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The Good, the Bad and the Crafty

Wandering around Brunswick by chance I came across the woodcarving “art of Igmus” by Brett Davis at #314 Victoria Street. There were two fine carvings on display in the front window and inside were some larger elongated figures, heads and two carved log planters in the shape of heads.

Brett Davis, Frog Hand

Woodcarver Brett Davis hadn’t been there for very long, he has set up a pop-up studio/shop for two weeks while the space was vacant. I talked with him about woodcarving, garden sculpture and the lively atmosphere on that stretch of Victoria Street where the shop is located – it used to be one of those little fashion boutiques.

Davis’s sculptures are all carved from ‘recycled’ timbre; fallen timber that he has found or from his arborist friends. The finished carving is often cracked and full of borer’s holes, (wood borers in the black wattle) giving it a weathered look that work well with the surreal tribal-style of Davis’s carvings.

Davis commented about the price of buying a carving from Indonesia compared to buying his work. It made me think about the good, the crafty and the bad of sculptures and other garden decoration. When it comes to suburban garden decorations it can get very bad, ugly and kitsch. We won’t go there; there is so much tasteless, the horrible and pretentious stuff in people’s gardens (The worst is featured in my other blog Who Buys This Stuff?)

In previous posts on this blog I have reviewed a garden sculpture exhibition at 69 Smith Street by Keith Wiltshire and wondered about why people don’t personalize their homes and cars (their most valuable property) and commented on the art in suburban front gardens – Another Kind of Street Art.

On my wanderings  I occasionally see interesting front gardens with sculptural features, mostly it is decorative fences and corny crafty garden sculptures. Corn in a cottage garden looks fine because they are not lawn ornaments if there isn’t a lawn.

Then there is the strange.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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