Woodworker inspired by Island joinery

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Sunlight reflects off wood dust in the air at woodworker Simon King’s workshop in Wanaka, creating a soft golden glow.

With a deft hand, Mr King creates curios, bowls, boxes and furniture with a focus on using traditional carving and joinery techniques.

His artistry has captured the attention of Cromwell’s Hullabaloo art space and he is the latest artist to join the collective.

Mr King spent 20 years teaching and was head of the technology department at Mt Aspiring College.

He had a particular interest in traditional techniques.

“I lived in the Cook Islands for two years teaching over there, and spent a lot of time drawing and painting canoes and buildings.”

“One of the areas that I like to explore is the Pacific Island traditions of joinery, where there’s no such thing as glue and nails and so everything is lashed together.”

Mr King created furniture and curios, finding new ways to join items together inspired by traditional Pacific Island techniques.

He was fascinated by vessels of all kinds, including pottery from different parts of the world.

“I’m interested in wood as a material, exploring colour and texture and putting different woods together through inlay woods.”

He created a series of curio boxes that allowed a touch of whimsy for the owners.

“Inside the lids when you open them, there is something of a surprise in the form of inlay work, and often I use silver and black pearl shell and other materials like that.”

Mr King was interested in the work of abstract artists, in particular Auckland artist Gretchen Albrecht.

Some of Mr King’s works incorporate her use of ovals and geometry.

One of the ideas he had was a series of boxes inspired by museum display cases, with beautifully carved items carefully laid inside.

“I’m really interested in exploring sculptural form through vessels and things like my carved wooden spoons.”

Mr King was working on a solo exhibition to be held in July at Hullabaloo, which would look at the way people mark places and directions.

“Some of my inlay work looks at things like compass roses and senses of direction and pathways and so on.

“Things that convey a sense of place or position.”