illarari, Tempe Downs 2018

Illarari is our most remote campsite. Situated on Aboriginal freehold land southwest of Alice we are required to have a special permit issued by the Central Land Council to camp there. One of the conditions of the permit is that we don’t post photos of places that have high cultural/sacred value to the Traditional Owners of Illarari. We respect this request and therefore I will only being showing you photos from the immediate area around our campsite which has been cleared as OK by the TO’s.

There is so much to see at Illarari. It is a truly inspiring landscape and a great privilege to camp there. Participants created some beautiful artwork that reflects this and Stephen O’Connell OAM, created a Concerto, isn’t that amazing! Most evenings as the last light illuminated the cliffs, Stephen played his soprano saxophone for us. We listened spellbound as the notes reverberated in the landscape. What a treat!

There were so many treats on this camp as the photos will illustrate but the best way to experience Illarari is to come with us. Next year we hope to once again be granted special permission to go to this sacred place.

NB: Some photos by Albert Sage as indicated, all others by Deb  (except the Google Earth image of course)

Filed under: News

Ruby Gap August 2018

We have been running Creative Camps at Ruby Gap since 2008 and yet this place delights and inspires us anew every time. It is very remote with difficult access and this time we had some initial difficulties getting in. Stressful for Charlie, Anna and I but hopefully it didn’t impact on our participants too much and by the third morning we were fully ensconced at our favourite campsite, entranced by the magic of the surrounding cliffs.  It is a such vivid and majestic place with so much powerful geology but it was the detail of tiny plants flowering, despite the very dry season, that captured my attention this time. Everybody finds something to entrance them at Ruby Gap and participants express that in such different ways, as you will see. Everyone made exceptionally beautiful work and were generous and supportive of each other, so full of fun! Niamh McCall gave us a wonderful impromptu workshop on ‘Paint Pouring’ techniques and generously shared her isights and experience of this medium. Please take a look at this great campsite, our all time favourite and the joy we all had creating there in August 2018!

Filed under: News

Standley Chasm June 2018

We were very lucky on this Creative Camp to have the use of Trek Larapinta’s semi-permanent campsite at Standley Chasm. Not only did this give us greater comfort than our usual camping adventures but it gave us access to spectacular sections of the West MacDonnell Ranges that would be unavailable unless we were walking the Larapinta Trail. The camp site is located in a secluded little valley, well away from the tourists, surrounded by beautiful vistas. An intimate red rock gully just behind camp and a nearby creek bed gave us much to explore, close at hand. Using this campsite also gave us unlimited access to the magnificent Standley Chasm itself, at times we had it all to ourselves…what a treat! Many years ago Charlie started Trek Larapinta so we have spent much of our lives together on the ‘Trail’. It was very special for us to be back in this country. Thank you Holger Strie, Managing Director of  Trek Larapinta: 

The other special thing about this camp was the creative company of a whole bunch of new people. Though nearly all of the participants were newcomers to us, they were already creative buddies under the mentorship of Linda Denning from NSW, also a participant. We had just one long time Creative Camper along, Lyn Austin, who once again treated us with a wonderful on-site workshop in the art of making exquisite moisturisers and body butters. Thank You Lyn!  Another long term camper, Suzi Shaw was unable to attend at the last minute. We missed you Suzi…next year hey!

Thanks also to Anna Dakin our fabulous assistant and expert meal maker, who led some of the participants on a great day walk on Section 3 of the Larapinta Trail.  Anna waked the whole Trail by herself in 2014!

Last but not least thank you to all who came with us. We loved your company and your work!

Please enjoy the photos from this very special Creative Camp.  Photos by Deb unless acknowledged otherwise.

Click on any thumbnail to see the image  at proper size and to view them as a slideshow.

Filed under: News

Running Waters May 2018

This year we were a smaller group, as unfortunately my two cousins, Kate and Sally had to be taken back to town due to ill health but those remaining were intensely engaged with this beautiful place and all its treasures; the claypan, the overhangs and of course the Finke River. Even in this very dry year Running Waters still yielded its typically generous feast of refections, rugged cliffs, rock formations and an amazing palette of colours. Our camping experience was much enhanced by the presence of Anna, our wonderful new helper. Much to her delight we were serenaded by dingoes most nights.  We had with us two Swedish artists, Ase and Carina.  Having spent most of their time in Australia on the coast they were delighted by the difference of this terrain. We were also joined by Deslee and Helen from Sth Coast NSW and Julie an Alice Springs resident. The work produced on camp was a wonderful refection of this special special part of the world.  Please see for yourself but first read this evocative poem by Deslee Hancock on the flight home.

Photos buy me (Deb) unless acknowledged otherwise.
Click on any photo for slide show mode.

Flying Above Her

Only just up and the show begins

watercolour swirl

recognisable symbol shapes


gradually she appears

that still

wide form

lain bare

vessels pulsing

veiled as the craft rises

dye fading


then dense

glimpsed again

then gone

Filed under: News

Illarari September 2015

We are revisiting beautiful Illarari this season with a Creative Camp scheduled for August 12 -19th. When I went to source photos for this new camp I realised I had never actually published the Blog for our Illarari camp back in 2015!  This is no refection of the quality of the experience or the photographic record! So please find below a selection of photos that tell the story of our wonderful week in this very special place. My apologies for its lateness. Many thanks to Kathy Freedman for her exquisite photographic contributions and to all who attended for their beautiful artwork and great company!

Filed under: News