Cranbrook goes nuts in May festival

This was my first outdoor festival, held in Cranbrook this May. It was great to hear what they had to say about my creatures. I was pleasantly surprised by a number of people who actually approached and spoke to me. I’ve spent most of my life being creative one way or another, and the thing is when you’re doing something a bit different, it can be a lonely experience – there were times I would emerge from the shed with sawdust in my eyes and ears, wondering I was just some mad old bloke in a shed, wasting his time.


Firstly the weather was good on the first day, which helped, put the crowds in a good mood. I had laid it out so so you could see what the wood was like as I found it in the orchards, along with a few pieces in their early stages that I used to demonstrate the process I went through in teasing the creature out.


With the finished pieces, I had some with the shiny gloss finish and some that I wire-wooled to give a smooth matt finish. Both seemed to attract attention for different reasons.


Lastly, I sold ‘Dungong’, which was my first-ever sale. Maybe it will be a good investment for those who bought him, as they got it for a good early days price. It was a weird experience though, even though I was glad someone liked my work enough to actually buy one, it was also tough as I spent a long time with that thing – it felt like selling a child.


People seemed to react in different ways: there were the old fellas, who worked with wood in one way or another, tinkering away with their own projects, were pleased to see someone had ventured out of their shed into the daylight.

There were the kids who engaged with each and every creature, asked questions, touched, swiveled and stroked their way through the entire collection – something these things were designed for. There were people who couldn’t believe that it started from the bark-layered lump and ended up as a something finished and polished.

There were people who reveled in the creativity of it all and others who asked me about tools and finishes – then there were others who looked, nodded politely and moved on in search of Geraniums.


If I got one thing out of the last few days, it was that people interacted with them on many different levels; each to their own, which is what art is supposed to about.

I’ve also started doing some sketches, which I will feature in more detail on the site later. Here’s Draco Malus Primus, the plan is that I’m going to sartdoing some sketch sheets to try and bring them to life a bit and see what they might look like form diffferent angles and possibly how they may animate. All part of the bigger picture.


Thanks to Liz and my wife Tracey (who ran the Hush Heath wine stall next to me) for persevering with me and my creative sensitivities and forcing me out into the sunlight.



Here’s me talking to the Mayoress Julia Soyke and husband – evidently she has a nice bit of driftwood she’d like me to take a look at.

CGNIM Mayor Julia Soyke & husband Peter WITH KELVIN TILLINGHAST