I love being involved with this annual event on Hokitika beach in the last week of January.
I responded to the call from Donald Buglass, the event founder, for a flax weaver to help him with his signature sculpture – a long-fin eel over 4m long. Donald built the body framework and carved the head and side fins out of driftwood, while I wove the body and dorsal and pectoral fins out of harakeke (NZ flax) and stuffed it with dry waste vegetation from a property by the beach. Neal the Eel took us five full days to complete, and generated a lot of interest amongst visitors to the beach. Angie Lim, a visitor from Malaysia, helped with the finishing touches to the weaving around the head. It was most enjoyable working in perfect summer weather on the beach. You can see in the photos how the colour of the harakeke changed over the week.
I was quite tired after this effort but found enough energy left to create my own entry, Homage to the Heavens. This consisted of three different size discs using small pieces of driftwood (sticks) woven together by twining with thin strips of harakeke. The discs were connected with thin nylon fishing line at the top and bottom to a driftwood frame and could spin vertically.
Read more about Driftwood and Sand here