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.

Get your art online workshop

I’ve been helping artists get their art online since 1998. To help local artists get online, I ran a workshop at the Ashburton Art Society studio on 29 October.

Workshop promo, digital image

The workshop covered using social media and websites to share and sell art online. We started by looking at what online presence the artists already had and how to increase their online presence.

We then looked at creating content and sharing this via social media as well as joining art communities online so more people could view their art.

As a result of the workshop, the artists now all have Facebook pages (or improved Facebook pages) and are exploring other ways to share their art online. They have had a month to post content so explore their art and encourage them by following them here:

Annie Robertson Art

Artist – Sue Simpson – New Zealand

Barbara Jaine Artist

John Achten Artist

Rach jemmett ART

Sally Hughes Art

Zdena’s Art

I am planning to run another workshop in 2023.

Non-flat Earth (#2)

Non-flat Earth, papier-mâché, approx 50 x 50 x 50 cm

Myths and legends tell the story of a flat earth traveling through the heavens supported on the backs of elephants and a turtle. Same here, but with a roundish earth.

There are some conspiracy theories floating around suggesting that the Earth is flat. I have traveled around the world and observed that it is in fact round. Well, roundish.

Hindu mythology has the earth supported by elephants or a tortoise/turtle or both or a snake. North America has a legend of a ‘Great Turtle’, which upholds the Earth.

Combining the facts with the legends, I have recreated this model of the Earth. A Non-flat Earth is based on Non-flat Earth Unpainted, but with a hand made globe, in a different medium – papier-mâché, and painted this time.

The book of Job in the Bible says the Earth is suspended over nothing.

He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
    he suspends the earth over nothing.

Job 26:7. NIV

While this lines up with the science, my globe has to rely on the backs of elephants and a turtle for support.

Non-flat Earth was entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts 58th Annual Exhibition and could be viewed (and purchased $900) at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 5-29 July 2022.


Stamp, woodcut block print, 297 x 420 mm (A3), framed
Stamp, woodcut block print, 297 x 420 mm (A3), framed

Inspired by a postage stamp found in a pencil box purchased from a second hand store, Stamp is one of my first successes in wood block printing. The wading bird seemed out of place on the stamp so my print has it standing in and on an imagined environment.

The signature follows the theme and is stamped from a set of alphabet stamps also acquired from a second hand store.

I enjoy the challenge of working reflectively and inversely to produce an the printed image.

Stamp (detail)
Stamp (detail)

Stamp was entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts 58th Annual Exhibition and could be viewed (and purchased $190) at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 5-29 July 2022.

Small Worlds

Small Worlds, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvases, 13x13cm

Small World North

Small World North, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvas, 13x13cm

Small World South

Small World South, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvas, 13x13cm

Small World Stewart

Small World Stewart, Acrylic, aluminum foil, wood, air dried clay on reconstructed canvas, 13x13cm

With the recent pandemic and lockdowns travel globally has been limited. This has been hard on Kiwis who love to travel the globe and occasionally bump someone they know from home. They establish their common connections and exclaim “Small World!”.

And also during some of the travels of my life, I have met people who have not travelled very far from where they were born. Sometimes you hear of people who have spent their entire lives living and working on a bridge in a European or Asian city, or had never left the small village they were born in. Their worldview is often small.

These globes are for the travel-challenged.

Small World North, Small World South and Small World Stewart were entered in the Ashburton Society of Arts 58th Annual Exhibition and could be viewed (and purchased) at the Ashburton Art Gallery from 5-29 July 2022.

Advent Song

When I was a child, our grandparents would travel eight hours to visit us at Christmas time. Nana was a caterer and she would bring a load of sweet treats like her peanut brownies and melting moments so soft they would melt in your mouth. Poppa was a real life Santa Claus – him and Nana would often give presents to Birthright kids. So when we heard they were coming for Christmas we got super excited. Mum tried to get us to clean the house, but we would spend more time looking out the window and trying to be the first kid to see them coming down the road.

I have often thought that God is like that with us. Jesus told the parable of the lost (prodigal) son, which is really about a forgiving father. In Middle Eastern culture it is undignified to run, especially to greet someone who has dishonored the family, yet this father runs to meet his lost son.

Advent song, 5 min live video recording, Sunday 19 December 2021

Perhaps you are like Sarah who laughed in disbelief when she got the promise of a son in her old age, or like Hannah fervently waiting for a child. Maybe you are like Anna and Simeon waiting to see the promised Messiah. Or Mary or Martha. The lyrics are deliberately ambiguous as to who is singing to who – perhaps God is waiting at the window for you to return to him or to meet with him again. Perhaps he is like the grandparents coming with presents and good things to meet with you.


G D Em C

Verse 1

When I heard you were coming
I could hardly believe it 
I was so excited 
I had trouble sleeping 

The house was a mess 
Floor needed sweeping 
But my nose was at the window 
Looking for you 

Verse 2

You were bearing gifts 
But the treasure I was seeking 
The greatest gift of all
To be in your Presence 

The news of your advent
Had me joyful weeping 
Overwhelming hope of spending 
Time with you



made Man
With us
To dwell 

With us



Am Em

And you came running 
And swept me in your arms

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.

Egg Faced – A song where the chords spell the major lyrics

Egg Faced, video (lyrics, chords and music) 2:22
Egg faced single cover, digital image

Over the last few weeks, I have written and refined this comical song where the chords spell out the major lyrics. Or perhaps, the major lyrics tell you which chords to play. The above video is an early demo version of the song with the chords and lyrics.

I have written several other songs and instrumental pieces and I hope that these will eventually be recorded and published.

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.