Born in South Africa and now a proud New Zealand citizen, Gideon (Guy) du Toit tried woodturning as a hobby and discovered a real passion and natural talent for it. He took his passion to France, where he studied at Ecole Escoulen, a woodturning school that was created in 2012 on the will of the municipality of Aiguines to promote the unique know-how of woodturners, knowledge which is deeply embedded in the cultural heritage of the territory. Guy qualified from here as a professional production and artistic woodturner.
“Giving up everything to go to France to study full-time was very hard. Not being able to speak French and having to be immersed in the school and classes full-time was exceptionally hard.”
Raised in a hardworking community dominated by pastoral farming, the Buick family learned that improvising with finite resources would produce innovating results. This ‘make do, can do’ attitude embodies the tradition of Kiwi ingenuity where New Zealanders refuse to be held back by limited resources, and believe in their ability to solve problems in ways that challenge the status quo – this is otherwise known as the ‘Number 8 Wire’ mindset, most prevalent in rural families.
Ngaire’s father was your typical, hardworking Kiwi bloke – a man who carved a living for himself and his family through hard effort tending to his farm, cattle and sheep. Her mother, a nurse by trade, was a wealth of artistic inspiration. “As kids we were surrounded by her creativity – the curtains, furniture coverings, the clothes we wore, bedspreads – all were created by my mum. She was an amazing seamstress who could knit, crochet, and make lace but her true passion was porcelain dolls. “The first item I burnt was a wooden spoon (which I still have) and I was hooked. My husband and I soon fell into a routine; he would turn bowls and candles holders which I would then decorate with pokerwork and sell at markets on the weekend.” Through this, their business Burnt Offerings was born. Ngaire soon realised that her husband could not keep up with her demands for turned pieces, so she turned to refurbishment, and fell in love with the idea of giving unwanted items a new lease of life. Thus, ‘upcycling’ became her new medium. Ngaire Kearney
I have always been interested in art since I was a small boy, always drawing and inventing things out of wood. When I was living in Perth, WA, I had the opportunity to stop work and try new things. Once I discovered woodturning, that was it, I was hooked.
I find my inspiration in nature, which has a big influence in my art and living where we do by Lake Taupo, not far from native forests which are very inspirational. A number of NZ turners have been a big inspiration for me after arriving back in NZ in mid 1995, particularly Alby Hall and Rolly Munro. Being an artist is better than getting my hair cut and getting a real job! But seriously, I just love creating art, especially endeavouring to achieve the ‘nearly impossible’ with my style of art woodturning.
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