Philippa Jones and Martin Hill met in 1994, at a rock-climbing weekend in Taupo – Martin a very experienced climber, photographer and graphic artist, Philippa an experienced journalist just starting on her rock-climbing adventure.
Martin shared with Philippa his vision of combining climbing and creating environmental art to communicate his sustainable design philosophy.
He aimed to create a symbolic line drawn around the earth, touching it at a series of twelve high points.
At each point, he would make sculptures from found natural materials, photograph them, and then leave them to the environment.
Forward 25 years, and the couple have slowly achieved the vision, with the twelve sculptures completed and the line encircling the earth, at a time when the world is finally waking up to the importance of the fine line we are hovering beside and the importance of fast action worldwide.
Beginning and ending in New Zealand, Philippa and Martin have travelled to high places in Antarctica, Madagascar, Kenya, Switzerland, Scotland’s Isle of Skye, Iceland, Canada’s Baffin Island and Purcell Mountains, Yosemite and Vanuatu.
When not on international adventures, the couple live in Wanaka, where they cleared the land, designed and built their sustainable house.
Martin’s photographs of their sculptures have been exhibited in solo exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and Europe.
The beautifully produced book, “Fine Line, Twelve Environmental Sculptures Encircle the Earth”, was launched recently by Bateman Books and Wanaka Paper Plus, at the Edgewater Pavilion.
In his introduction, Dr Gus Roxburgh thanked the couple for their “blood, sweat, passion and aroha”.
He told the capacity audience, “Having a good idea is one thing, doing it is another, and they have pulled off an amazing multi-country adventure.”
A tribute to the quality and philosophy of Philippa and Martin has been the support that they have received from scientist around the world.
Sir Tim Naish, Professor in Earth Sciences of Wellington, spoke at the launch, saying, “As a scientist, our collaboration with artists is a very powerful way of getting our story across.”
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