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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

1 min ago

Sharleen and her sculpture “Not a leg to stand on”, one of many pieces created this year.

It’s a busy time for IDEAschool students and staff as they preparing for this year’s Arts Festival on November 29. One of the participating artists is Sharleen Gamble. “The festival is a great way to celebrate and showcase our hard work. Personally, I have put in 110 percent throughout the year,” Sharleen says.

Right now Sharleen is spending a great deal of time making and remaking scale models of sculptural pieces while figuring out how they could be best displayed in the exhibition area.

Sharleen grew up on a farm in North Canterbury. Being immersed in nature fuelled her creativity and imagination. She drew, painted and hammered boards together to create little houses. “I’ve always been a maker,” she says. To raise her family however, Sharleen had to set her passion aside for a while.

The emerging artist is a solo mum of four. In 2015, when her youngest child turned three, Sharleen was on the look-out for a job. She had a childcare qualification but felt that she needed to upgrade her skills, so she returned to her passion. Sharleen enrolled in a level 3 visual arts & design certificate at EIT without knowing where it would lead to.

The biggest challenge was to fit study time around the needs of her family. “I learned that I had to treat it like a job. Time management is the key.” Sharleen doesn’t want to sugar-coat the reality of being a mature student with a lot of other commitments. “It has been quite a journey. I had to re-find myself as a person and artist working through genres.” From making 3D objects to learning new skills such as spot welding and mig welding in both the wood workshop and the metal workshop, all of this opened up new opportunities. Sharleen completed a Bachelor in Creative Practice and is now studying the Honours programme.

Sharleen has researched different practitioners like British sculptor Richard Deacon and studied the work of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze who investigated the fold. “That’s how I got into experimenting with curves, unfolding, refolding, creating fluid movement through space and time.”

In keeping with her sustainability principles Sharleen began to work with repurposed materials, primarily old timber and steel. “What some people consider junk and trash can be turned into something beautiful,” Sharleen says.

Sharleen wants her materials to keep the voice of their previous life. “It’s not about perfection. Sometimes my sculptures show a little bit of glue or don’t stick together perfectly. The great thing about repurposed material is that you never know what’s going to happen. It can take a long time to complete a piece.”

On her education journey Sharleen put a lot of energy into building a network. An internship with Hastings sculptor Ricks Terstappen resulted in a lasting mentor and friendship. Sharleen recently had the honour to curate his retrospective exhibition in the Hastings Community Arts Centre. She also had the privilege of helping Ricks and Jacob Scott work on aspects of the Godwits, Poe and Marae installation at the airport.

“It’s my intention to register as my own business, put together my own workshop and work towards becoming an actively working practitioner. My work experience at Tennyson Gallery provides a great insight into running an art business,” says Sharleen.

However, at the moment she is putting her energy into adding the final touches to the objects shown at the festival. “I’m looking forward to exhibiting with my fellow honours students as well as the levels below us. As a long standing student it is always interesting to see the up-and-coming students’ work, how they have progressed and also the different genres of work they produce,” says Sharleen.

The IDEAschool Arts Festival commences on Friday, 29 November at 4.30pm at Scholars Restaurant, EIT. It is open to the public and entry is free.

MIL OSI New Zealand News