Today we had a roadtrip from Canberra to Braidwood with the ARLIS/ANZ ACT Chapter (Arts Libraries Society Australia & New Zealand). I did a test run in May and it was lovely to see the change of season since, lots of jonquils, daphne and bergenia.
Our first stop was The Left Hand Gallery, showing some works from the John Pratt Retrospective which finished recently. I missed that show so I was glad to see some of the prints inspired by the body in motion (some previously shown at Beaver Galleries) as well as sketch books. The Left Hand’s owner, Julian Davies, had a studio/gallery in Campbell, Canberra and is a writer, potter and painter. The Left Hand Gallery is about running an art gallery from the left hand point of view (non-commercial and with a focus on the artists), which also makes sense with a left-handed owner. It even has its own giant left hand sign. As a rough reading from my small experience of palm reading (I did some classes earlier this year), it’s surely not a coincidence that hand on the sign’s head line has a distinct downwards slope, showing creativity.
The gallery also has books from non profit publisher Finlay Lloyd, including a collection of essays titled “When books die”. A scary title, but I hope to read it to at least find out if it self-destructs when it feels it has had a thorough reading.
STUR Gallery inside fYREGALLERY had something quite unexpected “Fresh black truffles direct from the farm for sale all Winter”. They were waiting on a fresh batch today, but we got to sniff a truffle in the meantime – it was in a sealed bag surrounded by uncooked rice. The scent wasn’t what I expected, apparently if it had been freshly picked today (instead of yesterday), the smell would’ve filled the gallery.
The current exhibition, Amy Schleif’s A Place of Abundance, is on till 3 August and captures colours and emotion in glass window-pane structures.
After my phone had been near the truffle, it ran out of battery. A coincidence? It was frustrating as I would’ve loved to take photos of our next stop, artist Kate Stevens’ studio. She has a beautiful work space overflowing with paintbrushes (at various life stages), paintings with icing-layers, fern fronds brushing through sash windows, lasagne-like piles of warm white Hahnemuhle paper with small watercolour pools, rickles of canvases waiting for thick coats, and a paint-stained eraser emblazoned with “Keep calm and carry on”.
Kate told us about her working process and her attraction to our investment in/consumption of travel photography and how these images are shared online. I wondered if the travel theme is the reason behind the many Qantas maroon vintage bags used in her studio to store art materials. Her current series has smaller works focusing on Berlin, and in the background we saw her Acid Ballerina painting, which I remembered from a stop-motion video showing her painting the subject upside-down.
We visited the Braidwood market in Ryrie Park – I was a bit confused as there are two markets – this one with jams and knick-knacks like avocado bowls (I wish I’d bought them, even though a more fancy colleague first had to explain to me what they were) – and the other market is the Braidwood Farmers’ Market at the National Theatre but wasn’t on this week. I had anticipated a manoush pizza from the farmers’ market so the only other vegan option I could think of quickly was another bagel from Dojo bakery (breakfast x 2).
My favourite shop, String, is closed during July, but we visited Altenburg & Co again, plus the lolly shop of course. I showed everyone the Squill jar, but my favourite during this visit was “Spud candy”. They look like little sugar potatoes, as J said, “a combination of the two best things, sweets and spuds”.
There was less progress on my #PatADay record this visit – I patted one dog called Bella, but apart from that I was trying to behave because I had organised the trip.
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