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The sound of art

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Bohemian sculpture artist, Oli Gedye, designs meditative artwork using kinetic art principles – art that is meant to be touched and played with – art that draws upon trees, wood, stones, rivers, mountains, valleys and moss.

Oli’s artwork combines the rich colours and raw textures of nature, the pitch of sounds within the forest – a meshing together of the intrinsic connection between nature and creativity.

His sculptural work brings to mind the philosophical question:

"If a tree falls in a forest and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

To truly appreciate the depth and creative vision of Oli’s work one needs to physically connect with each piece – to engage in the human experience of it. To see it, hear it, smell it and (if allowed by the artist), touch it.

This visceral human experience of both observation and knowledge of its physical reality is essential to a greater understanding of each sculpture.


OliGedye Image 1 

© Oli Gedye. 'Earth Tone' sculpture.


Art making, freethinking and being at one with nature is an integral part of Oli’s core being. He produces artworks that are kinetic, meditative and interactive – works that use mostly organic, raw, natural media. It is art that can be touched and felt.

Working from an isolated old house truck studio, set amidst a forested valley within hearing distance of a nearby river (and falling trees, should they occur), Oli makes kinetic sculptures that merge natural themes and forms with sound.


OliGedye Image 2

© Oli Gedye. ‘Earth Tone’.


It’s not uncommon for him to have at least several projects on the go at once – inside his studio and out, a constant state of creative chaos around the late night glow of a campfire.

“I infuse creativity into everything I do. I believe that art is not limited to any medium, but can be an element of life that permeates all we do.”

Oli came to The Learning Connexion to gain a deeper understanding of his art and his own practice. TLC offered Oli the ability to study art via distance learning, with the added benefit of being able to study and live life his way, at home, where he felt most creative.

In this case tucked away in Anatoki valley within Golden Bay.


OliGedye Image 4

Anatoki Valley displaying one of Oli’s transient rock sculptures.


When asked how he found studying the Advanced Diploma via distance learning he said, “I found the material fascinating and boundary extending. I felt supported and encouraged by my mentor and got a good sense of connection to other students through the online workroom. The Advanced Diploma helped me to open my mind and practice to new ways of working.”

Very much involved in the local art scene within Golden Bay, Oli is a keen gardener and does creative landscaping. He has worked in conservation and enjoys living close to the land and working with permaculture. This comes through in his work. The combination and contrasting of the natural world with the man-made world by way of the concept of materiality, retains the true nature of the raw materials he uses.

Oli’s collection of work called ‘Earth Tone’ uses materiality with the idea of sound as a sense alternative to vision. The tuning of each of the copper chimes began with a close approximation then a gradual refining of the length to reach the desired tone.

“Musical instruments are some of the most elegant objects made by people. The shape of a cello is beautiful to the eye but its shape is designed for sound. My sculptures are far from the grace of a cello, but I am fascinated by the sounds different shapes produce. These works are a playful exploration of that."


OliGedye Image 3

© Oli Gedye. 'Earth Tone'.

Artist’s description: “These pieces are created using Pal Tiya (a sculpting medium made from clay, cement and small fibers), acrylic paint, river stones, copper pipe, lichen and living moss. They are expressions of a love of nature as well as interactive musical sculptures. They are made to be touched and played with and can live outside or inside. Each of them tells its own story as the viewer’s perception translates the archetypal shapes. They are stories of life and growth, of solidity and sound.”


With plans to travel to Australia in June, Oli is off to help build an earth house in far North Queensland. He will also be heading off to Indonesia to collaborate with other artisans and bring some of his jewellery designs to life.

Keep an eye out for his upcoming exhibition in Nelson this October. This exhibition will feature new sculptures that are an extension of his ‘Earth Tone’ collection and earlier work from The Learning Connexion.


Gain NZQA art qualifications from your home (or house truck) via distance learning. To find out more about how we teach practising artists art and creativity at The Learning Connexion call us on 0800 278 769 orequest a prospectus.


  • Christine Carter
    19/05/2016 6:28pm (8 years ago)

    Wow Oli, So happy to have one of your pieces guiding our journey in our motorhome these look even more stunning can't wait to connect again and find one that will fit our new motorhome.

  • Sarah Lenton
    18/05/2016 10:32pm (8 years ago)

    I liked and felt a connection with Oli's work as soon as I found it on the workroom (shame it crashed and I couldn't see more, so it's good to see some of it here). Good luck with your next creative adventures, I imagine the earth house will look amazing.

  • Gemma
    18/05/2016 10:09pm (8 years ago)

    Loved Oli's work at the Advanced Exhibition!