My formal training began in 1989 with a 2 year Craft Design Maori Cert. at what was then called Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua. I really enjoyed these 2 years and learned many skills both design wise and practical that have held me in good stead over the years. The concept of craft design schools was new and fresh which is always a good thing. What I hold in my heart was the camaraderie with my fellow students. Most of them Maori. I also gained a healthy respect and sometimes awe for the various art forms we studied.
After traveling overseas for three years on my return in 1994 I began a Fine Arts Degree at what was then called Whanganui Polytechnics “Taupo Quay School of Fine Art”. Again it was a school in growth with fresh ideas. Interestingly most of my tutors were American which gave a different view to the art world in general. Again I had a great time there and am grateful to all who shared there knowledge.
I graduated with a Fine Arts Degree majoring in sculpture in 1996 and in 1997 after a short Business Development course I set up what was then called “Jamie Pickernell Art Furniture”. My wife and I and our newly born son stayed in Whanganui until mid 1998 when the pull of our home town and the then two complete sets of grand parents drew us back to Rotorua where we still live semi rurally, my workshop is also on our property.