Hoopers on deck for SWELL

“It’s going to be two giant deck chairs,” Derek Hooper said simply, about the installation he and his wife Katie will have at SWELL Sculpture Festival this year.

“Typical timber and canvas.”

It’s the couple’s first time in SWELL but Derek says they have always dreamed up crazy ideas and this one stuck while sailing around New Zealand.

“We were just in a bay and there was an over-sized deck-chair…  nothing as big as what we’re doing… and we thought, that looks really cool, and so we had this kind of creative day, just thinking about it and ten we came back and thought it’d be awesome to put it into SWELL.”

“We’ve been down there for the last five or six years, we kind of know the style that SWELL goes for. It’s fun and the festival is on the beach, and we get to use that space.”

“Honestly, we didn’t really think we’d get selected – not because of the strength of our idea – but because we’re not really well known. It’s a big deal, SWELL, not just a bunch of hippies running an art festival.”

The two deck chairs are designed to minimise warping in the sun and the longest pieces are 6 metres and weigh 60kg each. The chair fabric is high quality marine-grade canvas.

Building isn’t something completely new to Derek who has worked as a civil engineer for 15 years and also as a house-builder over his university summers.

“Dad’s a boat-builder,” he said. “All my life, I’ve grown up with dad building boats and done a lot of work around our house and other people’s homes doing things like building decks.”

And Katie’s is also very much the artistic and creative force. One of the founding writers for Blank GC, she also studied millinery in London and worked with one of the top milliners in the UK.

“She’s created a few really awesome hats,” Derek said. “Which is quite structural in its own way.”

“For both of us, we really enjoy art that is also functional,” Derek said.  “Hats are functional, and so are chairs.”

Check out their installation at SWELL Sculpture Festival, which runs 9 – 18 September, 2016 on Currumbin Beach.

PHOTO: Swell entrant 2012.  Mozzie by Ibrahim Koc.





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