Boudewijn van den Bemd – The Everything Guy

“Doors just open and I walk through them,” says Boudewijn (pronounced Bode-wayne). And many are the doors that he has passed through – musician, scientist, forestry worker, farmer, farrier, horse breaker, project manager, actor, sculptor, carver and more besides.

Boudewijn’s current area of expertise is that of wood carver and he has just had a collection of his pou installed on a public walkway in Mangawhai. “The art is always there, it just needs time to come out. Now that I’m retired, I finally have time.” The pou whenua incorporate a large male and female and then a collection of smaller pou represent their children.

The pou were carved from macrocarpa offcuts and incorporate Māori motifs that Boudewijn just can’t seem to get away from. Koru are everywhere in his work and he feels a strong affinity with the indigenous culture of the country. “I worked with Māori guys in the forests in Maramarua and I learned to speak some Māori and it’s sort of ingrained in me now.”

Boudewijn revived his passion for carving three years ago and worked for six months alongside Kerry Strongman at his factory in Te Hana. “Kerry tended to work on really large sculptures but I’m happy to work on smaller material.” Boudewijn’s work incorporates everything from the grand outdoor pou, through to smaller indoor sculptures and bread boards. “I’ve sold a lot through the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens, which is nice.”

Music is another strand of Boudewijn’s life that he has come back to since retirement. He learned to play the cello as one of nine children in a musical family and they made a very competent chamber orchestra, he assures me. He now plays bass with a new band, The Puhoi Ramblers, and is rediscovering the joy of making music. He even carved and built his own bass.

Boudewijn has a simple motto for life: “Don’t be afraid of trying things out.” He has never been afraid to try something new and it’s just possible, by the time I have finished writing this, he has launched off in a fresh direction.

You can see Boudewijn’s work at Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens or visit his Facebook page or you may catch him playing bass at your next party.

FeatureJunction Mag