ART ON COMMERCE: Tammy McKay Pic: Troy Folder: 21/4/2019

NATURE is the palette for Eastern Bay artist Tammy McKay, and lockdown has given her even more incentive to gather materials from Mother Earth.

McKay is becoming known for her creations – skulls of animals that she has found or been given by hunters that she turns into more gentler pieces, with colour, fabric and feathers.

But her focus has changed slightly over lockdown.

“I have had a bit of a change from that [skulls]. I have been doing stuff using feathers, I am still making patterns with the feathers, mostly circular patterns, on black and white board, and it has been really good fun.”

Lockdown hasn’t been too hard for the artist, although she is keen to get out and purchase frames for her work.

“I busted my ankle about four months ago, so I have been in lockdown anyway,” she laughed.

“Luckily I had a good supply of feathers. I am using mostly pheasant feathers and just keeping the flow of the feathers like they would be on the pheasant.”

McKay uses about a thousand feathers on each piece, and it takes patience and time to create.

“It probably takes a few days to get them all on there. You look at a feather and what I am using is just the tip of it.

“So you go through the whole bird basically and chop off all the bits I am using and put them into colour codes and then use them.

“It takes a while, but it is good fun and makes for really neat effects. Even the feathers off one bird have different textures.”

Acorns and walnuts are also other materials she has been collecting on her Awakeri farm.

“I have been scrounging around the place looking for something a bit different.

PATTERNS: Tammy McKay’s feather pieces are meticulously constructed. Photos supplied

“Now I am making some acorn cap balls, a set of three balls and then putting retro colour on the odd one and varnishing them up. They have come up pretty good, so I am quite excited about them.

“It is a bit tricky, but it is fun, collecting stuff from around the farm, picking up the walnuts and dusting them off and turning them into something.”

McKay admits she likes “getting a bit outside the square and finding things to make something arty”.

Luckily, she had a good supply of feathers, and glue and card before the sudden lockdown on March 25.

“I have been digging into the back of cupboards.”

McKay has done some work for an exhibition involving 25 Eastern Bay artists that was supposed to take place in Orewa, Auckland in June.

“It was quite exciting, but it has been put on hold like everything else.

“But we will have a summer exhibition.”