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From slab of stone to work of art – Maccy sculptures take shape

Lifestyle

Talented artists are cutting, splitting, drilling and polishing tonnes of stone for the third instalment of Sculptors @ Crystal Lake in the Adelaide Hills.

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The popular festival at Macclesfield’s Crystal Lake has seen nine sculptors start to transform massive slabs of SA granite and marble into sculptural works of art across nine days.

The large stone slabs were craned into position ready for the strenuous creative process, beginning last weekend and continuing until April 14.

Thousands of people will make their way to Crystal Lake Park to witness the action, as sculptors use hammers, picks, angle grinders and other tools to craft the slabs into stunning pieces, some of which will be placed in public locations across the region.

Sculptors @ Crystal Lake is a biennial event which began in 2015 and has since become Macclesfield’s largest event, attracting a significant amount of visitors throughout the town. The main street is about one minute’s drive from Crystal Lake and also swells with visitors throughout the duration of the festival, particularly on the dedicated family day. The final stretch of the festival is spent with sculptors polishing and refining their designs.

Over the years, many of the sculptures have been installed at various public places throughout the Hills region, including at nearby Longview Vineyard, the Stirling Organic Market and Café, at Prospect Hill and in the nearby regional centre of Mt Barker.

The festival, run by the Macclesfield Community Association in conjunction with the Sculptors @ Crystal Lake committee, is fuelled mostly by volunteer effort and the passion of those in the local arts and sculpture scene.

Event co-ordinator Keryn Korr says the event has grown since its first instalment four years ago and that the 2019 festival will include some new additions.

These include sculpture workshops for school groups and the general public with skilled sculptor Evan Maker who will guide participants (aged 12 and over) through a four-hour session. A geological exhibit will showcase stone used to make the sculptures, including signature rare pink Paris Creek/Macclessfield marble, Sellicks Hill marble, Wudinna granite, Padthaway green, and Harlequin granitic gneiss.

“Geology plays an important role in providing the dimensional stone required to create the sculptures, combined with skilled sculptors who expose the stone’s hidden beauty,” says geological consultant Peter Hough, who prepared the exhibit with support from the Department for Energy and Mining.

“We want people to come to this sculpture fest and go away with a real understanding about the whole process of stone sculpting including the opportunity to attend a workshop and carve their own piece to take home”.

Keryn says Sculptors @ Crystal Lake has a positive impact on local businesses across the nine days.

“This is our third Sculptors @ Crystal Lake and it has a huge following. Macclesfield businesses get really excited and put special (discount) offers into our visitor guide,” she says. “Thousands of people attend, it’s the biggest thing for businesses and it really rocks the village of Maccy.”

Highly acclaimed sculptor and artistic director Silvio Apponyi is one of the nine sculptors taking on the huge slabs of stone alongside Barry Lincoln, Peter Syndicas, John Nelson, Timothy Spooner, Jina Lee, Quentin Gore, Robert Wuldi and Sally Wickes.

“People who come and visit the park  can watch the transition from rough stone block through to finished work,” he says. “We (sculptors) all stay down here together so we are working together, looking at what each other are making. Most of us would work in our studios, so to get together and work as friends is a really lovely experience.”

Attending symposiums around the world, Silvio has also directed the Adelaide Hills International Sculpture Symposium, while his recent stone creation of former Australian cricket captain Clem Hill stands at the entrance to Adelaide Oval.

His Spriggina floundersi from the 2017 Sculptors @ Crystal Lake is expected to be installed at the University of Adelaide in the near future.

A much-anticipated event at the 2019 Sculptors @ Crystal Lake is the carving of a giant slab of Melba’s chocolate on April 13. At the 2017 event, Silvio carved a giant chocolate bilby from a 120kg chocolate block, using a chainsaw and axe to carve the shapes, sending chocolate shards flying into the air – much to the delight of children. The chocolate carving will unfold again on the Family Day, Saturday April 13, from 3pm.

This story was first published by Brand South Australia for the Regional Showcase.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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