Caroline Thomas
Fake it, F*ck It, Fecit

August 3 - 23

We’re all familiar with the phrase, “Fake it ‘til you make it”. What happens if you don’t ‘make it’? Or at least not on the terms that you were hoping for, planning for, expecting?

Why not make ‘it’ anyway, whatever ‘it’ is?

[thanks to Chris Molloy for the LED display]


Definition of fecit from –

verb Latin.

He made (it); she made (it): formerly used on works of art after the artist’s name

The works in this show  respond to themes suggested by seven photographs, taken from the book, ‘Photography Year Book 1964’, the year of my birth, (when apparently, life was almost exclusively in black and white).

For many years I worked as an image researcher, starting that job before digital photography was the norm and the tools of my trade were physical photographic prints and transparencies. These pictures pay homage to that time in my life when I spent my working days finding images to represent words and ideas.

During the last few weeks and months in the first half of 2020 when this exhibition was conceived, I spent a lot of time inside my own head, trying to deal with a life that was simultaneously enormous and extremely narrow. I decided to turn inwards for inspiration and clarification, to make works based on the various stages in my life when I deluded myself that I could make something happen and become something or somebody if I faked it for long enough.

1000w 1. 1964 Photography Yearbook.jpg



When I was growing up in the 1970s I was, what was termed then, a ‘tomboy’. I wore my elder brother’s hand-me-down trousers, had short hair and mentally punched the air when the owner of the corner shop called me ‘sonny’. The biggest accolade of all was to be mistaken for a boy because, weren’t boys better somehow?

1000w 2. BOY Caroline Thomas.JPG

Bookplate, sterling silver, paint. Original photo by Lis Carpelan

1000w 3. Poached Eggs [X marks the spot]

Poached Eggs (X Marks the Spot)  Neckpiece (2020). Vintage egg poachers, fencing wire, brass washers, pewter

1000w 4. Wearing poached eggs Caroline T
1000w 5. Poached Eggs [X marks the spot]



My best friend Penny and I used to stage show jumping competitions in her garden with fences made of cardboard boxes and the two of us attached together, rider and horse, by skipping rope reins. We ‘cantered’ everywhere and tossed our ponytails, whinnying and neighing as we went.  Everywhere was filtered through a horsy lens, a piece of waste ground assessed for its grazing possibilities, a long car or train journey spent ‘jumping’ the hedgerows and fences as they sped past the window.

1000w 6. PONY Caroline Thomas.JPG

Bookplate, sterling silver, paint. Original photograph by Werner Stuhler

1000w 7. Pony nest Caroline Thomas.JPG

Pony Nest, bracelet (2020). Pony hair, gold-filled wire, curb chain

1000w 8. holding pony nest Caroline Thom


From the window of my bedroom in my childhood home in SE London I could see the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral on the horizon. This was in the 1970s when the UK joined the European Union and East London was strewn with bombsites and disused warehouses.  Now, in 2020 with Brexit looming, that wrecked urban landscape has become a glittering stack of soon to be abandoned skyscrapers and thousands of indentikit flats. I have no idea if St Paul’s can still be seen from that window as I haven’t lived there for decades. It’s still a view in my mind however.

I spent the first forty odd years of my life living in the UK. I am British but also hold a New Zealand passport by virtue of both my parents being Kiwis. I grew up with all my relatives on the other side of the world - something that, in my youth, made me feel a bit special. Now that I’ve lived in New Zealand for over ten years, I’m really not sure if I ever will belong to anywhere other than possibly the landscapes inside my head.

‘ Home is the place you left’ – from a poem by Michael Elmgreen

1000w 9. NATIVE caroline Thomas.JPG

Bookplate, sterling silver, paint. Photograph by Alan Clifton, Camera Press

1000w 10. Wish You Were Here - front Car

Wish You Were Here, brooch and bracelet (2019). Op-shop box, sterling silver, fencing wire, mixed materials

1000w 11. Wish You Were Here - open Caro
1000w 12. Wish You Were Here - charm bra
1000w 13. Wish You Were Here - brooch ba



When I entered the battlefield of puberty, I fought it uselessly. I hid the fact that my periods had started and held my school jersey out, away from my budding chest. Being female felt like losing my freedom and entering a hostile world of relentless assessment by looks and weight and agreeableness.

With age and experience, the burden of femininity has lightened a little but still takes up more space in my life than I would like.

1000w 14. FEMALE caroline Thomas.JPG

Bookplate, sterling silver, paint. Original photograph by Sanne Sannes

1000w 15. Breastplate 2 Caroline Thomas.

Breastplate. Neckpiece (2020) polymer clay, ribbon

1000w 16. Wearing breastplate.JPG



I’m a middle-aged woman now and am still waiting to grow up. I’ve been medicated for depression since my mid-twenties and the same inner voices who hassled the sixteen-year-old me still tell the fifty-six-year-old me I’m pointless, so why bother? The only insight I’ve yet to gain is the strangely comforting belief that there is no point to anything. I have no real control, so let’s just crack on and see what happens.

The Queen probably has one of the most grown-up jobs in the world yet presumably she still doubts herself sometimes? She must have had to learn the rules and play the part while telling the doubting voices inside her head to pipe down.

1000w 17. GROWN UP Caroline Thomas.JPG

Bookplate, sterling silver, paint. Photograph by John Bulmer, Camera Press, London

1000w 18. self help book 2 Caroline Thom
1000w 19. self help book Caroline Thomas

Self-help book (2013). Publisher’s dummy, blackboard paint, chalk, paint

1000w 20. self help bookshelf detail Car

Original photograph [detail] by Faris Mohammed/ Unsplash

X5, brooch. Mild steel, paint

1000w 21. Requiring Instructions Carolin

Requiring Instructions Neckpiece [2020] Cardboard, rope, copper wire, pewter, brass



I spent over ten years of my life trying to become a parent. At the time it seemed like the worst thing that ever happened to me and I couldn’t quite believe that I, a white, middle-class woman with every privilege that this entails, couldn’t make it work, even by throwing money at it. Now, the pain is still real and the loss still defines me but perhaps, taking into account my own character traits and the state of the world in general, I dodged a bullet?

1000w 22.MOTHER Caroline Thomas.JPG

Bookplate, sterling silver, paint. Original photograph by Jonathan Green-Armytage

1000w 23.Transfers 1 & 2 Caroline Thomas
1000w 24.Transfers 1 & 2 back Caroline T

Transfers 1 & 2. brooch (2020). Paper fasteners, fencing wire, pewter, paint, gold dust

1000w 25.Transfers 3 & 4 Caroline Thomas
1000w 26.Transfer 3 & 4 back Caroline Th

Transfers 3 & 4, brooch (2020) Paper fasteners, copper wire, pewter, paint, gold dust



I came to this art business late in life and it saved my life at a time when I felt broken [see previous category for context]. This, out of all the themes in this exhibition is still very much a work in progress. Watch this space…

1000w 27.ARTIST Caroline Thomas.JPG

Bookplate, sterling silver, paint. Original photograph by Svante Hedin

1000w 28.Contemporary Caroline Thomas.JP
1000w 29.contemporary pile Caroline Thom

Contemporary. Pin (2020) Enamel, brass, pewter


Dominic Hoey is a poet, playwright and author from Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Dominic’s debut novel, Iceland was a New Zealand bestseller, and long-listed for the 2018 Ockham Book Award.

His autobiographical one person show, Your Heart Looks Like a Vagina, a dark comedy about living with autoimmune disease, had three sell out runs in New Zealand and was performed at the Brisbane Poetry Festival in 2017. Dominic was nominated for best new playwright at the 2018 Wellington Theatre Awards.

His latest poetry collection, I Thought We’d Be Famous was released in October 2019. 

In a former life, Dominic was an MC battle and slam-poetry champion. He’s performed his poetry in Australia, Europe, England, Japan, and America.