‘We wanted to bring out the magic of finding that sapphire and the beautiful colours against the sky,’ Greg said.
‘That idea of a stone removed from millions of years of volcanic and gravel sediment and lifting it up to the sky, that wonderful vertical movement – we felt that was the start of our inspiration.’
The award-winning artists, from Milne and Stonehouse, were announced as the successful contenders for the signature art piece of the Sapphire Gemfields Interpretive Trail at the Central Highlands Tourism Season Launch on 3 March 2017.
After a comprehensive selection process and community consultation, the Central Highlands Regional Council selected the pair from four high-calibre candidates.
Greg said they were ‘chuffed’ to be chosen for this project.
‘As an artist, when people are so passionate it makes the whole process way more exciting,’ he said.
‘It was important for us to go to the Sapphire Gemfields and get a sense of the character and identity of the place and it really has a certain magic to it.’
The interpretive trail will take visitors on an educational journey, following a number of interpretive nodes and place markers highlighting the area’s geological features, history, culture and the fossicking process.
Greg said they knew their art piece wasn’t going to be a stand-alone, but part of that experience.
‘It’s functioning art, a partner to the character of the area,’ he said.
‘Good public art helps a community build its identity, but we think this one is more of a celebration of what already exists.’
The design, titled ‘Sift’, combines coloured glass elements to represent the gems, circles to highlight the sifting process, high beams and local billy boulders at the base.
Greg said work on the unique art piece would begin now, with installation expected around June.
Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes said the eye-catching art work would be a real draw-card for tourists and locals alike.
‘We hope it will encourage visitors to the area to stop and discover more about the unique history and culture of this special part of our region,’ he said.
‘I congratulate all of our contenders on their great work and commend Milne and Stonehouse on their successful design. We can’t wait to see it come to life.’
The project is funded by council and the Australian Government’s Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) Program, administered by the Queensland Government’s Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.