The Mill, Castlemaine
May 27, 2020

The Mill refers to the site of the old Castlemaine Woollen Mill which began operations in 1875. The Castlemaine Woollen Company became a major employer in the town whilst it manufactured woollen products especially blankets. New owners, Victoria Carpets, used the site as part of its carpet manufacturing operations from 1992 until 1996 when all manufacturing ceased after a fire destroyed a major part of the premises.

The site remained abandoned until roughly 10 years ago when a local GP and her farmer husband bought The Mill and began a process of transformation. The Mill is now a place tenanted by makers, small commercial enterprises and retailers. It is a destination for locals and tourists alike.

I took the photographs over a period of months.

 

The iconic chimney was built in 1923.

Beyond the bakery is Oakwood, home of delicious small goods including smoked trout, smoked lamb and pate – no prizes for guessing what I like to buy.

The site has solid brick industrial buildings as well as a collection of sheds like this one.

This is the distinctive face of The Mill.

This mural honours the workers who made the woollen products during The Mill’s manufacturing days.

This was the poster on display at the time of the photograph. The current poster is of a man wearing a horned hat.

This is my favourite piece of wall art. It is located next to Sprout Bakery.

It was a challenge taking the photos without a stand dispensing free doggie poo bags getting in the way.

The former drying shed is now a studio and exhibition space for artists.

There are interesting shapes formed by the metal components of a small gazebo created by an onsite metal fabricator.

These decorate the wall near the cafe.

 

Lastly, photos taken in some of the corners of the site of things which caught my eye.

I visit The Mill to buy fruit and vegetables, bakery products and small goods. I have eaten the icecream made there, dined in the Austrian themed cafe, Das Kaffee Haus, and experienced art exhibitions and events.

Pomegranates
April 12, 2020

In a recent post I related the sad tale of the loss of the fruiting branch of my pomegranate tree.

Not only did I photograph the fruit, I also made this drawing over the past few weeks.

The leaves have withered and died whilst the fruit is now shrunken and dried.

I am pondering the fruit’s decorative possibilities.

Sculpture in Motion 2020
February 1, 2020

The Hanging Rock Winery is currently hosting its second sculpture exhibition.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day – low 20s, clear blue sky and a yellow sun – when a friend and I journeyed to Newham in the Macedon Ranges on Friday, 24 January.

The sculptures all incorporate movement in their design. Many are tall or perched on poles.

For some artists creating a kinetic sculpture is a new venture. There are sculptures which are masterful in their execution swinging and swaying in the breeze whilst others could do with some tweeking.

In this post, I have intermingled images of sculptures with views around the winery to give readers’ necks a rest from craning to admire the work of these sculptors.

Bobbing Boat by Jimmy Rix

The boat is attached to the waves by a spring. The boat bobs when viewers gently touch it. My friend and I happily made it bob.

Wing-it by Anthony Vanderzweep

BJF 23 by Ben Fasham

This is Ben’s first attempt at making a kinetic sculpture and he nailed it.

Circles by Rudi Jass is masterful in its execution.

The Lie of the North by Geoffrey Ricardo has shades of Pinocchio.

M-fortythree by James Parrett

Future Seed by Adrian Spurr is one of the few sculptures at ground level.

Threefold by Nicole Allen reflects the passing clouds.

Flirt by Charlie Aquilina is one of my favourites. This work reminds me of a deep sea fish which uses a lure to attract its prey into its cavernous mouth.

Egg and Spoon by Michael Sibel

Bipolar Eccentric by Ralf Driessen is very impressive.

The blue chimes belong to Resounding Blue by Tania George.

The exhibition ends on 23 February 2020.

Goodbye Cancer!
October 7, 2019

Goodbye Cancer – at least for now.

I finished a three week course of radiation therapy at the end of August followed by a month of recovery, regaining my energy levels and allowing time for a rash to disappear.

I will be taking anti cancer medication for the next 5 years and there will be monitoring by my medical oncologist and surgeon during that time.

But now I am free to focus on other aspects of life as my weeks are not dominated by medical procedures and treatments.

I can now work in my garden which disappeared under a green veil of scrambling weeds during the autumn and winter. I am surprised by what has managed to survive underneath it all.

I began this mandala collage at the beginning of the radiation treatment and completed it in the last few days.

The inspiration for the collage came during the yoga session before the radiation treatment started:

Red – the healing process

Blue – calm, stillness, keeping centred

Orange/autumn colours – the cycles of the seasons and of life

Yellow – strength, resilience, optimism

Pink – the love and support of family and friends.

The design of the collage was influenced by the small, stained glass windows found in local churches.

 

A New Collage
July 19, 2019

The work of Betsy Forster, a local Maldon artist, was the inspiration for this collage.

I have admired her semi abstract paintings of urban landscapes with their tightly packed buildings.

I used a Japanese paper with a floral design as the background. The buildings are a monoprint I cut up whilst the arch and dome shapes are made of hand painted paper.

I would like to see our towns and cities dominated by an abundance of flowers and trees.

Still Standing, Chewton
July 2, 2019

This old building has intrigued me for quite a while. I am sure that when it was in active use it served a variety of purposes over time.

There is a large opening at one end which has been roughly filled with granite stones. Below the opening there is old stone work, the remnants of a demolished structure.

I needed to reimagine the window and doors as new security hoarding was covering these features when I arrived to make this crayon drawing.

The land use around the building has altered dramatically since its construction. It is wedged between the clubrooms of the Chewton recreation reserve, the public toilets and new water tanks.

The fact the building is still standing demonstrates it holds some significance for the Chewton community.

New Chewton Sculpture
April 25, 2019

Richard Yates, a local sculptor, has made another carving of a Chewton identity.

This time, the subject is Rod Hadfield, who is well known in the hot rodding industry as the driving force behind making Castlemaine the Street Rod Capital of Australia.

I am not a motoring enthusiast but that didn’t stop me from heading out to see the display which has been built at the entrance to Hadfield’s Hot Rods workshop and museum yesterday, Wednesday.

The carvings of Rod and his dog, Codie, are placed within the setting of an old workshop.

 

Rod is depicted posing with an unrestored Ford.

 

 

I was intrigued to see Richard had created pockets in the overalls which could accommodate tools.

 

Rod’s canine companion keeps a watchful eye.

This is the fifth sculpture Richard has created for Chewton.

Maldon Art Walk 2019
March 29, 2019

The Maldon Art Walk coincides with the Castlemaine State Festival.

The work of local artists is displayed throughout the town.

Here is a small sample of the work on display.

Negative Transformation

Photo negatives, wool, wire, fishing line

Maritsa Gronda

This year’s theme is ‘One Person’s Trash is Another Person’s Treasure’. Maritsa captured the theme well.

 

Galaxy 1&2

Glass and mild steel

Neil Tait

 

4 Headed Kid with Harpys in the background

Ceramic

Frances Guerin

 

Kangaroo

Ceramic

Frances Guerin

 

Glen White partially covered this shop window with old record covers.

I would have liked to photograph more of the art works but the reflections of the shop windows made photography too difficult.

The Nesting Project
March 17, 2019

Festival mania is hitting Castlemaine with the Fringe Festival kicking off Friday, 15 March and the Castlemaine State Festival commencing Friday, 22 March. The town will be abuzz until Sunday, 31 March after which we will need multiple cups of tea/coffee/something stronger and a good long rest.

I entered into the spirit of things by participating in the community art project, ‘Nesting’, at The Mill yesterday, Saturday.

The artist co-ordinating the project had constructed the frame for a giant nest from the wheel rims of bicycles. Local community groups and members of the public were invited to help weave the nest from materials provided or from objects they brought along.

The nest was tipped on its side so it was easier to weave.

 

I am holding a felted scarf and looking up at the nest. I am explaining why I am contributing the scarf to the nest.

 

Here I am weaving the scarf into the nest.

Job done!

Golden Textures, Maryborough
March 3, 2019

The Golden Textures exhibition is currently on show at the Central Goldfields Art Gallery in Maryborough.

Golden Textures is a biennial Contemporary Art Quilt exhibition. Eighteen Australian textile artists plus the winning artists of previous exhibitions are represented. Each exhibition, one quilt is selected to become part of the gallery’s permanent collection.

I attended the exhibition on the day it opened, Saturday, the 23rd of February and what a treat it is – such a diverse range of styles, media, techniques and subject matter!

Here is a selection of the quilts. The available room and the nature of the lighting means the photographs are details.

 

A number of the quilts were inspired by plants including flowers, leaves and tree trunks.

 

 

 

 

This quilt was inspired by water – the artist’s local creek.

The textures and layers of rocks and the earth inspired these artists.

 

 

 

 

Unusually, this artist’s inspiration was the industrial landscape.

Two artists made quilts influenced by the fabric dying and textile art of Japan……

 

………..with this artist incorporating photographs of the workshops she attended into her quilt.

 

The artistic styles included the bold and striking………..

…… and the intricate and multilayered.

 

A few years ago, I attended a workshop where we made small pots made from rope with strips of fabric wound around the rope. This artist has mastered the technique with an entry of a quilt and matching 3D structures.

 

This quilt incorporates traditional elements to pay homage to the long history of quilt making by women.

This quilt is bright with a riot of colour……….

…………….. whilst this quilt is soft and muted.

The Golden Textures exhibition continues until the 31st of March.