Sculptor: Jan Gosling, Waipawa
I began carving in stone in March 2000 after the death of my father. My father’s death is very significant to my work as he was the one to teach me basic woodcarving skills when I was a teenager. I also bought my very first piece of Oamaru stone on the morning he died.
He, and my mother, also gave me an appreciation of New Zealand’s forests… and many of my pieces are derived from the unique forms of the New Zealand bush.My carving skills have changed to accommodate using a different medium from wood and many of my stone-carving techniques have been self-taught or adapted from wood carving techniques.
I find the stone soft and easy to work, but it also has a strength which allows fairly fine detail, and if sanded with a fine grade sandpaper and be finished with a very fine, smooth surface which can make the piece tactile as well as visual.
Each piece of stone has an individual quality. Some pieces can be almost pure white, while others have fossils and veins of iron oxide running through them.
Often the nature of the stone cannot be seen until it is cut into, revealing hidden secret and a uniqueness which can never be replicated.
I get my inspiration for a lot of my sculptures from the New Zealand natural environment, using soft flowing forms of ferns, seashells and flowing water.
I enjoy exploring shapes and shapes, and the interaction of light and shadows which I feel is emphasised even more with this white stone.
Soft curves are a feature of my carving and this is translated too in my exploration of the human figure.
Some features are exaggerated and others are muted to give a sensual, stylized figure which has a distinctly New Zealand feel.
And with most of my human forms the works are finely sanded so that the piece can be enjoyed through touch as well as visually.