A Large Gathering of a Specific Kind...
"Place yourself amongst those who live their lives with passion, and true learning will take place, no matter how humble or exalted the setting.
But no matter what path you follow, do not be ashamed of your learning.
In some corner of your life, you know more about something than anyone else.
Images provided by the students of Brooke Munro and Goprdon Bain's workshop
You start to plan an event years out from the event happening.. you always have a film playing in your head as to how it is all going to run
The workshops… setting a diverse range on contemporary workshops that would thrill and delight the students
The tutors.. Making sure that there is a range of extraordinary tutors from every inch of the Globe teaching many different techniques
The students …. Giving only the best in workshops, accommodation, food and entertainment.
Images 1 and 2 Julie Ryder's workshop and 3 from Alysn Midgelow Marsden workshop
Then it gets sorta kinda a little bit different to the film in your head
That is how it was at the 2022 Winter School that was held recently at Ballarat Grammar, Fibre Arts 18th year at this great venue.
Never suspecting that there would be calamities that could interrupt a perfectly planned event
How wrong can it get when there are problems on the street with our youth and a pandemic that does not consider anyone, including an event of this kind!
Car break-ins.. forensic police… ambulance and paramedics, what else could be thrown at us….
Well of course we could not escape that pesky virus and to our sadness there have been about 23 that have tested positive.
5 were in a position that they could not get home, so they were isolated for 5 days into a separate accommodation wing with the school looking after their every need. I did hear that as they all started to get better, the talk around the kitchen table was lively and very arty! A lovely thing to be able to do, but not under the circumstances.
Images from Irene Manion's workshop
Besides all the dramas, I was blown away by the fabulous reaction that everyone had toward each another… the empathy, the compassion, the kindness, the thoughtfulness of all, was truly inspiring
The Gold Team paddled really hard to make sure that nobody noticed the anxieties that were underlying their wonderful work…. I am so proud of how they supported me during the week….
As for the work that was produced during the week in 11 workshops… it was outstanding and Tessa, my Webmaster, has made an online exhibition for you all to marvel at what was achieved. Watch it here...
The Team and I are working with the school to shore up the discrepancies and a stronger COVID plan so that we can work toward a healthier environment at the events.
Lots of great things happened… but it was just those few that seem to take our focus away for a little time, I know at our next event in September, we will have the same laughter, friendship and madness that is a Fibre Arts event.
Your positivity.... that is what drives me to bring you the best artisans in the world to share their knowledge with us.
Glenys and The Gold Team.
Images from Helen Coleman's workshop
Nothing good comes from holding on to past resentments.
The past is done.
It can't touch you anymore.
Nor can it atone for its wrongdoings.
It's only the present and the future that can be affected by your actions.
As you prepare to close the door on something that is over, take one last look back. Remember how it made you feel and appreciate all that you've learned.
The cosmos is encouraging you to move forwards with conviction, knowing you have every tool necessary to turn yesterday's troubles into today's victories.
We have all experienced the last 2 years in many different ways…
I collaborated with 195 artists to share collaged books about our “Sense of Place”…
Worked in the garden until it was so pristine it would have won many garden awards… but of course it didn’t cos all those things were cancelled…
But just last week, after a 2-year hiatus, the Masterclass returned to the beautiful Bungalook studio that belongs to Rick and Josephine Jakobi.
In this atmosphere of pure sanctuary, 8 of us gathered to live under canvas.. sorta “glamping’… and to work for 5 days in the fabulous Bungalook Studio.
The Masterclass, run my me, was different to others that I have done… the conversations flowed constantly.
The work stalled for a while, as the students grappled with huge changes to their thought process and then the ‘light’ was turned on, after much encouragement, on about the 4th day.
The changes were profound…. The thought process was huge… the results were stating to be uncovered, but it is the long-term work that these amazing artists will produce is what I am interested in.
Masterclasses are not everyone’s ‘cup-of-tea’, but if you want to extend your art practice you have to let a Master into your realm to support you on your new journey.
I was supported on a new journey during this week, when I invited two artists from the East Gippsland area to have a conversation with us about their art practice and passion.
Josephine Jakobi is so passionate about her environment around Lake Tyers, a place that she has lived for most of her life, that you can’t help but be mesmerized by her passion. The skill of finding the hidden workings of creatures, large and small in that environment is profound… the work that Josephine does is testament to the observation skills that have been skillfully honed.
Josephine does not call herself a fibre artist, but when you see her work and hear her stories, it all somehow falls into place. Her drawings are stunningly real, her stitch on massive works of linen is awe-inspiring… to stand in front of these works, brings me to tears… emotional tears from the power that is created within these works.
Her conversation moved me into another direction… I now wonder just who the ‘master’ is!!
Josephine Jakobi Glenys Mann at the opening of Develop at Iceworks Lakes Entrance
Our other guest was Catherine van Wilgenburg.
I sat next to Catherine at a function that was held late last year in the Bungalook Studio and her knowledge and great sense of place was beguiling.
The invitation was sent to Catherine to join us at the opening of DEVELOP… an exhibition of the Masterclass students works at ICEWORKS, in Lakes Entrance.
When asked how she regarded the standard of the exhibition and presentations, she replied….
The ‘opening’ at Iceworks was a 2-way enterprise, where a community gets to see and understand something that is happening among them, but which also places us within the local art ‘scene’ The environment here at Bungalook also influences the kind of Masterclasses we have and the way we respond to each other and ourselves.
The other question we put to Catherine was…
What did you discover about us / our art? (Here in the studio)
An enjoyment of being, a sense of beingness
A focused but highly sensitive environment where you are individually engaged in your own processes yet sensitive enough to pick up on cues from the conversations around you. The best form of collaboration, where you become part of an organism in an individualistic way.
The interior of Bungalook Studio, Lakes Entrance
So… being at Bungalook for 6 days, it has really started the ‘new era’ for Fibre Arts Australia…. A ‘kick start’ if you will…..
After being isolated for 2 years…. to be able to the experience in person and have that “face-to-face” connection: it does not compare with “online learning” or of the in-person contact to the tribe!
This is what the Masterclass at Bungalook brought back!!!
The new Fibre Arts team is very excited to get back to Ballarat Grammar in April to start re-connecting with our Tribe and with ourselves… to be part of the excitement that grows from being together… all amazing artists in their own right!
It has been a dream for more than 2 years to get together again and heck, we will do it!
CEO of the best Fibre Arts Tribe!
Images courtesy of : JILL MIGLIETTE, JOSEPHINE JAKOBI, GLENYS MANN
“She sat at the back and they said she was shy.
She led from the front and they hated her pride.
They asked her advice and then questioned her guidance.
They branded her loud, then were shocked by her silence.
When she shared no ambition they said it was sad.
So she told them her dreams and they said she was mad.
They told her they'd listen, then covered their ears,
And gave her a hug while they laughed at her fears,
And she listened to all of it thinking she should,
Be the girl they told her to be best as she could.
But one day she asked what was best for herself,
Instead of trying to please everyone else,
So she walked into the bush and stood with the trees,
She heard the wind whisper and dance with the leaves.
She spoke to the willow, the gums and the pine,
And she told them what she'd been told time after time.
She told them she felt she was never enough,
She was either too little or far far too much,
Too loud or too quiet, too fierce or too weak,
Too wise or too foolish, too bold or too meek,
Then she found a small clearing surrounded by trees,
And she stopped...and she heard what the trees said to her.
And she sat there for hours not wanting to leave.
For the bush said nothing,
it just let her breathe.”
“For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves.
For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no.
And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . . .
When we don't listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls.
And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don't,
others will abandon us.”
- Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
Just when I thought that 2021 was going to be my year of retirement… well that turned itself on its head, didn’t it… instead I refocused on bringing Fibre Arts Australia back to life with new website, new commentary on all thing’s fibre/textile related and to bring on board a young vibrant team to help move what we do, into a new stratosphere!
Although we had to cancel the July and September events it did not stop you from wanting more to sink your needle into, more of what was going on and with the blogs and the Studio Spaces making a huge hit… in fact more than 50,000 hits… it just goes to prove that you wanted more of what is going on out there!
Something worth saying repeatedly is this: we are more than grateful you stayed with us throughout it all.
Our face-to-face workshops will continue to be our focus. Learning from the best in the world is the best way to bring more excitement into your work!
Hands on and asking questions to the tutor in a workshop is a much-preferred way of learning.
Trying to earn a living as an events coordinator/artist has been harder than ever for many of us over the last 2 years, but in saying that, these years have ‘cemented’ the bond between our Fibre Arts Tribe, just proving that being connected keeps us all on the same artistic path.
It makes the Fibre Arts Team happy to know our hard work translates into a year of bringing amazing tutors to the events in 2022 and extending our knowledge to encourage you to be who you are as an artist.
We wish you a happy, fruitful, and fulfilling New Year!
May 2022 be full of amazing things for you and those around you!
May it be the best year yet!
Happy New Year!!
Belinda, Ginnie, Zoe, Tessa, Kay, and Serena
"What I witnessed and learned on my journeys,
and how I digested that invaluable
and often subconscious information,
transformed me as a person and artist."
“A spark of kindness made a light.
The light made an opening in the darkness.”
- Joy Harjo, Once the World was Perfect
"I have learnt how to be in the present."
"How?" asked the boy
"I find a quiet spot and shut my eyes and breathe."
"That's good, and then?"
"Then I focus."
"What do you focus on?"
"Cake" said the mole.
extract from: The Boy, the Mole the Fox and the Horse
Charlie Mackesy Instagram link.
Notes that catch my thoughts, dribbles, splashes, spills, drips, words, and other detritus, as I work my way thru journals and blogs that have kept me occupied during an unusual time in all of our lives...