THE powerful benefits of taking time out to make decorative objects and art by hand are on offer at the upcoming Deepwater Art Show, with a range of workshops led by some of the region’s best artisanal practitioners.
Leading the way will be Ngarrabul/Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay/Kooma woman Adèle Waabii Chapman-Burgess of Glen Innes, who will host a traditional basket weaving session on Saturday April 1.
“Weaving is a powerful way to embrace and preserve my culture,” she says.
“It’s like a visual conversation. I’m proud and feel it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to bring our stories to life through weaving and yarning using traditional knowledge with modern tools to promote and share my culture.”
Chapman-Burgess’s workshop will begin with an introduction to basketry using natural plant materials and where to obtain them. She will demonstrate how to create a woven vessel or three-dimensional object, from getting started, changing materials, developing structure, creating walls and finishing your piece.
“We will discuss various ways you can decorate your basket, how to dye the fibres and different materials that you can forage to continue your practice of weaving with the coiling technique,” she says.
“You will then learn about sustainable practices and online resources for when you’re creating your own pieces at home.”
Fabulous and functional felt
Currabubula milliner Jo-Anne Barr believes there’s a link between creative classes, personal development and good mental health.
“Workshops also provide all participants the opportunity to share their knowledge, skills and life experiences with others – and that often includes the facilitator – that helps shape artisans and their practices,” she says.
Participants at Barr’s wet felt hat making workshop on Sunday April 2 can expect to leave with a simple flower brooch and a finished hat, but also skills in wet felting and basic hat blocking and shaping.
“It’s a fun, productive day, with new friendships forged and skills obtained, along with the satisfaction of knowing they turned a bundle of Australian superfine Merino wool into a fabulous and functional unique hat to be proud of,” she says.
Artist Carolyn McCosker of Inverell often sees fellow creatives struggle to find ways to express themselves via visual art.
“While it’s wonderful to recreate someone else’s ideas, we yearn to find our own way of expressing ourselves in drawing and painting,” she says.
“As artists in regional areas, we are isolated from what’s happening culturally in the cities.
“I often travel to larger regional centres such as Moree, Armidale and Tamworth to visit the galleries and keep abreast with trends in new and contemporary art. I am always seeking to develop my techniques and expand upon existing concepts and ideas.”
Participants can join McCosker for a 2-day creative painting experience on Monday April 3 and Tuesday April 4.
“This workshop will prompt participants to explore how shape, form, colour and line can be employed to develop a personal visual language through which to convey ideas and feelings,” she says.
“Participants will be invited to consider their own art interests as they view images of work by historical and contemporary Australian and international artists. We’ll investigate ways of referring to source material without letting it dominate your finished work.
“There’ll be warm up exercises in composition, colour and design before moving onto your own work, which you’ll be developing from your own reference images and concepts.”
McCosker believes creative workshops provide an “immersive experience” of completely absorbing oneself in art and art making, “with other like minded people working collaboratively, sharing, exchanging and learning new ideas and techniques”, she says.
Also taking place across the 5-day Deepwater Art Show will be a native Australian flower painting session on Saturday April 1 with Indigenous artist Lauren Rogers, and two separate copper fold-forming jewellery workshops on Sunday April 2 and Monday April 3 with Deepwater’s own silversmith Richard Moon.
For all workshop bookings head to the Deepwater Art Show’s website.