Out at Round Pond Garden, near Bridge Pa, it’s getting noisy. Mowers are beetling around the lawns, hedge trimmers are humming and strimmers are chopping. Bees are buzzing and if you strain, you can hear wildflowers growing.
We’re now on the 10-day countdown to the seventh biennial Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition. The event began back in 2008 as a way to raise funds for Cranford Hospice while giving artists an outlet in the open air. It’s grown into a big show, attracting 80 artists from right around New Zealand and up to 7,000 visitors across the five-day run.
The exhibition is my family’s passion project. We – my parents and I – work together for months in the lead-up, preparing the site, working with sponsors and the artists, marketing it and figuring out how to make it all happen, and then we rope in about 60 of our friends and wider whanau to pull it together.
Work arrives in the week or so leading up to the exhibition opening, and that’s the delightful bit – seeing in the flesh what the artists have been working on, placing it amidst the garden, watching it all come together.
This year we’re excited about large (really large) scale work from locals Philip Meier and Ricks Terstappen, and from James Wright up in Clevedon. These will be the biggest works, but with over 200 pieces of varying size and scale, viewers are in for a massive range of treats. Ceramics, lead-lighting, steel, wood, found materials, stone, wire, the list of media is long. And there’s a big range in pricing too – something for everyone – from ceramic flowers at $19 each to a massive bull’s head tipping past the $40k mark.
The two real highlights of the show for visitors are – in my humble opinion – Friday night (Nov 13) and Saturday (Nov 14). On Friday from 5pm, the general exhibition finishes for the day and the site becomes home to Wildflower Sculpture at Twilight, a happy spring event featuring food trucks/purveyors (Deliciosa, The Pizza Guy, Paella a Go Go, and a kiwi BBQ) and legendary local old school covers band Mid Life Crisis. Think dusk light, the aromas of good food, a bit of a dance, lots and lots of smiles. It’s a good time.
Then on Saturday the garden fills with more of a family vibe – the HB Training Orchestra plays on the front lawn, with little musicians cheered on by their families, stilt walkers will be stalking around the garden around lunch time, then in the afternoon Cherie Meerlo will be onsite with her brushes ready to paint the faces of the wee ones.
Get a crew together and come out for the art or the garden or the fresh air or just a change of scene. Delicious refreshments onsite and plenty of space to breathe it all in and mark the fact that after a weird, weird year, we made it to November!
AND … there will be Rush Munro’s ice cream available throughout the whole 5 days!
Wildflower Sculpture Exhibition November 11 – 15
Buy tickets for the Wildflower Sculpture at Twilight event here.