Nine years ago, Danny Redwood was admitted to hospital on a Friday afternoon and told, “If you are still alive on Monday, we’ll start chemo.”
WORDS TALIA WALDEGRAVE PHOTOS TRACIE HEASMAN
Prior to that cheery conversation, Danny had been running a farm, managing properties, and rearing calves before and after work. He ignored the signs that his body was finding the relentless toil tough. He was also neglecting his creativity and became very sick. “I was working harder, not smarter, and had become increasingly run down for months. When I couldn’t lift my arms above my head, I knew something was seriously wrong.”
It was his mother Barbara who eventually pursuaded him to go to the doctor. Barbara recalls, “Looking at Danny next to his brother, his skin was a ghostly grey. I had to plead with him to see someone.”
Danny says, “My blood cells were completely out of whack. Although I had been given the all-clear for cancer a couple of weeks earlier, in a short space of time I’d developed the early signs of acute lymphoblastic cancer, a rare form of leukemia in adults.
“I needed a bone marrow transplant. Thankfully, my brother James was a perfect match. He is my only blood sibling, so the odds of him being a match were pretty slim. In fact, I met someone else in the same boat as me who had eight siblings – and none were a match.
“The treatment and recovery was brutally intense, but as soon as I was strong enough, I picked up a paintbrush. Having a creative outlet is so important to mental health.”
Nine years on, and a herculean recovery later, I meet Danny at his work, Artisan Framing and Plaques, in the Chapel Street shopping centre in Tauranga.
“I love being an artist, but it’s not always sustainable financially, so I wanted to do something that incorporated what I love to make a living. Being an artist puts me in a great position as a framer.”
“I bought this business because it had great machinery and a long-standing reputation. I have an idea to build an art-leasing arm to my business, too. We’ve got so many great artists in Tauranga, and I want to build a business model that treats them well and finds places to show their art.”
Looking around, there are stacks of pieces – paintings, prints and photographs – each waiting for the right casing to bind them and make them wall-ready. Danny boasts some of the best machinery in town, including an ancient-looking, inustrial-grade guillotine.
Being someone who loves and appreciates art, Danny uses the best stock and top quality fastenings and mountings for all his frames. “My machinery enables me to provide three levels of framing, from basic up to the very highest-level, conservation framing, which displays an artist’s work in the best way possible, lasts longer and means galleries will take them more seriously. It’s also about preserving family memories and making them shine in just the right way.”
It’s clear Danny’s experience has given him a mental calmness and clarity that extends to his work. His special touches brings added life to the many beautiful prints and paintings he is tasked with preserving.
Shop 14a, 65 Chapel St,
Monday – Friday 10 am – 5 pm