North & South - - + My Space - MONIQUE BALVERT O’CON­NOR

One day, Scott Parker as­pires to own a gallery. For now, a ship­ping con­tainer in a re­mote pad­dock in the back­blocks of the Bay of Plenty will have to do.

With the lo­cal­ity comes a de­gree of soli­tude, but also com­pany of a kind. Feed­ing tui trill from flax nearby and sheep cir­cle the con­tainer, while chooks throw timid­ity to the winds and strut right on in.

A carver and fine jew­eller, Parker spe­cialises in jade, and his cre­ations – some­times in­cor­po­rat­ing gold, sil­ver and di­a­monds – have made a mark in some hefty cir­cles. For­eign min­is­ters have been pre­sented with them as gifts; Billy Idol has bought a num­ber of pieces. In 2012, bev­er­age com­pany Fru­cor com­mis­sioned Parker to craft a large koru neck­lace for sprinter Usain Bolt: “I got a call on a Fri­day say­ing it was needed on the Tues­day. So, that was a full-time week­end.”

Parker, who de­scribes his pieces as sculp­ture on a small scale, was the Jew­ellery Man­u­fac­tur­ers Fed­er­a­tion’s Ap­pren­tice of the Year in 2011, and last year took part in a cul­tural ex­change, train­ing un­der Chi­nese mas­ter carvers. The 26-year-old has pedi­gree on his side. A third-gen­er­a­tion jew­eller, he sat at his fa­ther’s bench as a preschooler, pulling clocks apart. By the age of 14, he had a hol­i­day job fix­ing watches and tack­ling ba­sic jew­ellery re­pairs.

Parker now mainly works on com­mis­sion from his 20ft-long ship­ping con­tainer, which is lined with ply and sits on a friend’s life­style block. His tools of the trade in­clude a high-speed den­tal hand­piece for cut­ting, a welder, a vice, a gas torch, pli­ers, files and ham­mers.

Work­place haz­ards? “I’ve had as many as four chick­ens in here and I’ve had to chase sheep down the drive­way,” he says. “But I love this back­ground to my work and I’m not afraid of my own com­pany. It puts you in a good space for sure.”

Parker’s jew­ellery will be on dis­play at Tau­ranga’s Bay Of Plenty Gar­den & Art Fes­ti­val, which marks its 10th an­niver­sary this year (Novem­ber 17-20, www.gar­de­nan­dart­

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