Sculpting a New Era for Sculpture on the Edge

Image source: Contributed

Georgia Beard discovers the inspiring and eclectic vision for this year’s Sculpture on the Edge, an exhibition where art and reality combine on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

When sculptural art occupies a space, it invites a sense of intimacy no other artform can achieve. Unlike a painting on the wall, it doesn’t have to reach out to the audience to connect. It already dwells on the same plane of existence as us.

As we stand before a sculpture, move around it, touch it, the abstract world bleeds into our own in a moment of true, tantalising contact.

This year, we’re connecting with this world again on the breathtaking escarpment of Flaxton Gardens. The wedding venue’s sweeping lawns and enchanting halls will become home for Sculpture on the Edge, an exhibition of diverse sculptural works by Australian and international artists.

Not-for-profit organisation Arts Connect Inc. has spearheaded Sculpture on the Edge since 2010, when it began as a collaboration with Maleny Garden Club. 

The following year, founders Pam Maegdefrau, Janna Pameijer and Jim Cox launched the exhibition as a stand-alone event.

As a sculptor herself, Pam believes there were so few opportunities for emerging sculptural artists to showcase their work, especially in the Hinterland. To her, Sculpture on the Edge offered 3D artforms the same recognition as 2D.

Since then, the showcase has enriched our arts community alongside Arts Connect’s Open Studios Sunshine Coast and other social events and workshops.

President of Arts Connect Inc. Gretchen Keelty knows artists aren’t the only group who benefit from events like this.

“It’s an opportunity for the public to engage with sculpture,” she said. “It’s such a fascinating medium and it requires a different set of skills. People can interact with the artists, gain a greater understanding of what goes into making the sculptures, and hopefully feel inspired.”

In previous years, the sculptural works sprawled out across Spicers Tamarind Retreat. Last year’s exhibition drew crowds of 7,000 people over 16 days with 40% of the artwork on display sold.

After relocating to Flaxton Gardens, artists and audiences alike can enjoy a more accommodating carpark and bus stop, accessible spaces and inspirational experiences.

While Sculpture on the Edge used to offer outdoor works only, the new venue makes room for smaller, more fragile works indoors.

Sheltered in Flaxton Gardens’ Winery and Barrel Room, small sculptures and statuettes fashioned from delicate materials will stand on plinths in the soft light. Emerging onto the escarpment, installations will interact with the garden while durable monoliths rise against the panoramic coastal views.

“We’ve got some interesting intrigues rolling in,” Gretchen said. “Marble, bronze, brass, stainless steel, aluminium, found objects.

“There’s such a wide variety, from the abstract and ephemeral down to beautiful figurative pieces.”

Last year, Chris McKenzie claimed First Place after he embedded railway spikes into blue gum timber, carved and polished into his Rusty Red Echidna; Highly Commended went to Stephen Newton’s humanistic charred forest timber, Alone; while the Emerging Artist Award went to Parthenopi for Emblem, her recreation of the Cook Town Orchid using spades, water squirters and other plastic elements.

Other works saw steel wire ballerinas dangling from a canopy of trees; a swarm of paper cranes wavering in the wind, and visitors meandering through a maze of fallen branches, all decorated with declarations of love.

One of the more divisive pieces in the exhibition – Cat Men by Jason Sank saw vaguely disturbing, humanoid cats made from domestic cat fur prowl the natural landscape and earn the People’s Choice.

Now we get to explore the depths of artistic originality once again, discovering all the beauty, personality and intriguing social commentary that draws us to sculpture.

This new era for Sculpture on the Edge brings changes to the competition categories and a generous donation from Flaxton Gardens, where First Place recipient will be awarded a prize of $10,000. The De Deyne Family Trust has provided a $5,000 prize for Highly Commended, and both the Emerging Artist and People’s Choice recipients will receive $1,000.

For the first time, Sculpture on the Edge will also offer a Local Artist prize of $2,000 for artists living on the Sunshine Coast and a Reclaimed & Recycled prize of $1,000 for works repurposing waste and other resources.

“We’re going to have workshops and artist talks, so it’ll become a much richer experience for the audience and the artists,” Gretchen said, mentioning lifelike sculpture and portrait sculpture as just a sample of the subjects to explore.

As Arts Connect Inc. remoulds, enriches and refines Sculpture on the Edge, we’re invited into a world where we might reshape ourselves.

Sculptural artists are calling us to interact with their intrusive artforms, to confront ourselves and the world around us, and finally, to respond.

See you on the edge!


Flaxton Gardens, 313 Flaxton Drive.
20 November – 4 December, 9am-3pm. FREE and open to the public.
Flaxton Gardens will offer a set menu and takeaway options for hinterland picnics.

Saturday 19 November, 6pm – 11pm
Flaxton Gardens, 313-327 Flaxton Drive

Celebrate the Official Opening of Sculpture on the Edge 2022 and be the first to see the sculpted artwork in the stunning grounds of beautiful Flaxton Gardens, the exhibition’s major sponsor and venue!

Enjoy live music by Cory Carlyon, delicious tapas by Flaxton Gardens, welcome drinks by Matso’s Brewery and the judges’ announcement of this year’s winners, chosen from a record number of entries created by hundreds of artists from across our local region, Australia and beyond.

Saturday 26 November, 6pm – 10.30pm
Flaxton Gardens, 313-327 Flaxton Drive

At this inaugural event, inaugural event, you’re invited to share in the magical surrounds of the beautiful Flaxton Gardens and enjoy a gala dinner unlike any other, dedicated to celebrating visual and sensory creativity.

The magic of the evening will include an illuminated inflatable installation by local artist Kari Didi, live music, a wearable art parade, and edible creations designed by internationally acclaimed chef, Alan Thompson. It will be a feast for your eyes and soul!

Sunday 4 December, 5pm – 11pm
Flaxton Gardens, 313-327 Flaxton Drive

Celebrate the success of Sculpture on the Edge with a stellar night out for all artists, volunteers and art lovers to come together and announce the winner of the People’s Choice Award!

Enjoy a drink on arrival by Matso’s Brewery, dance to live music by local musician Cory Carlyon, savour delicious food by Flaxton Gardens and have a fabulous night socialising with members of this vibrant arts community!


The Figure in Clay with Cam Crossley
Saturday 26 November, 9am – Sunday 27 November, 3pm

This 2-day workshop will deliver an introduction to sculpture of the figure in clay. Explore some history of figurative representation, body proportion, gesture and structure.

The workshop attendees will each produce a loosely worked quarter scale figure sculpture in clay on armature. Food, drinks and coffee will be available for purchase from Flaxton Gardens.

Portrait in Clay with Cam Crossley
Monday 28 November, 9am – Tuesday 29 November, 3pm

In this next workshop, explore the head, its structures, attitude, expression and key features which can generate a likeness. The workshop attendees will each produce a loosely worked life size portrait bust in clay on armature.

Collaborative Installation with Denise Lamby BCI Art Studio
Wednesday 30 November, 9am – Friday 30 December, 1pm

Ever wondered what travels through the mind of an artist as they work and experiment with found materials? Ever thought, ‘How on Earth did she think of that?’

A giant hat box filled with 10s of thousands of tea bag tags is awaiting your attention. Join Denise Lamby on a collaborative adventure as you turn this jumbled collection of paper and thread into a collaborative installation artwork. Learn how to form a vision, employ problem-solving strategies and discover tricks of the trade.

Head Planter Workshop by Monte Lupo
Thursday 1 December, 10am – Friday 2 December, 1pm

In Session 1, learn to form your own head planter and give your planter some personality through sculptural and texture making techniques and extra embellishments! Each person will be provided with a thrown neck and mould face. You must them join the pieces together and embellish the head.

In Session 2, learn to decorate your pieces, ready for firing. After you have decorated your head planter, your piece will be fired by the talented team at Monte Lupo Studio in Brisbane. Sculptures can either be picked up in Brisbane, or the team can organise postage for your sculpture to be returned to you.

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