A portrait in a rather unusual medium was the winner of this year's Whanganui Arts Review.

Mark Rayner's Self Portrait - a hand-hooked woollen rug - won the open award and a prize of $2000. Mr Rayner, who has made his name as a ceramicist, told the Wanganui Chronicle he's been making the portraits for about two years.

It's an involved process. Mr Rayner begins with, in the case of Self Portrait, a photo that he photoshopped. "I converted the photo into a pattern and then I chose the colours, which is the exciting bit."

It took him around 40 hours to make the portrait, painstakingly pulling wool through a canvas with a special hooking tool.


"I love the process of it. When you're making the rug it's quite repetitive but also quite calming."

Mr Rayner enters the review every year and has previously won a merit award.

"I didn't expect to win anything. It's very exciting."

The other winners were Frances Stachl, David Murray and Tia Ranginui (highly commended); James Graves (youth award); Matt Dutton, Paul Rayner, Sophie Taylor, Kaye Coombs, Catherine Sleyer, Andrea Gardner and Debbie Hahn (merit). The exhibition is on at the Sarjeant Gallery until June 5.