THE daffodils began appearing around New Norfolk on the first day of spring, September 1. Perhaps that’s not entirely unusual, considering the time of year. But these are not your usual daffs. These are three metres tall, and even more striking than those nature currently has on display in great abundance across the Valley.
These are works of arts, not of nature, and the product of Lachlan artist Duncan Rush. “It’s a kind of pop-up exhibition,” says Rush. “A temporary art event to lift spirits as we get through the last of the cold days of the year. “My idea is that local people would go off to work last Thursday morning as normal,” he says. “But come home to these daffodils around town. It’s a special way to celebrate springtime.”
There are more than 22 of these giant flowers in nine gardens around town, many of them on main thoroughfares like Pioneer Avenue, Montague Crescent and the Lyell Highway. “I’ve never put my art in multiple places before,” he says. “It’s usually in a single location, like a gallery at the Barracks. “But this idea of springtime flowers lent itself to multiple little exhibitions around town.”
Rush says his creative process often involves walking around his place, just looking over all the scrapped materials, industrial offcuts and recovered objects he’s collected. “If it’s metal, I prefer it curved,” he says. “Plough disks always draw my eye.” At Rush’s place, the object itself, there on the ground, often suggests what it might become. The choice of materials also feeds Rush’s need “to work big”.
A turtle he created for the well-known Birch’s Bay Sculpture Trail at Woodbridge is massive, some 31/2 metres long, will be installed later this year. “Everything I do is from recycled materials,” he says. In the case of the daffodils, the leaves have been made from the sides of shipping containers and the brilliantly shaped petals formed from the innards of old hot water cylinders.
The resulting daffodil is upwards of 50 kilos in weight, requiring some serious foresight and planning. Rush’s daffodil season will be in place until about the middle of October. Look out for them!