Artist’s creation inspired by life
A recent wood art contest has seen Cockle Bay sculptor Jane Allnatt come home with multiple awards.
Just like in the past 20 years, her creations stood out in the Kawerau Woodfest and National Woodskills Competition, which concluded earlier this month.
Her Tree of Life won first place in the open carving, while The Tainuia Kid (Billy T. James) placed second in the same category, and Sea Star won a highly commended in sculpture.
Aside from wood, the artist also does painting, and used to do bone carving, copper repousse and pottery.
The house she and her husband Jim, author of several books, live in is like an art gallery, elegantly decorated with Jane’s sculptures, as well as paintings by her, her father and daughter.
Jane is always inspired by life, no matter if it’s a movie she watched or a neighbour’s cute dog.
When she feels like creating, Jane often starts with drawing, visualises what she wants to achieve, and then puts the onedimensional design into plasticine to figure out how to relate each side in three dimensions. Adjustments will then be made accordingly to get rid of potential problems before the design is applied to wood.
‘‘You really have to know exactly where you’re going, right to the final detail. You must have all of that before you start.’’
It can take ‘‘as long as it takes’’ to finish a piece, Jane says.
‘‘It’s a very slow process. Carving is like reading a book. You have to concentrate on what you’re cutting away. Your mind is thinking all the time.’’
She enjoys spending time in the well-lit dining room, utilising the big table and a workbench set up beside it for her creations, while Jim often sits writing on the other side of the room.
‘‘Jane never seems to do the same thing twice,’’ Jim says.
Even the 120 21st birthday keys, often as a gift, that Jane made for her clients are all unique in shapes and designs, reflecting the young adult’s ethnicity and interests.
The artist believes she has got better at the competition, and hopes more carvers will enter to showcase their talents.
‘‘I’m happy that I still manage to win, because all the time the competition is getting harder, and I have to think up new ideas and keep up with what’s going on.’’
Jane Allnatt and her sculpture Tree of Life, which is made out of maple tree wood.