By Emma Prior
The All Abilities Playground will now have a sculpture kids can enjoy after a weighty pelican, yellow- belly and Murray Cod fish have been sculptured into an old red-gum tree.
Mark Rosenbrock a chainsaw artist and sculptor was contacted by Moira Shire Council Team Leader of Arts, Culture and Events Marilyn Gourley to come to Yarrawonga and sculpt the old tree stump.
The redwood tree had rotted at the top forcing the council to chop down the top half to leave the 2-3 metre tree stump in place.
After the removal of the rotten half of the tree members of the Moira Shire wanted something done with the remaining tree stump and an aesthetically pleasing sculpture was the best fit.
Cr Wendy Buck said she had warned workers before the beginning of construction of the playground to be careful of her tree but what they have done with the remains of it fits perfect with the area and future.
“I’m really really proud we’ve been able to save the tree for future generations,” Cr Buck said.
“It’s the towns first real public art, I’ve been in council seven years now and have been advocating for public art basically the whole time.”
After being sent a photo of the remaining tree stump, Mark was able to create a few designs for the structure and the resulting design fit this area to a tee.
“Mark’s work stands for itself, he has worked in playground situations before and his ideas ran true with us all,” Ms Gourley said.
“He and his work were the right feel and fitted in with the theme we were going for and was compliant.”
The focal points of the sculpture are local points of interest especially to Lake Mulwala but the character of the pelican in particular stems from Mark’s earlier career. “I was a cartoonist back in the day so that goes across my work a little bit,” Mark said. Although having a design and plan in place sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out but this one Mark said exceeded expectation.
“The pelican has more character than I even planned because of the restrictions with the tree” Mark said.
“It can be tricky sometimes working with different types of wood and timber and the likes but this one worked in my favour.”
While in the process of sculpting the log, the playground was closed to the public protecting children from flying wood debris.
Work started last Monday and Mark was allocated seven days to complete the sculpture which he finished ahead of schedule on Saturday.
The funding for the sculpture was a Moira Shire initiative as a part of the $270,000 funding for the construction of the playground and was the first public art to be shire funded. Mark said he has been doing art all his life and the career change is a bit different but it’s a cool job. “The job I do and these types of sculptures are fun to do especially when it has something to do with the area and this is really country Australia,” Mark said.
“Where this sculpture is located has been good with the references – I just worked out how the pelican’s tail looked by the fella over there.”
To compose the sculpture the design chosen is drawn onto the stump giving Mark an awareness where to saw.
A chainsaw with a smaller pointed blade than the usual chainsaw is then used for the whole sculpture even for the smaller intricate detailed aspects of the fish.
To create the complete feel for the type of animal that is designed, the sculpture is then scorched with colour with a propane torch and tones the wood instead of painting it.
Cr Buck and Ms Gourley both said they were pleased with what had been created and hoped to see more.
“It’s the start of things to come,” Cr Buck said.
“We’d like to see more public art and hope after the completion of this one that the community says they want more street and public art,” added Ms Gourley. Talks are in place about the possibility of a community name the pelican competition.