Meet: Noel Hart, painter and sculptor of blown glass
Where is home?
We live on a 5-acre property in northern NSW between two national parks. After the bush was cleared, along with thousands of other acres, to feed the timber mill nearby, it was left to regenerate itself. Weed species such as camphor laurel proliferated and I have found that by killing them, other native seeds, including hairy walnut, red cedar, pepperberry, cheese trees, scrub caper berry and blackwood, had been patiently waiting began to shoot.
Noel at work. Photo - Noel Hart
How does the landscape impact on your artwork?
The landscape around here can be quite intense. Although it has formed over many million of years, there are some days during the high rainfall periods when you kind of feel the landscape moving, eroding. Big trees fall over. Large rocks roll down the hills through the forest crushing everything before them. And then there are dry periods when the trees drop their leaves and limbs, and the creeks shrink and the earth cracks. There are more than 150 species of birds around here, an incalculable number of insect species, reptiles, marsupials, and fungi. All of this feeds my artwork.
How are your blown glass sculptures made?
I have to leave home and assemble a team of glassblowers in a glassblowing facility to assist me. Glass making in the way I work is very much a team process, where my collaborators have to interpret my ideas. A large part of my glass oeuvre has to do with parrots, which I use as a metaphor for biodiversity. The glass pieces often reference the colour sequences that occur in the plumage of parrots. Like the glass I use, they are fragile but long-lived.
A sample of Noel's sculpture. Photo - Noel Hart
And what’s growing in your garden?
We’ve had success with cabbages, beetroot, lettuce, peas, beans, leeks, capsicums and chillies, tomatoes, pumpkins, celery and strawberries. We also grow herbs – particularly basil, rocket, and coriander. The vegetable garden is fully enclosed to keep out the bush turkeys, red-necked pademelons, bandicoots, and black mountain possums! We also have citrus trees – oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pomelo, tangelo, mandarins and of course limes for our caprioscas! Recently we planted a few finger limes and pomegranates. My wife Helene loves flowers, so we also have a few beds of mixed flowers along with flowering shrubs.