NESTLED among the Australian bush of Scoullers Road, a small village of whitewashed buildings catch the eye and entices passersbys to stop.
The miniature village sits atop a rough-barked stump, cut long-ago to make way for vehicular traffic along the windy track, and is the work of resident artist Harry Wild.
The miniatures have a mixture of pitched and domed roofs, are single and double storey and sit among a carpet of moss and bonsai trees.
A former RMIT art student in the 60s and secondary school teacher through the 70s, Mr Wild moved away from the “mundane and measured” paintings he fell into to support his family in the ensuing decades to be more creative with sculpture.
“In the early days there used to be door-to-door salesmen that would hawk off paintings and I was commissioned to finish 100 paintings for them each week,” he said.
“Even though it became mundane, it was still arduous work because each colour has to be mixed exactly right and each stroke has to be exactly right.
“I moved into sculpture to get away from that restriction and to have more freedom with my creations.
“I need that creative outlet and to keep old fingers busy.”
Among Mr Wild’s creations are thousands of miniature buildings and towers and several intriguing busts of fresh-faced ladies looking skyward, which he has dubbed his ‘star-gazers’.
The miniatures are created in several phases, starting from the roofs down.
“I fashion them out of clay and then fire them in a kiln I have here,” Mr Wild said.
“Once they’re finished I turn them upside down, use old bits of timber to block in the walls and pour in a mortar mix.
“When they’re finished I arrange them on stumps, plates, anything really, and people just love them.
“Quite often I’ll see a car going along the road and then reversing back to take a closer look and a photo of the one along the road.”
Harbouring a fascination for the heavens and a love of drawing and sculpting female faces, Mr Wild then embarked on his ‘stargazer’ works.
Fashioned out of clay and moulded with plaster of Paris, the figures are also made with mortar, but have a much smoother finish.
“I’ve been able to incorporate glass-marble eyes which set the faces off beautifully – they’re very much a talking point for people who see them,” he said.
“Sculpture had been a lot of fun and it’s quite rewarding to see people’s reaction to it and being down here along Scoullers Road provides plenty of inspiration.”