My very favourite thing is sculpting large pieces in tactile polished aggregate.
Down at Monaco, Nelson in my father and mother’s home/studio I had many years as a young boy watching them create a living out of making pots and domestic ware. Howard and Diana met at Arts School in Christchurch. Dad went onto to be an art teacher and mum making her way in painting and pottery. I can still recall the childhood triumph of creating a pot that would stand up! That was with my grandparents in Hamner Springs where my brother and I learned to pot from the age of 8 or 9. To this day those early images of being creative remain a simple thrill for me.
I was so fortunate to work with both generations in such a fostering/creative and safe environment, and to experiment with clay everyday. I made many abstract figures and sculptures, this inspired my future career thats for sure. Though it is my great, great, grandfather, John Henry Menzies (1840-1919) who came out from England and eventually settled in Banks Peninsula, that I credit for my artistic gene.
He built and carved the St Luke’s church in little Akaloa. It is said that he was an excellent carver and dab hand with either ink or pen sketching. He went on to become a prolific furniture carver in New Zealand. Pieces of his work are in places like the Canterbury Museum. His book Maori Patterns, Painted and Carved is a national treasure and I was so delighted recently to put on gloves and look through one of the original editions that is held in the vault at Te Papa in Wellington.
There is little that is luxe about my current work environment, amidst two shipping containers and a tarp, but it hasn’t stopped the inspiration. In fact my new range of Country Homeware was developed and evolved amongst the sheep and thistles with stunning views of Mt Arthur.
The New Gallery, Michael MacMillan Sculpture and Country Homeware brings together a vision from the last 10 years. A purpose built working space with gallery alongside. Somewhere where people could have a coffee and look at my sculpture in a dramatic country setting.
We’ve added a few local artists work but what I really want is to keep the focus on our works, that’s a great point of difference to other Galleries.
For me, sculpture and my artistic passion are about the process more than anything. It is also about working together with my family partner Jackie Crow does photography and makes the vine wrapped trees and wreaths and daughter Poppy Lucia paints and sews fabric bookmarks. We could be doing this anywhere in the world, but we’ve chosen Upper Moutere, Nelson, New Zealand. Everywhere around in this unique village are people like us, all devoting their lives to producing wonderful sculpture, art, wine ceramics and food.
Enter the Moutere Artisans.
I find this village and it’s environs most up lifting for my creative spirit says Michael.Working from home celebrates a real spirit of resourcefulness, the pleasure of family, a sense of purpose and belonging in the small community and the ability to live my dream.