Kimberley Dodd

AKA Whalewoman

My fixation with the whale continues, an ongoing journey through my life. Wooden wall sculpture is how it is manifesting at the present.

Moving into the area recently, I was amazed to discover the treasure troves of wood amassed from the Christchurch Earthquake. So much native wood stamped with the patina of use, of care or of neglect.

The graphic icon of the whale is made of this wood and turns itself into a piece of art with its own secret story for a secretive mammal. The personality emerges as the whale is created. Sometimes paint is added to enhance a mood and the smears of grime and gashes from the violent upheaval are evident to tell a story, to let you in on a journey taking place.


AKA Secret Squirrel

As a child, I was fascinated by a taxidermy chimpanzee made by a family friend, who for modesty’s sake was wearing my clothes. A bit weird. I had met him earlier in a different life form, at MarineLand and have a picture of us both holding hands. They were rough and warm.

For most of my adult life I have been focused on whales – painting and sculpting them but there’s been a recent shift in my psyche brought on by the amount of trapped pests in our Wainui Valley. A bid to be a pest free Banks Peninsula.

I did my first taxidermy mouse via youtube instructions and he eventually looked resplendent in a full suit of clothes. A friend asked me if she could have him to put in a cloche with a little fairyland garden. So gorgeous!

As I am preparing the animal, my mind creates an anthropomorphic profile and he grows into his humanised character with facial expression and clothing.

I like the Victorian style. Oldie worldie.

My outfits are made from my material collection that I’ve inherited over the years. I’ve got a lot of handmade lace and bits of half finished embroidery from my Great Grandmother. Some of these treasures make it into my costumes, a miniature lace hanky or an ornate collar. Buttons are another thing. Ladies old leather boot buttons or even some small brass mattress buttons work a treat on a wee jacket.

My mother was a milliner and I used to watch her making all sorts of glamorous hats in her day. All my new friends have hats. 

I guess it’s about repurposing. Making an animal into a treasure instead of just burying it. Using old bits of material instead of keeping it stored away for the memory. It’s about buying into that childhood fantasy world.

And why secret.squirrel99 – well apart from my instagram, I think it’s my fantasy world. Completely different to my normal reality. A split personality. I am a Gemini after all.

Little River Gallery
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