Waiheke Headland Sculpture Walk

Sculpture on the Headland
The 2013 Headland Sculpture Walk celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. “A home grown art scene beckons” was the sub-heading alongside Waiheke’s rating at 35 in the New York Times article The 46 Places to Go in 2013.

The Headland Sculpture Walk is a free event and is open daily at 8.30 am from January 25 – February 17, 2013. This biennial event is located on Waiheke Island (35 minutes by ferry from Auckland, New Zealand) at Matiatia, where thirty large-scale sculptures – designed specially for the location – have been chosen by a panel of selectors from more than 100 submissions from established and emerging artists. The sculptures will be exhibited along 2.5 kilometres of walkway with stunning views along Waiheke’s coastline and across the Hauraki Gulf.

An impressive addition to this year’s event is a special purpose-built Pavilion situated on the Matiatia foreshore, a short walk from the ferry terminal. The Pavilion will house a small sculpture gallery of works from invited artists, bars and a café restaurant. Waiheke wines, craft beer, coffee, award-winning olive oil, ice-cream and other local produce will be available for sampling and purchasing. You can also enjoy a selection of gourmet food from a menu designed by Masterchef’s Ana Schwarz and prepared by chef Nico Fini – both Waiheke residents. Or you can simply relax and enjoy some live entertainment from Waiheke and Auckland bands after your walk. Catalogues, information, and free sunscreen are also available here.

Shuttle buses will be running at 20 minute intervals from the Pavilion to the beginning of the sculpture walk on Nick Johnstone Drive. The walk runs clockwise this year to finish at the pavilion, providing an opportunity to enjoy the views from a different perspective than previous years.

Matthew Muir's work, "April, 1975" depicting the summer holidays spent in tiny holiday houses called a "bach" in New Zealand.
Matthew Muir’s work, “April, 1975” depicting summer holidays spent in a tiny New Zealand  holiday house called a “bach.”   It is located at the  beginning of the walk near Church Bay.

Artists will give talks at the Pavilion at 10 am and 3 pm Monday to Friday. However I got in early last week when I went to check on how the sculpture installations were progressing. I met up with David Carson installing his “Baubles” in a pohutukawa tree. The tree, with its erratically twisting branches holding David’s oversized pohutukawa-like flowers, is a sculpture in itself.

David Carson's "Baubles"
David Carson’s “Baubles”

David last exhibited here in 2005 with a stack of spherical, steel woven sculptures made from recycled bandsaw blades. He said he generally tries to work with leftovers, so when he finds them he does something with them. He gave a wry smile and added, “Part of my Scottish heritage.” He acquired the bandsaw blades over ten years working at a wood mill.

Now he admits that he feels a bit burnt-out working with steel, and this year used a bandsaw mill to saw a black locust log into very thin slices, which he dyed red. He then split the slices into small strips with his fingers and some of the heavier slices he split with a knife. The ‘flower’ or bauble is constructed using ten hoops the diameter of the sphere – also made from thin strips of black locust – which are joined with copper wire to form a stable net-like structure. Strips of black locust were then woven into the hoops at random to form a basket-like appearance – similar to his work with bandsaw blades. He has come a full circle, he said, to where he was nine years ago.

David Carson with one of his "Baubles" showing the weaving effect achieved with the broken strips of black locust.
David Carson with one of his “Baubles” showing the weaving effect achieved with the broken strips of black locust.

The black locust is an east coast native North American tree which David’s father planted on the 140 acre property David now runs at Tapewera, in the South Island. He regards himself as lucky to have an almost endless supply of material for his sculptures as his father was a compulsive tree planter. It is therefore fortunate that from a young age, David wanted to work with wood and, after becoming a furniture maker, began experimenting with sculptured forms. He has been exhibiting and selling his work since 2000. View a selection David Carson’s sculptures on his website.

Enjoy a slideshare below of a selection of sculptures from the 2009 and 2011 Headland Sculpture Walks.