This July Creative Camp was meant to be at Karla Karlu, the Devils Marbles, north of Alice. With somewhat short notice our application to stay at the Traditional Owners campsite there did not come through…. so with only a moment of regret we changed out plans and decided to go to Palm Valley once again. No one minded thankfully, and Charlie and I were quite franky delighted. It’s just so beautiful there this season. Having just had a camp there the swag spots were almost still warm! It was a wonderful group of all women, supporting and caring of each other. We indulged in some womanly delights too… under the tutelage of Lyn Austin, a second time participant, we made the most exsquiste moisturisers, body butter and soap. A first for Larapinta Creative Camps. Once again Jackie Simons lead us in song. I think Charlie had more fun than he has had in ages, singing his old favourites. Unfortunately my spirit and tolerance at times were dampened by a nasty cold. Its tough being responsible for others when you’re feeling sick and I’m glad when the beauty of the place and good company compensates for my shortfall. There was some beautiful work done on this camp, and despite my cold I was certainly kept busy: we dyed scarves, solar dyed T shirts, created rusted fabric, made books and more. Everything that was created reflected this very special, (feminine?) location!
Its always a great pleasure to camp at the Old Ranger Station on the Finke River near Palm Valley. It’s a stunning location and a comfortable campsite that is easy for us to manage with water on tap, flush toilets and an undercover work area. We were graced with the company of participants who have been so often they have become our good friends. It was chilly at times and we had one extraordinary evening storm followed by a rainy night that made the next morning unusually damp and misty. It was very strange to see the palms at Palm Bend silhouetted by mist. We have had a fairly wet winter so far and everything is green and abundant, especially the buffle grass (an invasive weed) which is unfortunate. The Finke is flowing and exquisite refections abound in Palm Valley. The work produced on this camp was extraordinary in its variety and calibre as you will see if you browse the photos below. Just click any thumbnail for slideshow view.
The photos are mine (Deb’s) unless otherwise acknowledged.
A collaborative creative adventure with the paper makers at Curtin Springs Station and our first ever accommodated Creative ‘Camp’ was a huge success on all counts. The process of making paper from the ground up: from cutting the native grass right through to working creatively with the paper we made, was fascinating in itself but so too was the insight into station life provided by the generous family at Curtin Springs. We were very lucky to be able to see close up some of the natural treasures on their vast property, The Half Way Tree, Beefwood Dam, Mt Conner and some of the amazing salt lakes in the Amadeus chain. We were privileged to hear the history of Curtin Springs and the the Severin family from the family itself. They are such a busy bunch and they kept us very busy too! Most of my photos taken inside the paper mill show a literal blur of activity, but mainly because the photographic conditions in the Old Abattoir (the paper mill) were not ideal lightwise. Consequently there are no really great shots of the process or participants, sorry folks! To see clearer photos of the paper making process best go to my Blog from November last year when it was a bit brighter inside the Old Abattoir. However I did get some great shots of this recent creative adventure; the inspiring environment and some less glamorous pics of us novice paper makers and our attempts to translate this beautiful landscape into paper made directly from the land itself… Amazing stuff!
Well the plan was to have our first Creative Camp of 2016 at Running Waters but heavy rain and rushing rivers prevented us getting to this remote location on the Finke. We spent our first night in accommodation at the quirky Stuarts Well Roadhouse hoping that the roads would be passable the next day. But the Ernest Giles road remained very boggy and we risked having to camp beside a semi-submerged vehicle and trailer on the roadside, if we proceeded. So we headed north west to a little known but lovely location on Owen Springs Reserve, known as Haunted Tree Bore. It’s the the quintessential Central Australian location, big river red gums, ancient corkwoods, red cliffs, grassland and strangely enough, given the rain elsewhere, a very dry riverbed. We were lucky see Rainbow Valley reflected magnificently in its clay pan on route and another trip there later in the week gave a couple of participants another chance to work there. Everyone was a first timer on this camp so the abundance and then scarcity of water must have seemed odd. But despite the bumpy start and set backs some really beautiful work was created on this camp as you will see. Truly a testament to time well spent immersed in this beautiful country.
To view slide show click on any thumbnail. Photos by Deb until you send me some!
time well spent in this amazing country.
On Friday evening 1st April my latest exhibition, Flora – The Alchemy Of Playing with Plants, opened at the June Marriott Gallery, Central Craft, Alice Springs. The exhibition runs until the 24th April.
This exhibition traces my playful engagement with plants over some years. From silk scarves dyed with a plant based brew on the campfire to delicately drawn tracings of plant shadows cast by the sun and more recently to hand made paper from Curtin Springs, and a 19th century photographic technique. Each process involves a combination of art, science and serendipity.
Each of the 45 works in the exhibition has involved the handling of one or more native plants, this is the thing that links all the different processes I’ve employed. I like to think of this work as a collaboration between myself and the plants I have handled and observed.
For many of the works I used beautiful paper, handmade from native grasses, by the good folk at Curtin Springs Station south of Alice. For more photos and information about the paper making please visit to our previous blog or go to Curtin Springs website:
I will begin the photo gallery with a few photos of my very busy studio in the week prior to hanging the exhibition. I will then show images of the exhibition installed and finally some pics of selected works unframed so you can see them better, its very hard to take photos of work under glass. Thank you for taking the time to look!