David Saunders, Sculptor and Artist


I first started sculpting Oamaru stone as an extension to my other artwork; watercolour painting, photography and sketching.

An opportunity arose for me to meet other artists in action during the Archibald’s Stone Carving Symposium in 2007 and, determined to find out more and ‘have a go’, I signed up for the following year. I was truly inspired by fellow sculptors who helped me hone my skills and push my boundaries.

My first sculpture was a double twist, created for my wife, Marion, who was also keen to produce stonework, but was taken suddenly ill, and spent the whole week of the 2007 symposium in a critical condition in hospital. I completed the double twist between hospital visits and presented it to Marion on the last day of the symposium, which was her first day out of hospital.

My inspiration comes from the dynamic effect of the sun, and I use its magic wherever possible using hard and soft edges to create strong shadows on the stone. I use holes to maximise the effect of changing light conditions throughout the day, which brings each piece to life throughout the year.

As with all natural substances, Oamaru stone is full of surprises! This is why I love working with it, where each sculpture is a new creative experience in both discovering what lies in the block and finding new ways to use tools.

Although Oamaru stone is easy to work, it can be unforgiving too. The stone can have alternate striations that are soft and hard, as well as hard pieces of shell. Once dry, the stone can become brittle, and knowing how thin to take an area has been an interesting learning curve during the finishing process. All of my work is sealed for display outside.

Marion ‘borrows’ my work for our garden to complement her passion for flowers and plants. However, many pieces are for sale, and visitors complement the work in a natural setting. Latest additions to the garden have been single twist corkscrews and ‘springs’ that looked magnificent in the snow last year.

Work regularly flows out of my workspace and I usually have a selection of sculptures available for purchase. I can also craft smaller work for fishing competition trophies, birthdays, and gifts, please email me to discuss details.


If you want to have a go, I am happy to provide Oamaru stone, tools, and refreshments; working one-on-one or with small groups of 2 or 3 people in my workshop. Prices can be discussed on application and depend on individual requirements and time. Please enquire for more information.


I started painting in 1995 in the UK, with encouragement from my wife to venture away from pencil sketches. Over the following years and many night classes, I mastered the medium of watercolour and complementary use of acrylics.

As a keen photographer and aeronautical engineer, I used every opportunity to capture aviation related subjects and turned these into commissions for pilots, engineers, and enthusiasts. I love working wet-in-wet on the paper, which gives soft tones for skies and seascapes. I like the challenge of painting reflections in water and with the coastline never far from me, I enjoy painting boats and water, which became my exhibition theme in the UK.

Although the move to New Zealand meant my journey with stone sculpture took over and watercolour painting waned, I still had the desire to paint, but not the time. However, upon meeting Susan Wild during one of her painting afternoons on the Wellington Wharf, the urge to paint was rekindled and I subsequently joined Watercolour New Zealand.

The page on this site is my New Zealand chapter and return to watercolour painting. Please keep an eye out for my latest work as I re-master the techniques.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your ideas and see what is possible.
Thank you for visiting my site and letting me share my art with you. I welcome your feedback, which can be given here.

David Saunders,
Sculptor and Artist

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