GALLERY: Sigrid Thornton unveils sandstone sculptures | PHOTOS

IT was a beautiful backdrop: storm clouds rolling in, bright green grass and seemingly endless grape vines.

And it is officially the new home for the Custodians of the Landscape sculpture collection at Two Rivers Wines created by international sculptor Ben Dearnley.

Mr Dearnley worked at the Denman winery for around two months carving 25 tonnes of sandstone sourced from the vineyard.

The artist said it was a better alternative than bringing in a pre-completed sculpture.

He said the stones reflected the environment around them and will serve as a reminder to look after the land from which they came into the future.

Mr Dearnley shared his journey with a host of friends and guests, including Australian actress Sigrid Thornton who was honoured to officially unveil the series.

"I've had an absolutely fabulous time," Mr Dearnley said offering thanks to the winery's Brett and Linda Keeping for their encouragement, "and this project here demanded something a bit special."

Mr Dearnley told the gathering it took a lot of courage for him to make a career change.

After being a saxophone technician in London for many years, Ben Dearnley said he realised it was time to take the leap and do what he had dreamed of doing since childhood.

The artist said the series of stones, now completed, took him on a journey he never could have envisioned at the beginning.

In addition to the Custodians of the Landscape series at Two Rivers, Mr Dearnley also crafted one stone for special guest Sigrid Thornton and one for her mother, Merle.

Ms Thornton told of her long family history with Denman and how she was grateful to be at the launch.

"This is such a beautiful area," she said, "and [the official opening is] a lovely opportunity to visit Denman.

"Ben has worked with, rather than against, the stones to create his own vision," she said.

Ms Thornton said she was honoured to unveil the sculptures.

"I feel very privileged to be asked by Two Rivers to open this exhibition.

"[Denman] is a very special place for me."

This story GALLERY: Sigrid Thornton unveils sandstone sculptures | PHOTOS first appeared on Muswellbrook Chronicle.