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?
The family portraits are really the next step in genealogy, a visualised family tree based on photographs of Lightfoot’s forebears. There was no image of Ann Thorn, so her face is an enticing blank canvas. I was thinking about how much information we lose through death – the exhibition begins with family from 1800, it’s surprising that there’s only one person who has no remaining documented likeness.
Making the ceramic forms and conducting the research, like all family history, was a labour of love, and would have grown the relationship between the artist and her ancestors, across time and space.
It’s the last day of the exhibition tomorrow – it closes at 4pm. It’s well worth seeing just to appreciate the strength and depth of family connections.
We trekked up to Goulburn to research for an upcoming Arlis/ANZ (Arts Libraries Society, ACT chapter) roadtrip.
Last year our chapter visited Braidwood. In the years to come perhaps we’ll go to Cooma, Gunning, Gundaroo, Murrambateman (nearby Crisp Galleries), Mittagong (antiques/crafts and I’m excited by veg*n places like nearby Berrima Health Vegetarian Café) or Crookwell (they have a Potato Festival! …need I say more?).
Our first stop was Grit café, which had been recommended for its vegan options. The food was nice (a modified big breakfast) but I’m sorry that I got a bit hangry with the lady at the counter, because she opened with the vegan options being salad. Regrettable.
My modified big breakfast was still enjoyable and they are able to veganise smoothies with soy or almond milk. Next time it would be better to call ahead, to see if they had any raw vegan desserts like the scrumptious-looking ones in their facebook albums.
I do feel bad about my poor manners, but it was also the disappointment of huge anticipation for their cakes and vegan-friendliness.
We enjoyed the toy shop in the main street which sells a projector painting set which claims “The children have it, with a color of the sky.” I remember having the sky when I was a kid. Less on the sliding scale of family-friendly was a painted sign in the pub’s window but sadly we weren’t there on a Wednesday.
Marilyn Psuchake’s 3 Poles were stunning, Here+Now was my favourite one, with the mosaics providing a preview of the local buildings. There is a great shot of them (as a group) by creakingbones. I should have been more organised and looked at the Art in public places brochure.
The Lilac City Markets were just wrapping up and were high on the chutney index, and it was intensely windy so all the petals were flying off the nearby rose garden. I can see why it’s called the City of Roses (but the next festival isn’t till March). Apparently the “go-to” markets are 3rd-Sunday-of-a-month at Riversdale Homestead and the 4th-Saturday-of-a-month Goulburn Brewery Craft Markets.
The Library was closed which was disappointing, but it helped us to find the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. These dogs (Amanda Stuart’s mongrel country (nil tenure), 2013) were guarding the outside. This image of another iteration of the sculptures out in the “wild”, which gives such a joyous and free feeling of bounding across open country.
The current exhibition is Rod McRae’s Wunderkammer, filling the gallery with installations focused on taxidermied animals (all ethically sourced), addressing environmental topics. It was confronting, but that’s what made it work – and I saw a sad connection with all the roadkill on the way back home.
We had a few misses with antique shops, because Glenholme Antiques and Collectables is now closed (the owner has retired). I consoled myself by looking at the hydrangeas. These were one of my childhood flowers and the colours are an interesting indicator of soil condition.
Café Book is also closed on weekends which was disappointing as I’d like to see their book stock. Other places that we should try next are Shaw’s Antiques, Michael’s Old Wares and Collectables, Accolade Antiques and Yarra Glen Pottery.
We tried to find Gallery on track but must have taken a wrong turn, in any case we were treated to a small informal graffiti show under the bridge.
We initially went to the old street address for The Argyle Book Emporium (don’t go to 176 Sloane Street, it’s now at 260 Sloane Street). We found them on the second go, and my goddess, it was astounding. Amazing. The building was previously the police station, and the strong holds are just full of books covering every surface, as though they’re melting Dali clocks draped everywhere. It was the highlight of our visit. They sell records too.
I had a great vegan dinner in June last year at 98 chairs, and they again made some custom menu options for us. The veganised roasted mushroom, garlic & Dutch cream potato soup was my favourite, then we had the vegetarian (for me, without cheese) combo dish (vegetable assiette, fresh spring rolls, kimchee, corn grain and miso salad, red cabbage, mushroom and leek pie). I liked the different elements on the dish but discovered I’m not evolved enough for kimchee. Mr Sonja loved the zucchini fritters too.
I have yet to try the other vegan-recommended places (Ban Thai and Gouburn Workers Club).
We stayed at Mandelson’s, an 1846 historic guesthouse. It was very beautiful, and had the feeling of Professor Xavier’s mansion. There are lots of sitting rooms, they used to have high teas which I can vividly imagine.
There is also an expansive quilting room which has lots of imported batik fabric (for sale!) and sewing detritus, which was why Claire (one of the owners) was keeping the door closed. The entryway has the original marble black-and-white checkerboard floor which would be suited to dramatic entrances (I wonder if the early Masonic presence in the town contributed to the choice of pattern? Pure speculation but could be an interesting theory!).
No roadtrip is complete without some #PatADay action. We met another visitor, the owners’ grandpuppy, Wataru, who was just cuteness overload and so soft. He is bilingual so he can woof in Japanese (wan-wan).
Previous guests (back in the day) include photographer George Barron Goodman, who advertised for people to sit for portraits at Mandelson’s, when he was visiting in February–March 1847 (Advertising. (1847, February 11). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW), p. 1.) and (Advertising. (1847, March 22). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW), p. 1.). He was making daguerrotypes, a precursor to the modern photograph.
Goodman also promoted his collection of views of Australia’s interior landscapes, which he employed as excellent embellished scenery for portrait backgrounds (Advertising. (1847, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 1.). Perhaps Goulburn was added to this collection once he visited?
Someone on Tripadvisor said Mandelson’s was “a bit like Cluedo” and I can see why – it would be a fantastic setting for a Murder Mystery party or lots of other events.
On the way back, we didn’t visit the Big Merino (again) but here is a Merino butt pic.
I was sorely tempted by Collector and the new café on the way past, but we ran out of time. I used to really enjoy Lynwood Café, and I agree with theyellowhouseintheU, it is a big loss, but she says that Some Café is really worth a visit – see yellow’s post. You can still buy Lynwood jam, though. I fell asleep for most of the way home.
On Sunday, my dear friend Lani and I enjoyed a relaxing Braidwood/Bungendore roadtrip. The itinerary is quite similar to two previous Braidwood roadtrips (May 2014 and June 2014). I guess I enjoy it as a destination, given that I had an undocumented journey there since then with the lovely Ms C too.
Dojo bakery had run out of bagels (which are vegan!) so I had bread rolls instead (not very exciting but I appreciate that they have an ingredient chart to say what’s dairy-free).
Our main motivation for this trip was to see Franki Sparke’s Pictographics show at The Left Hand. It alone was so, so worth the trip. It’s on for one more weekend (2 & 3 May). Sometimes I forget how uplifting it can be to see an exhibition, that it puts the joy back into art.
We loved seeing the carved erasers which are gorgeous objects in themselves and reveal “behind the scenes” (as owner Julian explains, all their shows aim to give an insight into process and making). Even the tinted stencils curled up on each other on a plinth like layers of skin pulled off a healed wound, different depths of the paint outlined the teeth of building windows and spattered at road edges.
It was just after Anzac day, so String still had a display of poppies and banners, it’s my favourite shop not just for their wares but because it keeps the same scent as my Grandma’s house (this was the exact reason I used to love Benedict House). In the adjacent Altenburg and Co, there was an interesting show on the environment of the south coast by Mirabel FitzGerald. “Among the trees the light permeates and displaces everything, a continuum of spaces, solids and fractured forms.”
We walked up the road to Longbarn, they have a wonderfully violent-looking wheat thresher thing with embedded shells. I like to touch it when I visit, it’s like a grown-up version of daring yourself to stick a finger in a lit candle. It hasn’t cut me yet.
There were lots of adorable dogs on main street as usual, a French bulldog and heaps of others, I hardly got to pat any. This cutie was outside the bakery. At the end of the day, Lea told Mr. Sonja that “She patted all the dogs in Braidwood”. I really wished I had. It was a very low #PatADay score.
On the way back, we dropped in to the Sugden/Hamilton ceramic studio and shop, which I’d been meaning to visit for a while. The miniatures in the window are so charming, they also have some nice brooches, but the inlaid coloured clay bowls are my favourite (particularly the MP homages).
Unfortunately the McLeod Gallery was closed and William Verdon jewellery had a mysterious carved stone display. Next time I’d like to try the vegan food options in Braidwood itself, as it was the wrong day for the market (so no pizza for me).
We called it a day and headed back through Bungendore. It didn’t feel as engaging as Braidwood, perhaps it’s because no longer contains the sense of being “other” because it’s gradually becoming more of the shoreline of Canberra (in recent years a government department grew there). I do enjoy the mysterious teddy bears on the trees along the way, though.
I patted the cat (dozing next to the fireplace, didn’t even wake up!) at Village Antiques and there was a really nice Japanese hand painted tea set, but I decided that I didn’t need a fruit salad decorated cup because people always try and make me eat salad, the rotten stuff. I don’t need a picture of it in my life too, no matter how pretty.
We tried to find some of my brother’s work at the Bungendore Woodworks Gallery (his name is Rolf! He has recently started his own cabinetmaking business). He might have a something there but couldn’t see the shelf for the trees. We checked out the Ken Knight painting show upstairs and were most entertained by some of the mischievous entries in the gallery diary.
Mercifully the Woodworks café’s soup of the day was unintentionally vegan so there was something I could eat. The waitress said I was the first vegan she had ever met there. I focused on looking normal.
We then drove back to Canberra and I said goodbye to all the bears nailed to the trees.
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.
Today’s roadtrip from Canberra to Braidwood was a test run for an upcoming day trip for ARLIS/ANZ ACT Chapter (Arts Libraries Society Australia & New Zealand). We really enjoyed the town (thank you Ms. E!) and it looks like there’s lots more to discover.
It took under an hour to get there, but we needed to start with victuals! We went to the end of the main street and got drinks and pastry from Dojo bread, who also run bread-making courses through The Farm Dojo. I think all the pastries contained dairy, so I had secondary enjoyment by staring like a carbcreeper.
Braidwood Farmers Markets had excellent vegan manoush pizza – delicious thin crust with za’atar, lemony sumac and sesame seeds. The markets are on the 4th Saturday of each month. Dojo have a stall at the markets too, so if you can’t see the bread you want at one place, try the other!
Our first cultural stop was the fYREGallery and STUR gallery + store, who have some lovely gifts including baggies of vintage erasers and matchbox gardens. They’re showing FromAtoB: photographs & sculpture by Joteva & Ned Bott, till 29 June.
We meant to go to Left Hand gallery but I got confused and we walked to 18 Lascelles Street instead of 81 Lascelles Street. Oops. There isn’t much to see at 18, but we did see some nice ducks on the way. They ran away from us.
My other gallery oops (at the other end of town) was the Pig & Whistle, which looked like it’d been closed for a little while but still has signs for the gallery and parking (I’ll update this if I find out more).
Walking into String was like being inside an oversized cabinet of curiosities. There are so many miniature things to find, that it’s best to visit and find see it in person. If you like Melbourne’s Wunderkammer then you’ll love String. String was my favourite place in Braidwood – note that both String and Longbarn are closed all of July.
In the same building as String, Altenburg & Co was showing some great desert paintings, there’s also a Perspex-covered part of the wall in the giftshop section with graffiti from 1913. Each year seems to record the household’s yearly balance.
String’s other business Longbarn (a few blocks away, look for the old bicycle on the corner) is a house layered like a cake with a magical “storybook lovely” cottage garden, full of charming French furniture. They also have chickens! They ran towards us – sorry we didn’t have snacks!
The Boiled Lolly has the wonder of a retro lolly shop with rows of bottles lining the walls, and little packets of the sweets behind them. I found this really comforting, as I didn’t get to experience old-fashioned sweet shops so I only have Dahl’s description of Mrs Pratchett to go by (see The Great Mouse Plot chapter in Roald Dahl’s Boy: Tales of Childhood). There are lots of customised rock candies including “Braidwood rock” which would be a nice local gift, or the “Bugger rock” if you need a present for someone you dislike.
There were many unfamiliar lollies including a bottle of “Squill: herbal flavoured candy” (I have a new resolution of not using the terms candy or cookies, favouring lollies, sweets and biscuits, but this is a label quote). Squill! It sounds like the noise your brother makes if you are having a fight with him and land a stomach punch.
There’s a squill candy recipe in The Australian Women’s Weekly (16 August 1972), reproduced on Trove (scroll to page 69), it has brown and white sugars, glucose, aniseed oil, squill tincture/essence, icing sugar and water. I am ashamed to say I wasn’t game to try it, and now that I’ve found out it has aniseed it is an unlikely scenario. According to urbandictionary, squill isn’t a kind word.
I patted 8 dogs, a #PatADay record! Here is Ringo who had two-toned hairspray and was very sweet. The 7 other dogs included a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, German Shepherd, and a 57kg Neapolitan Mastiff (3 kilos less than me!) and some other little dogs who weren’t that interested.
Flowers at St. Bede’s Parish – I think these are pink wood sorrel, which are very pretty as a groundcover even if they are invasive.
Next time I’d like to see the church’s stained glass windows, and to go to Sugden/Hamilton ceramic studio and shop and McLeod Gallery and William Verdon jewellery. I’ve also heard that despite the name, The Old Cheese Factory apparently does some great vegan food if you call ahead.