Artful use of chicken wire

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Doing some fencing on their Tarras property, Michelle Aplin found herself looking at the humble chicken wire they were using in an entirely different light.

That was the creative-spark moment when Chicken Wire Creations was born.

With a keen eye for anatomy and form, Mrs Aplin shaped and moulded galvanised wire netting into three-dimensional sculptures including animals, plants and mythical creatures.

“I just messed around with some chicken wire for something to sit on my letterbox really.

“And it’s just grown from there, I’ve never done anything like this before,” Mrs Aplin said.

In just a few short months Mrs Aplin found that there was demand for her pieces.

Several commissions followed, including a Central Otago gold miner with a pipe and pan.

The next commission would be a huntaway dog.

“I start with research, looking at pictures, dog anatomy, muscles, muscle tone and things like that,” Mrs Aplin said.

“I work out a scale to work from, and I get various angles, and then begin.”

Mrs Aplin, her husband Jason and son Kalon arrived in New Zealand 10 years ago from Somerset in the southwest of England.

They first settled in Auckland, but a job opportunity in Queenstown led to their move south.

Now they lived in Alexandra while they finalised plans for their section in Tarras.

The aim would be to build a house and a dedicated studio and gallery for Mrs Aplin’s wire creations.

“I would like in time to do a walkway along the Lindis River, which backs on our land so that people coming to the workshop can walk down the river, and I’ll have pieces on show beside the pathway,” Mrs Aplin said.