After we left Menindee (and there is lots more I want to tell you about from that trip) we wandered down through South Australia to the Victorian coast. We spent a couple of nights in Portland and then on to stay with friends in Warrnambool.
I have written before about my love of country towns, and how they all look for something to make them special. Supporting local artists often is that something. Both Portland and Warrnambool have thriving artist communities that are given space and opportunity.
We pulled into a parking spot in Portland that just happened to be outside the Julia Street Creative Space. “Well,” I thought to myself and then said to the Fella, “I must go in here.” It was a large welcoming space, full of high quality, unique pieces, at affordable prices. A large room behind was a gallery showing local artists and to the side was a printing workshop. I didn’t think to take any inside photos, but their Facebook page gives you a good feel for the work that they support. I will show you the goodies I just had to buy.
Jeanette Huppatz created this print done by solar etching. I am not sure what that is, but I love the delicacy of the work. Jeanette doesn’t seem to have a website, but you can see some of her earlier work in this 2010 exhibition.
Peter Austin’s white earthenware plate caught my eye because he used seaweed as the imprint. There is an article about him and his work here.
The last two pieces were by the same artist, Maureen Watts. The tiny planter was featured in a photo taken outside the Exhibition buildings. And how do I know this? Because it was Maureen who served me in the shop! Nice to have met the artist who does such lively work. 🙂
The women volunteers who were serving me were so friendly and chatty. I told them about the Beckler’s Botanical Bounty Project from Menindee and they told me about the artist in Residence Programme they run, with accommodation upstairs. You can imagine how my ears pricked up with that information!
After Portland we meandered an hour down the road to Warrnambool. We parked the van in the backyard of friends, Julia and John, and were entertained by their kids for a few days. It was wonderful to be part of such a loving, dynamic family. I had forgotten how much energy children have!
Julia is very creative and was happy to show me the arty side of Warrnambool. The first stop was the Artery. This is what their business card says:
The artery, boasting a gallery, a retail shop stocked by local creatives, artists’ studios and and exciting workshop program, is also the headquarters of the F Project.
A volunteer run organisation, the F Project is all about encouraging and supporting contemporary artists and arts practice, creatively exploring social issues and engaging with the community through arts projects.
Again, their Facebook page gives you a good feel for the organisation.
The exhibition space had interesting works that were a joint collaboration between ceramicist Clare Fennessy and printmaker Ruby Richardson. Their exibition was titled “Fragments of porcelain and print” and, as the catalogue says it was “a delicate display of new possibilities.
Then Julia took me, via the coffee shop ;), to see some art in the laneways of the town. These works have been sponsored by the council.
Then there is the larger Warrnambool Art Gallery, again a lovely space. The featured exhibition was “A Quiet Space” by Kathryn Ryan.
It was lovely to see these arty spaces, and thanks to Julia for taking time out of her life to show them to me.