AS THE field days draws closer, Wimmera artists will be busy putting the finishing touches on their farm sculptures.
The field days hosts the annual Victorian Farm Sculpture Competition each year, with winners being announced on the final day of the event.
The competition attracts people from throughout the region, including long-time entrant Marty Knight from Haven.
Mr Knight has been entering the annual competition for about 10 years.
“I like it because it keeps my mind active,” he said.
“I enjoy coming up with new ideas and seeing what I can do.
“I also like looking at other people’s work too and seeing what everyone comes up with.”
Mr Knight was the overall winner of last year’s competition with his sculpture ‘never take a backwards step’, which depicted Australia’s coat of arms.
The large piece featured a kangaroo, emu and shield.
Mr Knight said the process to create a sculpture each year could be long, but it was rewarding.
Last year, he stopped counting how many hours he had put in after he reached 110.
“Sourcing products can be difficult too – my mates probably get sick of me hassling them for stuff,” he said.
“They call it junk, but I call it gold.”
Planning for the following year usually starts in about December.
“Some years it can be really difficult to come up with an idea and other years it just comes to you,” Mr Knight said.
“I look at all the nuts and bolts I have laying around and try to think about what I could do.
“This year I started off making a bird, but it ended up something completely different in the end.
“The process can be frustrating at times – you put something together but then it doesn’t work or you don’t like it and have to pull it apart.
All the sculptures entered in the competition are on display outside the Moore Exhibition Centre for the three days of the field days.
Mr Knight said it was great seeing all the entrants and seeing his own work among them.
“I like listening to what people are saying about my work,” Mr Knight said.
“You see the older guys explain to each other what the different parts have come off – they might have been part of a header or something.
“Sometimes I don’t even know where the parts came from.”
However, despite positive reviews from the community and peers, Mr Knight receives his most valuable feedback at home.
His children, Zarli, 9, and Archie, 6, can be his biggest critics.
“It’s a good test to see if my sculpture is going to work,” Mr Knight said.
“I ask them if they can pick what it is meant to be, and if they can work it out it means other people will too.
“They seem interested in the sculptures and like playing around with pieces – I’m hoping they will get involved when they are a bit older.
“They are probably a bit young to teach them how to weld yet though.”
Mr Knight said more people should get involved in the competition.
“It’s a great hobby and anyone can win it,” he said.
“It all comes down to the judges on the day and what they are looking for – everyone has a different idea of what art is.
“I’ve won a few awards but last year was my first major prize.”
Mr Knight said after spending so much time with his sculptures each year it was difficult to part with them.
“I do have some sitting around at home – I don’t like to give them away for nothing because I’ve spent so much time putting them together.
“When people come over I like to show them my work.”
Mr Knight took his winning sculpture to the Spirit of the Land Festival in NSW last year.
“It was a whole new world up there, it was amazing,” he said.
“There was a lot of guys who create sculptures full time and their work was unbelievable.
“My work seemed small in comparison.”