A hei matau is a bone or greenstone carving in the shape of a highly stylized fish hook typical of the Māori people of New Zealand.
They represent strength, good luck and safe travel across water.
A few friends and I have been fishing together for a few years. I thought it was about time we had something to fish for and designed this 'trophy' for the heaviest fish of the day.
The base is a slice through a Macrocarpa log, which has been planed and sanded, then sealed with shellac. The sculpture is a fish hook design curling up and over the 'eye' to give a 3D twist. The hook and wood were bonded together with dowels and suitable adhesives.
I did another 2 more fine sanding sessions and sealed the stone with silicon each time to give a nice finish. More images to follow when the mount has been completed...
Having looked at many Maori designs of Hei Matau, I decided to do my interpretation and introduce a dynamic twist and overlapping ‘hook’.
The ability to experiment and not be afraid of the outcome provides a blend of excitement and nervous energy. The fragile shapes here required very fine sanding that took several days to complete - but the end product is a pleasing interpretation with a ‘twist’ on a theme.
Part of the 'Saunders' collection
Whilst chatting with my neighbour I noticed his greenstone Hei Matau, Fish hook. I asked if I could borrow it for 5 mins.
A few weeks later I presented Wayne with his fish hook carved from Oamaru stone, which he has displayed on a nice piece of Totara in his garden.
Here's Wayne’s hook from the side showing the ‘twist’ incorporated in the shape; lifting the hook above the shank to create more shadows.
After Wayne’s Hook
I was so taken with the design of Wayne’s Hook, I wanted to recreate it and at the same time make it less fragile. You can see the difference between them. The lines are similar, though I have added some koru designs on the hook. The bottom image emphasises the offset hook.
For Sale - $315
Double Curl Hei Matau
The challenge to emphasise twist and curves in my work led to the creation of this stylised Hei Matau. The twist off the shank into hook’s dish, and the curled points of the barbs generates a flowing movement into this piece. The base is flat so that it can be stood up.
SOLD - Resides in Fielding with the Bartlett family.
Stylised Hei Matau
An second study on my first stylised Hei Matau, which is a in reverse form. The hook has a finer ‘blade’ with a dynamic twist and subtle curves to catch the light and form strong shadows in any light. The base is flat so this sculpture can be easily displayed.