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June / July 2015
Molten magicians PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sarah Beresford   

Molten magicians

Photography Geoff Osborne

It’s a little like watching a ballet but instead of a row of ballerinas as the centrepiece there is a roaring furnace, the tips of long blow pipes shrouded in molten glass and a precise choreography weaving from the fire to the marvering table to the bench…on and on until a distinct form takes shape from the glowing orb that has gradually been expanded and shaped as the whole process unfolds.

This is the day-to-day reality of working life in the Monmouth Street Glass Studio in Auckland’s inner-city Arch Hill. Here Isaac Katzoff and Stephen Bradbourne work both separately and in tandem to create their one-off artisan glass pieces and more utilitarian objects such as pendant lampshades.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Pedal power PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sarah Beresford   

Pedal power

“I lived Wind and the Willows,” says Tony. “I especially loved Mr Toad’s cars and used to try to copy the drawings of his cars from the book.”

Fast forward a few decades and Tony is still in the thrall of the cheeky amphibian’s vehicles, in fact he rides around in pedal cars inspired by them nearly every day.

“I started building bikes and trikes. I’ve built 43 over the years. Covered bikes are popular in Europe as they are a very comfortable way to travel. You hardly see them in New Zealand but the pedal cars were just a natural progression.”

Tony has done some serious pedalling over the years. He spent nine months making a model T pedal car, à la Mr Toad, and in 1998 pedalled from Cape Reinga to Bluff as part of celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of the NZ Forest and Bird Society. The trip took two months.

“I made a tour of the different branches around the country and had a lot of different people pedalling with me on various parts of the trip. Mayors and MPs came to ride in it. Helen Clark came for a long ride.

 

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Natural-born artist PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jude Woodside   

Natural-born artist

Gordon Pembridge is natural-born artist. Painter, photographer, woodturner, sculptor and engraver, his talents are many and varied and he seems to assume them so easily. His sculpted and painted bowls come alive and have real depth such is his talent for representation.

With an established reputation largely overseas he is one of those artists who is beginning to develop a sustainable lifestyle from his work alone. But it has been a long, hard struggle to get to there, as it is for anyone who tries to make a living solely from art. His work now commands prices that mean he can afford to spend more time on individual pieces.

From his newly acquired shed in Franklin he spends his days meticulously relief carving and painting his extraordinarily complex and intricate turned bowls which are only 1-2 mm thick.

 

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
The collector PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ray Cleaver   

The collector

Guys potter round in sheds of all sizes, from dens at the bottom of the garden to a corner of the garage with a bench, vice and a shadowboard for tools.

Some guys mess around in something bigger and Jim Baird’s South Taranaki shed is a bit of a boomer.

In 2007 the self-confessed eccentric and mad collector saw on the internet a 7000 square foot (2133m) building for sale in the town of Patea and said “that’s for me”.

“I thought this is the biggest playhouse I’ll ever have…goodbye Auckland,” Jim says.

He did the deal and eight years ago Jim shifted south to Patea with one car and one truck, parked them in the big shed, built living quarters in the back of the building and began to plan.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
The fixers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Roger Lacey   

The fixers

If you’re reading this magazine, it will be almost certain that at one time or another you’ve been asked to fix something. Quite often a staple, a bit of superglue or a screw will put things back together nicely, but when the cat knocks over and breaks Aunt Maud’s priceless Ming vase into 100 pieces it’s probably time to call Wrightway Studios.

Situated in Auckland’s Glen Innes, Wrightway Studios employ a team of restoration experts that can repair almost anything. From porcelain to prams, pewter to paintings, they will take on projects that would be beyond the skills of the average sheddie to fix. Trilby Conway is the manager and she shows me around the workshop. The variety of what is being worked on is incredible. Plates, cups, bowls, figurines, sculptures, sailing ships, trophies, lamps and ornate, inlaid wooden boxes seem to be on every surface.  “We have around 450 jobs on at a time,” she explains.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed

 
Channelling Houdini PDF Print E-mail
Written by Louise Thomas   

Channelling Houdini

In a sash-windowed meeting room in the upper reaches of the historic Thistle Inn in Wellington, an unusual band of people are preparing for their monthly meeting. Master lock picker and meeting organiser Derek Robson, aka D.Roc, is assembling an array of locks; dozens of them—mortise locks, pin tumbler locks, tubular locks, various padlocks, combination locks, wafer locks, even a selection of handcuffs, to challenge tonight’s group.

They are LockSport Wellington, and they get together to, well, pick locks for fun. It’s the sort of pastime Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes might have indulged in.

“It’s like doing a Rubik’s Cube in the dark,” quotes Derek from a well-known (in lock-picking circles) international lock picker—Josh Nekrep.

“We come from all walks of life,” claims Derek, but there’s no tattooed ex-cons here and more computer security specialists than you would find in any random sample of the population. They’re a group that finds weaknesses in security for work and fun. “We have a very strong code of conduct and we discuss the legal aspects of lock picking with new members.

Read more in the latest issue of The Shed