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  • Helen English Artist

Treading through town...

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

Often you stumble across art as you go about your daily business. Not often do you stop and look. I mean, really look! So, this week I made that my mission.


I had thought that sculpture would be a good alternative to the visual art which I normally think about, and I can picture a lot of the examples which lie around my local town which I race by as I get life done. However, I was lucky enough to be at a location where there was an opportunity to really take one in.


The sculpture is called ‘Shavings.’ Jamie Pickernell, the sculptor, began his sculpting career making beautiful wooden furniture, although he also sculpts a variety of materials, such as stone and metal, and has a strong, often lyrical, narrative behind the pieces that he creates. I imagined that this piece is representative of the byproduct of making a wooden sculpture. Having spoken to him about it, it speaks more widely to the carving practices within our community, particularly the history of whakairo (Māori carvings) woven through the local environment.


I thought about what this artwork communicates. The warmth of the wood. The way it is connected within itself and yet looks like it could fall as individual pieces. The flow of the curves and how they finish, some displaying their construction patterns, some marked by time in the environment. Imagining the sculptor dreaming up the idea and the details of how it would appear randomized and yet rhythmic. An interesting sculpture indeed.


Now I feel like a know another corner of my town a little better. Only one piece and it created much thought. There are many others, even a sculpture park nearby!


I think that focusing on one artwork of this proportion was good though, to set the bar on how much enjoyment could be found in really appreciating an artist’s process. If they took the hours to make the piece for us to view then it has to be worth taking the time to maybe find out a little more about an artist and appreciate their work.

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