Bespoke Hardware for a beautiful House on Waiheke Island
Bespoke Hardware for a house at Lake Tarawera that won the 2017 Bay of Plenty, Central Plateau Master Builder Supreme House of the Year Award.
Marshall The Dragon
(I’ve also put Marshall in the Sculpture page as well)
The Clients had an old wood fired Marshall hot water heater they wanted made into a dragon themed out door fire place. Thus we have Marshall the Dragon or Tuatara hanging out a top the fire. He’s inspired by my “God of Small Things” series: see “Small Sculpture” page. The stones are from all over and the tail is made from stones threaded onto stainless wire rope, thus able to be moved about.
Kaituna Cup Chandelier
Eels! During my school years, my family had three weeks holiday each year at Lake Waikaremoana. Since the lake was damned for a hydro scheme in the 1920s, the eels have not been able to travel back to the sea to breed. So they just stay in the lake getting bigger and bigger. I caught one at age 12 using trout guts and it measured five foot seven inches long. Not so big if you believed the local’s stories. I still swam in the lake but with some trepidation. Yes, real live monsters in the deep green waters.
Long fin eels travel up rivers far inland where they stay until they reach maturity at around 30 to 40 years old. Then they travel down to the sea and swim to deep trenchs near the island of Tonga to breed and then die. Their offspring travel back to New Zealand by ocean currents and start the whole process again. I can’t think of anything more amazing!
So I will always celebrate eels. They are under increasing environmental pressure from habitat loss and over-fishing, and lets face it, they ain’t exactly cute like the kakapo or kiwi. In fact they are the opposite; dark mysterious and malevolent.
This chandelier is painted white in the french iron style. The frogs are wee jockeys with the dubious honour of racing in the Kaituna Cup. Where the race ends is up to us.
As an artist I love furniture and functional objects, and find them a fertile ground for subversion. Most people’s reaction to The Kaituna Cup is a perfect case in point.
Kaituna Cup. “Frog jokey riding his eel”
Straw Bale House balustrade
Straw Bale House
A straw bale house in Hamilton. The clients stepped sideways to create a beautiful home more akin with an Arts and Crafts Movement style house of the 1930s and 40s. It was great to be involved. The design of the balustrade flows through to the front gates, with a unique door handle and a firefly light for the entrance.
Straw Bale House stair rail detail
Staw Bale House stair rail detail
Staw Bale House firefly
Straw Bale House Front Gate
Straw Bale House Front Gate (Detail)
Ngongotaha Sign Housing
To acknowledge Ngongotaha’s history as a mill town I used large blocks of timber, the waka or canoe shaped “pare” or lintel on top acknowledges the lake. I enjoy the balancing act between the curves and straight lines, but the weight and mass of the materials do most of the talking. I am particularly pleased with the way the pergola turned out, using straight hollow section steel to get such a stunning curve.
The Maori legend tells of a fairy maiden who tried to trick a chief into drinking a magic potion that would make him fall in love with her and live amongst the fairies for ever. The vessel she offered was a calabash. Ngongotaha means the mouth of the calabash. So using a pattern router I carved my own contemporary Kowhaiwhai design that represents gourds growing on the vine. (I discovered that the beautiful kowhaiwhai patterns of old were carved into the gourds when they were still on the vine. The gourds I’ve tried to carve have always been too hard and dry.)
The Maori word for fairies is patupaiarehe or turehu. They were reportedly large white folk with red hair who inhabited mountain tops and misty areas. Being “a ranga” as my son puts it, which I guess is short for orangutang, I have a soft spot for these New Zealand fairy folk!
Did you know they can now trace the origin of the red head gene to a small town in Ireland? I wonder if the patupaiarehe came on the same spaceship as we did! Hmmmmm.
Ngongotaha Sign Housing
Ngongotaha sign housing detail
The challenge with this gate was to use traditional blacksmithing techniques of hot forging, riveting and collaring rather than welding. If you follow the horizontal bars, they create the hinge and latch system as well as holding the gate together. Aesthetically I enjoy the formal posts with the contrasting organic flow of the gate.
The gudgeons and latch clasp are geckos. I love geckos, kitsch and kiwiana perhaps. They once scuttled all over this land but due to introduced predation, they have nearly all disappeared. It’s funny, sometimes I feel their presence, like an imprint into the land’s memory. Just like when standing on farmland that only a hundred years ago was a mighty forest.
Gecko Gate Detail