Give it a go

Jeff Hylton and a partly completed chandelier. PHOTO: GUY WILLIAMS
Jeff Hylton and a partly completed chandelier. PHOTO: GUY WILLIAMS
Retired Queenstown builder Jeff Hylton combines exceptional manual skills and an artistic streak to create antler chandeliers.

Mr Hylton said he decided to give "functional art" a try about 15 years ago, when a friend asked him to make one.

He is a keen deerstalker but does not use antlers from the animals he hunts. He buys the cast-offs of farm stags.

The raw material is not cheap at about $35 a kilogram.

He arranges the antlers, always from one side of the head, in a self-supporting structure which he suspends from the ceiling by several chains, or, for larger chandeliers, with a single steel rod.

He uses up to 40 antlers in his larger chandeliers.

Next, he drills holes for the light sockets and entry holes to allow an electrician to install wiring.

One chandelier could take up to two months to complete, working in fits and starts, he said.

A lot of thought and fiddling went into the ideal arrangement, he said.

"You need a lot of antler, a lot of space, and a lot of patience."

He also makes antler candlestick holders.

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