Featured seller: Allan Gale

To discover Allan Gale you have to take an adventure to the secluded and wild bush valley of Waiotemarama in the Hokianga. His intricate prints explore and reflect the many wonders of nature found around him and showcase one of the oldest wood engraving and printing techniques in existence today.

Allan Gale Fern Creek

What do you make?
Wood sculpture, wood engraved prints, bone carvings and wearable art.

How did you get into your craft?
By the desire to be a sculptor and collect and use materials from the natural environment.

Do you have formal training or qualifications?
I am self taught. I started woodcarving in 1971 when I moved to Waiotemarama, South Hokianga, where I still live. Initially I made wooden bowls and platters, then I diversified into bone carving, chairmaking, relief sculpture and in 1987 I started wood engraving on end grain Kauri blocks.

Allan Gale landscape

Allan Gale in his workshop

Your favourite materials, tools, processes?
I love using Kauri from old kauri heads (the tops of the tree) left behind from the milling days, pre 1950.

My favourite tools are a collection of old carving chisels, a set of engraving tools and hand held gravers and many prepared Kauri printing blocks.

And my favourite process? The mysterious process of mixing ink to achieve the right colour for my prints.

Allan Gale inks and rollers

What inspires you?
The primal forces of the wild, the sculptural forms of the Northland coastlines lying on their planes of light and water. Remnant volcanic landforms, the flow of wind over the sky and skeletal structures in involutary motion.

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
To be part of my environment by expressing its beauty and power.

Describe your workspace:
My design space consists of too much paper and a list of ideas that frequently morph into something else. Good light.

My carving space has two work benches many shelves, a slight chaos of tools spread around, not easily found and a reasonable amount of wood chips that fly around. It’s a warm and frenetic space.

My print space is tidy with a minimum amount of dust with prints catapulted into multiple drawers. It’s a finicky place.

Allan Gale workbench

Allan Gale workspace

Four words that describe your mind: Quirky, humorous, mischievous and obsessive.

Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“Amazing amount of detail with a harmony of colour”

What are you currently listening to? Melody Gardot. My one and only thrill.

Recommend an album: Hawaiian Slide Guitar.

Allan Gale Pupurangi

Your favourite childhood book: Robin Hood.

A favourite quote: “Perseverance furthers.”

Your hero:
Jacob Epstein, an American-born British sculptor who helped pioneer modern sculpture.

Allan Gale block

Allan Gale prints

What was the last handmade item you bought? A hand painted shirt.

You can see more of Allan’s inspiring and beautiful work in his Felt shop. Allan has very generously offered one very lucky Felt blog reader the chance to win one of his stunning Tane Mahuta woodblock prints. Just leave a comment below, telling us what inspires you about Allan’s work and why, and you’ll be in the draw. The draw will be made on Friday 14 March and is open to New Zealand residents only.

Allan Gale Tane Mahuta

Tags: , , ,

17 Responses to “Featured seller: Allan Gale”

  1. Julia says:

    I love the the wild beauty and intricacy of nature that features in Allan Gale’s work! *=”)

  2. Bridget says:

    I used to work at Te Kowhai Print trust in Whangarei’s Art Quarry, some 10 years ago. Allans work was a favourite and its great to see him still going strong.

  3. Amy says:

    The image of Allan Gale sitting in his workshop inspires me to be a better me, I can see some of how I want to be in him, and some of who I am already, I see myself and my dad with the knee brace and the Hawaiian shirt and my mum in the mysterious mixing of inks to achieve the right colors.

    I see my part of my future happening in a workshop space with similar light and peace and chaos to his.

    I love that he describes his work-space in such an appreciative and yet understated way, like he’s found a balance between being grateful and being realistic.

    From reading this article and seeing some of his work, I think he has achieved his goal of being part of his environment by expressing it’s beauty and power not just with the subtle use of colours which are so in tune with the bush and northland, the art which speaks for itself but also by embodying the kind of inspired artists I’ve grown up around whos faces and lives are shaped by the hills and wind around us.

    I really want this painting! It reminds me that we live in a magical place and I’ve wanted an image of Tane Mahuta in my bodywork clinic ever since I went to visit the tree and felt like I got a lesson in how to stand straight and strong. Something I want to convey to my clients during treatment. I feel this print would help me remember that lesson while working.
    I particularly want Allan Gales print because I feel connected to that moment when I look at as well as it is so classy and harmoneous as art in itself.
    This is valuable stuff.

  4. Rameka says:

    I love snails work.ill always remember my childhood memories of the amazing chairs he built.my dads was like a throne to us kids.all carved from kauri.we even had one of the original rocking chairs he made.we sadly lost it all when our house burnt down.but ill always have the memories.one day id love to see if he would make one for me.u inspire us all.thankyou

  5. pearly says:

    Snail is an amazing artist and has just made a one of kind, beautifully unique trophy for our local fishing comp!

  6. Stacey says:

    I love Allan’s art as it honours the beauty of which we are lucky to live with in Aotearoa. I also admire that he chooses to express himself using traditional, natural tools and methods. The fine detail in his work sets it apart and brings the flora and fauna to life.

  7. Julia M. says:

    OhhhHHHH Snail!! Absolutely adore you work!!!! Hokianga is and will always be in my heart of all the memories, its stunning beauty and mostly for its amazing creative people like you! <3

  8. Julia M. says:

    Thank you for your art! Fills my heart! xxxxxx

  9. Claire says:

    What a powerful work. Detailed yet majestic. It captures the spirit of the New Zealand bush perfectly.

  10. I find the tenderness in his work inspiring. He obviously takes such care and attention with his art.

  11. roseanne says:

    what beautiful work … and a stunning workshop…love the natural light

  12. Gwyneth Hulse says:

    The detail is amazing! I love how you use kauri heads to print with, they are perfect for the place you work in and subject matter.

  13. Suzanne says:

    Oh, I have so often admired Allan’s work so it is wonderful to ‘meet’ the artist behind these beautiful, delicate glimpses of Aotearoa. Thank you Felt! And yes, inspired to keep refining my own craft. I have just started working with lino. Detail, detail, detail!

  14. Ngaire Phillips says:

    I really love Allan’s attention to detail, which speaks to me of a deep interest in wanting to really know his ecological subjects. The delicate beauty of his work brings a sense of oneness with nature. As an ecologist and a print maker myself I can but draw considerable inspiration from his work.

  15. Julia says:

    Such beautiful work. I love the boldness yet all the intricacies invite you to look deeper.

  16. Andria says:

    Looking at these prints and thinking about the colour mixing process has inspired me to remember that I make art, and to go do some! Thank you :)

  17. Jerrianne says:

    I have a little treasure of a book with Allan making a kauri chair with pictures from start to finish. It has been enjoyed and Im sure an inspiration to many children who read this in primary school in the 80′s. The Hokianga owns your soul…it holds all the beauty in heaven!

Leave a Reply