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Stainless steel pigs . . . An exhibit by Sarah Clarke at last year’s Art in a Garden. Photo: Amanda Bowes

By AMANDA BOWES

The South Island’s largest annual art exhibition – Art in a Garden – is celebrating its 15th birthday.

The 2017 exhibition will have the most exhibits ever with over 200 pieces on display from Thursday, October 26 to Sunday, October 29.

With 90 artists contributing sculptures, paintings, jewellery, photography, glass, prints and ceramics there will be a huge choice of mediums to see.

The four day exhibition is held in the stunning gardens of Flaxmere, a large working farm in the heart of the Hurunui District.

Developed over 50 years, the gardens have a National Significance rating and are the perfect setting for the sculptures which are displayed outdoors.

Set on the terraces of the Waitohi River, with a backdrop of the Southern Alps, the gardens surround and reflect the individuality of each piece.

In a large converted historic woolshed, paintings and other artworks are displayed.

This year’s guest artists are Doug Neil and Amelia Guild.

Neil is a sculptor who carves rock of all description incorporating recognisable forms from nature people are familiar with.

Guild is a young painter who uses acrylic and fast brush strokes to convey the movement and fluidity of farm animals using bold colours.

After taking in the sights and sounds of the exhibition, there is the option of kicking back and listening to live music from Lonesome Sue, Davey Thorpe and Dr Sanchez while sipping on a glass of North Canterbury’s finest wine.

Gourmet picnic lunch boxes and cafe style food are available at the garden cottage all day, as is tea, coffee and other refreshments.

The traditional ice cream wafers are always a popular treat.

At the end of September, a children’s painting workshop was held in Amberley, with Sarah Greig, a Christchurch artist and freelance illustrator as tutor.

As part of Art in a Garden’s charity focus on Amuri St John, selected paintings from the workshop will be featured at the exhibition and will be for sale, with proceeds going to Amuri St John.

For those booking tickets to the exhibition online, there is also the opportunity to buy a raffle ticket for $4 to support Amuri St John.

Three prizes are up for grabs – Sea Tile by Christine Thacker, Waiheke Island 2009 and a glazed earthenware ceramic for first, two nights for two people at Village Lake Apartments in Hanmer Springs for the second prize winner and a Harris Meats meat pack and two Ravensdown vouchers for two 40 kg bags of Nitrophoska for third.