Rotorua Carving Symposium is on the horizon

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27 August 2016 - Following the success of Rotorua’s carving symposium in 2014, it’s almost time to do it all again.

Although the event doesn’t kick off until mid-November, there’s a lot to put in place to ensure things run smoothly. I’m in the thick of it all right now.

Participating sculptors have just been selected, and we’re looking forward to once again showcasing our local talent alongside national artists from across the country.

This year we’ll have 21 sculptors taking part – carving three types of materials:

First up, we’ll be seeing huge blocks of the softer Oamaru limestone tackled again.

According to sculpting circles, these artists are referred to as the ‘stoners.’  

Then we’ve got the large boulders of Taranaki andesite on the pedestal. This is a much denser, more durable stone with the sculptors referred to as, you guessed it, the ‘hard stoners.’

And let’s not forget the artists working with chainsaws and chisels on giant macrocarpa logs. These are our ‘woodies.’  Colourful bunch huh.

In 2014 the event was an absolute maelstrom of noise and dust. The Arts Village positively resonated with the sound of chainsaws, grinders and air chisels.

As you can imagine, with all those power tools and two-stroke monsters, there are a number of health and safety requirements to support keeping everyone safe.

I recall last time around, just before the inaugural event kicked off I had a phone call from one of our artists, Donald, due to arrive from Christchurch.

“Marc, I fell down the stairs yesterday, got a couple broken ribs …”

‘Ouch! Sorry to hear that mate, I guess you won’t be coming up then?’ I asked.

‘No worries, I’ll be there’ said Donald, ‘I once finished a carving symposium with re-attached fingers…’

Nice one Donald, just what I needed to hear. I decided he was just having me on.

In any case, safety fears quickly vanished once everybody was up and carving. These talented people are seasoned professionals, and anybody would be impressed with their ability to cut down, shape and modify these huge blocks and boulders with such dexterity and prowess.

So, mark this in your calendar for mid-November. This year’s event is going to be bigger than ever, with some of the finest talent this country has to offer.

Mostly locals, of course.

Page reviewed: 07 Jun 2017 12:01pm