Artists tackle vines for cup exhibition

01:32, Jun 22 2011
Kick it: Richmond Plains owner Lars Jensen with the rugby ball he has created using grapevine prunings.

Sculptures made from grape vines are sprouting up at Te Mania and Richmond Plains Wines in an exhibition inspired by the Rugby World Cup.

The two wineries, in partnership with Arts Council Nelson, have launched what is thought to be New Zealand's first grape-vine sculpture exhibition with the aim of creating a range of affordable art works, including a giant rugby ball, for cup visitors.

Already, about 10 artists – including Michael MacMillan, David Carson and Marilyn Andrews – have started using their creative skills to twist, bend, and braid the pruned canes into sculptures.

Richmond Plains owner Lars Jensen said the idea was to celebrate the cup, involve the public and have some fun doing it.

"It's pruning time in the vineyard so we thought all these canes could be used to create something wonderful."

The exhibition had received a great response from artists who found the canes a "very forgiving" material to work with, he said.


Among those hard at work at the McShane Rd site is Richmond floral artist Roseanne Armstrong. She is designing a big doughnut-type piece and will tie bunches of clipped canes and bright flowers to a circular 3-metre high metal frame.

She has used vines before and found them relatively easy to handle but said with an endless supply it was a chance to do something larger.

Winery staff plan to construct the world's largest grapevine rugby ball – at least the size of a family car – with help from the public.

"We would like all cellar door visitors to help us by joining in by adding more vines," Mr Jensen said. "The more people the bigger the ball."

He was open to suggestions on where the ball should be displayed.

Arts Council community arts manager Lloyd Harwood said the event was "a wonderful initiative to bring artists and the public together in a fun creative collaboration".

Visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite sculpture and the winning artist will receive $500 worth of Te Mania and Richmond Plains wine. The sculptures will be offered for sale and be on display from August 19 until the end of October when the cup finishes.

The Nelson Mail