Turning waste into art

JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN IN ALEXANDRA
Last updated 11:45 30/01/2014
Southland Times photo
JO McKENZIE-McLEAN/Fairfax NZ
Artist Dan Donnelly with his scrap metal sculptures at his new gallery in Omakau.

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Imagination-plus abounds for an Omakau artist who creates sculptures from scrap metal.

Dan Donnelly opened an art gallery on the main road into Omakau in the old wool store earlier this month.

Mr Donnelly sources material from scrounging around scrap metal and recycling yards, auto and motorcycle wreckers.

''You might go five times and find nothing. I look for anything old and rusty with a bit of character that I think I can do something with. I then give it a life and turn it into something else. You see shapes and think 'that could be this and that'. I don't like to cut steel if I can help it. I like to use it in its raw shape. The less cutting the better.''

While he does more conventional animal sculptures such as chickens, owls, pigs and dogs, in his gallery also stand eagles, horses, a moa, stags head - and for those who like something different - a tiki which is largely made up of parts from a John Deere tractor.

An owl that stares intently from its perch is made up of 12 different machinery parts including a lawn mower, seatbelt brackets, a winch strop, the base of a petrol tank - to name a few.

A horse standing in the corner is made from fence standards for the frame, motorbike chains for the mane and tail, steel gauze, reinforcing wire, wheel studs and a gearbox bracket, among others.The Old Wool Store,  which he has named his gallery, was the perfect place for his business, he said.

''I have got a crib at Karitane with a shed out the back I was using but I knew it wasn't going to be a permanent base to make stuff like this. It makes a bit of noise - I use a couple of grinders and an arc welder.

''I had looked at on old garage in Waipiata but it didn't work out then I saw this. I walked in and it was full of old wool bales -  it was just the smell, the rustic nature of the old building - I thought 'yip, this is cool'. I have been trying to get it weather and possum proof.''

Fastfacts:

What: The Old Wool Store gallery

Where: Leask St, Omakau

When: Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm

 

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