Sunday, 2 September 2012

Sculpture in the Gaol and Spring arriving

It has a been a busy few weeks!
Plenty on the agenda to see and do. As well as being super busy at work.
I recently had some time away which was so refreshing and such fun - the Sculpture in the Gaol competition at Trial Bay Gaol, South West Rocks, NSW.

It is a long way from Canberra (we flew and then drove!) but I would highly recommend the seaside town for a short break - it was spectacular scenery (from the Gaol on the peninsula, Arakoon National Park and the lighthouse at Smokey Bay) and the township was a comfortable, sentimental snapshot of the culture of Australia's coastal exodus come warmer weather - think Michael Gows' Away...

I was delighted to be invited as a judge in the competition, which attracted entries from interstate sculptors. My favourite things - art (specifically sculpture and even better, site responsive) and heritage sites. We stayed at a beautiful, historic guesthouse in the town, and I was able to take my little man as travel companion. We had such a great time; he was excellent company and never once complained of boredom. I treasured every moment with him, as he nears his teens and I am terrified of losing him to...I dont know what! High school, new friends, computer games, and his own little interior world. It was heaven to hang out, chat and laugh and plan things for the future!

The gaol site was spectacular, physically imposing and psychologically haunting  - it was very easy to contemplate the difficult conditions inmates and then prisoners of war, would have had to endure. The site was abonadoned to time, the elements and vandals until taken into care by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. What a great job they have done, restoring and interpreting the site with local archeologists and re-invienting it for the broader public with a public art project like Sculpture in the Gaol. 

 These were some of my favourites -  top, Waved by Greg Barnes and above Bufo Robusta by Gary Smith

Above, Reflections by Kylie Bowles and below my fellow judge Kate. She was so lovely and welcoming, but I was a big sook and let Kate do the opening speech all on her time (if there is one), I will step up and share the spotlight! I will work on my fear of public speaking.

 It was reasonably easy to decide upon the winner: Chrysalid, below by Ro Murray.

It spoke to us through its resonance with the site, its optimistic tone and the way it felt like it was made just for the claustrophobic enclosure, with black iron gates and high walls. As all the cocoons swayed gently on the breeze, our eyes followed the bundles upwards - scaling the walls, and escaping through the exposed roof of the gaol...into the wide, open, brilliant blue sky. The themes of escape, transformation and renewed life outside the confines of the granite walls were difficult to ignore.

Elsewhere during the weekend, there was plenty of inspiration on bushwalks, seaside walks and around town. Spectacular colours, textures and patina.

Since that weekend, there have been inlkings of spring unfurling and happily, opportunities to be out amongst it! I am right in the midst of planning for my first ever brave botanics workshop in floristry - taking lots of time to "play" with flowers and brainstorm ideas. This is all research...

 I am fighting the feelings of dread and nerves, and focussing on being prepared and on all the reasons why people might enjoy my spin on flowers...unusual materials, quirky sculptural designs, and easy, achievable projects for flowers at home.
What could go wrong?