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Step into the World of Tim Walker's Story Boxes

Updated: Sep 29, 2021

✦ Tim's story boxes are inspired by his love for theatre

Tim Walker, Story Boxes, featured on Brilliant-Online
Tim Walker creates unique Story Boxes inspired by nature.

Beautiful Rainbow Beach, Bonny Hills was the perfect backdrop for our interview with Tim Walker. Most Greater Port Macquarie locals know this friendly face as the Business and Community Development Manager of Hastings Co-operative. But Brilliant-Online has discovered another side to Tim that not many may know. He is a very talented artist and has been exhibiting at the Wauchope Creative Hub.

Originally from New Zealand, Tim came over to sunny Australia when he was just 21 years of age. The only time he had been away was for seven years when he was in England. Now aged 54, he has made his home at the picturesque Bonny Hills seaside village with his wife and two teenage sons.

A Love for the Arts

A community man at heart, Tim has been involved with many groups over the years as a creative. He finds a sense of relief and relaxation in his involvement in the arts, which has taken many forms over the years. Creativity clearly runs in this man's veins!

Tim is a musician, and he plays the guitar. He has also done theatre and he is now creating magical pieces of intriguing artworks via the medium of paper tole.

As a young man, he studied as an actor and performed in theatre at the tender age of 14 in New Zealand. He then furthered his acting career as a 21-year-old in Australia participating in many different shows, always with his guitar on his back.

Now Tim may have packed up his guitar but it is certainly not curtains down for him yet. Far from it.

Story Boxes that Come Alive

Tim Walker, Story Boxes, featured on Brilliant-Online
Tim's story boxes are made from paper, cardboard, leather and finished off beautifully with paint.

Tim has taken his creativity a step further, and is delving into paper tole and creating what he calls 'story boxes'. Tim's story boxes are made from paper, cardboard, leather and finished off beautifully with paint.

Each creation tells a story, either created from a memory or a landscape.

These story boxes are also inspired by his love for theatre. There is a story in every single one of them. If you have a chance to look at some of Tim's story boxes, you will want to spend some time simply peering into each box and be surprised at all the different intricacies you will find. It is rather like stepping into a magical wonderland in each story box. You never know what you are going to find.

Paper tole is an old term used to describe a photograph or painting that is layered. Tim’s art takes this concept and develops it further, turning it into a montage of layers. A three dimensional sort of magic box, Tim's works are intriguing and they draw you in. They take you to a magical place that is only limited by your imagination.

What is interesting is Tim did not start making these story boxes because he saw them elsewhere. The story boxes are his own creation. He had seen the art of paper tole which has a 'flatter' feel to it, and he basically pushed the concept further and gave it 'body' by making it three dimensional.

The Story Box Process

Tim Walker, Story Boxes, featured on Brilliant-Online
Tim just needs a pencil and paper to start his story box

What Tim needs at the start of each creation is simple. Just a pencil and paper - and of course, his rich imagination!

He thinks about what he wants to depict; perhaps a landscape or a forest and then he simply lets his creativity run with the idea, through his hand and onto paper.

He sketches a drawing which is then cut out and shaped. The beautiful thing about Tim's art, which explains why it is so engaging for the artist, is the process is not a series of static steps. It grows, it moves and it evolves. Tim can start with a vision of how he thinks a particular scene is going to unfold, but it continues to morph during the along the way.

Each story box is a living, organic piece of art work that never stops evolving. The initial form is housed in a cardboard box to frame the 'story'. Then the paper cut outs are layered to create a scene. Paper and leather are used to create different textures in the 3D design. Colour is then added using paint which can be intricate depending on the size of the story. It is fascinating to watch Tim work because everything changes as it evolves and moves. He continues to add more drawing cut-outs and colours to set the scene. That is what makes each story box so unique and unrepeatable.

Tim sometimes works on several different story boxes at the same time. As the artwork continues to grow during the process, it is like a progression of ideas evolving from Tim’s initial vision. So one can never quite tell what the final work is going to be like at the beginning. Perhaps even Tim can be surprised by his own artwork!

Each story box takes an average of 2-4 hours to create from start to finish although Tim does not always sit constantly to create one. With a busy family life he sometimes has to hit the pause button on his creativity, maybe to go out and run some errands or do things around the house. Each story box is always waiting patiently for Tim when he returns, and together, they disappear into the world of colours, textures and smells of nature.

Tim can sometimes make mistakes during the process. He may have cut something wrong or bent a piece incorrectly and starting again is something that he is not unaccustomed to. That is all part of the organic process of creating a story box. It is how he gets to know each story box so intimately. One could say each story box has its own character and history.

Inspired by Nature

The ocean, bush land and rainforest are a constant inspiration for Tim’s artworks. From the mountainous and valley landscape of his New Zealand heritage to the sometimes barren, wild landscape and oceans of his Australian home, the artworks come from nature both in idea and material.

Tim sketches a lot, so he always has his pencil and pad ready. If he sees a landscape that catches his eye or maybe a beach scene, he is quick to capture the essence of it on paper. These then become a huge store of creative ideas which he then reworks into a drawing for a story box.

Art is a Natural Stress Reliever

Having a busy work and home life, Tim finds that his art brings a calming effect - one that provides a balance after a hectic week at work. Of course, family comes first, but he relishes the time he can spend creating in his home workshop. He is on familiar territory among his arsenal of art tools and that is his own, special, peaceful time to do nothing but create. He puts on Spotify for his favourite classical music and he is ready to roll. It is his little haven, a peaceful oasis away from everything where he can just let his creativity flow.

Tim still plays the guitar sometimes, and he has several other art pursuits to keep his creative muscles toned. He sculpts with clay. He sings. He even writes. Tim has written a children’s book and even plays. We found out that he actually has a play right now bubbling away in his head, as well as a musical comedy and a dinner theatre play that he hopes to bring to fruition one day! We are eager and curious to be able to watch his works soon, and who knows, perhaps he would also create a huge story box to house his plays!

Wauchope Creative Hub

A fantastic initiative for the community, Tim is proud to be involved with other like-minded creatives at the Wauchope Creative Hub. For Tim, this is one of the best things that has happened in the community and he is quite bowled over by it.

“I really couldn't praise them enough. To have a venue like the Hub where an artist can be highlighted is absolutely terrific! There are so many artists and musicians for that matter, looking for venues at the moment, at Wauchope we are very lucky to have such a wonderful space for artisans to display and sell their works.”

While Tim's story boxes may be primarily for his own creative outlet, he has also done commissions and his art works are for sale as well. Now he enjoys seeing his art works in other people's homes.

Tim is also pondering about teaching again. He has taught theatre and improvisation and with what the Wauchope Creative Hub is doing, it could be an interesting proposition for Tim to not just bring his story boxes there to exhibit but to also teach the skill to many others who are interested in creating their own unique story boxes.

The next time you take a walk through the bush or take a stroll on the beach, why not let your imagination fly and think about what your own personal story box would look like. Share your ideas with Tim when you see him at the Wauchope Creative Hub!


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