Mother-son duo wired after No 8 win

19:17, Jun 10 2014
 No 8 wire winner
EEL POT: Dagmar Elliott and her son Nick won because their hinaki, or eel pot, ‘spoke of wire’.

The winner of a top prize in a wire art competition was so surprised to hear the news from her son and co-artist that she thought he was joking.

He wasn't. Dagmar Elliott and son Nick, 17, took out top prize in the 2014 Fieldays No 8 wire national art award.

The success of their rustic hinaki, or eel pot, was announced at an awards ceremony held at Hamilton's ArtsPost last Thursday, and it earned them an $8000 prize.

"I couldn't quite believe it, because I was in Germany at the time and I thought my son was joking. He sent me an email," Dagmar Elliott said.

"I thought 'Oh, what a joke. This can't be it'."

Nick had to convince her with a "No truly, Mum. We did win."


Once the news sunk in she was amazed and honoured, although still not sure where the inspiration for a hinaki came from.

However, the family lives near the river in Wharepapa South, southwest of Te Awamutu, and the children go eeling, she said.

Second place in the competition went to Helensville-based metal sculptor, Jeff Thomson's entry Ladders, and William Jamieson from Napier placed third with War & Peace.

The works were judged by acclaimed Auckland-based sculptor Greer Twiss, who said the winners' works stood out because "they spoke of wire".

"I made my choice from entries that recognised the implications of No 8 wire. They have what I like to call ad-hocism," he said.

Elliott was a finalist in the wire art awards last year and watching people enjoy her work inspired her to try her hand again.

She has always enjoyed making things and dabbles in a few areas of art, including flax weaving.

This year, once she hit upon the idea of a hinaki and enlisted son Nick's help for the welding, it was full steam ahead.

"We just started and it evolved from there," she said.

"Sometimes things just work out quite happily."

While rusty wire has its own opinions about how it should be shaped, the hinaki was completed after a couple of weekends' work - plus hours spent attaching the flax binding, she said.

Other Waikato finalists in the 2014 awards were Gay Jurisich, Hamilton, for Annotations; Tony Gray, Morrinsville, for Time and Motion in Space; and Arthur Mahutariki, Ngaruawahia, for Side by Side.

The Fieldays No 8 Wire National Art Award was launched in 1997 by the New Zealand Fieldays Society and has been shown at various venues in the greater Waikato.

The finalists' work will be on display at ArtsPost until July 7.

Entry is free.

For more information visit

Waikato Times