Art Restorers going strong after three decades

16 MAY, 2019 | Tāmaki News
Scott Morgan

Fixing Aucklanders’ precious items is a passion for the team at Wrightway Studios in Glen Innes.
Wrightway Studios is a Tāmaki institution.
For more than 25 years, the art restorers operated out of a factory in Morrin Rd, Panmure before moving to a more modern building on Taniwha St, Glen Innes five years ago.
Studio manager Corene Higgins says the company’s talented team can fix paintings, prints, watches, ceramics, photos, model boats and dolls, as part of Wrightway’s Auckland Doll’s Hospital.
Corene says at the moment people are really loving local artists, which is great to see.
“New Zealand art is becoming more important to people. In the past, people threw away their Crown Lynn if it got chipped. New Zealand paintings are not necessarily valuable, but people see them as important because of the scenery.”
In order to maintain the quality of their work, Higgins says the company’s move to Glen Innes was hugely important.
“We needed better studio conditions for our art restorations. There’s more natural light. Sometimes we get huge pieces of art, so we need the space. We’ve got a 3.7-metre-long painting at the moment.”But Higgins says it was crucial that the studio stay in Tāmaki.
“We didn’t want to move out of the area. People still go to the Morrin Rd building, so we just wanted to move around the corner. Many of our customers come from east Auckland and it’s more of a village in Glen Innes. We all enjoy that.”
Wrightway Studios has a team of 10 artists, from a variety of backgrounds. These include everyone from university art school graduates to a former mechanic. The staff are “very, very practical and skilled people,” Higgins says.
But recruitment is more challenging than it used to be, she says. “It is becoming harder and harder to find good artists. A lot of students we see have good digital experience, but that isn’t what we need here. Ultimately our staff have to be good with their hands. We’ve got lots of different genres of work coming in.” 
Wrightway owner Ross Stewart has owned the business for 23 of its 30 years. “I was a customer and I ended up buying the place in 1996. It was pretty well established and had a good reputation.” Ross says there is one key reason his business is going from strength to strength. “It’s a very good service that my team provide.”

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