Braidwood student menagerie at Bermagui sculpture event

THERE will be animals aplenty at this year’s Sculpture on the Edge at Bermagui.

Keep an eye out for a scorpion, crab, life size elephant’s head, giant trout and kelpie – a real menagerie of creatures created by students from Braidwood Central School.

Braidwood Central School caters for students from Kindergarten through to Year 12 and has about 400 students.

Students in Years 7 to 10 have the option of learning sculpture one day a week as part of the school curriculum.

Artists Suzie Bleach and Andy Townsend have been teaching metal sculpture for the past eight years, and with the encouragement of the school’s principal, it has proven to be a very successful program.

Ms Bleach said the class offers students something different, a more hands-on experience.

The class is run as a business. The students learn to work with specialised metal tools, creating something from their own design and are also responsible for the marketing and sale of their work - receiving a percentage of the sale price as an incentive.

“It’s a little unorthodox in that students don’t normally earn money at school, but they have gained quite a reputation for their work,” Ms Bleach said.

“They all love to learn how to weld, plus they are taught other techniques such as how to hammer and shape metal, pattern making or free form.

“They enjoy the physicality of the work, but at the same time it can be exhausting doing a whole day of metal sculpture.”

Ms Bleach said the work may take one or term terms to actually complete, so the students can sometimes get lost in the process, but through it all they never lose sight of the fun they are having creating their own individual pieces.

Over the years the program has been running students’ work has been shown in a number of exhibitions, both in Sydney and Jindabyne.

Four students have received the NSW Sculpture of the Year award and awards have been won at the annual Lakelight exhibition in Jindabyne along with considerable success in sales.

“Their work sells really well at exhibitions,” Ms Bleach said.

“Last year students entered work in the Artisans in the Garden Show at Sydney’s Botanical Gardens for the first time and it was a sell out show.”

At the biannual Braidwood Central School end of year auction, the students’ sculptures are also snapped up by the local community.

These budding artists may go on to greater things down the track, so be sure to drop by Bermagui’s Sculpture on the Edge to take a look for yourself at their metal creations.

Sculpture on the Edge opens this weekend on Endeavour Point Headland.

For more, see Friday’s BDN.

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