Artist’s cre­ation in­spired by life

Eastern Courier - - FRONT PAGE - LIU CHEN

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.’’

LIU CHEN / STUFF

Jane All­natt and her sculp­ture Tree of Life, which is made out of maple tree wood.

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