The Distance Between You and Me – Jessie Stanley

March 19, 2015 - 8 Responses

The  Castlemaine State Festival is in full swing.  This festival sets the town abuzz every two years with an array of theatre, story, dance, music, film and the visual arts offered.

Which brings me to the subject of this post – Jessie Stanley’s artwork, The Distance Between You and Me, which is described in the Festival program as …..’a series of interactive and contemporary sculptural artworks throughout the historical township of Vaughan.’

Actually, this post began some weeks ago when I picked up a postcard in the Visitor Information Centre advertising a series of workshops where community members would be taught how to fold shapes to make star flowers which would be used to create an interstellar cloud in the Vaughan Cemetery. ‘You beauty,’ I thought,  A chance to get involved in the Festival in some small way.’ So off I went to the final two hour workshop at the public hall in Guildford where I struggled for an hour before successfully making my first star flower. By the end of the workshop, I felt confident enough to take some shapes home to make more star flowers.



This was the result of my efforts. Seven more star flowers to be added to the interstellar cloud.



On Tuesday, the 17th of March, I decided it was time to go out to Vaughan to view the completed art work. The art work celebrates the life and times of  George and Matilda Rogers (Jessie Stanley’s forebears) who lived in Vaughan in the gold rush era when many thousands lived in the area. The art work also explores the town’s relationship with water including its mineral springs. Vaughan is now a small township nestled in bushland which has regrown since gold mining ceased.



The first step of the journey was to pick up a map created by Jessie Stanley from the kiosk in the mineral springs reserve.


 The next step was to rest on the George Rogers memorial seat to study the map.


 Then a refreshing drink at one of the mineral springs.


 Leaving the mineral springs reserve, the journey took us to the former site of the ginger beer factory owned by Jessie Stanley’s ancestor. A rather bewildered Katie is tethered to the sculpture on the site of the old well.


 Well, I opened the door……(Katie was having none of it.)……and………


 ………there were three of me reflected in mirror panels.

(Why do I need to hold my tongue a special way when I am taking photographs?)




 The final stage of the journey was the Vaughan cemetery where George Rogers is buried.


 There were the star flowers representing an interstellar cloud of water vapour floating in space. A plaque invited visitors to take a flower and plant it on a grave…..figuratively dispersing the cloud throughout the cemetery, and symbolising renewal of the water cycle.

It was quite moving seeing the flowers in the cloud and on the graves dancing in the breeze.

I suspect I was moved for reasons quite unrelated to Jessie Stanley’s motive for creating this installation. But that is the thing about art, we are free to respond in our own ways to an art work.







Jessie Stanley wanted her art works to take the audience on a journey to discover a universal story about life-cycle, heritage, and legacy.

I am sure Jessie Stanley succeeded in this aim with the people who took the time to make the journey.

In addition to the Festival Program, I have quoted from the written information provided at the paper folding workshop.

Yoga Inspirations

March 7, 2015 - 10 Responses


On Tuesday mornings I travel to Mt. Franklin about 25 minutes from my home to attend a gentle Dru Yoga class in my teacher’s studio on her rural property.

The class is attended by 4 mature aged women.  Dora adapts the yoga postures and movements to accommodate our abilities.

Yoga encourages the quality of mindful presence. The attention is focused on the movements of the body and the breath which can allow us to engage more deeply with how we are feeling in our bodies and with our emotions.

During a recent yoga class two of the sequences proved to be especially powerful on the day.

I had the vivid experience of the image I have drawn during the Tree of Transformation sequence

There was a sense of complementary pieces locking together to form a harmonious whole, the energy of which generated the shining light.

Whilst performing the Salutation to the Four Directions sequence, we were asked to concentrate on the qualities we wanted to have in our lives at present. The qualities which manifested for me were:

Power – self mastery, standing in my power

Gratitude – acknowledging my gratitude for the good things in my life

Compassion – for myself and others

Play – making sure there is a healthy dose of fun, play and creativity in my days.

Art comes to Newstead Community Lunch

February 22, 2015 - 12 Responses


From time to time, the Newstead Community Lunch is graced by artist, Susan Denyer.

Sue loves creating ephemeral art using natural materials from Bacchus Marsh where she lives, and Tasmania. She also uses recycled materials from opportunity shops (charity or thrift shops) and garage sales.

Sue spends the morning creating marvellous centre pieces for each table which she photographs.

The diners can spend time over lunch admiring each piece. Diners may enjoy handling or playing with objects which means some of the pieces will be in a state of disarray by the end of the lunch.

After the diners have departed, Sue packs it all up.

Sue’s art is ephemeral because it does not last – it is short lived. Other examples of ephemeral art are chalk art, sand and ice sculptures and sand mandalas.

If you want to know more about Sue’s art, you can email her:

These centre pieces were created a couple of Wednesdays ago. My personal favourite is the one with the blue whale in the centre. Perhaps you have a favourite also.

PS: The photographs in this post were taken by Susan Denyer.






Some pieces incorporate hand made paper. I am glad Sue likes beach washed glass.





A fly continues its spiritual journey moving from the heart of the spiral.


The Keep – Making The Most of Foliage

February 13, 2015 - 7 Responses


 This is the second post about The Keep near Taradale.

This post features the ornamental garden with its emphasis on the colours, shapes and textures of foliage.


 Water and the green of foliage is soothing.






 The Crab Apple garden is green now the blossoms and flowering bulbs have finished.


There is a wide palette of greens and foliage of different colours.

The owners like clipped rounded shapes.




 I couldn’t resist the splashes of colour the flowers provided.




The Keep – Taradale

February 3, 2015 - 9 Responses


 The Keep is the final in a series featuring gardens I visited during the Castlemaine and District Garden Festival in November 2014.

I visited The Keep near Taradale for the first time on the 4th of November.

Unlike the gardens which feature floral displays, this country garden focuses on shape, foliage and texture. To fully appreciate this garden, I needed to take time to wander slowly, pause a while and observe. The more I looked the more there was to see. Despite my preference for colour, fragrance and flowers, I loved this garden as was evidenced by the number of photographs I took…… so this post is the first about ‘The Keep’.

And to be different, this first post is about the vegetable garden which is the tidiest, most organised productive garden I have ever seen.


 Inside the green house are vegetables growing in mobile wicking beds.


Most beds are netted to protect the vegetables from marauding wild life from the surrounding bushland.




 A place for everything and everything in its place.


 The berry houses.








 There is a lot of composting going on.


Charcoal Drawing – Beach Cricket

January 26, 2015 - 6 Responses



 I sit battling with the wind whipped page

I can hear the calls of the boys but the wind blows the words away,

A man supervises the action as the boys prance about

I look up to find the game has dissolved,

The boys are now intent on other pursuits.

Other cricket games ebb and flow along the shore exposed by the low tide,

If there are no stumps, an upended boogie board does the job.

The Barwon River, Sunday, the 18th of January 2015

I think this is an appropriate post for Australia Day, 26th January 2015.

Memories of a Garden Long Gone

January 13, 2015 - 8 Responses







I was looking through my photographs recently when I discovered these forgotten images of flowers from my garden in Ferntree Gully, in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

I was a chaotic gardener and my garden reflected this.

The garden gave me much pleasure and joy. It was my sanctuary.

The flowers in the top photograph came from my favourite tree, a Silver Banksia, Banksia marginata . It was planted next to my chook shed. Other favourite trees were also planted near the chook shed – native frangipani and a callistemon.  I would go to this corner of the garden to think.

The banksia grew to be a large, solid tree; its flowers attracting birds, fruit bats and possums.

After I sold my home in Ferntree Gully in September 2012, the trees were cut down and all evidence of the garden’s existence removed – except for a few renegade daffodils.

Two villa units now stand on the site of my former home and garden.

This post is a preview of an occasional series featuring drawings I made of my former garden.



This rose grew from a cutting from my Aunt Anne’s garden in Castlemaine. It was planted near the window of my dining area where I could appreciate its fragrance in the warmer months.


The yellow iris also came from my Aunt Anne’s garden.




The kangaroo apples, Solanum lanciniatum Aiton, self seeded around the garden.


I loved the native frangipani, Hymenosporum flavum. Its sweet perfume filled the night air.




This creamy callistemon was a small tree with papery bark. The flowers smelled of honey. It attracted bees and other insects.


Mica Grange in Bloom

January 6, 2015 - 6 Responses



This is the second post featuring my visit to Mica Grange on the 9th of November 2014.

As I mentioned in my first post, the experience of visiting this garden in spring was different to the autumn visit as there were many more flowers.

Hardy proteas are a feature of the garden and they were in all their flowering glory.















In addition to the proteas, callistemons, an Australian native, were putting on a show.




And there were plenty of roses to admire as well.







The Victorian Goldfields Railway

December 30, 2014 - 7 Responses


 On Sunday, the 28th of December 2014, my niece and I chuffed our way from Castlemaine to Maldon on a steam train.

The Victorian Goldfields Railway is run by a band of volunteers using a former Victorian Railways branch line which closed in 1976.


The action in Castlemaine














Muckleford station – a brief rail stop








 The destination – Maldon Railway Station



Mica Grange In Spring

December 23, 2014 - 11 Responses


 This was my second visit to Mica Grange in Sutton Grange this year. I visited in autumn and now in spring on the 9th of November.

The spring experience was quite different to the first visit – there was a new sculpture exhibition and the spring flowers were blooming.

If you look at the photographs in autumn, you will see how dry the country was whilst in spring, the ground was carpeted with green.

I have decided to publish two posts on the spring visit – this one featuring the new sculpture exhibition and the second, the flowers.


 Wire wrens hop about in Bede’s vegetable patch.


I tried to be creative with some of my photographs.



Mica Grange provides a grand setting for the sculptures.




 These ceramic poles with their whimsical figures attracted my admiration.






I think this group would need to be purchased as a set as they represent the scattering of dandelion fluff.


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