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Forging a career

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Nathan Borg participated in the Open Studios event, recently held across Ballan, Gordon and Mt Egerton.” Photo – Jane Gardner

By Jane Gardner

At 18-years of age, Gordon resident Nathan Borg is already a skilled craftsman. Nathan began his artistic journey by taking on an apprenticeship in the maintenance department at Sovereign Hill. From there, he decided to leave high school altogether (in year 10) to further develop his skill and craft. Over time, Nathan went on to become a demonstrator as a Sovereign Hill wheelwright (crafting wagon wheels) where he continues to learn from master craftsmen.
In order to extend his skills at home and to further explore his love of medieval and ancient crafts, Nathan recently turned a section of his family’s outdoor shed into a small forge. From there, it was a logical step to get involved in the recent ‘Open Studios’ hosted by artists’ collective ‘MAGnet’ (under Wombat Regional Art Network) across Ballan, Gordon and Mt Egerton.
Over a weekend in April, artists, sculptors, potters and craftspeople of all ages and abilities (Nathan being the youngest) opened their homes, studios, garages and sheds to visitors – some coming from as far as Melbourne – so they could share their creative passions with the public.
“It was a great weekend,” says Nathan. “I probably had about 30 to 40 people come through each day.”
The Open Studio event included works, exhibits and demonstrations from about 30 local artists. From glazed pottery bowls, timber sculptures (including an intricately-detailed replica of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon) oils, pastels, textiles and stone; through to Nathan’s metalwork, all manner of mediums were represented.
By all accounts, MAGnet’s Open Studios was a great success. Some visitors drove between the towns, while others strolled between the studios on foot, chatting to the exhibitors and learning more about their craft.
Nathan even met another young local person, who shares his love of the forge. So, it seems the Open Studio weekend brought not just visitors out of the (sculptured) woodwork, but like-minded artists as well. And that’s surely a great result.