Christmas gift with an environmental message

Created by Summers 2010.

What a wonderful gift Terry Summers has given to the children of Brisbane this Christmas.    It is amazing that these absolutely wonderful sculptures were created by an artist/sculptor living and working in Brisbane, Australia.  What is even more exciting is that they are created from environmentally friendly materials.  No tree need be chopped down, no kiln fired up and no precious sandstone need be dredged up out of the ground or cut from a picturesque hillside. 

Christmas at St John’s Cathedral. Brisbane

For Christmas 2010, Summers has formed cardboard sculptures of Jesus in the crib, Mary, Joseph and the donkey.   They are situated among the columns of the St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane and act as a visual feast for the children as they roam freely through the St John’s Cathedral historical building.   They will act as a backdrop for the Christmas festivities of 2010.   To begin these festivities, a pageant was enacted for local school children over the course of the last week of November 2010.


The cardboard sculptures look appropriate as they meld with the old worldliness of the sandstone columns, which act as a backdrop.

This created a reverential environment within which the clergy at St John’s Cathedral could stage a performance of the nativity.   The focus of this performance was gifting, and the point was made that the three Magi travelled a very long way.  They came simply to pay homage and to show their respect by placing gifts at the foot of the crib for Jesus.

Summers creates his large sculptures entirely from cardboard.  This is a versatile, environmentally friendly material.  If schools want to work with children to create smaller versions of sculptures like these, they can choose to use only recycled cardboard from places such as Amcor Queensland, a Mill situated at Petrie.  In this way, one of the gifts that can be given at Christmas is the gift of environmental awareness and respect for resources that nature provides.


The workforce at Amcor Mill believes that the community has a great deal to gain by effective, responsible and sustainable, environmental management practices.

Thes Millers are so passionate about what they do that they created their own Recycle@Work program.   The program makes it easier for businesses to improve their recycling.    Recycle@Work is a system whereby Amcor collects and recycles the same types of materials that can currently be recycled at home.   Materials include cans, newspapers and cardboard, tins, glass bottles, and plastic containers.

The Petrie Mill, located to the north of Brisbane, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 363 days a year.  The mill processes more than 150,000 tonnes of wastepaper per annum and produces more than 130,000 tonnes of finished product including cereal, biscuit and washing powder packaging. This enormous recycling workload is managed thanks to the only cartonboard paper machine in Australia. (Amcor Website. 2010) 

\"\"  K.Brien

What better gift for baby Jesus


To teach the children about the environment in every possible way, using every possible opportunity to recycle and use materials respectfully is a gift to the community.  The creative use of cardboard in the manner Summers has developed, is a mark of respect for the integrity of the art world itself.

Summer says, I usually refer to the material that I use as waste cardboard not just cardboard.  Some schools buy big rolls of cardboard,  which I refuse to use. I always get my cardboard from the waste bin at the Night Owl or the Hardware Store.

These sculptures of the Magi are whimsical as well as reverent.  They are seriously adoring of the new Kingdom, which Jesus already represents.   By teaching children through the work of Summers, teachers and parents give themselves the opportunity to raise environmental consciousness by asking “What is this Kingdom that we have been tasked to look after?”

Summers will work with students in schools, and will also work with staff, so that they become comfortable with his working style.   His past ventures are  impressivly listed at Lectures, Presentations and Workshops.

If teachers were to develop the kinds of skills required to create sculptures like these, they would save money on materials and raise awareness of environmental issues.      At the same time they would model respect for the environment as evidenced in their choice of material.