Two years ago in November 2015, Harriet & I were going on a two-week trip around Tasmania. We were going on a 42nd Wedding Anniversary of our honeymoon in December 1975. We had been married on the 9th December 1975 in Melbourne so it was only across Bass Strait on the ferry and we were in Tasmania.
When Harriet & I were on a two week trip around Tasmania in November 2015, we flew down to Hobart. We picked up this Britz Van as a camper van for two weeks and drove slowly around from East to West of Tasmania. We got to the little town of Deloraine and Harriet said we had to do shopping. She carefully parked the big camper van in the narrow street and said she was going down to Woolworth’s to do shopping. I then said I would read in the van ….. I didn’t want to go down to Woolworth’s.
When Harriet got out of the van, she called to me and said that I would love this gift and craft shop outside the van. I was interested as I have a great love of art and handmade things. I went into the shop with my camera and began ‘ooing’ and ‘aahing’ at all the things in the shop. One of the first things I saw was a three-dimensional piece of driftwood sculpture fastened on the wall. I took some camera shots and said to myself: “That is something I could do in the future at home”.
I had been through a life-changing situation. In December 1995, I sustained a very severe brain injury by falling off a boogie-board in shallow surf at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia. Consequently, I was in a coma for four weeks, confined in the hospital for six months, had to learn everything all over again.
Before this for twenty years, I ran a small Landscape Design and Construction Company undertaking very creative, individual designer gardens for wealthy residential clients around Brisbane. I was an artistic person, a lateral thinker ….. more artist than businessman. I thought of a landscape as a three-dimensional piece of space that people walked through. This space changed with time as it grew and changed with the time of day. Shadows vs. sun patterns, boulders, colour, plants, trees, earth-forms, solid structures, and water. These were the ingredients I used. Unknowingly, I was a landscape sculptor. Rather an intangible product to sell and run a business with!! However, I built a structure for my life: my marriage, family, house, and business from this base.
See two of my jobs at these Website Posts:
- Greenmount Beach Resort 1980 – 2008: … 28 years on from when I did the garden in 1980:
- Sheehan’s Garden in October 1984 – 2007: … House and Garden in West End, Brisbane … 23 years on from when I did the garden in 1984:
The three-dimensional piece of driftwood sculpture fastened on the wall which I saw was like a miniature version of landscape sculpturing which I used to do in my former business. I came away with many ideas.
Several months later Harriet and I were staying over the weekend with my mother Norma Aitken at Ocean Shores in Northern New South Wales …. about 1.50 hours away from where we live at Chambers Flat in Queensland.
I was walking along the nearby ocean beach and began to find lots of driftwood sticks on the beach. I collected about a whole shallow cardboard box of sticks and brought them home …. intending to make some driftwood sculpture which I had seen in Tasmania a few months before. I stored them in a safe place.
I hadn’t used them for about a year when my 35-year-old son, Anthony said: Claire and Kieron’s wedding is coming up on the 24th June (2017). Why don’t you make a wedding present for them out of the driftwood sticks? Claire would love that.
Using Anthony’s new drill with a 5 amp battery (no electric cords), I began to drill the driftwood sticks. Using a short 75 mm length of thin wire, I found I could loop the wire in on itself at the top, then loop it through the hole in the driftwood stick and twist it around to make a 20 mm loop. This loop could the be used to hook the driftwood stick onto a vertical 1.00 metre length of nylon string. By building the driftwood sticks in a symmetrical pattern, you end up with a hanging driftwood sculpture. See the two photographs below.
I am now really into building many driftwood sculptures ….. even using thin twisted branches from trees on our five acres of land. I now have a whole new creative direction as a long-term consequence of seeing the three-dimensional piece of driftwood sculpture fastened on the wall in Deloraine, Tasmania !! I am calling it ”Birds Nest Sculpturing”.
Birds Nest Sculpturing in the Garden
When Harriet and I were in Perth in September 2018 for a wedding with one of Harriet’s nephews, we spent a day by the water in a park having a read and a picnic. In the park was a big gum tree dropping large gum-nuts on the grass. I collected a whole bagful to be brought home for sculpturing.
Drilling a small hole in the base I could make them into long strings of gum-nuts on a length of fishing line. Hence the hanging gum-nuts in the photo above.
Small logs were placed in an artistic way to make a small log sculpture. We see this sculpture whenever we go down to the car in the car shed.
Sculpture in the garden using branches and palm sheath sheets.
The Tripod up the top of our land:
Soon after I had built the hanging driftwood sculpture as a wedding present for Claire and Kieron, Anthony came to me and said: Dad, I have brought home this small forked driftwood log which I hauled along the ocean beach at your mothers place at Ocean Shores for about a kilometre. I put it on my ute and brought it home. Anthony is about three times stronger than I am at 68 years old. What can we do with it up the top of our land near the driveway?
He took the small forked driftwood log up to the top, found another small log on our land, and formed it into a tripod. He fastened the two logs together with a big screw and drilling with his 5 amp battery. Suddenly we had a tripod.
Dad, what can you do underneath? Over the next week, I began to build a Birds Nest Sculpture underneath in small branches off our land, fastening each one with the wire as per the hanging driftwood sculpture which I talk about above. See the photographs below.
I have developed a concept I call ‘The Sustainable Life’ …. Three legs like a tripod of Structure, Social Relationships, and Spirituality. Do You live a Whole Life or do you have a Hole in your Life?
A Sustainable Life has the ability to be continually renewed and maintained every day. Each of these components act like legs on a tripod which sit on a large rock near the ocean. When the storms and waves of life of life come, if the legs are strong, the waves will go over you but you will sit firmly on the rock of life. If one of the legs is weak, the tripod of your life will fall over in what you could call an Unsustainable Life.
I talk in detail about ‘The Sustainable Life’ in this post on this website.
Birds Nest Sculpturing In The Courtyard
Sculpture using the bases of Bangalow palm fronds which have fallen off our palms in the courtyard.
Birds Nest Sculpturing by the Dipping Pool
I am now really into building many driftwood sculptures ….. even using thin twisted branches from trees on our five acres of land. I now have a whole new creative direction as long-term consequence of seeing the three-dimensional piece of driftwood sculpture fastened on the wall in Deloraine, Tasmania !! I am calling it ”Birds Nest Sculpturing”.
The actual Birds Nest Sculpture underneath the tripod up the top of the driveway, I had brought down in a wheelbarrow to add a little bit more height to it. A couple of days later, Anthony my son saw it and moved it into a new position along with the tripod of thin branches as sculpture in the photograph above.
They have been placed at the entry to the Dipping Pool The Birds Nest Sculpture has been used to enclose the electronic control centre of the solar-powered aeration pump.
Ideas for Sculpturing from Other Places:
A wonderful piece of driftwood log sculpture …… The sculpture has a central string on which are attached asymmetrical pieces of driftwood with shell pieces periodically attached to the driftwood pieces. Unknowing this inspired my own driftwood sculpture as shown above.
A framed sculpture of driftwood shells and coarse coral sand available from the local sculptor in the Sunday market day at Port Douglas when we were up there on holidays in 2004.
Gallery in Salamanca in Hobart, Tasmania 2015
Wonderful handmade chairs fashioned from small logs to give a very sculptured look to the chairs ……