From the Earth

I joined the Hakatere Ceramics and Pottery Club at the beginning of the year and I entered six pieces in their exhibition as well as creating and donating a tile for the group project.

You are here, Tile

My, You are here, tile is a reasonably accurate hand drawn scale map of the Ashburton District featuring State Highway 1 (red), State Highway 77 and State Highway 79 (yellow) as well as the major roads and rivers. It was created from a slab of Whitestone clay with the features inscribed and painted with oxides and underglazes and then fired with a clear glaze.

You are here, Ceramic Tile, approx 200x200mm
You are here tile, before bisque firing.
Tiles, Hakatere Ceramics and Pottery Club group project in their From the Earth exhibition at Ashburton Art Gallery.
Nest vessel, Blue vessel, House of neglect, Hexagon Vase, Flying pig money box, Ring; ceramics.
Nest vessel, Blue vessel, House of neglect, Hexagon Vase, Flying pig money box, Ring; ceramics.

Nest vessel

I squeezed clay through a cookie press to create fine coils and formed them into a nest shaped vessel. Colored with red, blue and yellow underglazes and fired with a clear glaze this pot won the Best Novice Hand Work in the exhibition.

Nest vessel newly formed. Clay
Nest vessel, after glazing and final firing.

Blue vessel

My first attempt at creating a vessel on the wheel, this simple pot has a turquoise glaze.

Bowl and blue vessel (right), first wheel work prior to glazing.
Bowl and blue vessel (right) after final firing.

House of neglect

A slab work tower resembling a ruin decorated with black glaze.

Hexagon vase

A slab work hexagon shaped vase with oxides on the exterior and black glaze interior.

Flying pig money box

A functional sculpture of a hollow flying pig with a slot to accept coins. Coins can be retrieved through a hole on the underside covered with a ceramic stopper.

Flying pig money box, after final firing.


A fleur-de-lis extruded from a cookie press and joined to a coil of clay formed this large wearable ring fired with a black glaze.

Ring, after bisque firing, prior to glazing.
Ring, after black glaze firing.

The Hakatere Ceramics and Pottery Club’s exhibition “From the Earth” is at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 18 October to 19 November 2023.

Rock, Paper, Scissors

I like making literal art. And with an abundance of scissors left over from Don’t Fly With Scissors and Don’t Run With Scissors, I created Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Rock/Paper/Scissors (approx 60x60x8cm) in Ashburton Art Gallery

Creating the hand shapes representing the traditional Rock, Paper, Scissors game with paper and scissors was fairly straight forward, but carving the Rock and Scissors from rock was much more challenging and time consuming. The soft limestone Paper rock was deliberately used to give the softer look for Paper, but I sourced a couple of harder rocks from the river and chiselled away at them for Rock and Scissors.

Early in the carving process of rock Rock and Scissors

The rock Rock, Paper and Scissors are carved on all sides

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Rock/Paper/Scissors (approx 60x60x8cm), top view


Rock, Paper, Scissors was entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts’ 59th Annual Exhibition and was available for sale at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 4-28 July 2023.

Did you know there was once a $20 million game of Rock, Paper, Scissors?

In 2005, a Japanese Corporation decided to auction their artworks and had the famous art auction houses compete for the privilege with a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. You can read about it on Artsy or listen to a podcast about it on 99% Invisible.


This year, I joined Hakatere Ceramics and Pottery Ashburton to learn more skills and make art with clay.

Pocket is a handwork piece that I formed after the noticing the canvas pattern left from rolling the clay. I carved the stitching and added clay for the stud features and after drying, I bisque fired the piece.

The club held a Raku Firing day and so I glazed Pocket with a copper glaze on the studs and another glaze I have forgotten the name of. Raku Firing is exciting. The work is heated to over 1000 ºC and then quickly removed from the hot kiln and placed into a combustible material and starved of oxygen to produce a myriad of colors in the glazes and black where the clay was unglazed. The results are often unexpected.

Pocket, ceramic, approx 20 x 20 x 4 cm
Pocket, ceramic, approx 20 x 20 x 4 cm

Pocket has been entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts’ 59th Annual Exhibition and is available for sale at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 4-28 July 2023.

Pocket (ceramic) at Ashburton Art Gallery


The feijoa is one of my favorite fruits and the feijoa plant has attractive red flowers. We have four young feijoa plants in our garden and they are starting to produce large fruit.

Feijoa, acrylic 20 cm x 30 cm (framed)

This diptych of the flowering feijoa plant and a large feijoa fruit has been entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts’ 59th Annual Exhibition and is available for sale at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 4-28 July 2023.

Feijoa, acrylic 20 cm x 30 cm (framed) in the Ashburton Art Gallery

You’ve got mail

Back in May, I built a mailbox for the Ashburton Society of Arts to save them the annual cost of a PO Box.

Postbox, front, reclaimed materials sculpture,

Constructed from the frame of an old microwave, pallet offcuts, a roasting dish and the rubber from an electrical cable the mailbox not only saves in the cost of new parts, but also saves these items from the landfill. The PVC tube is round on the front and rectangular on the back and was sculpted into this unique shape with heat. Painted postbox red, the mailbox is attached to the fence at the Art Society’s Gallery and Studio at 53 Short St, Ashburton.

Postbox front/side
Postbox front/side
Postbox rear
Postbox inside
Mailbox installed at 53 Short St.
Mailbox installed at 53 Short St.

The mailbox was entered in the 2022 Resene Upcycling Awards.

Tinfoil Hats : Fashionable headwear for the conspiracy theorists

With the plethora of conspiracy theories floating around, perhaps you need a tinfoil hat to prevent mind control by governments, spies, or paranormal beings that employ ESP or the microwave auditory effect. While these hats might or might not offer this kind of protection, they at least are more fashionable than the proverbial tin foil hat which resembles a dunce cap.

More photos on Flickr

I tested the hats ability to block electromagnetic signals to my phone but they failed, mainly because the phone was larger than the hats, but it is likely that the thickness of the aluminium was not sufficient.

Don’t Fly With Scissors

I had many scissors left over from my acquisition of relinquished scissors from the New Zealand Aviation Security Service for my Rock, Paper, Scissors sculptures and so I was experimenting with shapes I could form with scissors and stumbled upon an avian shape.

With many forgetful passengers relinquishing scissors and other hazardous items at airport security gates, creating sculptures that reminded people to be careful when flying seemed obvious. Four harmonious pairs of scissors are wired together for each sculpture.

Don’t Fly With Scissors #1, Red and black scissors/wire, 27 x 33 x 7 cm
Don’t Fly With Scissors #2, Blue, red and black scissors/wire, 30 x 30 x 6 cm

Due to size, comfort and safety issues, it is not recommended to fly with scissors. With their aerodynamics, they would most likely fly like sheep and rather plummet. If the scissors could fly, I imagine they would soar similar to this video:

Don’t Fly With Scissors Flying, video 1:48 (no audio)

Don’t Run With Scissors

Like most of my work, Don’t Run With Scissors is a visual pun and pokes fun at both the art world and luxury sneaker consumers with a single impractical but wearable shoe sculpture made from scissors.

I had acquired a large number of relinquished scissors from the New Zealand Aviation Security Service for my Rock, Paper, Scissors sculptures. With the remaining scissors I started to create some other sculptures, the most obvious ones being the aircraft/bird shaped Don’t Fly With Scissors. While constructing these, my thoughts progressed to the childhood warning “Don’t Run With Scissors” and thus formed the idea of creating an impractical running shoe made with scissors.

Don’t Run With Scissors, scissors/paper/thread sculpture approx 22 x 33 x 25 cm

Creating the shoe

Using my own foot as a model for the proportions, I wired together scissors to get the basic shape and then at the Ashburton MenzShed, I bent and welded the scissors into place. I then used waxed thread and the plastic handles of a pair of scissors to form the laces. After this I created a tongue/upper of the shoe from layers of paper which I glued and then hand stitched a waxed thread edging. I hand embroidered the logo onto more layered paper and attached this to the shoe. I wrapped thread around any wires connecting the scissors to hide them and make the shoe slightly more comfortable.

Creating the branding and shoebox

I checked the translation of scissors in as many languages as I could and the Hungarian word for scissors, olló, was the word that I thought most resembled a pair of scissors and had the potential for a shoe brand.

Don’t Run With Scissors shoebox lid, paper/inkjet print/acrylic paint, approx 22 x 33 x 3 cm

Using papier-mâché I recycled and exaggerated a shoebox to fit the shoe and serve as a plinth for the sculpture. Acrylic paint and inkjet prints of the logos and labels give the box the look of an authentic product. The QR code on the price label can be decoded to a link to this article about the sculpture on the artist’s website. The pricing is that of the sculpture and is deliberately ridiculous in fitting with the range of luxury sneakers – shoes that are ridiculously expensive and designed to look like running shoes, but not intended for running in.

Wearing the shoe

The shoe is a tight fit for my left foot and so the sizing is equivalent to 46 EU / 12 UK / 13 US / 29.5 CM. During the sculpting of the shoe, it has also fitted my right foot but is currently too difficult to put on. Walking with the shoe is possible, but slightly uncomfortable. It has the feeling of a heavy boot. Running while wearing the shoe has not been attempted and is not recommended as it may damage the shoe or the surroundings.

Wearing the Don’t Run With Scissors sculpture

Exhibiting the shoe

This sculpture has been entered into the Ashburton Society of the Arts 2021 Annual Exhibition at the Ashburton Art Gallery. The exhibition runs from the opening on Monday 5 July 2021 to Friday 30 July 2021.

Knitting Needles

One of the ladies at the Ashburton Society of the Arts Monday Art and Craft group gave me some unwanted knitting needles for recycling.

What do you do when someone gives you knitting needles? You knit with them. So I started knitting them into a sculpture.

Knitting Needles, metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm
Knitting Needles, metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm

The knitting needles were a mix of individual plastic and metal needles with different colors and sizes. The metal needles were quite pliable and relatively easy to knit with.

Knitting Needles (rear view), metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm
Knitting Needles (rear view), metal and plastic knitting needles, 36x10x22 cm

Some of the plastic knitting needles were brittle and so they snapped into multiple pieces and flew around the room when I tried to knit them and so I have threaded them into the weave. Softening the rest of the plastic and metal knitting needles in boiling water helped for coiling them into a ball.

Hand me the money

Hand me the money, shredded paper, 10 x 6 x 12 cm + 10 x 22 x 5 cm

I recently shredded years of old bank statements and recycled some of them into these statements of the different hands in economics, trade and giving.

Open handed (right)

Using an outline of my right hand traced onto cardboard, I built up the sculpture, gluing individual strips of shredded bank statements. The right hand is light weight, but firm.

Depending on your politics, you might see those on the political right as tight fisted and money grabbing, but instead I have portrayed the right as open handed, giving and receiving, serving each other. Not a hand out begging, but lending a hand to mutually help each other.

Tight fisted (left)

I pasted individual strips of shredded bank statements on my closed left fist and then carefully removed the sculpture and filled the hollow fist with more shredded bank statements before applying further strips to the outside. The left hand is heavier but softer than the right.

Again, depending on your politics, you might see those on the political left with an open hand sharing the wealth and giving to those in need. Instead I have portrayed the left as a fist, raised in angry defiance. Grabbing for money and power at the expense of others.

The invisible hand

Between the two hand sculptures is an invisible hand. In economics, the invisible hand is a metaphor for unseen forces that move the free market economy. We cannot see what the invisible hand is doing. Perhaps it is open handed, perhaps a closed fist, perhaps something in between giving a rude gesture.

Hands apart
Hands together
Hand in hand

The Bible has a lot to say about money. This verse is apt.

‘But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. ‘

Matthew 6:3 NLT