“PERFECT PLACE FOR THOSE NEEDING A TRANQUIL CREATIVE SPACE"
Rodeca Messar - Rockhampton
“JEN WAS VERY FORTHCOMING WITH HELP.....
CAN'T WAIT FOR HER NEXT WORKSHOP"
Lisa Carrol - Yeppoon
The Lady and the Horse take shape in Hilker's studio
Jenny Hilker with the Lady in her Gracemere studio
30th Nov 2019
JENNY Hilker's hands are blistered and bloody from a 13-hour stint
on 'the Lady' who looms large in her custom studio on the outskirts
She has taken 90 kilos of clay to date, and has shaped it around
600 metres - that's two whole catering boxes - of alfoil, on her giant easel.
Jen said she doesn't let go a piece until it's just right, whether that means backing away for a spell or working through to the wee hours.
It's a far cry from her previous business enterprises which included pet shops, aquariums, stock feed, hay farming and a florist.
"I never found running that kind of business particularly emotional,” she said. "Stressful, yes - with all the commitments, the buying, wages and bills - but you get much more attached to this kind of business and it's products.
"Just the other day, my husband caught me hugging the horse before I had to send him to Brisbane.”
The horse is a smaller sculpture whose sleek haunches bely Hilker's fascination with the musculature beneath her subject's surface. He has been shipped to Brisbane to be cast in bronze and also to be reverse moulded into silicon.
As I am self taught, it is hard to get advice on how to proceed, so I'm taking care to take my time and not mess things up.”
Her studio, which stands in a bamboo grove outside the family home she shares with her husband and two teenage daughters, has been designed to host masterclasses for up to eight people. The school side of things has been named SCULPT OUT LOUD.
Jen aims to pass on her growing knowledge and business prowess to other budding artists. She will advertise later this year for classes and their availability. She said the hardest thing about art is the stigma that artists make their pieces 'for the love of it'. "If you go into making art with the mentality you won't make money, then you won't,” she said.
"My business - the product and its development - is as much a work in progress as the pieces I sell.”