Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A BIG Announcement--our new Challenge Director!

Nicky and I are very excited (and deeply saddened!) to make a rather sudden announcement... we have a new Challenge Director!

From today, the glorious Kirsty Collett (above) is taking on the role of Director, as our own Nicky Johnston, children's author/illustrator extraordinaire, is stepping down to focus on her burgeoning career. Since becoming director in January 2015, Nicky has been an incredibly supportive, organised, dedicated and divine Challenge Director, donating countless hours of her time and energy to keeping this group in the manner to which it has become accustomed.

I can't thank Nicky enough for all she has done to grow and expand the Challenge in the way that she has. I'm sure you'll join me in thanking her for her generosity, love and support, her tireless hard work, and her beautiful illustrations that have been gracing the Wall since January 2014.

Nicky will stay on as Admin for now, and we truly hope to see some of her illustrations pop up every now and then. For now, she's been book-contracted to the eyeballs, and you can watch her escalating career unfold at her website www.nickyjohnston.com, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you, Nicky! We love and adore and appreciate you and all that you are.

And now to introduce you to our new Director Kirsty Collette! Kirsty has been a member of the Challenge since January 2016. Let's learn more about this talented soul.

Kirsty Collett is an emerging artist and illustrator, currently cocooned in a richly textured, multi-coloured exploration of styles. She enjoys experimenting with a variety of mediums and techniques, including collage and monoprinting, but it is watercolour that has captivated her and will probably colour her wings eventually!

'I’m drawn to the unpredictability of watercolour,' says Kirsty. 'It feels alive, with a mind of its own, and I’m learning to embrace that. Watermarks, colour bleeds, splatters and other ‘happy accidents’ are becoming synonymous with my style. I love how they add dynamism to my work, bringing it to life without forethought or planning.'

Kirsty’s art is inspired by the prickle of everyday life and the POP of imagination—the extraordinary within the ordinary—so it is no surprise that she named her illustrated paper goods business Prickle and POP. Her growing range of greeting cards and fine art prints are sold through galleries and stores throughout New Zealand, as well as through her online shop at www.prickleandpop.com. And from October 2017, as part of an exciting retail co-op in the new Christchurch Arts Centre called Shopology, Prickle and POP goods will have dedicated bricks-and-mortar retail space as well.

Kirsty is also is a writer, songwriter and storyteller with a passion for picture books and a growing reputation for fostering a love of reading and imagination in children. Her mantra is ‘LEAD by example: READ by example’, which she embraces with gusto: regularly performing her interactive FLY, STORY, FLY! storytelling shows at schools, preschools, libraries and events, and hosting workshops through the New Zealand Society of Authors Children’s Literature Hub. It is her long-time dream to illustrate a children’s picture book one day.

Kirsty lives in Christchurch, New Zealand with her equally creative architect husband and their two young boys. When they’re not tending to their garden—creative and otherwise—the Collett family can be found beachcombing local shorelines in all weather!





Please join us in welcoming Kirsty! We know she will be an incredible leader--her warmth and calm and talent is already adored and appreciated, and we so look forward to seeing where the Challenge goes under her guidance.



  1. The Challenge is lucky to have the wonderful Kirsty at the helm! Congrats to you Kirsty and an enormous thanks to Nicky!

  2. Such a wonderful and generous gathering of souls, i can only be thankful to have been introduced to this group, growing confidence in a safe supportive family. Thank you to Tanya and to Nicky as I learn to play it forward.

  3. Welcome beautiful Kristy!!

    Thank you for all your hard Nicky. You have been absolutely amazing!!xxx


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