Stacked in favour: Jeff Hylton with his firewood owl


Queenstowner Jeff Hylton’s taking woodwork to another level.

The arduous task of chopping and stacking firewood has turned into an art project for Hylton who since lockdown has been making various characters and shapes out of his wood piles.

‘‘I’ve got to stack the wood anyway … I decided it would be quite fun to do something with a bit of flair to it because they sit there for a long time anyway,’’ Hylton says.

His first project was an owl, inspired by the brown owls living on his property.

That owl fast sparked joy with passers-by on the Queenstown Trail, which runs alongside
Hylton’s property.

‘‘I kept going, because everyone was enjoying them so much … and I thought, well, that’s easy to get a smile on people’s faces, that’s what made me do it.’’

Since the owl, Hylton has made a hedgehog, Fred Flintstone’s Flintmobile, and is now
working on a spaceship.

The sculptures take two or three days each to make and are the result of careful arrangement.

‘‘It’s like a puzzle,’’ Hylton says.

‘‘I try not to think too hard about it, though, otherwise I wouldn’t get anything done.’’

Hylton’s coy about his artistic prowess, but also makes antler chandeliers and plays the drums.

The retired builder says there are many who ‘‘aren’t sure about tomorrow … I think it’s really important that we cheer each other up’’.