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Artist David Higgins with his 2014 works in progress

The art of success

News Article Date: 
Thursday, 23 October 2014

As well as the recognition of their peers, Powercor Warrnambool Business Excellence Award winners receive a trophy with a difference.

Prominent Warrnambool artist David Higgins has created each of the whale sculptures presented to the winners.

David first sculpted Business Excellence Awards trophies in 2010. A leafy sea dragon was the subject in his first year and since then Warrnambool’s iconic southern right whales have been featured.

“It’s like a Logie. Once you get an award that works you stick with it,” Mr Higgins said.

“The winners are getting little hand-done sculptures. They are all done with a bit of love.”

Each year David sculpts a new whale out of clay. A silicone mould is prepared with casts made from resin with added marble dust (white whales) or granite dust (black whales).

It takes David a week to create the original clay model with a full day of cleaning, sanding, touching up and sealing going into each individual whale once they are cast.

David enlists the help of South West businesses to complete the job. The casts are set by Don Stewart in Port Fairy with the marble bases and metal nameplates from Warrnambool’s Markwell & Swan and Lifetime Trophies respectively.

The small-batch casting and smoothing process ensures each sculpture is unique.

“The main thing is that each one is handmade and no two are the same,” Mr Higgins said.

“That is what is special about them, they are individual. The hand finish is the attraction.

“It is good that people are happy with them. I see them on display in shops sometimes, which is nice.”

Fifteen David Higgins whales will be presented at the 2014 Powercor Warrnambool Business Excellence Awards Presentation Gala at the Lighthouse Theatre on Friday October 31.

Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 5559 4999.

The awards are presented by the Warrnambool City Council and 3YB/COAST FM.

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