Although The Artisan Hills is only 25km from the bustling Melbourne CBD, it feels a world away. Its semi-rural townships are filled with craftspeople. From painters and sculptors to farmers and winemakers, the area celebrates creativity. This week we had a chat to one of the people making The Artisan Hills a unique tourist destination. Meet Tim Read from Tread Sculptures, and don’t forget to enter the competition at the end of the interview!
What is Tread Sculptures?
Tread Sculptures is a family sculpture business. Our home, studio, and gallery are positioned on five acres of native bush, on the banks of the Yarra River. We have a walking track through the bush and along the river, with sculptures installed along the way. We also have a small gallery with custom furniture and indoor sculptures. Visitors can also check out our studio and boneyard of collected material.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you fit in.
I was working as an earthmover, and back in 2009 I bought a welder to do a repair to my earthmoving machine. It piqued my interest and I started to play around welding bits of scrap material together. Moving to the Bend of Islands in 2011 gave me the space to get more creative.
What is Bend of Islands, it sounds like an interesting place!
The Bend Of Islands is an Environmental Living Zone sharing a postcode with Kangaroo Ground. It is an area on the banks of the Yarra River where wildlife and flora are protected. There are no cats or dogs allowed, and no fences so that wildlife can move through the area freely. It is Weridgeree country, and a pretty special place.
How long has Tread Sculptures been running, and what makes it unique?
I have been sculpting professionally for five years now. We use at least 95% reclaimed material, from old farm finds to industrial off cuts. The experience of discovering sculpture on the walking trail and the opportunity to look through a working art studio is what makes it unique.
What do you sculpt?
I have a pretty broad palette that has expanded with my skills. From rusty quirky creatures, to more contemporary polished steel pieces. I also do custom made furniture and fire pits.
Who else works at Tread Sculptures?
I love to collaborate with other local artists, so even though most of the time I am in the studio by myself, there are regular visits from other artists as we sort through the boneyard of reclaimed material and toss around ideas. Linda MacAulay is a renowned Eltham painter who spends a day a week working in the studio with me on collaborative work and commissions.
What makes The Artisan Hills and your area of the world so amazing?
The landscape is beautiful out here from rolling green hills and grape vines, to classic Australian bush. The suburbs feel more like country towns. The area has lots of artisans working in all different mediums and styles. There is a great artist open studios program that gives the public the ability to visit artists private studios three weekends a year.
What is your favourite local Artisan Hills café and restaurant?
For the best coffee I would say Piccolo Mechanico in Diamond Creek, Mark is passionate and personable. For great food with Turkish flair it’s hard to drive past Cafe Z in Research. The owner Zulal’s Turkish scrambled eggs are awesome.
Your favourite place for a bit of fun?
Uhmm, can I say Tread Sculptures?
Your favourite place to take family and friends?
Mountain bike riding in Smiths Gully or kayaking in the Yarra River are hard to beat.
When can people come and visit Tread Sculptures?
We are open on the first weekend of every month. Come and visit!
The Artisan Hills is currently running a competition to celebrate the release of their brand new videos. Awesome prizes from local artisans and businesses are still up for grabs, including a $150 voucher to The Organic Fix and a hamper from Nillumbik Cellars valued at $200. Click here and head to the pinned post for information on how to enter. Don’t forget to check out the videos for a taste of all the fantastic things The Artisan Hills has to offer!