Last week I returned from a 17 day trip to Australia where I had been delivering a series of Print and Stitch workshops as part of the FibreArts Winter Programme. It was strange leaving the sweltering heat of our UK summer and arriving into the midst of their winter but aside from being so far from my family, the trip was sheer joy and a very special memorable time. I feel so honoured to have been invited there and to have met such a great bunch of artists.
FibreArts Australia is primarily run by two amazing women, Glenys Mann and Nonie Sutcliffe and they are assisted by a host of additional artists, quite rightly called the 'Golden Team'. They deliver a series of similar events across the year, each one featuring a group of invited artists from across the globe.
The first week's event was held at Ballarat Grammar College, an hours drive from Melbourne and the location of the stunning Lake Wendouree. Ballarat itself is a charming town stuffed with grand Colonial ( Gold rush) wooden houses. On our half day off I was fortunate to get treated to a drive around the location by 3 of my students Debbie, Kaye and Jenny. Glimpsing house after house brought to mind scenes from Wild West movies.
I was particularly struck by the wealth of talent amongst the Tutors and it was fascinating to learn more about their practice through their slide show talks. These were held throughout the week and luckily I got to do my talk on the first evening so I could sit back and enjoy the rest of the week feeling relieved I had got mine out of the way. We also had the opportunity to display and sell our work at these talks.
The Australian Tutors were Judith Gray, Kirsten Ingmar, Sue Ferrari, Meghan O'Rourke, Jet James and Lorell Lehman. The other Tutors from outside of Australia were Seth Apter (New York) and Charlotte Sehmisch, (Weimar, Germany). The large team working hard to keep the event lively and entertaining and look after all the guests included Ginnie, Sue and Angie as well as chefs, cleaners, site managers and school liaison reps. Many of the attending students were accomplished artists in their own right and there were a fair few who had travelled by plane and across several time zones to reach the event; eg; from New Zealand and Singapore.
There were a multitude of side events which made the week extra special, many of these raised impressive funds for supported charities. In particular FibreArts supports the Indian Water project - an inspirational venture headed by Glenys and Nonie - http://www.fibrearts.jigsy.com/india-water-project
Events during the week included timed sales of donated artwork plus an Auction of donated artwork on the final evening. Also trade stands where students (and tutors ) could stock up on media, books and tools.
At the end of the week there was an exhibition of all the artwork created and it was stunning. An amazing quantity of work produced across all 9 classes. I was very proud of my own students and I was delighted that a few of them had also had a go a making a small book piece. This gave me an idea for my second week. More to come of this in the next post !