm afternoon in May 2019 in a beautiful home in Whanganui, I showcased a series of artworks I’d made about love & tenderness & home & family & how it feels to make yourself vulnerable to another.

Carolyn had pretty much styled the house already [she’s got an incredible eye - their home was featured in NZ Home and Garden 2018] and so what we did, over a couple of weeks, of picking and choosing a collection of artwork that fitted the feeling of each of the rooms. The bedrooms, the bathroom, the kitchen, the games room, the lounge… in fact artwork was in nearly every room of the house. Twenty two in total!

For me, this process was magical. I’ve never seen my work look so good. For it to be hung in such a beautiful context, be in a house which was made with such love, and with work that I had felt so intensely for, was just… I can’t even describe how wonderful it was.

It was exciting too, to have such a varied collection of work on show. From photographs to coloured works, drawing to painting, the sharp black and white… it was a thrill. And when the people came, and the house filled up with laughter and talking it was so exciting to see them responding to the work, for them to look at the work so intently, to be discussing it in a way that just doesn’t happen in a normal gallery setting. I just loved every moment.

Thank you to all of you who came - we had such fun didn’t we! Thank you to Andrew and the kids for opening up your private spaces to me and all who viewed the show. Last but not least, thank you so much Carolyn, for all your hard work, your eye is brilliant and you were a legend to work with.


Following is a series of photographs I made of the project. If you’re more a watching-a-video kinda person, scroll quick right down to the end and you’ll come to a short video I made, giving you the feel of the rooms in quite a different way than a still image does.


Red rose for us, 2019 in pride of place in Carolyn’s beautiful kitchen.

It’s beautiful here at the edge, 2018 hanging in Carolyn’s dining room.

Something beautiful, 2018 hanging in the kitchen

A small version of Beautiful hydrangea, 2017 sitting pretty on the gorgeous shelves of Carolyn’s kitchen

It’s beautiful here at the edge, 2018 & We are lovely, 2018 sitting side by side in the dining room.

Our treehouse, 2019 in the dining room

Something beautiful [red river] 2015 in the lounge. [This artwork is owned by Carolyn and Andrew, and the edition is now sold out.]

Our bedcover, 2019 & We fell in love, 2019, installed on lightboxes especially to suit the vibe in Carolyn’s home.

Feather, 2019 sitting gently above the mantle in the lounge.

Piper, 2018. This is a portrait I made of this most lovely young girl, as part of a commission for her mother.

The rain comes down, 2019 hanging casually in the hallway.

I’m with you, 2016 in Theo’s bedroom.

Tenderness [ballerina] 2019 in Phoebe’s bedroom

Come home, 2017 in the master bedroom.

The shape of your mouth, 2019 leaning against the wall opposite the bed in the master bedroom.

A rose for you, Mum, 2019 in the family bathroom.

Always to the stars, 2019 in the medi/games room.

Come to me, 2019 in the hallway.

Some of the wonderful people who came to Tenderness enjoying the kitchen vibes.

How many women having a good laugh can fit into a bathroom is the measure of success at any event. :-)

“We have just returned from the most AAHMAZING exhibition of art, in a just as amazing home. @fleurwickes THE TENDERNESS PROJECT has opened up a viewing experience like no other; personal, heartfelt and connected to an environment. Mixed in with everyday spaces like hallways, kitchen and bathroom, the work sings out louder than in a gallery setting. You can feel them in context… in relationship… in life. Displayed with thought and grace in Carolyn Nicklin’s renovated villa, the understated elegance she has achieved with this property is on fire.” LIGHT + Vessel

Carolyn and I posing.

Here’s a wee video I put together of it all. :-)