02 Jun 2020

Tasman sculpture garden dream comes true

You’re never too late to live your dream. 

A dream came true for Lauren Kitts with the opening of her sculpture garden when she turned 60.  

The Hawks Valley Sculpture Garden in Upper Moutere features 25 sculptures, and is on the Ruby Coast Arts Trail. 

Being creative has always been a big part of Lauren’s life.  Nowadays sculpting fills a gap, replacing the ‘empty nest’ syndrome. She says: “I need it more now than ever.” 

Lauren faces different kinds of challenges, mainly physical, in her 60s. Staying active and eating well help ease her osteoarthritis symptoms. She says “The more I keep going the less I feel it.” 

Stone carving has helped her deal with menopause and moving to a new place. The sculpture garden dream gave Lauren a project to focus on. 

Lauren says “It was a relief to have somewhere to go to focus on my work. What you think about is what you get. The more you think positively the less you focus on what’s challenging.” 

Lauren at work 450 tiny.jpg

Sculpting is physical demanding dusty work with a danger of injury so  you have to stay focused. 

Lauren loves the total absorption (physical and mental) of working on a sculpture. It has a Zen-like quality, calming her to stay in the present moment. 

The sculpture garden also fills a personal need. “I like to share what I do with other people so it is not such a self-absorbed exercise. We all need to be connected to others – that’s how I reach out to other people.” 

It is reaffirming when she sells a piece to a buyer who can enjoy it in their own surroundings.  

When Lauren was raising a family it was a constant struggle to fit in sculpting around parenting. Nowadays she has a regular routine of exercising in the morning (stretching, yoga and walking for 6 km) before starting stone carving around noon then working solidly for 4 to 5 hours each day.  

As she says: “All my time has to be structured so I can fit in what I want to do in the day.”

Lauren has been a working sculptor for over 30 years and won numerous awards at exhibitions around New Zealand. Some of her favourite pieces are on public display in Timaru, Paeroa and Henderson. 

This is her vocation and passion. She loves what she does and has no intention of slowing down.

Lauren says: “Age doesn’t matter. I don’t think of being 60, except when I look in the mirror. The rest of the time I think how I always have done, and do what I have always done. I am just keeping going while I can.”

More details about Lauren and her sculpture gallery - https://www.facebook.com/LaurenKittsSculpture/


Mary Somervell

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