Throughout early childhood Donn’s development was rich in stimuli from the wonders of Rotorua’s abundant thermal activity. At the ages of 7 to 8 he would often commandeer his sisters bicycle in early, post dawn escapades. While others slept, discoveries of mysterious, bubbling pools, gurgling hot, steaming mud, fringed with strange organic formations would delight and fascinate the young mind. Unbeknown at the time the basis being formed, even then, for designs of future jade carvings.
Rich in Maori culture the environmental energies also imprinted a deep influence within Donn which became evident as the years passed and his innate artistic talents evolved.
Clear memories of elderly Maori women, relaxing in the early morning sunlight, chin moko (tattoo) showing rich in the strong light. Suspended from their necks, finely carved jade tiki reflecting bright greens and long drops of glowing jade ear drops remain as vivid mental images decades later. Appreciation of and fascination for this mystic stone impressed into an inquiring mind at early age.
( Illustrated here in this carved jade knife, the organic origins of design clearly evident.)
Carved Jade knife… ‘KUNDAI’ …. length 6″
Leaving school at a young age and joining the family jewellery business exposed Donn to the soon realized constraints of a 9 to 5.30 existence. Restricted creative impulses in this commercial world soon gave rise to an increasing unease, birthing an intense desire to be independent of conforming to the perceived social norm of the time.
Subsequent searching for a viable alternative was rewarded with a brief encounter to the crude greenstone carvings of an elderly compatriot of his father. The spark of interest generated by that momentary contact with carved jade ignited the heart fires and all else thereafter faded into near oblivion. In that era very little writing could be found covering the techniques of physically working this intriguing, tough material known as Jade. Many months research and experimentation followed. Particularly rewarding was access to private collections of old Maori Greenstone Carvings.
In that era very little writing could be found covering the techniques of physically working this intriguing, tough material. Many months research and experimentation followed. Particularly rewarding was access to private collections of old Maori Greenstone carvings which eventually illustrated the crucial key to understanding the principle all Neolithic man used to form this Stone of the Gods.
also sit in the archives of Royalty. Today, decades later, the inspiration of those words is still the major influence permeating all works undertaken. Whether it be jade, a beach pebble, precious metal, cast bronze sculpture or kiln fired, lead crystal glass.
more than just the material. A mysterious ‘something’ beyond?? A Life essence??? Indeed. A Gift of the Gods!
Together with the ‘Entry Guardian’ at Schnappa Rock Cafe.
Sculpted from an estimated 5 ton basalt.