Sculptor has to 'work hard' to get a head

13:45, May 21 2009
BREAKING THE MOULD: South Canterbury sculptor Margriet Windhausen works on her latest masterpiece, girl, in her Maungati studio near Timaru.

In her studio, a converted 90-year-old church, sculptor Margriet Windhausen is working on the head of a girl.

It is a privately commissioned bronze sculpture that will take six weeks to complete, and it took almost 10 hours of sitting and two days of work to create a clay replica.

The sculpture is one of about 400 Mrs Windhausen has made, most of which have been sold in exhibitions around New Zealand, and the rest adorn her home, which is set in 10 acres, about 40 minutes from Timaru.

What was once a Presbyterian church in Clandeboye is now her studio, and her home is an 1890s Anglican church from St Andrew's.

She and her artist husband Paul van den Bergh moved the churches to their Maungati property.

The couple came to New Zealand from the Netherlands in 1976 and after living in Gisborne, Hamilton and Invercargill, have lived in South Canterbury for 22 years.


Mrs Windhausen, who is a fourth-generation artist, said her painter father played a big role in her early training.

Mrs Windhausen's most recent artwork, Head of a Young Woman, took out the premier award at the South Canterbury Pottery Group's exhibition, which opened at Aigantighe Art Gallery this month.

The sculpture was one of four Mrs Windhausen displayed, and took about three months to complete. It may feature in her annual Auckland exhibition in January. The South Canterbury exhibition closes tomorrow, but Mrs Windhausen will continue to create about 12 sculptures a year.

"If you want to do more than 12 you really have to work hard."

She started sculpting full-time about five years ago and gave up her job as a part-time art teacher at Roncalli College in 2007.

Timaruvians may recognise some of her public artworks, the most recent being the Face of Peace bronze memorial installed at Caroline Bay last year.

She also did the Jack Lovelock sculpture at Timaru Boys' High School in 2002, the Lord Elworthy portrait outside the library in 1990, and the life-sized sculpture of boxer Bob Fitzsimmons at Strathallan Corner in 1987.

The Timaru Herald