Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Artist Studio Visits

Rural Victoria - on a sunny cloudless day
Over the Melbourne Cup weekend and next weekend 25 artists studios are open in the Daylesford, Kyneton, Woodend and Macedon Ranges area. I mosied (spelling?!) up for a fascinating day visiting just some of the studios open. A map of the locations and studios can be found here. Unfortunately the map and studio signage left a lot to be desired. We had a 'plan' of what we thought we could fit in and whilst not all were to our liking each had something different to offer, whether it was the character and passion of the artist, the stunning rural locations, or the art itself!

So here is a very small selection of the highlights of some of our visits.  We began at Lyonville cruised through Trentham, then onto Malmsbury with a stop for lunch then back to Kyneton (to watch 'the race that stops the nation') before heading to Carlshrue and ending with a glass of champagne at my friends' studio in Woodend (where I forgot to take a photo - the bubbly took over!). We couldn't have squeezed another stop in and we missed so many. Sadly we can't return next weekend because we didn't even touch Daylesford catchment!

Prolific Chris
We began at Lyonville at the light and bright studio of Chris Rowe - a mixed media artist. She was at the 'end of a dirt track' and it was worth the search to find her! The location was gorgeous. Rolling hills overlooking treed gulleys (where the kangaroos hop out in the evening)

A rusty 'swan' tucked in the garden - what a beautiful setting

Although we loved the sculptures that George Lianos has been doing like this one featured in the brochure it was his new metal sculptures which were dotted around his beautiful garden - and the weather was smiling which helped.
I love the tomato box!
And then it was onto see the creator of the Bells of Birragung Marr - Anton Hassel - but sadly he had been called away - more bells to make?!

Here we are on Melbourne Cup Day - the trojan horse awaited
He was sharing his 'studio' for the Open Studios with Fiona Orr - ex teacher at the Victorian College of the Arts for 20+ years and now proud owner of this wonderful property. I nearly wept when we arrived - after all here was my childhood dream standing right in front of me! When I was small my father would tell me a story every night before sleep. The main feature was a windmill in which a poor mother and daughter made their home. And here it was! I was 'beside myself'.
Fiona Orr wearing her recycled jewellery - around her neck - 2 parts of a tea stainer!

The derelict house now re-born. With 'my' beloved windmill        

Ashika Ostapkowiwicz aka Mr Funny Hat - with his sensational fountains

Stunning landscape, stunning local stone - all I need is a few acres - not square feet!

We 'bowled over' (not literally - we would have been crushed to death!) by the sculptures of Ashika Ostapkowiwicz. As he said "My inspiration comes from nature, and therefore the stones themselves. They rest like sleeping giants on our land - sometimes for months, sometimes longer than a year. I look at them day or night, sun or moonlight, until the vision comes to me". And throughout the property we could see his dormant rocks just waiting for his inspiration and interpretation. I forgot to photograph the studio of his artist wife Padma - we were too busy talking!

So if you have a spare day over the weekend of 9/10 November why not make a trek up the highway from Melburne. Sadly it has been very poorly advertised in the press and on-line in Melbourne. I haven't seen anything.  Go online here to see the list of artists, the map and make a day out of it in the country. If the weather is anything like it was yesterday - clear blue skies, wide horizons, green countryside, rolling hills, craggy rock outcrops - you won't regret it.