From Groundbreaking Glasswork To Her Own Bespoke Paint Hues, Suzanne Hanly Lives In Colour

PPG Paints New Zealand Makers project celebrates local creatives in a truly unique way

Photo / Mark Smith

Glass artist Suzanne Hanly’s work centres on the relationship between light and colour, such is the nature of her chosen medium — stained glass — and both are deeply interwoven in her practice and how she sees the world.

From the outset of her career, Suzanne’s creative mission was to change the perception of stained glass in Aotearoa. Alongside partner Ben Hanly she founded Glassworks in 1980 in Auckland; Suzanne brought her fine arts background to the table (she studied at Canterbury University) while Ben had a wealth of technical expertise in glass fabrication. Together they have been creating unique stained-glass work ever since, sourcing their exceptionally high-quality glass from Europe St Just in France and Lamberts in Germany.

Photo / Mark Smith

Alongside their own creations — domestic projects, artworks, and commissions for historic institutions like the Holy Trinity Cathedral — Glassworks has collaborated with an array of prominent local artists including Shane Cotton and Robert Ellis.

All this makes Suzanne a natural fit for PPG Paints New Zealand Makers project, and she is one of the five local creatives that the respected paint company has partnered with.

Photo / Mark Smith

Alongside designer Beth Ellery, artist Saskia Leek, writer Hamish Keith and photographer Mark Smith, Suzanne worked closely with PPG Paints Chief Coloursmith Rachel Lacy, utilising the brand’s innovative colour creation technology and bold vision to conceive her bespoke suite paint hues.

Like all the other creatives involved in the project, Suzanne’s colours reflect her work. Most notable is ‘Opal Yellow’. Soft and buttery, it is one of her signature glass colours and a hue she finds exceptionally useful. “I started using this colour 35 years ago,” she says. “It is luminous and light and harmonious with other colours. It gives a warm, beautiful, optimistic light." It is this feeling that, with the help of PPG Paints’ colour technology, she managed to capture.

Photo / Mark Smith

‘Yellow-Green’ was also influenced by her art practice, as is ‘Copper Orange’ - her favourite colour for glass due to its depth and vibrance.

Other personal shades include ‘Persimmon’, inspired by her raincoat, a gentle ‘Grey Blue’ found in her kitchen, and the muted inky blue of ‘Indigo’.

Suzanne’s five custom-made hues are part of the 36-strong range of colours available in PPG Paints New Zealand Makers offering — a project that celebrates creativity, memory, and the deeply personal role that colour plays in our lives.

All 36 custom-made colours from the New Zealand Makers project can be purchased, and available exclusively from Bunnings with a QR code that can be found online at

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