‘Dying art form’ brought to life in Barraclough native bird exhibition

A flock of native Australian birds will nest momentarily at Noosa Regional Gallery later this month, with the arrival of Sunshine Coast artist Ted Barraclough’s new exhibition.

Like walking into a bustling bird aviary, the delicately carved, life-sized birds are a salute to the artist’s lifetime interest in the subject, and a dedication to what Barraclough describes as a dying art form.

“Barraclough’s hand carved birds have somewhat of a cult following,” Noosa Regional Gallery Director Michael Brennan says.

“His work has been impressively displayed around the country and while his approach to making these objects is authentically humble, they have captured the attention of many artists and curators.

“To be able to exhibit them en masse at Noosa Regional Gallery is very exciting – if not a little Hitchcockian.”

What began as a childhood hobby during WWII when toys were scarce, has grown into a lifelong pursuit of perfection for Barraclough.

The artist says although ornamental woodcarving and whittling is regarded in European countries such as Germany as big business, it has declined into a dying art here in Australia.

Barraclough is one of only a hundred or so people who still practice the art form.

Though he has carved several hundred different birds in past years, his desire to carve “the perfect bird” he says, continues to energise his interest, as does raising awareness of the preservation and protection of these precious native animals.

“I think we’ve just got to get the idea that birds are beautiful, beautiful creatures and (we’ve) got to do something to protect them because a lot of them are endangered.”

Ted Barraclough is at Noosa Regional Gallery from June 21 to July 28, 2019. Entry to the Gallery is free. Visit the website.

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