Yvonne George – Eaglehawk
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
Yvonne George came to sculpture in a roundabout fashion but now that she’s ‘there,’ she never wants her creativity to “stay still.” The key she says, is going with your instincts and inspirations, and embracing change.
Change has played a major role in the course of Yvonne’s life. Born in New Plymouth, New Zealand and brought up on the North Island’s west coast at Raglan, she moved to New South Wales in 1980.
“So many New Zealanders were setting off to make their fortunes in Australia then; and I was really keen to be a Jillaroo in the Outback. I’d been brought up on a 6,000 acre sheep and cattle station and I’d spend my life around horses, so when I couldn’t get an Outback job, I couldn’t understand it.
“That changed my course completely and I ended up enrolling at La Trobe University in Bendigo later that year, to do a BA in Arts and Ceramics,” she says.
Since then, she’s followed a number of pathways that have led her to cast sculpture – in particular, working as a production potter after university, and building a mudbrick house in the bush near Bendigo (in 1987) for just $7,000.
When she enrolled in a basic welding course, she found herself closer to her passion.
“I loved the smell of it. I loved the ‘grot’ of it. And it was so immediate, unlike kiln work. It was practical too and I could make things (like gates) for the house.
Yvonne incorporated her new skills into her next business venture – making candelabras, music stands, metal mirrors and later, garden fountains.
“That’s how I started. I’d make a collection of stuff, load up the car and drive to northern New South Wales visiting galleries and getting orders.
“I’d always been interested in sculpture though - it had been the focus of my final year of ceramics study. It’s always excited me. It touches a place in the heart and the soul that brings joy.”
Yvonne now lives in Eaglehawk, near Bendigo, where she and her partner are restoring an old lemonade factory with a view to making a new studio and sculpture garden. In the meantime, she continues working from her large studio/gallery based at Bendigo Pottery, where she has been since 2009.
It’s there that she translates her ideas into wax, polystyrene, clay or resin and then outsources their casting into bronzes. She also works with aluminium, steel, copper, cement fondu and cast SG steel.
While she has completed a number of large public commissions for VicUrban, new housing developments and local councils, around 80% of her work is fulfilling private commissions.
The pieces I enjoy most have a sense of whimsy about them and are usually based on Nature and my huge love of animals (especially dogs) and birds,” she says.
“That’s what I want to explore more – this is my Year of Bronze.”
And after 37 years in Australia, for Yvonne, Eaglehawk is now home.
“Interestingly though, some of my bronzes are still inspired by Raglan and my early life there. I guess I’ll always be a Kiwi at heart.” - www.yvonnegeorgesculptor.com