Shapeshifter and the Hobbit

Apparatus 1, A requium of the idea…

My trip to Wellington in Feb took some interesting tangents…

I had already taken two months off my part-time job landscaping to complete the first phase of the ‘Apparatuses’ exhibition, and build the large Beehive inspired work for Shapeshifter. In amongst the product R&D and plant modifications needed to work in fibreglass on this scale i decided to do one last bronze pour to realise at least a handful of the marquettes before we left for Bali in March.

‘Capitol’ on the Big Lathe

Somehow i mixed the dates up and having rushed the crucial surfacing of the ‘Capitol’ work i arrived in Wellington 3 days early! Installation went smoothly except for the gale that blasted through rolled my work out of its temporary placement,  steel and concrete followed and the piece stayed put for the duration of the show…

I was set to drive home but discovered that the financial strain on my meagre resources to build, deliver and install these two exhibitions back to back had indeed taken a severe toll,  i was broke.

There was just one thing i needed to do before the opening, polish the bases of the two small bronze marquettes of the ‘Capitol’,   there was a metal polishing outfit a few blocks from the show so i gambled my last diesel fumes to get there and finish the job.

Strapped down waiting for the concrete to set…

When i arrived the place was all a-buzz with activity…! it was an industrial metal-spinning factory and was at the tail end of a whopping rush order on hundreds of large ‘chalice’ shapes, polished plates, goblets, candle sticks were being discussed with the owner by a mighty tattoo’d Amazon. As he was inspecting, counting and loading the components into a van i took a punt..

“i can do this, Dude i am so skint, really need some work  !”  i thrust the invitation for ‘Apparatus’ into the cab of the van as he drove off…

Two days later i started work in the Props department …the movie was Peter Jacksons latest production of The Hobbit….!!!

I had turned up at a particularly busy time in the production, the goblets and other assorted bling were to embelish the set of Smaugs Lair, whilst massive utensils added the final touches to the interior of Beorns cabin…two other major set-builds were taking place, Dale village and a special effects set at Trentham to provide shots of the  great barrel escape…i was detailed to the Steelies wing of the shop…wrought iron shop-sign brackets, braziers, weapon armatures…. building work under pressure never felt so choice as times when you know your definitely getting payed for it!!

With the illustrious Hobbit spoon maker Steve Wheeler..Gotcha Ox!

I approached Ron Eshcamp of the Exhibitions gallery on Lambton quay to represent me in Wellington, to which he enthusiastically agreed and  ‘Capitol’ enjoyed a brief outing in the foyer of the BNZ building…

Heath Collins beside ‘Capitol’ in the BNZ

Two months later i returned to Waiheke island, solvent enough to get the house finished off, help the family get set up in Bali and get back to Wellington for another burst on the props…

The Amazon’s name is Lee Johnston…..  CHur Bro!

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