Down the end of my street is an oval. When I moved into my house decades ago it was enclosed on three sides by a large, old industrial site. The site was owned by ICI, and aside from the far corner there was little activity. For many years I walked the fenced perimeter peering in at the old buildings, musing about what might have gone there.
The oval was only used by the cricketers and footy teams, and the occasional dog walker. A creek meandered through the site, sometimes buried, sometimes encased in a drain, eventually making its way to the nearby Maribyrnong River.
Of course the site was prime inner suburban land, and after remediation, it was sold to developers. The development wasn’t too bad. The best part though was that the creek was freed from the drain and turned into a wetland. The fences were removed from around the oval, and the space was opened up.
Now I can walk down the end of my street, across the oval and into the wetlands, where there is always something going on.
Now that the fences are down the oval is an integral part of complex and is well used.
I am very fortunate to be able to walk here as my daily exercise. The Fella walks around the oval while I go further around the wetlands and often join up with him on the way home. It is a safe place for kids and scooters and bikes and dogs, there is room for us all.
For me though, it is more than just a place to exercise. I am intrigued by the textures, the reflections, the light.
My fascination never went further than many photos and a thought in the back of my head to translate what I am seeing into art. Then, by wonderful serendipitous luck I enrolled in a course with Tara Axford, whose art I have loved ever since I came across her on Instagram. She takes the different elements of the bush around her home and makes artistic sense of them. The course is designed to help us see past the clutter and messiness of nature to interpret our special places.
I am loving this course, loving it so much that I am taking it slowly, absorbing, learning, allowing my mind to play with the ideas Tara gives.
What’s not to love when the first module encourages me to beachcomb though the wetlands on my walk, picking up treasures as I go. Tara calls these ‘pocket finds’, a term that is perfect! I was so inspired after watching the first video that I went down to the wetlands in the wind and rain to see how different it would be. Of course I came back with many pocket treasures.
Over the last few days I have been creating vignettes with my treasures. Rather compelling and very satisfying.
I wonder how the next modules will help me further interpret the wetlands.