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Madestone Sculptures are created by John Smith in Hamilton, New Zealand.

I have been sculpting as a hobby since 2005. My first experience of hebel as a sculpting medium was at a Home Show in Hamilton. I saw a display which featured hebel as a construction material with some examples of its use in an artistic way. After some conversation I realised it had potential as a carving material for a group of people I was working with as a learning facilitator. This gave me an opportunity to experiment and learn about the characteristics of hebel. From that time on I have developed my own skills and techniques. I enjoy the ease of sculpting blocks and slabs into creative pieces of art.

I also work with Hinuera Stone which is a volcanic stone mined near Hinuera in the Waikato region. Hinuera Stone provides different challenges and is not restricted in size and shape.

A few pieces are also made from Oamaru stone and wood. I am currently working on a slab series made from 1m high pieces of Oamaru stone.

I have found the local arts and craft markets a good place to sell my work. I have also sold pieces at a retail outlet. I also hold sculpting workshops at my studio. 

I enjoy the interaction with people and the opportunity to discuss with people pieces they would like made.


Hebel was developed by Josef Hebel, a German  building contractor, who saw a need for an alternative, strong, cost effective, building material. Hebel (or aerated concrete) is a concrete medium. It is created by mixing sand, lime and cement with aluminium powder. This causes a foaming chemical reaction between the different compounds to form  air cells in the concrete which increases its volume by 500%. The hebel mix is then placed in an autoclave (steam curing in a pressurized chamber) which hardens the material.

Hebel is mainly used as a construction material. However because it is very easy to manipulate it is a perfect medium for carving.

Hinuera Stone

Hinuera stone is a unique natural volcanic stone quarried from the hills in Hinuera, Waikato, New Zealand. It is the only resource of its kind in the Southern Hemishere. Hinuera ignimbrite (often marketed as Hinuera stone) is a yellow-cream to pale-brown ignimbrite containing angular fragments of pumice in a fine-grained matrix of volcanic ash. It is still quarried today, and widely used for cladding buildings in the North Island.

Oamaru Stone

Oamaru stone is a limestone mined at Oamaru in the South Island.

Maintaining Hebel Sculptures

Because of the cellular nature of hebel it is important that pieces are moved or carried with care. Consider where you locate your piece in the same way you would when placing a glass object.

To increase stability sit the piece into a blob of mortar or rapid set concrete. Alternatively glue the piece on to a base such as a paver using a general adhesive such as No More Nails.

All my pieces are sealed for water resistance so the pieces can be located outdoors. If the seal is damaged the piece may be resealed using any concrete sealer.

Minor damage can be repaired by lightly sanding the surface before resealing. Pieces which have been affected by mould or mildew can be cleaned by using products such as "Wet & forget".

Airborn dirt may become lodged in the exposed aircells. Gently scrub with soapy water and hose off. Hard scrubbing may damage the layer of sealer.

Please contact me for advice.