Flo­ral artist a win­ner

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­wart@wrcn.co.nz

Creative use of flow­ers and leaves landed lo­cal artist Gay­lene Lee two ma­jor awards at the Flo­ral Art So­ci­ety of New Zealand an­nual meet­ing last month.

Up­wards of 400 en­tries are sub­mit­ted to the so­ci­ety each year and just 10 are cho­sen to win the top awards.

Mrs Lee won the award for best use of leaves with her piece made from na­tive flax and moss named The River, and best use of colour for her Dutch-Flem­ish-style swag.

‘‘It’s re­ally spe­cial to get one award be­cause out of about 500 en­tries re­ally to get any­thing is amaz­ing, so to get two was just in­cred­i­ble,’’ she said.

‘‘When I went up for the sec­ond one I just went ‘oh wow’ and ev­ery­one was go­ing mad so it was quite ex­cit­ing re­ally.’’

Pho­tos of her win­ning de­signs will fea­ture in the so­ci­ety’s national diary.

Mrs Lee has been a mem­ber of the so­ci­ety since 1985 and is also pres­i­dent of the Mata­mata Flo­ral Art Group.

‘‘I like the wide range of things you can do with flo­ral art – it’s not just flow­ers,’’ she said. ‘‘I love to do some­thing re­ally, re­ally dif­fer­ent and you hope like mad it’s all go­ing to go to­gether at the end.’’

In 2010, she won an­other ma­jor award for most in­no­va­tive de­sign and she has also won five smaller awards over the years.

This year the an­nual meet­ing was held in Gis­borne and Mrs Lee at­tended a num­ber of work­shops held by other artists.

‘‘You learn a lot and get lots and lots of dif­fer­ent ideas,’’ she said.

Over the years, she has spent time judg­ing and teach­ing flo­ral art and de­vel­oped the use of clay in flo­ral art.

She has also taken part in 10 Mata­mata Fes­ti­vals of Flow­ers and this year worked on the scene from The Pi­rates of Pen­zance that was cre­ated from flow­ers and plants.

‘‘It’s good fun to do and it’s chal­leng­ing and I like chal­lenges,’’ she said.

‘‘It cer­tainly keeps me out of mis­chief and keeps me busy.’’

Top awards: Mata­mata’s Gay­lene Lee won two ma­jor awards at the Flo­ral Art So­ci­ety of New Zealand an­nual meet­ing.

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