Ruby Gap August 2015

Ruby, Ruby…. what a place!  Its always such a delight to be there, but its a big task just driving in, and I’m always relieved when we bring everyone back, safe and sound. We had a wonderful group, our long term participant Miranda Sage bought along her infectious enthusiasm, her husband Albert  and a group of 3 friends, all first timers.  Albert who definitely thinks of himself as a photographer not a painter, caught the bug and did some lively work on paper as well as providing me with a fabulous resource of photos, some of which you will see below. Ros Owen did some large dyed and rusted work on heavy silk and explored new approaches to her painting and drawing. Deslee an experienced watercolourist, worked independently  to produce some beautiful work but always joined in the fun around the fire.  There was a great mix of  interest and experience but the generous and supportive nature of the group meant that everyone learnt a great deal from each other. We had fun using our big truck to print collagraphs.  Some of us hiked to the top of the cliffs above camp and on another day we walked to Glenn Annie Gorge, 3ks upstream. We swam in the waterhole and of course we couldn’t resist collecting ‘rubies’. It was a very busy week!

Click on any image below to see the pics as a slide show with captions.

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Paper Making at Curtin springs

Last weekend 5 Alice friends drove down to Curtin Springs, 80ks east of Uluru, to make paper from native grasses at the paper mill the Severin family have created in the Old Abattoir on the station.

Arriving at Curtin Springs just after 10am, Saturday was nearly a full day of paper making: it was cool, it was wet, it was endlessly fascinating and very productive. It was also a wonderful cooperative activity, as much of what we did required more than one set of  novice hands. With Amee and Lydia’s expert guidance we made beautiful paper from Spinifex, Kangaroo and Kerosene Grass. To finish the day we drove to a vantage point to see the sunset over Mt Conner. We sipped champagne and I (Deb) drew the mountain, (on the beautiful paper of course). The next day we used the paper we had made to experiment further, make things … engage in creative play. I took along a host of tools and materials for this purpose and we set up a workspace in the original homestead, the Bough Shed.

It was a great weekend, not only as a creative escape, but for its insights into the life of a working cattle station; a  glimpse at the tenacity, ingenuity and sheer hard work,  that has kept this one family on that difficult, beautiful land for nearly 60 years. It is interesting to see those same qualities put to a creative end. The resulting paper is exceptional. It is the possibility of working with a material made from the land that is so inspiring.

Click any image to see slide show and captions.

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Palm Valley July 2015

It was great to return to Palm Valley. Such a diverse landscape, with a colour palette that is unique to this particular pocket of Central Australia.  The rocks, Hermmansburg Sandstone,  are a much deeper red, the repetitive shapes of the Silver Indigo look gorgeous on those darker slopes. Its a place of towering majesty juxtaposed against delicate intricacy and I was very pleased to be there with a group that fully appreciated all it has to offer.

Such a great group of wise women they were. Some were very experienced campers and some not but all managed to survive the extremely cold nights with good humour. It was minus 2 apparently, so we woke to very frosty swags and tents. Everyone worked with great enthusiasm and courage, embracing the challenge of new process and materials and generously sharing their skills, stories and support.

Thank you all who came with us to Palm valley in 2015.

The first lot of photos below are Debs.  Additional, amazing photos by Kay Hathway, Palm Valley Creative Camp participant. Kay’s photos, often taken by firelight in the evening, are testimony to just how cold it was when the sun went down and how well we survived.

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Running Waters 2, June 2015

Our second camp at Running Waters in 2015 was just as enjoyable and productive as the first. We will never tire of this beautiful location as it constantly yields more surprises and creative adventures. We had many visitors in the night,  brumbies and feral cattle, as we were obviously camped on ‘their ‘ waterhole. This was a little alarming at times but generally pretty entertaining as they ventured ever nearer to sleeping(?) swaggers. Its impossible not to appreciate the beauty of the brumbies, even though they cause so much damage to the land, which is currently incredibly dry providing little nourishment, so these ferals are starting to suffer. On a happier note we were graced with Jackie Simon’s fabulous voice and her encyclopaedic repertoire of songs… ‘just give me the first few bars or a few words’ she’d say, and she would deliver a magnificent  rendition of an old favourite. We had an exciting collaboration with the claypan, as you will see from the photos. We used a little water in the dried brumby hoofprints to create a beautiful panting medium right there in situ.  It is a remarkable location, the claypan, a very special aspect of our Running Waters campsite!

Camper, Sandra Graham has contributed some beautiful photos to this blog. Thank you Sandra! Sandra’s images are all captioned as hers, otherwise the photos are taken by me, Deb. Just click on an image to see the slideshow…

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Karlu Karlu Creative Camp

Our first ever Creative Camp at Karla Karlu was blessed with a fabulous workspace, clean pit toilets, a water tank, great creative company and of course the intriguing beauty of the Devils Marbles at our doorstep, well almost. We very fortunate to have the use of the Traditional Owners camp site about 1 kilometre from the Marbles. This proved to be a fabulous location, for all the reasons above, plus it provided a wonderful sense of space that was a good counterpoint to the rock formations. There were views to the ranges, and a wild garden of flowering plants amidst sculptural termite mounds but it was the brilliant sky that bewitched us every dawn and sunset.  This location had the vote of all who attended, most of whom have been with us many times before.  Thank you to Traditional Owners of Karlu Karlu for giving us permission to use their special place.

You will see from the photos that it was most a most productive and talented group. We explored rust as a medium in several different ways, both on paper and silk, whist our ever inventive Annee Rothwell made some delightful  rusty ‘handbags’.  A visit one morning to the car dump at Ali Kurung, an Aboriginal Community down ‘the track’, provided us with plenty of rusty stuff.  (All photos are Deb’s unless captioned otherwise)

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