Carv­ing new ca­reer from lime­stone rock

Upper Hutt Leader - - PEOPLE - By SELINA POW­ELL

Brett Keno has ex­changed suits and meet­ings for days spent whit­tling away stones that are mil­len­nia old.

The Up­per Hutt stone carver was one of 22 bud­ding artists who took part in a 10-day long stonecarv­ing sym­po­sium at Maid­stone Park re­cently.

It is 10 years since Mr Keno started stonecarv­ing af­ter his wife signed him up with­out his knowl­edge to the Archibald’s Stonecarv­ing Sym­po­sium.

‘‘ I fell in love with it [stonecarv­ing] straight away.’’

Mr Keno be­gan mak­ing sculp­tures for fam­ily and friends, be­fore tak­ing one day off each week to en­able him to spend more time on his hobby.

A web­site show­cas­ing Mr Keno’s art­work has brought in re­quests for cus­tomised sculp­tures from peo­ple as far afield as Whakatane and In­ver­cargill.

Last year Mr Keno took the plunge and swapped his ca­reer in fi­nance to work full time as a stone carver from his Tren­tham home.

‘‘ I feel like I’m liv­ing the dream. It’s al­most like I’m on hol­i­day,’’ Mr Keno said.

‘‘Ev­ery­one seems to have a fear that I’m go­ing out on a limb, that I’m giv­ing up a good job for a hoop dream, but it’s go­ing well so far.’’

Mr Keno uses Oa­maru lime­stone in his work – a rock that has a long his­tory be­fore it comes into the stonecarver’s hands.

‘‘It was un­der the ocean for mil­len­nia. In it, you can see in­ter­est­ing things like seashells and wood.’’

Next year marks 21 years since the first Archibald’s Stonecarv­ing Sym­po­sium.

Mary Archibald, who held the first event in her gar­den, said stonecarv­ing was ‘‘good for the soul’’.

She said peo­ple who at­tended the an­nual event had be­come like a fam­ily.

First-time par­tic­i­pant Filipa Lynch made a sculp­ture in the shape of a frog at the sym­po­sium.

She said she had wanted to take part in the event for years but this was the first year she had been able to get time off.

‘‘It was a re­ally good at­mos­phere.’’

Miss Lynch’s stone am­phib­ian will be added to a col­lec­tion of close to 500 frog or­na­ments that she has col­lected since she was a child.

Photo: SELINA POW­ELL

Rock star: Up­per Hutt stonecarver Brett Keno with an a sculp­ture he made at the Archibald’s Stonecarv­ing Sym­po­sium.

Im­pres­sive ef­fort: First-time stonecarver Filipa Lynch made this frog statue at the stonecarv­ing sym­po­sium.

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