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    Vegan freakshakes in Canberra

    Posted in Canberra, Lifestyle
    April 30th, 2016

    Freakshakes! They originated from Canberra’s very own Pâtissez, and burst from Australia, onto the world stage, with great media hubbub in July 2015.

    …and now there’s a vegan-friendly version at both Canberra stores! It’s now going to be a permanent fixture on the menu but the flavour option might change every month or so.

    Currently, the Vegân Freak is:

    “Lychee coconut shake – raspberry coulis – coconut vanilla bean mousse – coconut chips – lychee, raspberry & coconut icecream pop (holy mother of vegans this thing does not taste vegan).”

    Vegan freakshake at Patissez Manuka, Canberra, Australia

    So sweet, so coconut

    I had a Vegân Freak yesterday (not quite as sexy as it sounds! But almost…) at the Canberra Manuka store.  I was a bit worried about the lychee element as I’ve tried to avoid eating them after seeing a particular scene in We need to talk about Kevin. But they were tricky to detect in the shake, so that was for the best.

    I had told the staff I found out about the Vegân Freak from Vegan ACT. I heard them saying to each other something like, “It was through a secret vegan society!”. I’m sworn to secrecy regarding whether I can confirm if SVS exists or not.

    Oh the shake was so overwhelming. So much sweetness, so much coconut (this has also been mentioned by others, too). I was determined! I was hardcore! But I failed (softcore). I had skipped lunch but it still didn’t work, and I was so hopeful that I’d do better than my last competitive eating foray. But I just couldn’t finish it, so very sad and I so hate food waste. My gameplan was based on the architecture, starting at the top. I ate the icecream pop, then 50% of the mousse, then super-sculled most of the liquid. And then I felt as overly sweet as Shirley Temple (the child actor, but I guess also her namesake beverage). The shakes are the smaller size compared to the “origin” freakshakes, but there’s still so much in a serving! The description describes it as “not tasting vegan” – I don’t know what to say about that, but it does have a really overt cream-fat kind of taste, so it’s kind of accurate?

    I appreciate that Pâtissez now offers a vegan freakshake option, and it’s also encouraging for there to be an something for those with dairy allergies. Apparently Pâtissez are developing a vegan chocolate freakshake for Winter – which is so good, we don’t need everything to be fruit-based! (there are some other great flavour suggestions on their facebook page). It would also be beneficial to have some vegan beta-testers. I volunteer as tribute!

    When I went to pay, they said, “1 vegan freak?”, and I said, yes, thinking of Bob and Jenna Torres’ book, Hello my name is vegan freak: being vegan in a non-vegan world.

    Vegan burger at Patissez, Civic, Canberra, Australia

    Best vegan burger ever! (sorry Mum)

    Today’s follow-up (quality assurance!) visit was to the Canberra City (Civic) store, I had the only vegan main option, the Veg Head burger with fries and Pâtissez special sauce:

    “Herby chickpea, corn & sweet potato patty, charred zucchini, roast capsicum, grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, vegan aioli, house marinated fetta cheese.”

    Damn, it was the best vegan burger I’ve had (in case my Mum’s reading, it’s not as good as your bean-patty one! But if you’re not reading, then it’s the best). Like, even better than the one at Red Lime Shack in Adelaide. It was so good. I did ask the Pâtissez staff a lot of questions, and confirmed that the chips were fried in cottonseed oil, and that the aioli is done on a soy base (not sure if this is a fortified type, though). Staff were obliging, but I think that there needs to be a quick FAQ or better team-briefing, given that many people with allergies will often opt for the vegan menu item and have questions.

    Vegan freakshake at Patissez Civic, Canberra, Australia

    The beast, legend & challenge.

    My friend E had the Vegân Freak, so we could compare it with my yesterday-version at Manuka. I sternly warned her that I couldn’t even complete it, but she said she was “born for this”.

    And annoyingly, she truly was! (but reassured me that it was due to my coaching). The evidence is as follows…

    Completed Vegan freakshake at Patissez, Civic, Canberra, Australia

    Damn, she did it

    Yesterday, I found that the trick after my shake-fail was to get some vegan chips from Grill’d to get a good savoury/salt balance (very soon after!).

    As a modified version of the ye olde technique of McDonald’s dipping chips in a sundae, E utilised some of my Pâtissez burger side-fries as freakshake dippers. I think we need to register this an innovative concept for the IDEAS BOOM. I hope Pâtissez will think it’s a good idea to start serving a tiny cup of chips with freakshakes! (you’re welcome!)

    Freakshake Google trends graph showing interest over time

    Freakshake Google trends graph

    It can be tricky to find out about freakshakes, as I think the term has now been copyrighted or trademarked by Pâtissez, and they recommend tagging with #Patissez and #FreakShakes

    When I was trying to get a trend graph from Factiva, I found it a bit complex (because of the terms) and experimented with advanced search commands like freak and shake* near each other, or dessert-topped shakes, but I didn’t really get anything satisfyingly representative, so the image above is from data source Google trends. You can see the clear peak in popularity in July last year, and then it all gets a bit muddied with the varying names, etc. …and it didn’t seem to allow truncation symbols, so I used both freakshake and freakshakes, in addition to Pâtissez. Even if the interest doesn’t continue over time, it looks as though the cafe is continuing with innovative food offerings – I’m hopeful that will result in more vegan options, too!

    The freakshake phenomenon is just part of the Frankenfood portmanteaus, and it could possibly be compared with the vegan Plant-based Disgrace in Sydney. I’m keen to try the Disgrace, but given my lack of success in finishing Vegân Freak, I might have to share it with a few other people.

    As always, this post isn’t sponsored and all food etc. is at my own cost. I’d love to know if you also thought the Vegân Freak was super intense! Or if you’ve been lucky enough to eat the Disgrace.

    Canberra underpass art walk from 5 years ago

    Posted in Canberra
    February 29th, 2016

    *Begin crumbly old Canberra voice*

    Back in my day, there wasn’t much for the young folk to do. So it was easy to remember bad public art or silly wayfinders. At the old underpass near the Hyatt (leading to the National Library), there was a strange Noah mural which was partially obscured by a rambling travelling story. Apart from that, your Mum would say not to hang out in underpasses but never really explained why.

    Jesus mural (July 2011)

    Jesus mural (July 2011)

    Then in mid-2011, there was a magic burst of art treasure in this underground den. Majestic seers and creatures by Abyss, and heaps of other pieces all through the tunnel. I’m sorry to be unsure of the other people who made this in just one night, but maybe a good hunt through the screaming wall would garner results.

    Your time is limited but your imagination is not (July 2011)

    Your time is limited but your imagination is not (July 2011)

    It’s sentimental, but I still remember the feeling of walking through, the wonder at all these new shiny creations. I loved thinking of all the public servants (including me) that were going to see it all (on the way to their offices), and be inspired for the rest of the day.

    Create (July 2011)

    Create (July 2011)

    And then the crushing beige cover-ups afterwards. Reminds me of a legend of an art gallery director who would add a layer of brown paint in order to “antique” paintings, also called “gravying” (in rather poor taste).

    Rabbit detail (July 2011)

    Rabbit detail (July 2011)

    Even though these are from a long time ago, I hope that with the new Street Art Coordinator, there will be support for reinvigorating Canberra’s urban spaces. And so that questionable religious murals won’t stay up for more than 10 years and act as a navigational aid for hapless young Canberrans – rather, that they can work out where they are with engaging and beautiful changing art.

    Ampersand Duck studio visit

    December 9th, 2013

     

    The ARLIS/ANZ ACT chapter were very lucky to visit the studio of Caren Florance: book maker/designer, artist and letterpress printer.  Caren collaborates with writers and artists to produce traditional printing adventures (fine press volumes, chapbooks and broadsheets) and the less conventional (zines, mail art, artist’s books and digital works). Florance’s personal practice is undertaken through Ampersand Duck, “a private press with a twist based in Canberra” (Ampersand Duck (April 2008). Snail Mail One, p. [1].).

     

    ARLIS/ANZ with Caren Florance

    ARLIS/ANZ ACT chapter members with Caren Florance

     

    Finding the stories and process behind Caren’s beautiful letterpress creations was a revelation and rekindled the joy of touching deckle-edged, feathery papers of her books. Poetry married page through traditional printing, from heavily embossed imposed words to letters gently kissing the surface of the paper leaving ink remnants and memories. We saw works at the zygote stage with setting the letters and proofing, through to completed bound books with poetry by Rosemary Dobson and a typeset artist book with linocuts by G.W. Bot and poems by Anne Kirker.

    Caren also supports emerging artists through the Ampersand Duck Broadside Residency, by providing graduating students an opportunity to work in the studio and produce an edition of prints using handset letterpress. The studio is filled with work in progress by the residents, as well as completed books and prints by established artists. Nicci Haynes, an artist friend, has condensed the whole of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake – you can see it in the poster behind the cat below. Sadly we didn’t get to meet the other cats on this occasion.

     

    Materials in the studio of Caren Florance

    Materials with Nikki Haynes’ Finnegans Wake print

     

    We are delighted that many posters, artist’s books, zines (and even more!) made by Ampersand Duck are held at the National Library – they are also in other public and private collections nationally and internationally. One of the zines even has a view of Studio Duck, compare it with the photo from our visit (at the top):

     

    A view of Studio Duck as documented in Snail no. 2, November 2011.  Behind the zine: an Ampersand Duck poster.

    A view of Studio Duck from Snail no. 2.

     

    Thank you Caren for welcoming us to your studio and providing an insight into your working process. We look forward to having more artist studio visits during our 2014 program.

    To find out more about Ampersand Duck’s letterpress universe, see her site and personal blog. Or explore the various print offerings!

     

     

    Friday triangle perambulations

    Posted in Canberra
    August 17th, 2013

     

    Yesterday was a great balance of work and play – but not much rest as I’ve been a couch sleeper for a few days. This is because Ms Cat is healing from nerve damage, so she is isolated in her bedroom with Mr S, so Mr Cat and I are banished to the couch. If it meant that Ms Cat was rehabilitated, I would be happy to be a sofa lady forever.

     

    So to wake up a bit, I walked around the Parliamentary Triangle, and as I reached the summit of the little hill near the Gallery of Australian Design, two birds (swallows?) flew circles around me like they were using ribbons as a lasso in a charming Disney special. I hope it wasn’t an elaborate form of swooping, which gives the experience an air of malice. I will imagine it was a flying hug. The sun was finally gleaming and all the Reconciliation Place sculptures near the Portrait Gallery and Questacon were glistening.

     

    When I reached the National Library there was a swarm of children getting excited about Children’s Book Week winners. The winner’s list makes a nice little poem: Sea Hearts, Children of the King, The Terrible Suitcase, The Coat, Tom the Outback Mailman & A Forest.

     

    I managed to avoid the crowd and enjoyed Jyll Bradley’s City of Trees exhibition, but I forgot to collect my free poster. The first works in the exhibition are my favourite, the branches shimmer and sway as you walk past, like the twinkling of a heatwave. Outside, I noticed this sweet (yet savage) bike!

     

    Bike outside National Library of Australia, Canberra

    Angry bike

     

    Continuing with happy experiences, it was great that the National Library’s Bookplate restaurant was able to create a vegan salad on the spot for the same price ($15.90) as their “regular” Caesar salad. It’s my hope that one day there will be more options for diverse dietary choices in the Parliamentary Triangle.

     

    Shadow of Diamonds

    Diamonds’ shadow

     

    I walked past the National Gallery and saw that the cast shadow of Neil Dawson’s Diamonds (2002, Sculpture, aluminium extrusion and mesh painted with synthetic polymer automotive paints, stainless steel fittings and cables) casts a shadow reminiscent of the silhouette of an icon in popular culture.

     

     

    Enjoy the weekend, see some art, and remember to “Read across the universe” as advised by Children’s Book Week, 2013. Or just keep things horizontal a la Ms Cat.

     

     

    Canberra art exhibition opening crawl

    April 12th, 2013

     

    Last night there were four art exhibition openings in Canberra, all starting at 6pm. Is that a record? I attended them all – briefly – just to confirm it was possible! It took just under 2 hours and only 22 kilometres of travel. The sheer volume of exhibition openings demonstrates that there is a lot happening in Canberra, but perhaps it could be better coordinated – a similar issue to some of the Centenary events’ scheduling proximity. To address this kind of calendar bulge, Genevieve has suggested that ACT-based galleries could plan their exhibition openings with staggered starting times, with a dedicated arty bus for assisted crowd control.

     

    While the arty bus would need to be a regular, possibly fortnightly, endeavour, it has already occurred as a one-off celebratory occasion. This  project occurred in September 2012 – Craft ACT’s “Capital of Culture” bus tour. I heard it gave a wonderful experience of either North or South cultural tours during Floriade (possibly too much of a time chunk, though), but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend. The Tour Guide is worth downloading just for the lovely design, but could also be reused as a fun gallery Bingo sheet. Last night’s openings could have had a Bingo sheet! I wonder if anyone else was able to attend all of them?

     

    Visual Arts Graduate Season 2013

    ANU School of Art Gallery, ACT (till 27 April 2013)

     

    Artworks by Christina Clarke at ANU SoFA Gallery

    Modern tools by Christina Clarke

    2 artists are exhibiting their Doctor of Philosophy works, with Christina Clarke’s Greek Bronze Age vessel contrasting with James Steele’s photographic works exploring place and identity. There is so much movement and information in the exhibition, with James’ projected images as well as videos of Christina’s process for painstakingly creating a hydria, that it has to be seen in person.

     

    You can see Christina’s final piece in the 1/2013 exhibition catalogueLM IIIA1 Hydria (2012) on pages 12 and 13 and James’ work on pages 28 and 29. The image on the left shows part of Christina’s process for creating Greek Bronze Age vessels.

     

     

    100% Books by Canberra Artists, curated by Ampersand Duck

    Watson Arts Centre, 1 Aspinall Street Watson ACT (till 28 April 2013)

     

    Signage and artworks in 100% Books by Canberra artists exhibition, Watson Arts Centre

    100% Books with Shells by Genevieve Swifte

    20 artists from Canberra take part in the region’s long history of book production. Each artist is exhibiting both old and new work to show their developing interest in the book form. The exhibition hopes to “…challenge notions of what a book can be in an art context. From fine press through to more sculptural pieces to street press and zines, this exhibition provides a mere sample of the breadth of contemporary book arts.” (Watson Arts Centre, Sales Catalogue, April 2013, p. [1]).

     

    In the image you can catch a glimpse of Genevieve Swifte’s Shells (2006): Hand sewn boat-like structures, paper, linen impregnated with salt. The salty threads have a rhythmic sense of the tide that simultaneously give movement to the vessels but also anchor them in white space, like the flow of words in a conversation that sometimes get moored in a speech bubble.

     

     

    FIVEFOLD

    pod, Shop 11, Lonsdale Street Traders, 24 Lonsdale Street,  Braddon ACT (till 21 April 2013)

     

    FIVEFOLD exhibition installation at pod, Lonsdale Street Traders

    Jewellery by FIVEFOLD artists

    5 contemporary Canberra jewellers have joined forces as FIVEFOLD, an artist-run design collective, and this was their first inaugural exhibition. In the pod space, plinths have emerged like stalagmites bearing glittering trophies as sacrifices to the Lonsdale Street Trader entities. Danyka Van Buuren’s hoops have mysteriously transformed sequins into elegant colour blocks and the other pieces were enticing but tricky to get up close as there were lots of people!

     

    The exhibition invitation is a very pretty DIY five-fold brooch – I made mine in the car so the crumpled state didn’t fully reach the attractiveness potential, I also didn’t have a pin so I just stuck it down my shirt. Other more organised people had very smooth brooches and one of them would have won a limited-edition handmade Shibuichi sterling silver brooch. There are detailed folding instructions for the invitation from FIVEFOLD’s Tumblr. As a librarian it’s exciting to see unusual invitations, as art libraries collect art ephemera as information on artists and exhibitions. This means that people can see the brooch invitation in the future as a resource to contextualise the artists’ work, and to see ephemera (invitations, posters, business cards) as art in their own right.

     

     

    THROWAWAY: exhibition by Holly Granville-Edge

    Canberra Contemporary Art Space (CCAS), 19 Furneaux Street, Manuka ACT (till 21 April 2013)

    Artworks in Holly Granville-Edge's exhibition

    THROWAWAY exhibition installation view

     

     

    Holly Granville-Edge’s photos play with the idea of manufactured sentimentality and value in the captured image. The exhibition includes a collection of “dusty junk-shop picture frames scrounged from op shops”, which charmingly contain their own portraits with eerie self-awareness of their new-found meaning and artistic elevation. Escape down the rabbit hole.

     

     

    Nighty-night!

     

     

    Liedekijn art exhibition opening and book launch

    March 28th, 2013

     

    What is liedekijn? It means “little song”, the title is from a medieval Dutch folktale, ‘The Song of Lord Halewijn’. Here’s the quote from a translation: “Halewijn zong een liedekijn” = “Lord Halewijn sang a ‘little song’.” Thanks to the wonderful Emma for clarifying the meaning, I have a silly (and incorrect) habit of defaulting to ‘little story’. If you like fantasy, gore, corsets and bravery, liedekijn will probably like you too – a group of Australian and international artists have created work in response to the folktale’s translation.

     

    liedekijn drawing (detail) by Sonja Barfoed and Wesley Hobday

    liedekijn (detail) by Sonja and Wesley

    So apart from a little song, liedekijn is a beautiful shiny book and real-life art exhibition. Once you have the book you can open it anytime, but the exhibition itself opens 7pm Thursday 28 March (today!) at The Front Gallery, Wattle Street, Lyneham shops, Canberra (near the lane next to Book Lore). We would love to see you at the opening, or during the exhibition (it runs till Monday 8 April). The detail you see on the left is from the drawing that Wesley and I submitted to the exhibition – come along to see it in full!

     

    You can buy the accompanying liedekijn art-book at the Front Gallery (opening night only!), Impact Comics, or other wholesome publication outlets. The book has all the works from the exhibition plus cover art by Melbourne illustrator Douglas Holgate. I am impatiently waiting the library catalogue record for the liedekijn art-book (this should be exciting for non-library people too – if it’s being catalogued in RDA then it will perhaps have all the names of the artists and the translator because the rule of 3 doesn’t matter! But I digress.).

     

    Remember to love liedekijn on Facebook and follow the official liedekijn twitter or liedekijn tumblr  if that’s more your flavour.

     

    Perhaps you’d like to see a picture of Miss Cat sitting on my liedekijn drawing or a 62 year old book on Halewijn (it has etchings! People always accept invitations to see etchings). Then you’ll enjoy clicking the liedekijn tag for other posts.

     

    See you at the opening, and remember to take care in the forest!

     

    Liedekijn variations

    February 28th, 2013

    The nights are getting colder, so be careful that you’re not lured into the forest by a captivating song just like Machteld in the Song of Lord Halewijn. A group of artists (including my collaborative work with Wes Hobday) created works about this tale, the results will be exhibited in 27 days! It’s quite gruesome, here’s an easy-to-read version from Ansuharijaz on Reginheim (our version is slightly different). Some of the drawings will be a surprise, but you can see selected works in progress on the liedekijn tumblr.

     

    Herr Halewijn title page by de Coster with etching by Hermann Metzger

    Herr Halewijn title page etching by Hermann Metzger

    Halewijn’s story has inspired many variations and drawings. I recently saw Hermann Metzger’s prints in Charles de Coster’s Herr Halewijn (translated by Albert Wesselski). Metzger created 19 etchings (20 if you include the cover) that illustrate the story from Halewijn acquiring the spell, to murdering women and Machteld’s response.

     

    The beautiful etchings balance a warm background of plate tone against the pure white of the valiant horse, carrying the boldly outlined Machteld (and her dubious trophy) through the pages.

    The deckle edges of the paper echo a jagged dirt path through a forest that barely contains the energy of the drawings (all hand signed by Metzger, quite a feat as there were 500 of these limited editions). Halewijn’s body dances with the spell as he struggles to maintain his new-found beauty and ensuing thirst for maidens’ blood. I wish I had paid more attention in German class, as I can only understand the names of the characters Halewijn and Machteld.

     

    We’d love to see you at the liedekijn exhibition opening at the Front Gallery and Café, details at the Facebook event. If you can’t make it to the opening or the exhibition, the works have also been made into a wonderful art book which you can buy from the liedekijn big cartel site.

     

    Lanterns and hot chocolate at the Botanic Gardens

    Posted in Canberra, Event
    June 4th, 2012

     

    Experience your own forest fairytale and enjoy hot chocolate and DIY lanterns at Australian Botanic Gardens, Canberra.

     

    I went on the weekend’s afterDARK Firefly tour, and it was great to experience the beauty and magic of the illuminated gardens.

     

    Handmade lantern with swamp daisies

     

    The rainy night was illuminated by our handmade lanterns (minimally), glass lanterns (a little more) and torches (not so good for ambience but more effective in lighting).

     

    We learnt about Bunya trees, rainforest ecosystems, and smelt lemon myrtle leaves and kangaroo droppings (luckily I wasn’t in the front row, but apparently they’re quite benign).

     

    The fog machine in the rainforest gives a sense of wonder similar to Nakaya’s Fog sculpture at the National Gallery of Australia. You can find out about the Fog sculpture here.

     

    afterDARK for couples?


    Firefly tours have been marketed to children and families, but another demographic could also be couples.

     

    Instead of hot chocolate, there could be fondue (with strawberries and coconut) while the couples undertake a craft activity like the lanterns.

     

    It would also enhance the experience to have a cooking demonstration with native ingredients, e.g. lemon myrtle, quandong, or wattleseed.

    This would be a great way to show the appeal of native Australian plants.

     

    Walking through the gardens could be the romantic finale!

    This would help the gardens to be considered as a future date (or wedding!) venue.

     

     

    The afterDARK Firefly tours run from 6pm and 7pm  Saturday 7 July and Saturday 4 August, there are more details here.

     

     

     

     

    Roland Henderson – photographs of toy animals, plants & objects

    May 5th, 2012

     

    Roland Henderson’s exhibition “Been” concludes at 5pm today, 5 May (CCAS – Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Manuka, Canberra).

     

     

    CCAS explain the work as a response to travelling, belonging and a sense of place.

     

    The photographs in the exhibition each focus on an object or small group of objects including the reverse side of photo frames, toy birds, cabbages, a dandelion in a cup and doll parts. It’s like a collection of memories.

     

    My favourite was an image of a toy Bactrian camel with a cabbage butterfly perched on each hump.

    It almost appears like a flying camel, but given the scale it’s more magical to think about giant butterflies.

     

    So now it’s at home with me – I even got 4 nails with my purchase! (plus a fantastic story about cabbage farming).

     

    As CCAS say, “[these]…exquisitely presented black and white photographs brilliantly nailed to the wall suggest that from the right angle – everything is interesting.”

     

     

    The next event at CCAS Manuka is Cue Funktion, opening at 6pm on Thursday May 10.

    This will transform the gallery space into a pop-up venue for live music – combining visual works and musical performances.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wine, camels & heritage in Canberra

    Posted in Canberra, Event
    April 12th, 2012

     

    There are so many things to do in Canberra this weekend!

    Here are my hot picks, compiled with thanks to 666 ABC Canberra’s event listings.

     

     

    Beer on Saturday (14 April)

    Canberra Craft Beer Festival promotes innovative breweries with both beer and cider.

    Best of all, the festival raises money for the ACT Eden Monaro Cancer Support Group.

    Held at Mercure (Civic) from 11am till 6pm.

    Tickets include beer tasting. There’s also food, table tennis and the major selling point – a jumping castle!

     

     

    Plant sales on Saturday (14 April)

    Both Marymead and the Australian National Botanic Gardens are hosting fundraising plant sales.

     

     

    Marymead’s Autumn plant sale (Narrabundah) is from 9am till 1pm.

    Marymead will be selling ground covers, herbs, perennials, shrubs and trees.

     

    The Native Plant Sale is at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (Acton).

    The sale will run from 8:30am till 11am or sold out.

    It’s hosted by the Growing Friends of the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

    The native plant list is here.

    Remember to bring something to protect your car seats or boot.

    Plus some boxes and bags to carry all your new plants.

     

     

    Wine all weekend (14 – 15 April)

    Branch out from beer and visit the Canberra District Wine Harvest Festival.

    Visit local vineyards to enjoy wonderful wine and olive oil tastings.

    Plus gourmet platters, scones, cheesecake and mousse.

    Listen to jazz or guitar and smell the roses.

    Kids can make scarecrows and the whole family can stomp grapes or bottle wine.

     

    Get a wine passport stamped at 3 wineries, and enter the wine prize draw.

    See the full program and map here.

    Bizzy Lizzy’s fantastic festival summary is also resplendent with beautiful photographs.

     

     

    Heritage not just this weekend, but the whole of April

    The Canberra and Region Heritage Festival runs for the whole of April with an astronomical number of events.

    The very extensive program is here.

     

    …heritage highlights this weekend (14 – 15 April)

    You can attend talks on old Acton, history or guided walks, architecture tours, or visit the Tidbinbilla Extravaganza.

    Plus eat a reproduction Titanic meal, or make a dry stone wall at Adelong Falls Gold Mill Ruins.

     

    The guided walks are everywhere – Yarralumla, Bungendore, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, Acton, and Braidwood.

    There’s even an archaeological walk near Burra Creek’s London Bridge (a limestone arch).

     

    Even Gorman House will hark back to the 20s and 30s with period dress and all things ye olde.

    See the whole program here (you can scroll to the selected dates for this weekend).

     

    During the National Carillon’s open day on Sunday they will even be playing the Star Wars theme.

    Brief program for the Carillon is here.

     

    St John’s Heritage Precinct has an open day with markets, maypole dancing and a chance to see Canberra’s first Schoolhouse.

    We visited when I was in primary school – I’m sure it’ll be much less daunting as an adult.

    We wrote on slate boards and there was a very stern faux headmistress.

     

     

    Jane Austen from Thursday to Sunday (12 – 15 April)

    The Jane Austen Festival coincides with the Heritage Festival, and starts on Thursday with a movie.

    Then over the weekend it has a full schedule of sewing workshops, dancing, classes, talks, a ball and a country fayre.

     


    Camels at the National Museum of Australia on Sunday (15 April)

    That’s right, camels.

    Plus bellydancing, sand art animation, printmaking and music.

    This is to celebrate the new exhibition, Travelling the Silk Road: ancient pathway to the modern world.

    The full program is here.

     

     

    Bonsai show all weekend (14 – 15 April)

    Be impressed by the green thumbs of the Weston Creek Bonsai Group Autumn Show.

    Sales, demonstrations, and advice for paler green thumbs.

     

    This is getting rather long – but there’s also theatre with naked men and John Cleese, and Titanic the musical.

    Plus the regular artmarketssport, and lots more to do this weekend and all year round!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Canberra Gallery Crawl

    February 12th, 2012

     

    Solstice Eyes (Lisa Twomey), CCAS Manuka


    "Eyes shut" painting by Lisa Twomey

     

    Today’s Canberra gallery crawl began with Lisa Twomey’s Solstice Eyes exhibition at CCAS (Manuka).

     

    The exhibition was a wonderful mix of fashion and painting – and some wonderful glitter elements.

    I think I still have glitter on my toes from walking around there.

     

    Sadly it was the last day, but you can see even more artworks at her blog.

     

     

     

     

     

    We were too early for M16 (Griffith) and PhotoAccess (Manuka), so we went to Beaver Galleries (Deakin) instead.

     

     

     

     

    Denese Oates, Olivia Bernardoff & other artists at Beaver Galleries, Deakin

     

    At Beaver Galleries, we saw lots of art including Denese Oates’ tree sculptures, Olivia Bernardoff’s paintings.

     

    "Mallee tree with birds" sculpture by Judy Holding

     

    Beaver Galleries’ Palette Café also has the best melting moments. In a perfect world, people would appreciate melting moments as much as cupcakes, cakes on a stick and macarons.

     

    Beaver Galleries is open Tuesday-Friday 10-5 and weekends 9-5.

     

     

     

    Bald Archy Prize at The Watson Arts Centre

     

    The Watson Arts Centre was quite busy – and then we realised that it was opening weekend of the Bald Archy Prize.

     

    We voted for number 5 – head along and add to the votes!

     

    The exhibition’s on until 12 March, open daily 10-4 and entry is $5 or $3 concession.

     

     

     

     

    Underwater Abstraction (onacloV) at ANCA Gallery, Dickson

     

    It was also the last day of onacloV’s Underwater Abstraction exhibition at ANCA Gallery (Dickson).

    There were beautiful underwater photographs on canvas and large abstract paintings.

     

    You can see more of her work here.

    ANCA Gallery is open Wednesday-Sunday 12-5.

     

     

    Benedict House, Queanbeyan

     

    Then we enjoyed the vintage style of Benedict House (Queanbeyan) – bowls of beads that look good enough to eat.

     

    Benedict House beads & view

     

    I think Benedict House is so comforting because of that classic old-house smell, which is hard to articulate but reminds me of those paper dollar plants and old plasterwork.

    Plus the vintage wares and delicious cake helps in making it such a welcoming space.

     

    Benedict House is open Wednesday-Sunday 10-5, call ahead for café bookings and their high teas.

     

     

    While Benedict House doesn’t technically qualify for our Canberra Gallery Crawl, I think this shows that there are things to do in the area.

    I need to learn to be quick to get in before exhibitions conclude. Oh well, there is always the next exhibition, and the next…

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Renaissance Exhibition: highlights & a challenge list

    December 16th, 2011

     

    This week I visited the Renaissance exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra).

    The exhibition provides a rare glimpse of Renaissance works by many renowned artists, lent by Italy’s Accademia Carrara in Bergamo.

     

    The majority of the art is religious in focus – which is a given, considering the time period and the commissioning of the works – there’s even a whole room devoted to various depictions of Madonna col Bambino.

     

     

    Here are my exhibition highlights (visual rather than academic!):

    • seeing the gold leaf itself/ different styles of gilding and formats of works (diptych, triptych, polyptych),
    • portrayal of human bodies, and the contrast between the different styles of babies in the Madonna col Bambino section (in terms of life drawing, proportions and conventions regarding portraiture),
    • inclusion of fruit and animals, and
    • reflection of fashions and styles, particularly headdresses.

     

    I thought the most interesting works were Love Procession by Marco and Apollonio (perhaps it is depicting a ye olde flash mob) Saint Jerome praying by Mansueti (with the highest concentration of animals in any of the works) and Adoration of the Christ Child by Luini (beautiful imagery of a flying angel in a twinkling starlit sky).

     

     

    Can you spot any of these items or animals depicted within the artworks?

    Test yourself with this challenge list when you attend the exhibition:

     

    • A pair of eyes on a gold platter,
    • A brazen parrot,
    • A fish carried horizontally (like a carpetbag) with rope,
    • A fly (this will be easy as it’s mentioned in one of the captions),
    • Two rabbits feeding together in a domestic space,
    • A dog that really looks more like a sheep, and
    • Capigliara (at least two!).

     

    Let me know in the comments if you spot any of these items or animals throughout the exhibition, or if you’d like to add something to the Challenge-spot list!

     

     

    TEDxCanberra, sustainable living & food

    November 10th, 2011

     

    Thanks for visiting! An art practice sits within general life experience, so sometimes I will write about things which may not be explicitly art-related but might be conjuring up a body of work or some new ways of thinking.

     

    TEDxCanberra 2011 was over a month ago, but it still continues to inspire me – idea digestion takes a while! I’ll also justify this by noting that these events are meant to be a wake up call, so a delay is inevitable as ideas are put into practice.

    I was lucky enough to attend TEDxCanberra 2011 through a complimentary ticket from my workplace.

     

    I really enjoyed Nick Ritar’s talk about living sustainably – and from this, I have embraced permaculture in a small way by answering nature’s call in our garden a few times, but I will need to find a more long-term solution.

    Especially as we have recently removed the privacy-enhancing Diosma shrub from our yard.

     

    Nick spoke about the importance of growing our own food, and there are lots of ways to learn more – naturally from your library, which supports your community and encourages sustainable resource-sharing.

     

    Blatant book name-dropping (book-dropping?)


    Clive Blazely says that:

    “Growing your own vegetables is the single most important step to a sustainable, healthy life. When vegetables are grown at home they are fresh and free of chemicals, eliminating food miles and cutting CO2 emissions by up to 30%. It takes a few hours of work a week. In just 40 square metres you can grow 472kg of vegetables which is enough for four people.”

    From Growing your own heirloom vegetables: bringing CO₂ down to earth, p. 24. You can find out more about the Diggers Club here.

     

    Feasting on Floriade’s “Tasteful Sensations”


    Recently Floriade – a festival of flowers – was held in Canberra, with a “Tasteful sensations” display showcasing the beauty of bush tucker, herbs and vegetables. In the Floriade picture below, my culinary ignorance asserts itself as I can only identify parsley and perhaps rhubarb. A beautiful garden and knowledge of plants are definitely only aspirations at this stage!

     

    Floriade's Tasteful Sensations - detail

     

    Australian bushfood cuisine


    As well as growing our own food, we can minimise the environmental impact of our food choices by looking at sustainable, local Australian cuisine.

    Vic Cherikoff’s book Uniquely Australian: a wild food cookbook: the beginnings of an Australian bushfood cuisine is very readable with lots of glossy, lust-worthy food pron pictures.

    In his book, Vic discusses the possibilities of using eucalypt, desert wattles and desert oak saps as natural sweeteners. These could really change the landscape of the sugar and artificial sweetener industry, as we have seen with xylitol and stevia.

    You can find out more about Vic and his Australian recipes here.

     

    You may also be interested to read The urban homestead: your guide to self-sufficient living in the heart of the city which has very easy step-by-step instructions and down to earth advice about reducing your footprint. You can see Kelly and Eric’s blog here or follow them at @rootsimple

     

    Back to the source of inspiration – you can find out more about Nick Ritar’s Milkwood Permaculture here or follow him at @Milkwood_Nick

     

     

     

    Here is my burgeoning compost heap, resplendent with the TEDxCanberra catering floral decorations. The rest of our yard – for now – is a very successful dirt garden.

     

    Trove note:


    The book links above will lead you to Trove,   which is an Australia-wide discovery service – a catalogue for many libraries. To find a book in your local area, from the individual Trove book record, click on the “All libraries” tab and then the relevant state/territory tab. Click on the library name to go to that library’s catalogue. See the Trove help for more information.

     

    Happy reading and gardening!