Swiss-born Ulrich Steiner is a sculptor based in Galston, NSW. Emigrating to Australia 10 years ago, he started off by making and selling garden furniture. He was so inspired by the abundance of native animals found on his 4.45 hectare property, that he began sculpting them from stainless steel.
Although the wallabies, bandicoots, foxes, wombats, reptiles and birds heavily influence him, the traditions and sculptures of Asia, Europe and Africa also inspire him.
Ulrich has a strong affinity with the sea and world travel. He learnt the art of welding by building a steel boat (over four years) in Switzerland. Although his sailing was limited to lakes, over the course of four years he sailed to Australia via the West Indies and the Marquesas.
Ulrich says working with stainless steel is "the closest thing to working with bronze" and appreciates the fact that his works will last for many decades. The steel is obtained by foraging around various scrapyards.
The design process starts with the chalking out of the design onto sheets of stainless steel. The steel is then cut to shape using a guillotine, and the framework of the sculpture welded together piece by piece.
For the finishing touches, Ulrich adds coral, glass and beads to his works of art. Apart from native fauna, his works include a wide range of unique metal creations that look just as good indoors as they do in the garden. Some of his pieces include a large goanna, a frill-neck lizard, various fish and a leaf-tail gecko.
Sculpting is certainly his passion, and Ulrich can't see himself in any other line of work; he is too happy and busy creating his works of art.