'Winter Retrospective' - Jamie Ferguson & Michaela Alexander - July 2018
The beginning of winter saw Jamie and Michaela conceiving the stunning 'What's On' notice board on the stairwell wall in the foyer entrance which is full of NEA happenings.
The winter solstice poetry evening inspired and organised by Seamus is now a treasured memory of those who attended, Follow up sessions for practicing poets are now planned on the last Sunday of the month between 2 and 4pm . Poetry evenings to celebrate the solstices, perhaps even an equinox or two, will provide a further chance for poets to read and perform their work..
Seamus has continued facilitate sessions with Irish music playing friends in the NEA foyer throughout the winter. He has also introduced sessions in wood carving and whittling to the obvious enjoyment of woodworking friends and keen woodworkers with ties to NEA.
Janet Douglas and the U3A Recorder Group began meeting fortnightly in Gallery 2 on Wednesday mornings in June. Some of the group always stay behind for a warming drink in the Red Road Cafe! .
NEA's committee of management continues to work to master systems and can often be found problem solving about matters of governance and administration. The MYOB system is now in place with Joan from 'A Balancing Act' providing highly valued bookkeeping services and consultancy.. With space finally in the volunteer artisans calendars to schedule Point of Sale training, training in the Point of Sale system, purchased with a grant, has been provided to responsible committee members. Training is now rolling out to volunteers in the gallery/shop and will soon be fully operative.
With Winter a wonderful time to knit and crochet, throughout the winter months activities including the International Sit and Knit day celebrated by Annie and friends in Gallery 2.; preparations for Benalla's winter yarn bomb event 'Benalla Rugged Up'; baskets with wool and pieces being collected for the yarn bomb and our own come and try knitting needles and wool were the order of the day.
NEA's Gallery Shop began opening 7 days a week in June as did the Red Road Cafe. Operating something like a cooperative within a cooperative, Tim B, Ruth M, Sam and Lauren are sharing the daily operation of the cafe. As a general rule, Tim puts on his barrista hat on Saturday mornings, Ruth is barrista on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays (Ruth's hot and spicy pumpkin soup with toast is popular on a cold wintry day), while Lauren and Sam are 'mine hosts' from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday...
Felting workshops somehow have a good 'fit' in' winter - Annie has presented a number of felting workshops in June. Sally's Introduction to Jewellery making workshop continues to meet regularly, with Seamus and other NEA volunteers often found in the class learning new skills to introduce into their work..
There have been some wonderful Gallery Gigs, with NEA volunteers supporting Michaela as she applies her musical knowledge and instincts, passion and energy to providing opportunities for singer/songwriters to perform in an intimate and appreciative setting in Gallery 2 on a regular basis.
It was also Plastic Free July - a self portrait by NEA' artist Janet Leith 'A Sense of a Special Place'' featured on our home page throughout July. Janet's painting was displayed as part of GANEAA's 'Plastic Free July' inspired exhibition 'It's In the Bag' 3 to 31 July at Bainz Gallery in the foyer of the Wangaratta Library.
During Plastic Free July we shared a captivating video by Wangaratta's Luke Davies and his Recycled String Band 'Recycle and Reuse' on Facebook. Luke featured on blues harp and vocals in a set or two with Scott Cooke and Corin Raymond in a Gallery Gig in April. Thanks for writing this great song, Luke!
There is likely to be more to report on than this, particularly as there's another month to go, but hopefully you'll catch up with this in the Newsletter, Instagram or Facebook!
An occasional BLog.
While some NEA members have headed towards the sunshine during the winter months, others have been quite involved at NEA, There has been an active workshop program throughout June and July, NEA artisans have been exhibiting work in the region and some artisans have been winning awards. New artisans have applied to be represented in the gallery, with some already on the gallery roster. Artisans and others have been collecting firewood to keep warm at home as well as volunteering at the gallery, which has been able to be warmed up sufficiently to be comfortable.
Over the winter months I've enjoyed helping to develop our new website. Designed by Tim Bowtell and supported by Tim Gardner it moved from being a test site to the http://northeastartisans.org web address in June. The Artisans pages on the drop down menu are a real strength of the new website - providing currently exhibiting artisans with an additional opportunity to exhibit their work and provide contact details. If you haven’t been approached or included yet, please contact Tim Bowtell with (any or all of) three photos of your work, some introductory ‘bio’ wording/ideas and contact details/URL addresses for links.
The entrance gallery space is evolving into a first point of call when people come to NEA. It's also a space in which artisans often meet, work and share ideas and about their work and philosophies about the arts and crafts in general.
Cornelia Selover can often be found working in the entrance gallery area. I enjoy questioning Cornelia about her work and in the week of the traumatic killings in Nice was particularly moved by the story behind her work 'A feather fell' (pictured below), inspired by reactions of a friend after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris.
Tim Bowtell and Deb Dodd have made weekends at NEA particularly enjoyable and productive for those attending their workshops over the winter months. Tim's Oil Painting - Beginners workshop series is now into it's fourth session.
By August 7th, Deb will have presented two Beginners' workshops and three Bring Your Own Mosaic workshops in just two months - with grouting sessions as well. I've decided that mosaics suit my impressionistic temperament and have thoroughly enjoyed Deb's beginners' sessions.
In addition to these NEA workshops, NEA artisans Annie Longmuir and Cornelia Selover are presenting workshops at Benalla Gallery - Annie is in the midst of a series involving creative knitting, while Cornelia will be presenting life Drawing sessions at the Benalla Gallery on Saturdays 13th, 20th and 27th of August from 1 - 4 pm. Kate Jenvey enjoys running workshops both at NEA and in her studio at home, however is currently focusing her attention on producing works for a solo exhibition to be held at Benalla Art Gallery early next year.
As an 'as needed' non-artisan volunteer in the gallery it is such a privilege to meet new artisans exhibiting in the Gallery. Garth Mitchell, a maker of superbly crafted wooden walking sticks, brought his work in last week while I was on duty, while new artisan Amanda Green, who is exhibiting thoughtfully produced, high quality bees wax candles under the label 'Ladybug Green' 'Goodies inspired by nature' also called by.
It's also wonderful to hear that works we have come to treasure have found the right buyer, such as with sculptor Shaun Murphy's coffee table. We will miss it. .
During June and July I've visited two exhibitions in Wangaratta featuring NEA artisans Elaine Murphy - in the intriguing 'Inking the Flyleaf' exhibition at the Baintz Gallery at Wangaratta Library - and Carol Sonogan in the inspirational 5th Biennial Petite-Miniatures Textiles exhibition at the Wangaratta Art Gallery. I've written about Elaine's work in an earlier post. Carol's petite-miniature textile was just as beautiful as I was told it would be. Artists from around the country participate in this project, displaying contemporary textiles that are no larger than 30x30x30cm. Carol currently has a number of her petite embroideries on exhibition and sale in the NEA gallery - including one titled 'Winton Wetlands' pictured on the left among her other pieces currently on show.
NEA's Facebook page is a great place to catch up with artisan news - for example, over the solstice months we read that Kate Jenvey had won the 'Best Drawing' prize at the Flinders Art Show and also read about Annie Longmuir's second prize for her entry of home spun art yarns at the Australian Sheep and Wool Show. .
Monthly Friday night 'Table Top Games at NEA' games nights have swung into action during the winter months. Our Facebook page has photos of the events and reminders of date, but there is also a dedicated Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/TabletopGamesatNEA/
Only another month of winter! Just before spring starts we'll be able to head out to the 23rd Annual Bald Archy's Prize at Swanpool - 20th August to September 2nd - Tim Bowtell's entry is likely to get lots of local support in the 'People's Choice' category.
On a final note... establishing a 'Friends of NEA' group would provide a way for non-artisan members of NEA to make a more defined contribution to NEA's continuing existence and development. Initial research into 'Friends... Inc' based groups seems to be a good idea as a starting point - it appears, for example, it's important to have a distinctive structure and a separate bank account for fundraising. If you would like to join in the process of background research and preparing for a first general meeting to gain expressions of interest in joining 'Friends of NEA', please contact me at email@example.com or leave a message at 0478 607 838. Perhaps next winter there'll be news to post from 'Friends of NEA'.
**'The Occasional Blogger' is open for submissions by NEA members who may, from time to time, have a strong urge to write about NEA for this column!.
Benalla Street Art Wall to Wall Festival
Benalla Street Art Map
Benalla Youth Action Committee
Juddy Roller Wall to Wall
Benalla Art Gallery
Shepparton Art Museum
GANEAA (Goulburn and North East Arts Alliance)
Wangaratta Art Gallery
Table Top Games at NEA