Jeff Thomson’s latest creation

by Helen Martin
Visitors to this year’s Sculpture on the Gulf on Waiheke will see local sculptor Jeff Thomson’s latest magnificent creation Rebecca (aka Ripeka) on the shores of Matiatia Bay.
Rebecca is a seven-metre yacht sculpted out of steel and corrugated iron, the product of hundreds of hours’ planning and construction. While Jeff has made large sculptures before, this one is very special to him as she acknowledges both historical and personal connections. Part of New Zealand’s maritime story is that The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron leased land at Matiatia Bay in the early 1900s for their fleet, which included yachts made in the classic lines Jeff has emulated in Rebecca. She is also a homage to the original Rebecca, an 8-metre 1902 yacht that family friends and art educators Peter and Jill Smith restored in the 1970’s, and to Jeff’s father Tiger, who has made many models of boats, including of the original Rebecca.
There has been huge interest in this work during the process of its construction and Jeff is pleased to have had input from a number of people, some of it muscle and moral support (locals helping him turn the boat, for example, and helping him celebrate when she was completed), some of it more specialised, from people like his worker Alan Hucker, local metal artist Reg Laurie, nephew Eliot Fenton and fellow artist Bev Goodwin.
Perpetual Guardian Sculpture on the Gulf runs from 1 - 24 March.

Jeff Thomson at work - Photo by: Ian Baker

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