'Mother Nature' makes fresh start

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 08/05/2012

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Mother Nature might take a bruising now and then, but she is never downtrodden for long.

A stone sculpture Mother Nature II, installed yesterday outside Nelson's Fresh Choice supermarket, has replaced Mother Nature which was destroyed a year ago by vandals.

Richmond artist and sculptor Margaret Johnston was thrilled to see her labour of love in place, after she was devastated by the wreckage of the original.

There were also a few challenges involved in creating the second piece commissioned by Fresh Choice. Mrs Johnston worked through the summer to create Mother Nature, in weather like the region had not seen in decades.

"Over summer we had all that rain, and she's so big I was having to work outside so we built a gazebo and put it over the top so I was able to work on her fulltime."

Mrs Johnston said the first sculpture was "quite abstract" while Mother Nature II was created on more "voluptuous realism". Her elevated status on a plinth gave her a "wonderful sense of power", designed to evoke the strength of mother love.

The texture of the sculpture came about through the process.

"When I started smoothing her off she lost some of her strength," Mrs Johnston said.

She said it was "quite a pantomime" getting Mother Nature II in situ. She was ungraciously laid on her back and then lifted by crane on to a hiab truck and brought to Nelson where she was lifted again on to her rightful place on top of a plinth.

"It was terrifying watching that. You do get very attached to these projects when working on them."

Fresh Choice owner Mark A'Court has been posting progress of the work on to the supermarket's Facebook page.

Mrs Johnston was hoping the immediate reaction from a passerby during installation was a good sign, unlike last time.

She said a woman walking past with a trolley when the original was installed made a disparaging comment about spending on such things when the money could have been spent feeding "hundreds of families".

"Yesterday a lady went past who was full of praise," Mrs Johnston said.

"It was a wonderful difference."

The new sculpture was in a safer position, and within sight of security cameras.

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- The Nelson Mail

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