The Hokianga Bonecarver
Jim Taranaki is a Maori artisan living his dream who welcomes you to his home overlooking the breathtaking Hokianga Harbour to learn the Maori craft of bone carving and create your own special piece Jim is bone carver who takes cow leg bones and turns them into beautifully carved pendants and sculptures which look like ivory. “You have to boil the bones for a long time, three different times, and then add washing powder and boil again before the bone will turn the bright white colour”.
They are then ready to cut out and carefully file and sand until they are perfectly smooth and shaped. “As you wear the carvings, they absorb the oil on your body” he explains, “So after a while it takes on your particular colour. When a man or woman hands this down to a son or daughter, it’s a way of remembering since that person’s oil will rub off on the new wearer”.
Jim welcomes groups and individuals the opportunity to work in his studio either creating something from their own design and raw material, or finishing off a pre-cut carving.
Jim really loves teaching someone who thought they couldn’t do it. “That’s the best thing” he says “Seeing people create something beautiful with their own hands”.
As you watch Jim sawing away around the outline of his latest carving you can look out of the window into the blue ocean just beyond the workshop – a truly inspiring backdrop for a truly inspiring, creative and very spiritual Maori artisan.