Stone symposium draws sculptors from around the world

"You get to know the shape of the stone like you get to know a person's face"

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2013
Jon Barlow Hudson

BLANK CANVAS: American artist Jon Barlow Hudson checks out the boulders that will be used in the 2014 Te Kupenga Biennial International Stone Sculpture Symposium after anofficial powhiri yesterday.

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American artist Jon Barlow Hudson jumped at the opportunity to take part in this year's Stone Sculpture Symposium in New Plymouth.

Ngati Te Whiti held a powhiri for the 25 artists, four international, eight from New Zealand and 13 from Taranaki, on the Coastal Walkway yesterday.

"I was thrilled, of course, any chance to get to New Zealand is a worthy one," Mr Hudson told the Taranaki Daily News.

He especially enjoyed the traditional Maori powhiri. "It was my first New Zealand welcome, so it was a very interesting experience."

Mr Hudson spoke on behalf of the sculptors at the powhiri and said it was a great honour to be part of the event.

"It's something I've always wanted to be part of so we could share our work with New Zealand."

He said he didn't look at the stones as inanimate objects as each had its own qualities, shape, features and colours.

"You get to know the shape of the stone like you get to know a person's face."

Sculpting in stone was all about working with the rock to create an expression together, he said.

Carving in the Te Kupenga Biennial International Stone Sculpture Symposium starts today and will continue until January 17.

Te Kupenga chairwoman Liz Bridgeman said she was pleased with how the welcome went.

"We were blessed with the weather, we had a very bad forecast but in fact it held off," Mrs Bridgeman said. "I believe that's a sign that we have got a very good symposium launched."

The international artists were now part of the local artistic community, she said.

Mrs Bridgeman said Te Kupenga translated to "the net" which was how the international artists were found.

"We cast it out over the world and draw artists together for the symposium."

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