“Hi Elena! Great to hear you’re back in New Zealand and of course you’re welcome to join my workshop!” – Words like these are music to my ears, taking me straight to my next creative travel experience here in New Zealand! Stephan Gilberg, also known as “The Bone Carver” in the city of Nelson in the north of New Zealand’s South Island, originally hails from Germany and has been living amongst the Kiwis for more than 20 years now. It is almost as long that he has been teaching travellers such as myself the art of bone carving. And it really is an art, deriving from an ancient tradition of the Maori people, New Zealand’s indigenous tribes who first used whale bones for their own carvings. “The bones that you can see here today are cow bones. I get them once a year from the butcher here. My job is to then clean them thoroughly, using only natural treatments and allowing them to dry off completely over several weeks & months … I just love working with ‘warm materials’ such as bone or wood, having originally started building guitars and becoming inspired by the Maori people to carry on with bone carving here in New Zealand”, Stephan tells us his own personal story during the four-hour workshop here in Nelson.
“Nice and slow … You have to feel it, become one with it … Easy, that’s it! And if you are stuck or not sure, just call me: I am always here to help you out!”
What I really love and appreciate about Stephan’s workshop, is his constant inspiration & happiness in teaching his passion of working with bones and the creativity that lies inherent in this art form. Indeed, each piece is so unique! Although we can always rely on the inspiration of the existing drawings & carvings in front of us, it becomes clear that each one of our maximum number of six course participants has brought their very own, individual ideas with them.
This is me. 100% Creativelena! Floating between the nostalgia of my first ever bone carving workshop with Stephan all these years ago while living & working in New Zealand, as well as embracing the happiness of being on this current #CreativElenaRTW round the world trip is pure magic … It just all makes sense. I am creating my very own, personal, hand-crafted souvenir. I learn in a more in-depth way about the culture & tradition of the Maori people. I enjoy the creative atmosphere of giving birth to something new together with other, equally passionate people … the sparkling in all our eyes as we watch our carvings grow and develop, full of love and pride – it truly is, a most wonderful feeling.
Creative travel, it really is, a journey of self-discovery. Whatever chooses to express itself creatively through your work, it will always reflect your inner state of being and emotions – connected to the traditions and the culture of the place you are visiting. Like so, unique creations & connections are born.
“Each workshop is different. It really depends on the participants! I love to work with each one individually and help them to create their very own, unique pieces of bone carving. The feeling of pride towards the end, it has always made everyone happy”, Stephan muses. I could not agree more. Working away for a good four hours, I did hardly notice the time go by what with our increasingly fascinating, beautifully polished works of art.
Words such as “WOW … I like it. I love this!!” grow more & more frequent. And the smiles on our faces … they just wouldn’t go away!
Psychologists call it “flow“, this very unique state of mind where we find ourselves evenly challenged, floating in perfect harmony between creative thinking and physical ability to reach our goals. A sweet spot for happiness, I call it. And will never grow tired of recommending creative travel as one means to this end, such as this unique experience here in New Zealand!
“Your piece is called ‘Pikorua’, Elena. By wearing it, you charge it with ‘Mana’ – strength, power, and spiritual belief according to the Maori people. In the end, you will give it to a very special person …
… your grandchildren! Your partner? Your best friend! Simply someone truly special … Because each person that wears it will charge it with their own, individual energy, making the carving richer and richer over time. When it finally comes back to you, it is worth a whole lot more than you could ever imagine – such is the spiritual willpower of traditional Maori belief …!”
What a beautiful, strong point of view !!!
Learn more about the fascination of creative travel and my current creative round the world trip here: #CreativElenaRTW! 😀