Sculpting his way to carving symposium

There’s something so zen about carving. Brittany Baker chats with carver Riki Osborne ahead of this weekend’s Mokau Easter Bone Carving Workshop.

So Riki, tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m originally from Wanganui, but have been living in Taranaki for the last five years. I’m a carpenter by trade, but have always had a passion for art. I completed the Foundation Visual Arts course at Whanganui Polytechnic, and this is where I discovered my love for carving.

You’re taking part in the upcoming Mokau Easter Bone Carving event. Can you tell us a bit about what you’ll be doing here?
I have been attending the Mokau Bone Carving symposium for the last three years. It’s a great opportunity to meet with like-minded people and learn new techniques and skills. I spend a few days carving bone and help teach beginner carvers.

What’s your favourite material to carve?
I enjoy carving all materials like pakohe (rock formed by consolidated clay), bone and shell – but pounamu (greenstone) would be my favorite.

I love creating special pieces for people – seeing the happiness it brings them and knowing it will be something they treasure.

Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by all things. Māori culture, nature, my family and friends, other carvers and artists – whether they are experienced or beginners. We are very lucky to have Owen Mapp at the symposium this year. He has always been someone I admire and have been inspired by.

What sort of feelings does carving invoke for you?
I love the feeling of accomplishment when I have completed a piece, knowing that it will last a lifetime. I am inspired by the joy my carvings bring to people also.

How many pieces have you created and where can we find them?
Too many to count! I have pieces in some local retailers, or you can contact me via Facebook.

Where do you do most of your work?
I have a workshop at home in my shed and this is where I spend my time carving.

How difficult is carving for beginners?
It isn’t difficult, but it is good to start with something basic first.

What are you most looking forward to at the Mokau Easter Bone Carving event?
I’m really looking forward to getting to spend a few days just carving. This is an opportunity for me to create pieces that are a bit different to the work I normally do. It’s great catching up with old friends and meeting new people with the same passion for carving.

I enjoy helping the beginner carvers complete their first piece and seeing the accomplishment they feel.

What do you love to do when you’re not carving?
I love getting out and about with my daughter, Nia, who has also been learning to carve. I also enjoy hunting, fishing, and being in nature.