* click here for Australia Cultural Fund website page
1. Mid-winter classes at Percolater Gallery in Paddington
Whilst Percolator Gallery owner Helena Lloyd was dashing off emails full of amusing tidbits from her grand tour from Helsinki to Lisboa a bunch of lively peoplejoined me at the gallery in Paddington for this series of workshops celebrating the colours of nature. Everyone was asked to hunt down a collection of natural objects as the focus for our sessions ... of course seeds, pods, fungi, stones. shells, feathers etc were gathered up and brought along. People brought their enthusaism and stories as well ... a great time was had indeed!
If you pop over to my Studio Archives blog you will see loads of images and read about what we got up to in those classes.
This is the industrious group on July 9th... and below some of their work.
I look forward to offering more workshops late this year ... particularly in 2012!
See the notes on this at the end of this bulletin on the left!
2. Pecha Kucha on July 6th at the Brisbane Powerhouse:
July was exceptionally rewarding looking back ... workshops at the gallery on Saturdays, and some rather unexpected but stimulating events ... starting with being asked to present at Pecha Kucha on July 6th at the Brisbane Powerhouse. I wrote a blog post here about the evening with details from the Pecha Kucha website ... plus here in addition to other items.
This image is the last of my 20 slides.... was I nervous? Yes...! Terrified that I would run out of time... under 7 mins is not long. But it was fine and I had great chats wih people at the end... plus I particularly enjoyed hearing the other presenters ... all up... a night in great company!
ABOUT PECHA KUCHA: Presentations are short, concise, interesting; a platform to inspire and a chance for you to be heard. An informal, licensed event to promote cross-disciplinary collaboration and connections. It will showcase a cross-section of the Brisbane design industry. Format: 20 slides, 20 seconds each, 6 minutes 40 seconds of fame. Founded by Klein Dytham Architects (KDA) in Tokyo in 2003, Pecha Kucha (Japanese for 'the sound of conversation') has tapped into a demand for a forum in which creative work can be easily and informally shown. It has spread internationally to over 170 cities.Pecha Kucha Brisbane is an event where any designer, artist, architect, interactive media or alike, are given the soapbox to present their designs, thoughts and ideas. Text from the Pecha Kucha Brisbane website.
The evening following Pecha Kucha was opening night of a collaborative project I took part in ... recorded at this post - the project was part of the
3. Homegrown exhibition - Southbank
Dates: 08 – 31 July 2011
Little Stanley Street and Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank QLD
ABOUT: Home Grown 2011 is a DIA (Design Institute of Australia) Queensland Branch project initiative partnered with South Bank Corporation to curate and deliver a collaborative exhibition of integrated public installations created by designers (from a range of disciplines), artists, design students, retail tenants and shopfitters working in teams, in the shop fronts of selected Little Stanley Street and Stanley Street Plaza retail outlets at South Bank in the lead up to Regional Flavours.
Click on the DIA website to read about the group I worked with. I was the token older one who watched the 4 young designers on my team work incredibly hard to pull off building an instillation in their spare time whilst I brought concepts on seeds, food and biodiversity to complete the project and designed our team's postcard.... the image also used on the Pecha Kucha slideshow!
below: NB: list of team participants on the back of the postcard!
I had a brilliant time working with these designers and remain in touch.
The creative tour de force behind much of this month-long program was Natalie Wright ... lecturer in Design at QUT and past president of the DIA. Parallel interests led to invitations to participate futher in the Southbank project, lecture on my work at QUT and launch the UK Research project, on being approved by the Australia Cultural Fund, in the creative hub at Southbank pictured below. Through Natalie I also came to participate in an exciting Design Program initiated by Les Hooper at Kelvin Grove State College. Thanks must go to Natalie for her considerable engagement and generosity. Also to Mirko Guaralda for initial introductions at QUT in 2010 and more recently Jay Dee Dearness who thoughtfully linked my work with team 8 on the Southback Project.
Natalie Wright and the cardbard wall installation
4. food bling. food miles and seed carpet... cool school!
This was the exciting Design Program initiated by Les Hooper at Kelvin Grove State College. A cutting edge bamboo furniture designer, art-science origami specialist and myself wearing the 'seeds and biodiversity' hat were guest artists for a day long Design program for a class of 30 year 6 students. Focusing on Slow Food and Slow design... how we think about food in our lives was explored pretty much from every possible angle in 6 hours. These kids are my super-heroes... I watched them grapple with food miles maths, an edible bling dinner party, blenders and fusion icy pops before getting down to the stuff of redesigning what we can do to green our food systems.
Move over food monolies... the kids are coming... and they are good!! All praise to Les and staff for proving that teaching in schools can indeed be cutting edge and fully engaging!
designs courtesy of year 6 students
5. Support for the UK Research Trip
In late June I was approached by the people behind the very popular local artisan business 'Brewbakers' who were looking at contributing to my Research trip fund-raising efforts. Their commitment led to my project being approved by the Australia Cultural Fund and the subsequent launch I spoke of in July. Read the profile of my project on the AbaF Australia Cultural Fund Website... or find it at my own website.
If you've not already come across Richard and Caroline Cotton's much revered Artisan Bakery, Brewbakers in Sandgate Rd, Albion you would be well advised to pop in there sometime. But note: queues are commonly seen extending around the corner on Saturday mornings and they close Sunday + Monday to catch their breath!
I'm absolutely delighted and very proud to be the recipient of their exceptional generosity. A wonderful book titled " Seeds, Sex and Civilisation" by Peter Thompson, (who had a long career at Kew Gardens), provides the history of cultivated plants and their part in the evolution of of cultures... with the history of wheat and bread a central story in an early chapter. We tend to think of the grand inventions being the important discoveries ... but its worth pondering how the cultivation of wheat and development of bread as a sustaining food came to play such a defining role in the develoment of civilisations in various regions of the world.
For me, 'Homage to the Seed' is essentially a call to remember why value must be placed on the irreplacable seed heritage of our planet. Brewbakers, which is Richard's 'consuming passion', is carrying forward a grand mission that honours this heritage by preserving time honoured practices of both quality of ingredients and production processes. This is a business that embodies values that the project 'Homage to the Seed' casts a strong light on.
Mid morning at the Bakery
6. EKKA - thoughts on tradition in flux:
Whilst on the subject of food cultures, in August I went along to Ekka - for those not from here... the Brisbane Agricultural Show. Extensive research and dialogue around sustainability, biodiversity, seeds, habitat and food in recent years had me thinking a visit to Ekka might be informative ... observing the fine tradition that is an agricultural show in 2011 brings forward many questions.... with farming and the future of food now such a complex and controversial topic. If you look very closely at the images on the left below all are organic products using native plants, fruits and seeds I gleaned from producer Barbara who hails from mid north coast NSW. Her stand was excellent ... from a visual, educational, botanical and taste perspective. View her Barbushco website ... I couldn't resist a packet of spice called Rainforest Blend: A spicy tropical blend of Lemon Myrtle, Cinnamon Myrtle with Chilli, the Davidson Plum Chilli Sauce and a packet of Dorrigo Pepper and Tomato Fettucini.
On the right are images reminiscent of a bygone era that nevertheless lives on today ... and seems to be coming back into favour! The skill of good baking and food preservation ... pickles, jams, preserves etc ... point to an era when people had to make the most of everything produced. The endless gamut of food movements we have now ... some promoting diets, nutrition, health, gournet values ... multitudes of campaign... including the more unusual end of the sprectrum ... like dumpster diving or foraging, or the behaviour-modifying ones like 'Love food-hate waste" ... all this defines just how dense and complex this realm has become!
This banner from the Darling Downs re volunteers as "the champions of the community" reminds us rural communities once thrived with volunteering firmly part of the fabric of life. Reports come in constantly of how this way of life being affected, farming land becoming a battle ground, shifting and clashing values and priorities creating tensions and worse, new alliances forming in some areas, remarkable farmers jumping on sustainable practices long before the rest of us. Next year is National Year of the Farmer... Ekka reminded me of the effort and enterprise required for life on the land. Rushing off to the "fresh food people' allows us to take such a lot for granted. If we wish ... we can block our ears to the politics that are playing out on the land.
Like my artisan bakery friends and all the dedicated people I've been getting to know in this region, from farms in the Darling Downs, school kitchen garden programs, those working on habitat preservation, sustainable futures and more ... we have an obligation to our children and their children to take notice of these battlegrounds...and understand what is at stake!. We may think we are removed from these issues... I, for one, can barely keep up with daily reports of all that is tipping fragile ecosystems, biodiverse habitats and age old agricultural systems into being critically 'at risk' and facing irreversable degradation! I've often explored these themes at Homage to the Seed blog. Take a look when you can - 18 months of documenting stories of all kinds... including the GOOD NEWS as well!
I'm not championing simple solutions. One of the people I have admiration for is a friend who works tirelessly consulting on land stewardship issues with the mining industry... building rapport and quality engagement into the process. The thing I recognise each time I talk with Corinne Unger is the enormous need for dialogue that DOES NOT consist of heavily polarised arguements. It is, after all, simply much easier to lock in to an end of the spectrum that suits one's purposes. The much harder challenge is to recognise a whole range of competing pragmatic issues and then explore the bigger picture of thinking long term... of adressing values that ensure we leave this planet with a future that we would wish for those coming after us!
7. Studio time
Well... painting you ask... yes ... I did get some time for that in recent months. Smaller works.... like these four on 45 cm square canvases ... and some larger works. Visit the website to see what I've put up there and my new fun TUMBLR blogging format that is a studio archive
Visit the website to see recent works I've put up there.
8. my new Tumblr site - whats this?
If you click on TUMBLR it will take you to the blogging format, pictured below, which serves as a studio archive. I can highly recommend it as a visual format that is simple to use... for broad applications... not only visual arts!
9. Fundraising for the UK: ART WEEKEND at Reeve St!
When an artist decides to do something - watch out! I'm lucky to have family who are all actively creative in one way or another so its not unheard of for one to come up with a scheme and try and pull it off. My mother was a great juggler of musical pursuits, work and family years back... at the moment she's busy helping me juggle really... not that it has stopped her 'singing career' or other pursuits. We tease her about being a classic Leo but its handy to grow up watching your elders be creative ..it leaves an impression! The only trouble comes when you stop doing the creativity on the side and go all out.
Recently I had good reason to go all out with this pending trip that needed abundant funds to be pulled together. Here's the flyer that I distributed broadly;
Click on blog post of recent artwork if you want to see studio preparations.
We organised this special event to be held in the garden and downstairs area at my home... afternoon tea was served in fine china teacups kindly donated by Lyn Chan. They belonged to her late mother and she loved the idea of them being appreciated and used again! When I'm back from the UK we plan to hold a special high tea and sell these beautiful cups, as Lyn requested, with funds going towards the cost of publishing the next book on this project.
You can see more images of the weekend here .
10. the mathematics of making things possible
I found this line in a Ben Okri novel titled 'Arcadia' ... it was perfect for the flyer I was designing in 2004 when holding a fund-raising Art Sale at my home for a UN Afghanistan Shelter Program. I was thrilled to think 50% of the profits from my Artwork would be going to help in the building of mudbrick homes. From memory one home cost around $516 dollars! A housefire in Melbourne in 2000 had taught me how it is to be left suddenly without a home... so this event celebrated being safely ensconced in a new chapter of life with roof over my head and all the creature comforts. I wished to share some of my good fortune... and I went on to do a few other events after that.
Its a little different this time though as the mathematics is being applied in the direction of my project... making that possible. It is humbling to be the one in the centre! I had no idea if this trip would get off the ground months ago so I am tremendously grateful that so many of you played a part in moving a project I do believe to be valuable forward in this way.
Speaking of making things possible...
I am delighted to announce how much closer to my project target of $12,000 I am (the target was worked out with staff from the Australia Cultural Fund) following the outstanding response to the Art Weekend and this venture in general. With now just under 2 weeks to go before departure to the UK I am aiming to raise a further 25% by my return date in November ... effectively $3,000 will allow me to reach the total target of $12,000 and reconcile all expenses. Art, postcards and book sales, donations and sponsorship, good ideas and introductions ... good will expressed in so many ways already has been staggering...and rather humbling! The donation option is there as is the opportunity to purchase things direct from my studio. While I'm away family will be available on ph: 07 3262 4296 for queries and purchases. And if you can share this newsletter in any way I'd really be delighted!
11. generosity in abundance
My sincere appreciation goes to each and every one of you who have contributed so much towards this next phase of the work! I'll start by thanking those directly involved in the recent event:
- Inventive, handy-man brother Russell created plans, systems and solutions for the event.
- Jayne and Brenda who whitewashed walls + supplied hands on support. .
- My lively 81 yr (young) mother Olivia put hours into the garden and more.
- She also prepared afternoon tea refreshments AND produced art-cards.
- Friends Lyn, Stella and Alison baked wonderful goodies for the afternoon teas.
- Saturday Studio support person... my dear sister Janna...I'd not have managed without her!
- Saturday afternoon tea crew Vanda, Eilidh, and Maxi did a superb job. Great organsiation Vanda!
- Sunday... excellent tea/studio support thanks to Russell, Marguerite, Joannah, Phoebe & Elizabeth.
- Special mention to all at Brewbakers who promoted this event with enormous enthusiasm each day!
- Thanks to Caroline for having the vision to contribute on a number of levels!
- Warm thanks to Roberto, the Reigers, Muras, and the Howse family for lending crucial items!
- Huge thanks to all who promoted this event on my behalf and brought friends along.
- To all who came to this weekend a HUGE THANK YOU!
Many unable to attend sent warm wishes, gifts and contributions... I send you a very special hello and warmest appreciation! To everyone who promoted the event, brought others along, purchased cards, books or artwork via email... or in person... or found unique ways to give ... you've helped enormously with the mathematics of making things possible! I'm working through a long list of personal thankyou's just now ... May I get to you all before too long!
12. Australia Cultural Fund donors
Truly heartfelt thanks goes to the wonderful philanthropists who've contributed through the AUSTRALIA CULTURAL FUND:
Major donor: Brewbakers
Recent donors of whom I've been informed:
As I sign off now may I say how much I cherish this vote of confidence you've offered me for the work I am committed to carrying out. Lots of late, late nights and really ... its been years of working without knowing what was waiting ahead that have somehow been shaped into this present project that thankfully has captured the imaginations of people as Ive gone about sharing it. My simple wish is that we might remember the profound gift of life contained in the seed! In holding that memory, that knowledge ... then do what we can to protect our precious inheritance!
Your collective good will, wonderful gestures and heart-warming energy nudges me onwards!
Sophie x o
The notes below come from my profile page at the Australia Cultural Fund website:
The project Homage to the Seed was launched when Sophie was selected as 2010 Artist-in-Residence at Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Considerable time was spent in the Seed Lab set up as the local Qld chapter of the UK Millennium Seed Bank Project. During the residency the long-held interest in ethnobotany, journal-keeping, painting, books, ideas and other disciplines thrived through cross-pollination and multi-disciplinary involvement. Homage to the Seed the book was published in December 2010 which documented the Residency project. This project resulted in the UK residency offer being made to Sophie this year by the Director of Kew Garden's Millennium Seed Bank.
"...Where I think we could benefit from your visit is in exploring ways in which we can connect with the large visitorship at Wakehurst Place, and with a much broader range of users, through art. We have been looking at the seed bank as an exhibition venue ... it would be good to talk to you about other ways that we can get our key messages across..."
Dr Paul Smith, Director, Kew Garden's Millennium Seed Bank
Sophie is most excited by the challenge to explore, during the six week UK residency and research trip, just how Art can and does provide a potent platform for the changing dialogue about the human relationship to plants. How can you help? Sophie is seeking assistance for the period of travel to the United Kington in October to November 2011 to undertake a residency at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place in Sussex followed by a week at the Eden Project in Cornwall, and two weeks in London meeting with people specifically involved with programs incorporating plant science in learning facilities and/or art with ecology projects. Sophie is seeking donations to assist with the costs of acomodation, transport and day to day living expenses.
HOMAGE TO THE SEED BOOK
The book has been selling well since it was published for the 2010 Artist-in-Residency Exhibition at the Herbarium, Mt Coot-tha. RECENTLY REPRINTED its available directly from Sophie's Studio for $35. Allow extra for postage (ph: 07 3262 4296 or email)
NOTE: THIS WEEK
Sunday, Sept 18th
Free Art Demo at
'the Art Shed'
I will be highlighting the benefits of keeping the journal process going over time ... to get started, explore fresh ideas and work diligently getting to know the possibilites of a variety of media and one's own visual language. Then I'll show how I take that material and translate it into art works. read more here:
274 Montague Road
WEST END QLD 4101
Open 7 Days
Phone: 07 3846 1330
Fax: 07 3846 3330
On return from the UK late November I'll be looking to organise a series of Art workshops & 'The Colours of Nature' classes.
Dates are as yet unavailable...but if you wish to register interest please email and let me know approx time frames when you might be interested.
During the wonderful mid-year workshop series held at Percolator Gallery in Paddington there were quite a few people who showed strong interest in a possible January timetable of extended classes - location would need to be advised.
In 2012 I am available for the following:
+ Travel within in the S.E.QLD region to conduct workshops.
+ Workshops at holiday destinations or weekend retreats for groups!
+ Interstate classes will certainly be considered.
+ Art Mentoring sessions - one-to-one mentoring for artists... exploring process, directions, and outcomes.
+ Speaking Engagements, Teaching, facilitating in a variety of locations.
+ Short term residencies ... 2 days, a week or longer. A great opportunity for cross pollination and bringing art processes to a wider audience!
+ Getting started with Blogging - learn how blogging can add to creative development with potential to enhance long term art practices.
NB: You may approach me now for 2012... just bear in mind that when Overseas I will be checking emails but perhaps not able to get back to you straight away. All prices on enquiry!
You're most welcome to contact me with your questions! Sophie
|^ banksia seeds from seed-lab at Mt Coot-tha