“The people were very much like the buildings, from the outside many of them looked quite good, but when you went inside you found that they were broken and fragile”. That’s how Bruce Pickering, the craftsman behind the Heart Strings project, describes the seven guitars he has carved from the historical fallen buildings of Christchurch.
Heart Strings is an inspirational project set up by Bruce, his son Jason and Sheena Hemens, to help raise funds to rebuild the music and arts community of Christchurch.
The owners of many historically important buildings gave permission for timber from their wreckage to be collected and used to make Guitar Series '7.1’. The guitars are each named after the building from where the wood came from and each guitar in the series tells its own story. “In many cases the timber itself dictated the story and each piece could be given a new life and an entirely new purpose,” says Jason, who was involved with collecting the timber.
Graduate is a piece of commanding Kauri from the Great Hall of the Arts Centre (formerly the University). Homebush is from the historic Deans family home of the same name near the epicentre of the first quake, which was damaged beyond repair. Chester is made from Kauri weatherboard from a Victorian house in Chester Street and dates to the late 1800s. The Epicentre guitar (left) visually references the 7.1 earthquake’s epicentre and includes a selection of historic timbers paying homage to the emergency services.
The seven guitars will go to auction at a gala dinner in Christchurch on November 24. Before then six of the guitars will be on exhibition in Christchurch while The Epicentre will be incorporated into Fly My Pretties fourth incarnation and upcoming national tour. After an introduction and suggestion to work together from Creative New Zealand, Heart Strings teamed up with Fly My Pretties and the marriage couldn’t be more perfect. The new sixteen-strong band of Fly My Pretties is filled with guitar playing talent such as Aaron Tokona (Cairo Knife Fight), Ryan Prebble (The Nudge), Age Pryor (Ukulele Orchestra), Anna Coddington and more. “It’s a real honour to take this beautiful guitar on the road and be part of such an inspirational and original idea” says Pretties co-founder Barnaby Weir.
The guitars were also recently road tested by kiwi musicians Don McGlashin, Dave Dobbyn, Jason Kerrison and Victoria Gerling-Butcher who passed them with flying colours.
See www.heartstringsnz.co.nz for more details.
Fly My Pretties IV tour New Zealand from October 29 to November 19. See www.loop.co.nz for details.
By Mikee Tucker