Cyclones and storms seem to cover my creative journeys of late. New Zealand Collaboration last year was under threat from a kick arse cat 5 cyclone, which managed to pump heaps of energy into the collaboration, before changing course in the last hours and only hitting us as a lower category cyclone . The just completed journey to Cooroora Institute, in the Noosa hinterland, had Jasper and I driving 1200 km through a huge East coast low with pouring rain and destructive winds buffeting us most of the way.
It was still raining while I setup the workspace for the Metalwork for Sculptors workshop, but then on the day and for the next few days, out popped the sun. A busy and exciting 3 days with many techniques and processes covered including safety, plasma cutting, oxy welding, LPG cutting, riveting, shaping, bending, forming, texturing, metal recognition and characteristics, MIG welding and more. It is always amazing to see what people draw out of their head and hands; this was no different with all 8 students coming out with something completely different. Some came with designs and ideas of what they would like to do, others an empty mind and looking to see what would happen. There were furniture makers wanting to include metal in their palette and other artists out for play and discovery. Some pieces were tiny and others, well, let's just say I'm glad I left before it went up or was moved; "I beams! RHS! 4mtrs high! Excuse me, gotta go!"
Thanks to Ross, Tamsin and Anika for inviting me to teach at their wonderful Cooroora Institute and for being such great supporters of the arts, the Earth and its people.
Thanks also to Tom Day and BOC through Days Industrial in Goulburn for their generous support with great show/sample bags for everyone.
When this was over there was a further 3 days collaborating with Ross Annels (Artist and furniture maker), Dr Tamsin Kerr (writer and director Cooroora Institute), Tunji Beier (Percussionist), Jason Dreise (Artist and Fellow IA Teacher), Linda Black (printmaker/animator), Jasper Dorman (Art student, UOW), Anika Annels (Potter and Barista) and Alex McConnell (IA Teacher). It was, as with all collaborations, an interesting mix of ideas and outcomes albeit tempered by rain, trying to fix the MIG and then Anika needing an appendix removed.
On the last full day in Qld, good mate and fellow collaborator from Brisbane, Richard Vaughan, master cabinetmaker, came up to play and catch up.
On the way South the next day we dropped in to say goodbye (and thanks for all the amazing coffees) to Anika at Nambour Hospital. She was in fine spirits despite the impending keyhole surgery that afternoon. Thanks again for being so wonderful Anika, you can always put a smile on someone's face; hope you're feeling better.
Out of the land of Joh (that era is still etched into my political psyche) and over the border heading for Coffs Harbour and the promise of two days playing with sculptor and designer, John Van Der Kolk, who I met at the NZ collaboration in 2013. With only a brief stop at his place on the way up (during a near cyclone) we didn't get a chance to sticky beak into his work space. Now was the time. We had a great three nights and two days with John and Sue and had wide ranging discussions about art, life and politics, excellent food and some wonderful play in his workshop (although we could not match his 4am starts). His generosity in sharing his knowledge and skills was fantastic with both Jasper and I coming away inspired.
There is something to be said for spending blocks of time with your children. It is a time of change for both Jasper and I. He starting the uni side of his art this year, discovering other paths, views, mediums, people and influences. As for me, getting away from the dominance of teaching and raising family, getting out of my teaching workshop and focusing on my maker workshop and headspace. 3000kms driving and talking with Jasper and 2 intense weeks making and talking with many other artists. Thankyou to all the wonderful souls we met and worked with.