Meg Van Hale (b. 1995, Christchurch) is a New Zealand contemporary jewellery artist living and working in Ōtepoti, Dunedin. She grew up just outside of Dunedin in the small seaside settlement of Waitati. This idyllic rural setting played a major role in her love and interest for the environment. A shift into the city as a teen showed her the juxtaposition of rural and city life. Van Hale felt the functioning machine that is a town reveals more clearly the state of human impact upon the environment. She remembers how the lights from the city blotted out the starry night skies that used to blaze above throughout her childhood. This too, contributed to a lifelong interest in environmental issues.
While her environmental interests manifested both as scientific and artistic, Van Hale chose to study Visual Arts after high school, feeling a deeper connection with this form of communication. From 2014 to 2017 Van Hale completed her Bachelor’s Degree with Honours at the Dunedin School of Art, majoring in Jewellery and Metalsmithing. Studying contemporary jewellery opened a new world of art making for Van Hale, an art form that can leave the gallery and walk the streets. Wearability is an important tool for audience engagement and connection. Jewellery can act as a personal keepsake or reminder, or link communities together in solidarity. Van Hale particularly enjoys playing with the notion of preciousness, critiquing materialistic pedagogies through the use of non-traditional materials to upset a preconceived hierarchy of worth. A crab atop a ring, a vial of sea water, a delicate leaf skeleton. With an interest in ecopsychology, Van Hale wants to address the emotional toll of climate change. To rediscover the love for the overlooked beauty in nature, the delicate chain of being, for which every living thing is responsible for maintaining.
Van Hale has participated in several group shows, notably she participated at Radiant Pavilion, the Melbourne Contemporary Jewellery and Object Biennial, with Clink Project. Van Hale also teaches a jewellery night class at the Otago Polytechnic where she enjoys sharing the skills and knowledge of her craft. She is working in a shared studio space in Albell Chambers with several other jewellers and a print maker. She works using recycled silver sourced from a chemistry lab and enjoys foraging for natural materials around the wider Dunedin area. Combing the beaches and forests for precious detritus to be used in her work has deepened her love for this place called home.