From art-sceptic to waste-metal sculptor

Favourite exhibit . . . Georgia Hall sits beside an exhibit she admires called Garden Mushrooms which was entered in the Waikaka Arts and Crafts Exhibition by Sheryl and Graeme Kennedy of Tapanui. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

‘‘I can do that’’ has got Jono Gardyne into a lot of trouble over the years, he says.

Gardyne opened the Waikaka Arts and Crafts Exhibition this month as this year’s guest, and shared some of his creative journey with the 150 people there.

Gardyne makes sculptures out of waste metal on his North Chatton farm.

His ‘‘I can do that’’ attitude had led him on some interesting adventures.

He told the story of when he was at university and saw a television programme where someone aquaplaned across a swimming pool on a motorbike.

He decided to try it for himself on the Rakaia River.

All was going well until he started to feel ‘‘unstable’’ and leant forward.

‘‘All I remember is popping up from the surface and a fisherman on the other side of the bank going ‘yay’.’’

Despite growing up nearby, he had not enjoyed coming down to the exhibition in his youth.

‘‘I have a tendency to have busy hands . . . [and] you were never allowed to touch anything.’’

He did not understand the point of art or why anyone would spend money on it.

During his childhood he enjoyed making things firstly with Lego and later with wood.

When he started woodwork at school, he was not that excited about the process involved.

‘‘Wood required a lot of finishing and sanding to make things presentable.

‘‘[That] really took the shine off for me because I am all about design and making it go.’’

Metalwork was more enjoyable because all it required was a coat of paint, he said.

His ‘‘I can do that’’ approach had become the motivation for many of his projects.

As a teenager, he was inspired to make a catapult after playing a computer game.

Unfortunately, the catapult did not work, but he learned a lot from the experience.

His first real foray into sculpting metal came after his wife Kayla was looking for Christmas present ideas on the internet.

‘‘She came up with the idea I could make flowers out of the offensive pile of scrap metal in the yard.’’

The couple sorted out suitable pieces to use and Gardyne’s sculpting career took off.

While watching The Hobbit, he had the idea of making a fire-breathing dragon like the one in the movie.

‘‘Who wouldn’t want one of those?

‘‘It would be hot and sharp.’’

When he first started out people questioned why he would want to weld metal together to make objects.

Now he had an answer.

‘‘It’s art and I can show it at the arts and crafts.’’

It was quite a ‘‘lazy way’’ to do art, he said.

‘‘Just put some parts together in a shape and let them rust.’’

His wife had been a big help in the creative process by critiquing his efforts, he said.

‘‘She’s brutally honest, which is great, and stops me wasting a lot of time on projects.’’

The guest artist at the exhibition sets a challenge for members of the public.

Gardyne’s challenge was to make a dinner plate-sized sculpture using wire and/or cutlery.

The challenge was won by Clay McKenzie (6) who made a sculpture of a fisherman catching a fish.

Lisa Anderson was second with a wire sculpture of the Willowbank landscape.

Georgia Hall, of Waikaka, said her favourite exhibit was the purple and white spotted Garden Mushrooms by Sheryl and Graeme Kennedy, of Tapanui.

‘‘They’re my favourite colour and I like them because they have wiggly stems.’’