Dan Kelly Sculpture
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February 2017

   A Glenorchy artist has taken inspiration - and materials - from the town’s former scheelite mine to create what will become the heart of the Camp Glenorchy project. Designer, sculptor and avalanche specialist Dan Kelly has been constructing the Scheelite Campfire Shelter and Cookhouse by hand.
Mr Kelly is using large ancient stones, recycled timber and the remnants of an old scheelite mining trolley and railway track for the project which, on completion, will comprise a 26m-long, 5.5m-high stone fireplace and a mobile brazier barbecue made from the mining trolley.
A kinetic water sculpture, inspired by the old water-driven scheelite ore battery stamper once positioned at Glenorchy Batter on Mt Judah, will be built into the shelter to collect rainwater, with additional overflow directed to the nearby wetland.
Mr Kelly said stone ruins could often be found around the district and what was always left standing was the fireplace, which was the "heart and soul of the house".
"It was where you cooked and where you lived in winter.
"We want to create an outdoor fireplace that is built from giant local rocks and weaves in details from our local heritage and landscape."
Camp Glenorchy, founded by Paul and Debbi Brainerd, will be New Zealand’s first Net Zero Energy campground.
Mrs Brainerd said the shelter was a "wonderful" example of how having a talented local artist like Mr Kelly could pay dividends.
"Dan can combine extraordinary natural beauty with cultural and historical details that will make the campfire shelter the jewel of Camp Glenorchy.
"It will be a beautiful juxtaposition to the more traditional-looking energy-efficient buildings adjacent to the structure." - from Otago Daily Times    https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/huge-outdoor-fire-inspired-mining


Huge outdoor fire inspired by mining
Artist Dan Kelly (left) and John Golden take a break from work on Camp Glenorchy’s Scheelite Shelter and Cookhouse, which Mr Kelly is constructing using ancient stones, recycled timber and remnants from an old Glenorchy scheelite mine. Photo: supplied.
The Sheelite Shelter
drawings by Dan Kelly



March 2016

   2 Tui Sculptures for Glen Tui ... the new subdivision on the Queenstown to Glenorchy Road at Bob's Cove.
This was a neat commission to get, during late summer 2016. It came about in a random neat way, when I casually was in Queenstown one afternoon and I saw this attractive woman in a black Range Rover Sport pulling in to drive underground in an attempt to get a park at one of the Wilson's Carparks. I think she was unsuccessful and drove out and had to keep looking for a carpark. I re call thinking at the time that this is typical, with wealthy foreign looking people swarming all over the place , adding to the dynamic growth and mix of Queenstown 's fortunes and woes.
In a few minutes, the same woman appeared on the footpath right next to me, dressed to the nines in jet black everything , with dark skin and a smatter of freckles on her perfectly made up face. Next thing I was surprised and delighted when she said easily something like... " its fuck near impossible to get a carpark these days isn't it... " and I realized to my delight that she was a good down to earth kiwi girl and so we became fast friends and introduced ourselves and got talking. We actually had a business meeting 1 hour after that and formally began to plan the nuts and bolts of a dynamic sculpture commission.
She is Janine Twose and is the development force behind the high quality new Glen Tui sections, along with her equally other great two Kiwi business partners, Mark and Tracy Wikstrom.
The Tuis would be a cheeky pair and be installed one each side of the main entrance to the subdivision. They would be mounted on 2 big blocks of Blue Gum hardwood, which are from the area.
Once I had the blocks at my workshop I began the works as the scale could be established. One tui would be perched horizontally and the other vertically. One would be twisting one way to look and the other would be doing something else. Rustic recycled steel was used and the differing textures of shadow play defined what would be the colors of the feathers. The white bridal veil of the tui's shoulder cape and the prominent wattles they have under their " chins " were done in cut up strips of old white oven ware. ( with white enamel, rather than a white paint.. )
Each tui ended up being quite big... 2.5m from beak to tail and this was a result of the way the bird sculptures always autoscale to their feet / talon size.


Bob's Cove Glen Tuis Bob's Cove Glen Tuis Bob's Cove Glen Tuis Bob's Cove Glen Tuis Bob's Cove Glen Tuis Bob's Cove Glen Tuis


May 2016

   In Autumn 2016, my agent phoned to say would I come into Queenstown to meet a client, who wanted to see if it might be possible to commission a classic NZ native Eagle. Pauline described the client as a very good one but with a tendency to be very fussy, with maximum attention to detail. Uh ha I thought... I can handle this. The customer is king, they shall get what they want and I am their servant... was the frame of mind I put myself in as i drove down to town on the worlds most scenic drive.
Grace lives at old Frankton and is not an average person in any way. She is of mixed blood and from various parts of the world like Asia and Canada. She is very exotic looking, like an an Inuit Indian, Pokahontas style, dressed immaculately and living immaculately in a designer home. Wow... this girl is fussy!
Grace is an interior designer and her home is bespoken of her exquisite style with so much attention to detail that I realized that it was a MAJOR privilege to be selected as the artist to create what is the finishing touch for her entire property... a proud and powerful NZ Haast Eagle perched on a rock, directing guests to the main entrance door... a super slick Corten steel door that presents itself as a slab...no handle, no hint of it being the door except for the gaze and stance of the eagle.
I came away from the meeting realizing that I had my work cut out on this job. Never before were there so many parameters in place about the size of and dimension and height of the wings and their spread so that the body of work would fit correctly into the space. Also the rock the eagle would be on had to be just so powerful and monumental and its installation into the decking was to be to the millimeter... encased in concrete and with an engineered steel rim.
The pathway to producing this work took 6 months. During this time I got to know Grace and we became close friends in that neat way where by each discovers a whole lot more about the other so that like a magnet there is a bond of respect and admiration for the other. The job did not rush but was fitted around other things going on and there was time for stuff to roll out and for things to be done succinctly.
I got to be shown around inside her home. It is stunning slick minimalism. When she explained unseen things about microscopic details and showed me these I knew I would like to work with her or for her again sometime. It was kind of like bering on Thunderbirds Island, in that super slick abode, home to the Tracys.
Grace said she had waited a long time, thinking about what would be the finishing piece for the entranceway. No matter how hard she tried to look broadly at other works, she kept coming back to realizing she wanted a NZ Eagle... rustic style, creature, mother substantial bird of this land.


Grace Totem's Eagle Commission Grace Totem's Eagle Commission Grace Totem's Eagle Commission Grace Totem's Eagle Commission