This weekend I journeyed to Goulburn with Arlis/ANZ (Arts Libraries Society, ACT chapter) on an art road trip. There weren’t too many surprises as I’d planned the trip based on last month’s visit, but it was worthwhile to go there as a group and enjoy the sights on a slowly-emerging clear-sky Winter day.
Travelling there, I went past the Canturf fields at Fyshwick, who always have fun signage (they are competing with church billboards, I guess). You often need to read the slogans aloud to make sense, this week’s was: “Mown and grown in Fyshwick”. I must admit that I didn’t get it for a few kilometres (for non-Canberrans, this alludes to an area which includes many sex shops). A previous slogan was, “Looks good mown, eh Lisa?” and Dale photographed a more political one. If you can think of a punny line, Canturf will give you $250! I just wish they had an archive of all the signs. Or is there one? I saw these aptly-themed books during our bookshop visit later in the day.
As we made our way from Canberra to Goulburn, the car crawled through thick fog, like the misty landscapes in the new Mad Max movie. I didn’t see any creatures on stilts, though.
Our pit stop at Grit Café yielded no vegan options (again) – but I did sneakily diversify my request by asking if any of the sweets were “dairy free”. The waitron said that they had “gluten free” but I just made a sad, lactose-intolerant face. It looks like they haven’t had the raw vegan cake since April so it must be seasonal veganism. There is a market for this! I wish we had menu equality for vegans and gluten-frees!
I had a good #PatADay by honing in on a puppy as soon as I parked the car. My patient and delightful road trip partner K watched [in surprise?] as I bounded over to my new acquaintance. The dog’s companion said “You’ve made a friend for life”, but then they walked away! Obviously no lifetime guarantee, then. They didn’t know I’d be happy to rent a faux-pet for the day. It was lucky I had this pre-emptive pat as I had mistakenly thought that there were real alpacas at our next destination…
The House of Alpaca was a nice place to visit, but sadly no alpacas live there. In the shop, a measurement for some of the woven garments is 18 microns – I assumed this meant that 18 micro-alpacas (tiny, as in, desktop toy size) grew all the wool for it. I didn’t ask so I am hopeful that this is correct. After all, when the animal is bigger, it broadens the micron as the fibre stretches. That’s how important micro-animals are to the rural economy in making fine, fine fibre – and no doubt to The Borrowers as well.
In the factory, I learnt that things which look like suspended pine cones are called pirns, the threads they release are a bit like the sight-string in Splatoon or whale baleen hair. There were just so many threads! Even more than you’d see in a crime movie’s thread-and-pushpin wall diagram. Some of the machinery reminded me a little of the inventions in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was quite inspiring to hear how the business has grown, and their use of the quote “Work on the business, not in the business”.
Visiting The Argyle Book Emporium again, still proved overwhelming. It was such fun to see the reactions of people new to the space, to witness their shock, awe and overwhelm. Basically, there are heaps and heaps of books. Many left with lots of purchases! (I suspect though, even if several books are sold, the stacks and piles are like quicksand, with no gap created from the recently plucked). I enjoyed leading people to my favourite section (through the main entrance, turn right, right again under the stairs, left around the stairs, through the small room, down one step, past the records and to the right – yes it’s a labyrinthine former police station!), which has high ceilings and a lounge area.
It was good to see Wunderkammer at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery again, this time with the benefit of Angela explaining the works and intention behind the exhibition. The show is only on for a few more days, and has a very environmental take on taxidermy and traditional curiosity cabinets.
I loved this construction exhibited in the Gallery’s entrance, Horse 2, by Jenny Bell (on loan from the Peter Fay Collection). So evocative of the landscape – I’m sorry that I didn’t take a good photo but it is too lovely not to share in any case.
We missed out on The Papillon Tea Room (their last Saturday sitting is at 2:30pm), but we did manage to find Gallery on track! Lots of local crafts on display, including this Alpaca wool cutie by Needle felting artisan, Sherri Smith. Sherri is also running a Needle felting workshop this Sunday through the Goulburn Handweavers and Spinners Inc. Uncannily, there is a similarly-named fibre artist, Sheri Smith in Oregon doing pine needle basketry (could be the same person just different elements of the multiverse!).
Successfully finding Gallery on track was much more enjoyable that our attempt last time – ending up at wrong end of the street, under the scary bridge (no doubt houses many trolls).
A note for the keen-eyed: even though this post was meant to be “Goulburn vegan mini-break III” …I only ate some fruit at the Alpaca morning tea and didn’t check out any food places, hence the different title! My other two Goulburn vegan mini-breaks can be read with the Goulburn tag. As such, vegan-recommended places I haven’t visited still include Ban Thai and Goulburn Workers Club, plus the Greengrocer café. Apparently Madison’s Restaurant has a good high tea, not sure about the veganics of this, though.
We didn’t stop at Collector but I’d like to see if the Dreamer’s Gate is still there. It’s well summed-up by the Atlas Obscura, “One man’s artistic vision is a small town government’s legal battle”.
Our trip was definitely a success, there is so much more to Goulburn than a big ram statue (but we still love you, Rambo). Perhaps one day there will be a Big Alpaca?