elizabeth edwards

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  elizabeth edwards


Elizabeth's subjects range from compact, haunting owls and fat, curious frogs through to religious and mythical figures like St Christopher of the Sepik river and Leda and the swan.

The pieces are enigmatic, both primitive and sophisticated in subject and form. Edwards moves gracefully from a tiny Vegetarian Mallee mini-fox in delicious Conkerberry to the magnificent ruminations of Nebuchadnezzar (based on his seven year stint on all fours, eating grass). The Whistling boy in Applewood is playful and carefree while the Beggar Woman is empty and yearning to be filled. Hagar and Ishmael is a heart wrenching picture of surrender while the Owl sits silently, watching.

The tools she uses are the traditional mallet, chisels and files. Modern power tools are far too urgent and violent. The wood is the finest she can source; black African ebony, gnarled burls, pale lime, dramatic conkerberry, gorgeous Australian Jarrah... every piece has it's own story to tell.

Stories abound, in fact; as the individual pieces go on to become part of people's lives. Centrepieces, symbols, comforts, conversation starters, they are unique, wonderfully formed and beautifully finished. They all have a pulse, there is something very essential in Edward's work that gives each piece a presence that is irresistible.

Once the carving and rough finishing is done, the pieces are handed over to her husband, Bill Johnston for the finishing. Hours of patient, meticulous hand sanding, polishing and oiling result in something of a miracle. Wood that glows in the light and feels almost soft to the touch.

Each piece takes weeks to finish. There is no telling what the next piece will be, it all depends on the initial conversation between artist and wood. Invariably, the wood suggests the form and the artist complies. Each work is lovingly brought in to the world, tap by tap, stroke by stroke. Each is invested with care, time and the spirit of an extraordinary woman.

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