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Josh Olley is a full-time stone sculptor who works from his studio in Luggate – a small Otago town situated between Wanaka and Cromwell, New Zealand. Josh’s work often reflects on people and society, regularly using hands to present his message as they are a strong form that is often suggested within the stone.

Josh began to teach himself to carve in 1997 while living in Wanaka. Starting with bone, he gradually moved to small stone works with a strong focus on the details and finish of his pieces. A passion for larger stone sculpture developed naturally as his abilities evolved. He discovered the wonderful quality of stone that surrounded him in the lower South Island and his work transitioned mainly into large (1 tonne+) works. At that scale, the whole sculpting process can take many months of dedicated, full-time work.

Josh works with a range of different rocks. He prefers Piemontite glacial erratics for large works with its unique grain, purple colour and exclusivity to his local area. He also works with Argillite for its hard, durable quality and its ability to hold a very fine edge and detail.

He works with his partner, Amelia, on complementary sculptural pieces. While Josh makes large scale stone sculptures, Amelia makes moulds of his and her smaller works which they cast in bronze. Together they have exhibited throughout New Zealand, including The Auckland Art fair, NZ Sculpture onshore and Artis Gallery, Parnell.

“The first stage of my sculpture is discovering the form that fits the stone, so the potential of each remains in the finished piece. This is vital to the process.”


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