Since I last wrote, we have travelled into the western rainforest to the old mining town of Queenstown where the usual annual rainfall is 2 to 3 metres, but not this last year. Lake levels are low (these are lakes created from damming rivers years ago) and the bush is burning to the north east of us. We stopped in Deloraine to check on road closures, and one of the routes here was in fact closed. The stop in Deloraine was fabulous because we got to see a community art project done twenty years ago called "Yarns". How could we not stay for a while? This exhibit is four enormous panels depicting the four seasons in Deloraine and the surrounding area, the Great Western Tiers (mountains). It was three years in the making from 1992 - 1995, and seems to have involved everyone in the community. The fabric is predominantly silk and techniques are hand, machine and ribbon embroidery along with hand and machine appliqué. The panels hang in a small purpose-built theatre, and for the first ten minutes we sat and listened to a commentary as various sections were spot lit, accompanied by (of course) Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Then we had fifteen minutes to closely inspect the work. I am so impressed with how this all came together. The coordinator must have had a strong vision and a strong personality to bring it all together so well. See the website for more info: http://www.yarnsartworkinsilk.com/
We've had some more fabulous encounters, from hilarious misunderstandings due to thick accents and idiosyncratic phrases to in-depth conversations with small business folk. Regarding the former...we booked the Mountain View Motel in Queenstown on-line for three nights. When we arrived, Lloyd said to the owner, "The name is Davies". The owner went away and came back, saying "What did you say your name is?" So Lloyd repeated it, then spelled it. "Oh, Dye-vies", the man said. And we all laughed! (I was reminded of My Fair Lady, and since then my ear worm has been, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain...") And then the owner said, "Shall we fix you up then?" As we stared at him blankly, another woman waiting to check in said "he means pay the bill now!" And more laughter ensued. It's lovely to laugh together.
On our way out of St Helen's we stopped at the Priory Ridge Winery, (www.prioryridgewines.com) and within minutes were engrossed in a conversation with the owners who lived and worked in Banff and Canmore in the late 60s, and still keep in touch with friends in BC and AB. Julie and David have been growing grapes on her family's property for the past 9 years or so. The tasting room is an old shearing shed built 80 years ago and on the walls are old family photos and memorabilia. We bought a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and opened it a few miles down the road to have a glass with our picnic lunch, thanks to the plastic wine glasses that she gave us...
Yesterday in the small community of Strahan we visited Tasmanian Special Timbers, and what a great showroom of slabs of wood! http://www.tasmanianspecialtimbers.com.au/index.php
I was most taken with the statements on each one.
I felt as though I was in a gallery enjoying carefully crafted artist statements. I commented on this to Dianne behind the desk, and she is the author. We had a delightful and wide ranging conversation about the art of story telling over the ages, aboriginal issues, colonialism, environmental protests, and so on...as I said, it was wide ranging!