Doomed trees turn into art
When Nora West was asked to get rid of three landmark trees on her Ponsonby property, she decided to get creative.
The gum trees that towered over Nora’s property on the corner of Williamson Ave and Turakina St have been cut back and transformed into works of art.
Nora enlisted the skills of Pacific sculptor Tui Hobson, who has just completed carvings on the remaining three trunks, the largest of which is three metres tall.
Ms West says she is “absolutely thrilled” with the result.
“I loved these trees for being a landmark before and now they’re a landmark again.”
A self-confessed show-off, Ms West says she enjoys seeing people walk past and appreciate the trees.
“I love the way people keep coming up and saying ‘wow’.”
When the gum trees started dropping large branches on a neighbouring property, Ms West agreed to apply for resource consent to have them cut down.
Ms West met Ms Hobson through her work as art manager at Karangahape Rd’s Okai Oceanic Art Gallery.
Ms Hobson says the project was fun because it was the first time she had sculpted growing trees.
She says she is glad they could create art out of the trees, rather than seeing them wasted.
“We thought, why not try this, rather than seeing them getting them chopped to pieces.”
Ms West and Ms Hobson collaborated on one of the sculptures, named the three lizards, which represent Ms West’s three grandsons Toby, David and Jim.
Ms Hobson, who took two weeks to complete the works, decided to retain most of the bark colour of the trunks for an “urban” look.
Her own garden is covered with similar sculptures and she often gets passersby approaching her to do work for them.
One of New Zealand’s most well-established sculptors, Ms Hobson says she is taking some time to do small bits and pieces this year before travelling to Taiwan for a month-long residence at a museum in November.
Something different: Nora West, left, and artist Tui Hobson admire the gum tree carvings.