I'm thrilled to be taking part in the first ever Banyule Open Studio weekend on 1-3 April.
Over 30 arts practitioners are involved across the north eastern suburbs.
The Banyule Open Studio website has all the details so you can plan your time and pop in and see artists from Montmorency to Greensborough, St Helena, and Bundoora to Macleod, Viewbank, Lower Plenty, Rosanna, Heidelberg Heights, West Heidelberg, Watsonia and Ivanhoe.
Studios are open 10-4pm on the Saturday and Sunday.
There will also be evening performances, workshops and other events. These are free but you must book via eventbrite.
Don't miss this rare chance to step inside the special creative spaces of many different types of artists.
Darebin Creek mosaic project November 5, 2021 The entrance to Darebin Creek in Gooch St Thornbury was marked by a large ugly concrete block, left over from some construction work.
Over the past year, I've been working hard to change that. The Friends of Darebin Creek received a small community grant from Darebin Council in 2019-20 to create a mosaic artwork on this structure using upcycled materials and we asked people to donate tiles and household ceramics to begin the project.
Much of 2020 was spent cutting and shaping the donated materials. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen countless changes of plans with restrictions and lockdowns, but with persistence we eventually were able to find windows of time to complete the work while adhering to varying public health and essential work restrictions. We had half-day workshops on 28 February at Darebin Parklands, Gleeson Centre which saw around 12 adults and children make nature-based elements and depict plants and animals from the creek and surrounds.
Victoria Milne from the Friends of Darebin Creek helped lead the project and came up with the idea of putting the single word "UNLESS" on the top of the block.
"Unless" was uttered by the Once-ler a character in the Dr Seuss book and film The Lorax. The Once-ler said "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." It serves as reminder that we need to protect our precious natural resources, water, land, trees, plants and animals around the creek.
Some of the work was completed in the studio, but I find it easier and more rewarding to be on site (depending on the weather). While integrating the elements onto the block passers-by and locals have enthusiastically joined in and supported me with cups of tea, buckets of water and feedback. It's been an organic process.
It's been wonderful to meet some people when on site. Special thanks to Chris, Jess and Mia who can look out their windows and see the installation. They've made a flower, frog and part of the blue sky.
We are now at the stage of cleaning the work and have approached council about a sign, but this is not looking likely for the moment. Check facebook for updates.
The Synergy Project
This bold, collaborative project took place over 2020-21 and involved eight artists. "Synergy"won a jurors award in the 2021 international exhibition of the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand. You can see Synergy online in the exhibition along with other fantastic works until the end of January 2022.
The Yarralea Children's Centre has been an important part of the Alphington community for decades.
The Centre celebrated its 60th birthday in 2019 and to mark the occasion, I was commissioned to make a mosaic work involving the children, teachers and the parent community. Families donated pre-loved crockery, tiles and other ceramics and this material was used in the work. We created four panels depicting nature scenes from the Darebin Creek and surrounds where the children have their weekly bush kinder sessions. The approach used in creating the work respects the Centre's strong emphasis on nature and integrating it into the lives of children as they play and learn. In making the work, we acknowledged that indigenous culture and respect is integral to the philosophy of the Centre. Materials used included upcycled crockery, remnant tiles and ceramics donated from tile stores or renovations.
Children aged 3-5, plus teachers came to five different sessions. Pieces were made on mesh and left to dry before being integrated into the work. Children chose to depict trees, flowers, insects, worms, people, birds and nature scenes.
It was great thrill to do this project, as I love working with children and always marvel at the enthusiastic way they work in mosaic. I also enjoy working with communities in a sustainable way. A celebration to unveil the work was held on 17 November 2019.
Please check the Facebook page for close ups of some of the items the children made for the mosaic panels. Yarralea is a not-for-profit, stand-alone community Children's Centre.
In 2018 I led a free community workshop in Macleod allowing people to come along and bring their chipped or broken precious items and make a mosaic. Around 30 attended and many joined in decorating a bed head that was put on display in Macleod Village after the workshop. This project was made possible with a Pinpoint grant from Banyule Council.