About gregbanfield

Enjoying the art of sculpting, mostly using timber, copper and mild steel. Add this to cycling and tennis, makes for a good life in a great part of Australia.


The tilt of the head, the sway of the body, the physical contact and language between people – strong indicators of ‘friends’. The jarrah piece is one single slab, saved from a windfall event in 2000 where most of the timber was chipped.

Friends (height 240 cm)

‘Friends’ was exhibited and sold at the 2019 Sculpture By The Bay in Dunsborough, Western Australia. It went to a delightful home at the entry to a private nine-hole golf course. The black affect is created by charring (Shou-sugi-ban technique), then wirebrushing then sanding. This is repeated a number of times until the charring with a blow-torch is having little affect. The timber becomes very hard and resistant to flame, also creating a terrific contrast to the natural jarrah.

The contrast is quite stunning.


It is that inclination of two bodies that indicate they will always be there for each other.

“Always” (height 240 cm)

The work was exhibited and sold at the 2018 Sculpture By The Bay in Dunsborough, Western Australia. It was an exercise in charring jarrah hardwood, a method derived from Shou-sugi-ban treatment of wood in Japan. The charring, or burning with a blow-torch, hardens the wood even further, makes it resistant to rot and various wood pests, and provides a wonderful contrast to the natural jarrah colour.

The contrast of colours between the natural jarrah and the charred jarrah.

Within the darkness of the shou-sugi-ban treated the grain of the timber still shows through when finely sanded. I am particularly pleased that the feeling comes through, even though the characters could seem to be quite foreign.

Pants too big

The target was to have this piece ready for The Small Sculpture Prize at the end of March 2019. I had seen a bronze somewhere of a man keeping his pants up with his two hands, This reminded me of when I was a child with hand-me-down pants from my older brother. After school, during sheep shearing time, I would change into these work pants and race off to the shearing shed, along the way often stopping to hoist my pants up, or re-tie the binder twine that was being used as a belt. So, the image I had when I saw this piece was that of standing in the shed hoisting my pants up.

Pants Too Big (Height 50cm)

The piece is sculptured from jarrah hardwood, Boyup Brook origin. As mentioned in previous blogs the jarrah I have stored is from a strong wind event in 2000 where many of the paddock jarrahs were blown over. These are the original jarrahs, many of which were 200+ years old. Boyup Brook, in the Blackwood Valley, is known for having the best jarrah timber in the world, both for construction and feature furniture.

Apart from the use of fine carving tools, I have also employed Shou-sugi-ban technique of charring to give contrast and hardening of the wood. The pants were charred using a blow-torch then wirebrushed and sanded. This process occurred a number of times to give depth to the colouration.

The 2019 Small Sculptures Prize exhibition at Christian Fletcher’s Gallery was wonderfully attended over the 3 days of the March long weekend. “Pants Too Big” sold to a wonderful home and also was awarded the People’s Choice Award.

Bespoke School Furniture for Nature’s Atelier

Nature’s Atelier is a nature based child-care, kindergarten and day program centre in Vasse, Western Australia.  The care and teaching is Reggio Emilia inspired and will open in October 2018.

It was my privelege to be asked to make some feature bespoke children’s furniture from timber found on the property and from Mayanup, Western Australia.  Timbers in the mix included Jarrah, various Pines, Sheoak and White Gum.  The history of the timber is a quite fascinating >> the jarrah table, bench tops and legs are from windfall paddock jarrah, all well over 300 years old, blown over in a 2001 tornado and rescued from the chipmill, stored and is slowly being used for furniture.  >> the jarrah supports for these pieces are from an 1870’s Mayanup milking shed that fell over in a 2017 storm. >> the jarrah tops for the boxes were found in a pig shed at Nature’s Atelier, as was the sheoak for the desk – weathered and rotting in the bush it required a lot of work with oil and hardening techniques. >> the pine is from 1860’s planted at “Dwalganup”, Mayanup, felled in 1997. >> the whitegum from the milking shed.   Apart from the sheoak all the timbers are in mint condition, age has improved them.

The pieces are not very well photographed; however, in order of the snaps below they are jarrah tables (2600 x 800 x 520 mm high), jarrah bench stools (320 mm high) and jarrah top climbing boxes.  The bottom 2 photos are of a sheoak front desk from timber found in the paddock at the property, highly weather and in places rotten, it was a challenge, but along with all the timber has history.   The sand-box (lightbox) delivered has not been photographed.20180728_15545220180803_16250120180726_18173920180728_15543120180806_22424820180806_18301420180721_13055020180725_171535 Continue reading

Plzen – looking forward

Plzen, a city of around 200,000, dates back to the late 13th century, largest central square (namesti republicka) in Czech, noted for creating pilsener beer made by Pilsener Urquell (and multiple other brands including Gambrinus) plus Skoda steelworks and train, trolleybus, tram manufacture – massive area.  Culturally and artistically the city impresses, rich in both with many galleries, traditional restaurants, public art and typically bohemian structures being restored to their former glory.

Since their period of oppression (2nd WWar to 1989 when Russians left) photos and word-of-mouth indicates to me the cleanup and progress has been massive.  Even though no-one would have liked to be in the Czech’s shoes during this period, it does seem to have given them great drive to achieve, what could be seen as an advantage in Europe … they are not just working for money, but also to prove what Czech can achieve, how productive they can be and how strong a culture they have.

The photos are of some of the public art seen in Plzen.  The first of these shows a very grey and dark piece representing the oppression during the period mentioned.  The three gold plate pieces which follow are all in the main square and represent the camel, the greyhound and the angel ….. all in the Plzen coat of arms.  Comments for the rest are with the photo.

140514 1945 and 89 monuments1945 and 1989 monuments – strong statements of the greyness and oppression of that period.





Plzen – the camel, the saint & the dog. On all three pieces the dimpled affect gives life to the steel.

140511 Plzen parkart seat

Plzen parkart seat. Bright and colourful – has a wonderful affect on the ambience of the park.

140511 Plzen stack

Plzen stack. Using extinct industrial pieces as landmarks and establishing culture – it says this is what we were but “no longer”.

140514 Cerny Europa

140514 Cerny Europa. Like all his work this piece makes a strong statement – this time about all of Europe. Worth studying…. in Techmania.

140514 Techmania seats

140514 Techmania seats. Colourful and soothing – would look good in a large park.

140514 Tile mosaic

140514 Tile mosaic. These mosaics look like baths attached to the wall, are distinctive and creative.

140510 Plzen pub logo

140510 Plzen pub logo

140510 Plzen book

140510 Plzen book of letters. With so many languages spoken in this hub of Europe.

140510 Plzen worker

140510 Plzen worker. In the railway station. This bronze piece makes a strong statement about time and place.

140510 Plzen - in synagogue. The piece perhaps says how the cogs of the mind are affected in the times of persecution  ... the jewish sector has been  horridly dealt with several times in Plzen

140510 Plzen – in synagogue. The piece perhaps says how the cogs of the mind are affected in the times of persecution … the jewish sector has been horridly dealt with several times in Plzen

140510 Plzen synagogue2

140510 Plzen – in synagogue. Pushing up hill! a strong statement, bronze and limestone.

Regensberg, Germany – revisit

Regensburg, Germany.  The first stop during a 7 week visit to Europe, May, 2014.  It is early spring and the sun’s warmth is weaving its magic in the fields, in the town and in the people.

It is an old city where known civilisation dates back to 6000 BC.  A rich area to settle, at the headwaters of the Danube where the Regens joins the currents.  The public art is indicative of that age with displays that relate to the periods.  The forms now appear more emotive, but that is not peculiar to Regensburg, but the scale is grand.  St Peters is large and imposing, central to the city and dominating.  Internally I found it somewhat musky, gothic, pristene, evocative and hypocritical (but I find that of most churches – I actually find that coffee shops are more spiritual and healing).  The warrior on the horse is central, again indicative of that “life membership” status given by our forefathers to warriors.  Then the new artforms as the “bust” and the “cycle” are emotive, clearly describing a feeling or a circumstance.   Regensburg is rich, and why not? – it has water, beautiful rich soils, friendly people, a long history – so the food is wonderfully expressive of the region.  Restaurants of quality abound and the people are cheerful.

Smell the Rose

This piece is a rework of ‘Alice’. (see 1310 Alice in -My Art)  Whist Alice is a very sensual piece the desire to create a shaped body showing the contours of the human form, the challenge of making curves that can be identified by touch and feel, led me to bring Alice back into the workshop.  The inspiration came from a granite sculpture in Barcelona, and while my challenge is to get flow and form over a flat surface with only a depth of 40mm in a similar way, the depth and full body shape will inhibit the same format.  I wish I could remember who created this piece …. perhaps someone will get back to me?

Alice becomes “Smell the Rose”, exhibited at Sculpture By The Bay 2017, Dunsborough foreshore.  For a look at the gallery of works go to http://www.sculpturebythebay.com.au
or on facebook.

The wood is jarrah.  Finishing is completely done by sanding and oiling, sanding and oiling etc up to 6 times.  Tung oil is my preferred oil.  The surface hardens so as to become an external public art piece.


The photo taken at night with street lights in the distance shows the wonderful glow that this piece produces …. like she has been painted gold.

The work has it’s own life, as can be seen from these photos.

July 2016 ……. Margaret River Entry Statement win …. my concept has been chosen!

Following a rigorous procedure my ‘avatar (community support) tree’ concept for an interactive entry statement for the region was unanimously selected.  Whilst this is a concept, and funds have yet to be raised to create, it is a creation I would like to explain.

The structure brief is for it to be set amongst a parkland cleared area of marri and jarrah trees ranging between 16 and 20 metres tall.  For this to be a statement the scale of the main piece will be significant, possibly 24 metres in height.   The feature of the tree is the vine leaf at 6 metres,  recognising the significant contribution of the wine industry to the recent popularity of the region; the underside (8m x 10m) being a graphic fine art drawing in wire of the many attractions and natural features of the cape to cape area.

The design makes for a 2.4 metre high enlarged red bench under the leaf.  The sketch below hopefully shows the affect.

Due to cost, engineering constraints & wind factors the representation here of 3 large leaves in the heavens is unlikely to be adopted, more likely to be tendrils and shapely buds.  However the affect will be the same, representing the organic growth of the region, the importance of the wine industry, the graphic adventure under the lower leaf, the feeling of ‘announcement’ as you walk through the 4 metre door that ‘you have arrived in Margaret River’, the landscaped surface around the avatar being the natural colours of the region and of cultural importance to the original Australians, and the opportunity to tell friends and family where you are via all forms of media.

“Windows” at The Club

The illusion of open windows that is created by drawing the lines of the frames at a different angle on a flat piece of paper was the impetus to see what it would be like when transposed onto a piece of flat jarrah.  “Windows” was created and recently installed at the entrance to The Dunsborough & Districts Country Club, Gifford Rd, Dunsborough.  It measures 1800 mm x (1100 – 800) mm.  The five sports played at the Club are represented in the windows by copper inlay.

The light grey walls of the Club create a wonderful contrast to the rich jarrah colour.

Pop in and see it one day.20160607_172157

Sonthofen …a postcard village

This is a re-visit to a page I wrote some time ago, but not as a blog page.  It is autumn in Australia, and winter is when we often visit Europe …. so I have begun thinking of our impending journey and the wonderful experiences had in the past.  Sonthofen rates highly.

Sonthofen, Germany.  We leave the Czech Republic at 8.06, arrive Sonthofen 15.03 with 5 stops in between at Cheb, Nurnberg, Angsburg, Buchloe, and Kempten.  A scenic train trip with attractive towns and cities in between, but none that quite matched the beauty and friendliness of our destination with Emilly as our wonderful host.  Em met us at the station, tears streamed after long hugs; it was really nice to see her after some years ago when she stayed with us in Oz.

The weather forecast had been daunting, snow with showers and a top of 15 degrees; however the gods are with us again, sun shining, no wind and beautiful scenes of snow on the Alps.

Jack (Jergen), Emm’s man, met us (with car) as we walked to the unit and saved us dragging cases over the cobble walkway.

wier on mountain stream

wier on mountain stream

The town has a mixture of modern and old shops, general stores top rate, plus has a very good range of sports clothing and shoes.  It was terrific having Emm to point us in the right direction, and we bought great quality at a good price.

This stream was crystal clear and icy cold.  Emm took us upstream to a local alpine dairy.  We tasted all the cheeses they made, 9 I think, ranging from soft brie to mature hard, and bought some of every one they were so good.  Combined with the cows and young pigs in the paddock the raw fresh milk supplied with the coffee took us on a trip back to childhood.   This is public art at its best, natural and ever-changing, pleasant to the senses and organic.

fancy underwear from bavaria

fancy underwear from bavaria

However walking home through town we passed the lederhosen store and saw some  art that would look fairly amusing should it be public.

The town folk are keen on their traditional costumes.  Jack (Jergen), who is also a local, disagreed with this notion – not his cup of tea.  However the number of shops that sell the garments indicate high use.

family world

family world

The walking malls in a town of approximately 20,000 is rare and shows courage and foresite by the city elders.  It is a very pleasant space to be in.


The units in the left hand side of the picture are similar to the units that Emm and Jack live in.  They have a wonderful view of the Alps.

The view enticed us to hire mountain bikes from the Sonthofen cycle shop (very extensive).  On Saturday we headed for the mountains above the snow line, cracked a 20% incline (not without a bit of walking) and had a few beers in the mountain resort.   On the way we called into a museum/gathering of one persons collectables – amazing. Other works of art grace the streets (seen below).

Sonthofen is a wonderful town.  We hope to go back there soon.  Thankyou Emm and Jack.

water fountain

water fountain

the bavarian spirits

the bavarian spirits

bavarian festival devil

bavarian festival devil









Ohh! and I nearly forgot.  The markets on Saturday are a “not to miss” event.