Village fete popular

Archie Calder (11), of Becks, admires one of his father Robbie's garden spheres made out of barbed wire. Photo by Lynda van Kempen.
Archie Calder (11), of Becks, admires one of his father Robbie's garden spheres made out of barbed wire. Photo by Lynda van Kempen.
It is not often that ''tidying up an old fence'' translates into a work of art.

However, that was the case for Becks farmer Robbie Calder, who struggled to keep up with the demand for his garden art - barbed wire spheres - at yesterday's St Bathans Village Fete.

''They've sold like hot cakes, and I've taken orders for more - I'm a bit surprised,'' he said. The largest were about a metre in diameter and smaller ones were designed to be suspended from trees. He also made some with long bolts in them representing knitting needles, so the sculptures looked like giant balls of wool.

Mr Calder makes no claims about being an artist and said they were ''something to do on a rainy day ... which also gives me some beer money''. He used gloves to make the spheres, which were made from old fence wire, and there was about three hours' work in the largest pieces, he said.

''I saw the idea in a magazine and thought ... I'd have a go at making them. They seem to be quite popular.''

He was one of about 40 stallholders at the fete, which is run by Cambrian St Bathans Rural Women. President Gill Naylor said there was a steady stream of visitors all day.

Several groups took the chance to raise funds at the event and proceeds from the day would also benefit the wider community, through projects being carried out by Rural Women, she said.

A ''ghost hunt'' was one of the activities, with children getting a map and finding ghosts and giant gold nuggets hidden around the village. In early March, St Bathans, Becks and Cambrian celebrate the 150th anniversary of gold being discovered in the area.

-lynda.van.kempen@odt.co.nz