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Kalamunda sculptor for Scuplture by the sea.
Kalamunda artist Mikaela Castledine and her work Woodland Numbats will be on display at Sculpture by the Sea next month. Photo: Stephen Castledine.

Numbat inspires hills sculptor

By Morgan de Smidt 

IT’S not worth doing things that don’t push you, a sentiment Kalamunda artist Mikaela Castledine brings to her latest exhibition at this year’s Sculpture by the Sea.

Repeat visitors to the exhibition may recognise the six-time Sculpture by the Sea exhibitionist for her crocheted polypropylene works Tokyo Crows and Black Emperors.

However, this year’s entry features something a little different.

“I needed to introduce something new that required me to use new skills,” Castledine said.

“[I said to myself] maybe I can be more ambitious, maybe I can make bigger works.”

So, she did just that.

Her work titled Woodland Numbats,  on display at this year’s annual seaside exhibition, is a numbat made from a combination of crocheted jute and local timber.

Having spent countless afternoons in her father’s workshop growing up, she dusted off her knowledge of power tools and got to work.

“My father was a craftsman, and I would spend hours between school and dinner in his workshop,” she said.

“I kind of had a background in using tools, it was a bit of an awakening.”

Castledine sought the help of her father to pick up more supplies including an angle grinder and chisels to create her large-scale figure.

“I’m using twigs and materials that I see in my garden because I live on a property with lots of gumtrees.

“For me the use of the timber is about living in Kalamunda and growing up here it’s about living amongst trees, seeing different shapes in things and using the gifts [trees] give us.”

Castledine drew inspiration for Woodland Numbats during her month-long residency in Dwellingup, located close to a numbat colony.

“I made my first numbat in Dwellingup, using big pieces of marri that had come down from the storm,” she said.

“I find it interesting that they are our state emblem, but we don’t pay much attention to them.

“Some people I speak to don’t know about numbats and many more have never seen a live one, certainly not outside the zoo.

“I am hoping with these works to inspire people to find out more about our wonderful numbats.”

The 18th annual Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea will run from March 4 to 21.

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