Local Heart, Global Soul

March 26, 2015

How On Earth Do They Manage To Make The Detail Defy Belief?

There are many more sand sculptures to see in the “Veluws Zandsculpturenfestijn”  (Veluwe Sand Sculpture Festival)  that takes place annually in  Garderen,  Today’s post features sand sculptures of  Johan and Cornelis de Witt,  and entire table of figures from the VOC  (Dutch East India Company), the detail of which defied belief, I mean how on earth did they sculpt the rims of the hats, the pierced work in the crown at the very top? … but enough of me drooling over them all,  you really need to see for yourselves…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

June 13, 2012

A Commemoration That Inspires In More Ways Than One…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It appears from my research on the Internet : http://thecommunityarchive.org.nz/node/66144/description that the:

“Kauri Timber company was formed in 1888 and quickly gained a monopoly of the kauri industry.

With the depletion of the kauri resource it diversified into other timbers and took over other milling companies including  1888 and White Pine Co. (1902), Ellis and Burnand (1904), Butler Brothers (2907) and West Australian Jarrah Saw Mills (1912). In 1961 the Kauri Timber Co. was itself taken over by Fletcher Timber Ltd.

This plaque in the museum is beautiful,  such detail in the carving … sadly it photographed less clearly than I would have wished due to my limitations as a photographer but you get a little bit of an idea if you look at the details.

Below this large commemorative piece is another plaque with the following information:

The Kauri Timber Company was formed in Australia to log and process New Zealand resources of this remarkable timber Kauri.

It  was by far the largest operator in the industry and most of it’s production was exported to Australia.When World War One broke out in 1914 many of the staff volunteered for overseas service and some did not return.

The plaque was specially commissioned to commemorate their service and sacrifice and was located in the Kauri Timber company’s New Zealand Head Office in Auckland.  When the Kauri Timber Company’s New Zealand assets were purchased by Fletcher Holdings Limited on 01 July 1961 special efforts were made to  preserve it until a suitable permanent home could be found.

It was offered to this museum in 1985 and formally handed over by Sir James Fletcher, Chairman and then president of Fletcher Challenge Limited at an informal ceremony at Matakohe on 13 January 1984 in the presence of M.D. Sterling of Matakohe and K. Fraser of Auckland.

I’m trying to  work on my drawing  skills when I can, and since I’ve always struggled with drawing trees and flora I’ve set myself a task to find an “element” of something in the natural world as inspiration and to use it as a starter ‘theme” in my sketches.

When I saw these carved fern leaves I knew at once that I had found the inspirational  element I had been searching for. The sketches so far are way too rough for publication here, but hopefully with practice I will increase my skill and produce something worth showing to you in a future post.

Therefore I leave you to look at the workmanship of someone who has serious woodworking skills instead…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This is a different  woodwork piece, also for the Kauri Timber Company and I just wanted to note that the large flat club-like bits are in fact depictions of Kauri seeds… in reality Kauri seeds are very large (for seeds) …rather fitting considering the eventual size of the trees.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 9, 2012

Zoomed in Close and STILL Missed a Vital Detail…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now, Come on people, this building has been stalking me for several decades now (or is it that the other way around?)

I’m a detail fanatic, so it should come as no surprise that I took a lot of photos of Napier’s Rothman’s Building. (a.k.a. The National Tobacco Company Building)

Of course I couldn’t resist getting up close and personal … the details here are so photogenic.

Annoyingly didn’t realise until I did my research on the building’s history later, that it’s possible to also see inside the building…

…if only I had known  that when I was standing outside!

Since I’m definitely not in the habit of  just opening people’s doors and peeking inside,  I now know that if we ever pass through Napier again, that this building in back on my list for a visit inside.

It’s probably fitting that the building that’s been stuck in my brain for so many years still has a reason to draw me back yet again.

Next time I return, I will be properly mobile,  not reliant on crutches and have more time.  A return visit will be a win – win situation.

I know that the photos abound,  probably overkill, but these are my references to keep me dreaming  about this building for as many years as it will take me to get back…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 8, 2012

Kiwidutch, a Magazine Photograph of a Building Painted Blue and that “One Day”…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Years ago I opened up a New Zealand magazine and my eyes rested on a photograph of a blue building.

It was a building that stood alone in it’s glory and not only did it capture my attention at that moment,  it’s beauty made such an impression on me that it embedded itself in my consciousness as a place I really wanted to see for myself in my lifetime.

I’d go as far as to say that  it’s probably the first time I ever said to myself:

I really want to go and see that myself one day“.

Back then, as a young adult in my early twenties I wouldn’t have said that I had any fondness at all for architectural detail.

In fact I probably would have laughed heartily at anyone who proposed the idea, but looking back, the detail fanatic in me was alive and well:  it was there in the fine lines of the etched zinc plates I wound with ink-stained hands through the printing press,  it was there in the wood and lino cuts I was busy carving out and printing, it was there in the pen and pencil drawings that I doodled incessantly in the notebooks I carried around with me everywhere.

I cut the picture of the blue building out of the magazine and stuck it in a little scrapbook of images that inspired me and whilst the scrapbook is long gone after various life upheavals, It’s one of the two building photos I had in it that I never forgot about.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

That blue building is the reason I wanted to come to Napier on our way north, this is the moment when I could actually see my blue building for the first time ever: up close and in person.

In the intervening years since I cut out the magazine picture the building has undergone a facelift, renovation and been lovingly restored to it’s original splendour.

This also entailed bringing it back to it’s original colour scheme so it’s no longer blue in colour but now a creamy beige-peach-pink colour which I suppose changes a bit in depth and hue depending on the light of the day and the season in question.

Finally I’m standing in front of it for real: the building I knew from the photograph as “The Rothman’s Building”.

I discover that this building has had almost as many name changes over the decades as colour changes,  it’s apparently now officially known as the “National Tobacco Company Building” but was also known as the “New Zealand Tobacco Company” building when it was first built.

The New Zealand Historic Places website has a nice history of this building and so I will take the liberty of giving you some edited text from their site (italicised) and of course the link to their site  http://www.historic.org.nz/TheRegister/RegisterSearch/RegisterResults.aspx?RID=1170  should you wish to read their entire text in full.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Rothman’s Building, regarded by many as one of Napier’s most elegant commercial buildings dating to the 1930s  can be regarded as a monument to Gerhard Husheer, one the founding members of the New Zealand tobacco industry, and an important work of the architect Louis Hay.

Johann Gerhard Husheer (1864-1954), a German by birth, immigrated with his family to New Zealand from South Africa in 1911, with the intention of establishing a tobacco industry in the country.

In 1913, following successful experiments in growing tobacco crops at Paki Paki, Hastings, Husheer established the New Zealand Tobacco Company and opened a processing factory at Ahuriri, Napier, in 1915.

In 1925 Husheer commissioned Louis Hay (1881-1948), a Napier based architect, to design a factory at the Ahuriri site.

Although the external walls of the factory were to collapse during the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, the internal structure remained largely intact and production continued relatively unhindered following the disaster. The Depression also had little impact on the National Tobacco Company, as demand for the company’s product remained high.

By 1932 the National Tobacco Company was one of the wealthiest industries in Napier and certainly the largest employer.

Husheer commissioned Louis Hay to design a main frontage for his factory to replace the structure that had collapsed in the earthquake.

Hay’s initial sketches were rejected by Husheer for not being extravagant enough. Hay’s second plan, was for a deceptively simple building based on the idea of an ‘arch within a square’, decorated with detailed representations of plants such as roses, raupo, and vine leaves.

The motif of roses also featured on the lamps on the side of the entrance and lead-light windows. Leading up to the doors were steps decorated with tiles, and brass handrails. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Entering through an elaborately carved set of doors, the foyer featured a marble dado, and oak panelling, combined with a domed lead-light skylight to create an overall feeling of elegance and luxury. The entire design, particularly the use of simple geometric forms decorated with applied decoration, reflected Hay’s interest in the Art Nouveau style.

Although built in the middle of the Depression, Husheer suffered no adverse reaction for this obvious display of wealth, as he was also known for his philanthropic gestures, handing out food to those in need in during the hardest years of the economic crisis.

After Husheer’s death in 1954 the company was acquired by Rothmans of Pall Mall. The entranceway was largely disused after the 1960s when a new administration building was built adjacent.

In the mid 1980s interest in the older building increased and work was begun on restoring the building to its former glory. A glazed screen that had been removed at some time was rebuilt based on a photograph of the original.

During the 1990s the paint-work was restored to its original colour and a number of the lead-light windows that had been removed, were remade. In 1999 Rothman’s merged with British American Tobacco Ltd. The company continues to process tobacco at the Ahuriri plant, and the Hay designed entrance building is open to the public during working hours.

The Rothman’s Building (recently renamed the National Tobacco Company Building) is a testimony to the success of the tobacco industry in New Zealand in the early twentieth century, and in particular the role of Gerhard Hussheer, considered to be one of New Zealand’s foremost industrialist.

Architecturally it is regarded as the jewel in Napier’s architectural crown.

The building is perhaps one of Louis Hay’s best preserved public buildings, and it is an excellent example of the craftsmanship of local artists in post earthquake Napier. Today, located on a corner site amongst the industrial buildings of Ahuriri, it is a noted landmark, and is a popular destination for visitors to Napier.

Hmmm,.. not just generic statement of  “a popular destination for visitors”, but also a very special day  for a certain Kiwidutch for whom the “image” of this building, with me for so many years, finally became reality.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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