Granite Belt artist inspired by wildlife

EYE FOR DETAIL: Artist Maggie Brockie adds the finishing touches to a common wombat she sculpted from clay. Below: Orphaned swamp wallaby joey Miss Molly became another subject.
EYE FOR DETAIL: Artist Maggie Brockie adds the finishing touches to a common wombat she sculpted from clay. Below: Orphaned swamp wallaby joey Miss Molly became another subject. Linden Morris

WHEN inspirations collide, a passion is born and for Maggie Brockie her life as an artist can be traced back to several influences - the main one being nature.

The Granite Belt sculptor grew up in Hobart, Tasmania, and spent some of her adult life on a farm in the New England Tablelands.

The essence and spirit of the timeless and peaceful granite boulders have, over time, seeped into my being and this is reflected in the stylised petite boulder animal forms.

Maggie said it had now been more than 20 years since she lived on a farm.

"I was born in Tasmania and always wanted to live in Queensland so the Granite Belt was the ideal compromise with its four seasons and similar climate," she said.


She moved to her Glen Aplin property in 1977 and has been their ever since.


"Suddenly, instead of domestic animals, my focus was on wild animals," she said.


"I guess you could say I swapped domestic animals for wild animals.

"For many years - but not in recent years - I was a wild-life carer and those animals became my subject matter.

"The animals in my immediate environment are also my subject matter."

Maggie said it wasn't just the animals of the Granite Belt and beyond that inspired her work but also the landscape of the Granite Belt.

"I did a range of stylised animals based on the granite boulders," she said.

"The essence and spirit of the timeless and peaceful granite boulders have, over time, seeped into my being and this is reflected in the stylised petite boulder animal forms.

"Living in the granite you can't help but be influenced by it."

While nature remains a strong creative influence for Maggie, her work continues to evolve.

"The evolution of my work started with doing studies of the orphans I was hand rearing, then my focus moved to endangered animals from not just here but throughout Australia, then I started attaching the sculptures to wood and putting the animals in a more natural setting," she said.

"Recently I have moved into sculpting people. I got a lot of influence from a recent trip to Norway.

"In Norway there is a sculptor I'm obsessed with - Gustav Vigeland - and all his work is about the circle of life so I have been inspired to explore the human figure and emotions. "I'm also in a combination phase - putting people and animals together."

The passionate sculptor said next year would mark 20 years since she started working with clay.

"In 1998 I had an exhibition to test how well my work sold and after that prompted me to have a go at making a living from my work," she said.

"I still had a part-time job then but since 2007 my work has been my entire income.

"I'm very happy to be able to make a living from doing the thing I love and know I'm in a really privileged place."

As well as selling her artwork Maggie also teaches others.

"They are small classes of about six people for two or three days," she said.

"They are normally themed to help people challenge themselves."

Maggie is also an advocate for other local artists and is a founding director of the annual Art in the Mill.

"It is an exhibition of local arts who wanted to showcase their artwork in a more casual way," she said.

Maggie also exhibits with Borderline Regional Artists and has an exhibition in the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery that opens on Friday evening.

Topics:  art nature queen of the paddock

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