David Mahony Art gallery, Upper Hunter Valley NSW Australia - One day sculpture project Tuesday 19th August 2008



The Giant’s Footprint came about after a chance meeting this summer and quickly became a real community affair. David has been keen to get a sculpture project going for his café gallery garden in the same vein as the Broken Hill project created back in the 90’s by a group of international artists. His photographs from that time are world class and the event made a lasting impression on him, so that now, as this opportunity falls into his lap, he really wants to make this happen.

I am spending time here with family and doing a lot of exploring so I only have a limited amount of time to give but I am happy to work on a large piece of sandstone David has found on a close by farm. He calls me on Sunday the 17th to come over and go check out the stone and as we drive up the valley I wonder how this will work out.


Seeing the rock helped me to get an understanding of what we are looking at here and we decided where it would be best sited and what orientation would work best. Next it was down to David and his team to get the stone in place and he only had one day to do this as I was due to travel up country on Wednesday.


Monday I get a call telling me that ‘the eagle has landed’ and I reply with a see you bright and early. I’m staying with my sister that evening and working out some plans for the following days carving but am not feeling it.


Tuesday has arrived and as we approach the gallery my sister tells me of the local folklore tale of the giant who, in ancient time's, when the lands were mostly under water, leapt across the peaks just behind the gallery. As the stone was from these foothills it seems right to reference this in some way.


When I see the stone standing in position it has a natural line running north south so all my plans go out the window and I’m left with the beginnings of one full on day. I have to approach this one with a natural instinct and look into the stone for a solution.


The following images tell the tale of the days events and as the sun sets we light a fire and drink a well earned beer, to welcome the ‘Giants Footprint’ to the Hunter Valley.


Thanks must go to all those who made this project happen, David and Lorraine for their hospitality and inspiration, Barry and Paul McLean for giving up the stone. Allan Marsh and Robert Wilton for transporting and setting it in place ready to be carved, and lastly to Rachel for putting me onto the folklore.


If you are ever in the area and want a great coffee or have something artistic to offer, drop by and say hello and see where it takes you, live in the moment and anything is possible.


“It has been a real community spirit coming together in creating something symbolic to the area, this is just the beginning of the sculpture park and we are off to a flying start” said Mr Mahony


David Mahony Art Gallery
10601 Merriwa Road
Sandy Hollow
NSM 2333


Sandy Hollow School Sculpture day 5th August 2008 Australia

As part of my summer visit to the famous Hunter Valley in NSW Australia I was asked to come to the Sandy Hollow public school and give a day of sculpture to all the pupils there. There are 50 children in the school and we created two groups to give them all the chance to first make and play with clay. Something they enjoyed, having a freedom to explore any thoughts they had: then make a cast of either their hands or feet by pressing them into the clay and filling this with plaster which was later to be painted.


All in all it turned out to be a great day and I must add a massive thank you to my daughters Chloe and Jemima for their help with this one, my sister Rachel for setting it up and all the staff for lending a hand too. Rachel, as my sister and a local resident, could see the value of a day sculpting with MR Ben and it was great fun to be able to do this one day sculpting event.


Everyone did a fantastic job and created a little piece of themselves to take home: the following images tell the story.