Kath Lafferty, Hat Shade Stand (RECYCLED & RESCUED 2023)

Kath Lafferty
Video tour:

What began as a hunt through the back paddock in search of an older fallen tree to simply replace the current Shade Support over the rear verandah of our house; became an exciting opportunity to explore and develop a new skill in wood carving and creativity. To be selected, the fallen tree needed to be 3.5 metres tall and have solid branches along the trunk to enable hats to be stored easily overnight. Eventually a suitable length of Spotted Gum was discovered and carefully transported to the farm shed. Upon closer inspection, an idea grew to sculpt one branch into an echidna as the shape was already partially formed by nature. Dremel tools and carving discs brought Erik the Echidna to life; however he looked very lonely by himself. Another branch hinted of a Platypus and he also gradually appeared. An Australian bush theme was extended as an assortment of gum nuts, branches, leaves and flowers blossomed along the meandering length of the pole. The wish to retain a selection of the natural rough exterior manifested in the carving of a snake, sliding slowly out from under a craggy rock near the base of the Shade Support, just beneath the Echidna. Climbing quietly below Simon the Snake, one sights a Lizard, watching for the chance to catch a meal. Higher up the trunk you'll find a bug - Will our little lizard find him? As you collect your hat off another branch, be careful not to disturb the Spider, waiting patiently beside her web for the next unwary visitor. Secured top and bottom is a panel of Tricoya which, combined with numerous coats of Ultra-Clear Decking finish, effectively extends the life and durability of the Shade Pole / Hat Stand against the natural outdoor elements. At the completion of this carving task, one realises a myriad of common bushland aspects have accompanied the Spotted Gum tree to its new environment; uniting the everyday corners of the farm with the relaxed and often used family space of the verandah. The inspiration for this carving adventure comes primarily from the stunning works by Jack Wilms at "Secrets On The Lake" Montville, Qld. This Hat & Shade Stand is my first attempt at carving and to feel this creation come to life in such an expressive way was truly a delight. Thank you.

Images have been resized for web display, which may cause some loss of image quality. Note: Original high-resolution images are used for judging.