Some first timers at ARTS IN THE VILLE

by Helen Martin

Seated between two of his boats, and beneath one of his son Jeff’s sculptures, Tiger holds his smallest boat, one of a series housed in cockle shells.

There’s not long to go before Helensville’s Labour Weekend art festival ARTS IN THE VILLE kicks off, on Saturday 20 October, with a return of many of the old favourites and the introduction of several new artists and events.
Every artist has a story to tell about their journey. If you’ve ever wondered about the childhood influences of Helensville’s internationally renowned sculptor Jeff Thomson, look no further than his father Tiger, whose well-stocked workshop provided the tools and space for making things when Jeff was a boy.
England-born Tiger loves boats, spending years at sea with the British Merchant Navy, then the New Zealand Union Steamship Company, before his last job on the Auckland waterfront, so it was only natural that a man with a talent for making beautiful things would turn his attention to model boats as retirement neared. Self-taught, Tiger has now made 20-odd exquisite models, with each component, including people and sails, designed by him and taking around a year to make. Most are sailing boats, but in his collection there’s also a dinghy, a motorboat, a paddle boat and a tug, as well as a beautiful windmill and a perfect gypsy caravan.
Up until his recent ill-health, Tiger spent many hours sailing the boats by remote control. It’s been a great hobby, both for the pleasures of building and sailing and for the friendships formed in the process. For the first time, some of Tiger’s boats are to be exhibited during ARTS IN THE VILLE. They’ll be on show throughout the weekend in the War Memorial Hall, Commercial Road.
You can celebrate Labour Day, Monday 22 October, by watching or taking part in a new event, THE HAT WALK, where from 11 – 11.30am event director Myra Lloyd, from Marmalade Hats, will invite members of the public to join local models to be part of an exhibition and celebration of her wonderful hats at the War Memorial Hall.
The former Art Stop café at the top of Commercial Road has been a popular venue since the festival began four years ago. This year it’ll be fantastic to see the work of five new and emerging artists in an exhibition of painting, sculpture, photography and video, curated by Hannah Rose Arnold.
In another first, Kaipara Coast Sculpture Garden tickets during ARTS IN THE VILLE are to be sold at two for the price of one.
Information about the festival, including maps and a programme, can be found at and on Facebook.

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