Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fibre Arts@Ballarat - The 2013 Conference
Resource Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Glenys Mann – the founder and owner of Fibre Arts Australia – organizes five-day textile/fiber conferences throughout Australia, which feature highly talented international artists and designers, who share their knowledge and practices.

Marie-Therese and Glenys Mann (the founder and owner of Fibre Arts Australia).

The 2013 Fibre Arts@Ballarat Conference was held from 6th - 12th April and featured lectures, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, trades products and ongoing events that were at the cutting edge of textile art, design and craft practices.

Fibre Arts Australia.

The conference was held at the Ballarat and Queen’s Anglican Grammar School, which is an independent Anglican Church school located at Wendouree (Ballarat), in the state of Victoria, Australia. The city is located 123 km west of Melbourne, Australia.

Google map of Ballarat’s location relative to Melbourne, Australia.

There were five day conference workshops by international and national instructors – Christine Atkins (Reliquaries & Shrines for Pleasure, Australia); Liz Clay (Textile Translations: Nuno Felt with Photography and Mixed Media, UK); Marjolein Dallinga (Sculptural Felting: Experiment and Discovery, Canada); Noriko Endo (Impressions of Japan - Confetti Naturescapes: Exploring Fabric Oil Painting, Japan); Kay Faulkner (East Meets West: Warp Faced Weaves, Australia); John Garrett (Experimental Fibre Constructions with Alternative and Recycled Materials, USA); Heike Gerbig (Words and Threads, Germany); Cas Holmes (Of Cloth Pattern and Clothing, UK); Polly Jacobs Giacchina (Basketry - Abstract Hand Weaving, USA); Cordula Kagemann (Exploring Collage with Paper and Paint, Germany); Peta Lloyd (A Quartet of Artists Books, Australia); Jade Pegler (The Paper Object, Australia); Julie Ryder (Irresistable: Resist Printing on Cloth, Australia); Ann Small (Stack, Stitch, Slash and Show, UK); Alison Withers (Painting with Free Motion Machine Embroidery, Australia); Marie-Therese Wisniowski (In Pursuit of ArtCloth: Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing, Australia). The instructors also gave lectures and presentations on their art practices.

Tutors Marie-Therese, Cordula Kagemann (Germany) and her husband Michael Kagemann.

During the conference other events occurred such as trades fairs, art markets, “Top” table decorations, silent auction, gigantic raffle, 60th birthday bash celebrations, cocktail evening, Fern Bant and Maggie Osinga’s exhibition – “The Colours of Ballarat”, a 15x15x15 “Compact Art” exhibition fundraiser for Fibres Ballarat Scholarships, a 10x10x10 “Intimate” exhibition fundraiser for the Australian Cancer Research Fund, outdoor exhibitions and the students workshop outputs exhibition - all packed into five days!

This installation greeted people as they entered the Traders building. Artist unknown to me. . . sorry !

This blog can only give a vignette of the conference and in doing so many important events and people will be omitted.

The Place – Ballarat (Wikipedia)
Ballarat is located on the Yarrowee river on the lower western plains of the Great Diving Range (mountain chain) in the state of Victoria. Its urban population is just over 94,000 people, making Ballarat the third most populous urban area in the state and fifth in the country. People from Ballarat are referred to as Ballaratians.

Photograph Courtesy of Craig Holloway.

The City of Ballarat local government area encompasses both the Greater Ballarat urban area and outlying towns, with an area of 740 square kilometres (290 square miles). It has an estimated population of almost 100,000. Ballarat is its most populous urban center, seat of local government and administrative center.

Photograph Courtesy of Craig Holloway.

It was named by Scottish squatter Archibald Yuille, who established the first settlement with his sheep run called “Ballaarat” in 1837. The name was derived from local Wathaurong Aboriginal words for the area, “balla arat”, which was thought to mean - "resting place". The present spelling was only recently officially adopted by the City of Ballarat in 1996.

Kangaroos and Cassowaries.
Photograph Courtesy of Craig Holloway.

Historically, it is one of the most significant Victorian-era boomtowns in Australia. Just months after Victoria was granted separation from New South Wales, the Victorian gold rush transformed Ballarat from a small sheep station to a major settlement. Gold was discovered at Poverty Point on 18th August 1851 and news quickly spread of rich alluvial fields where gold could easily be extracted.

Sovereign Hill in Ballarat is a historical theme park of the region.

Within months, approximately 20,000 migrants had rushed the district. Unlike many other gold rush “boom” towns, the Ballarat fields experienced sustained high gold yields for decades.

Photograph Courtesy of Craig Holloway.

The Eureka Rebellion began in Ballarat and it was the only armed rebellion in Australian history. It was the first republican movement in Australia. The Battle of Eureka Stockade, took place on 3rd December 1854. In response to the event the first Australian introduction of full suffrage was instituted and as such Eureka was interpreted by some as the origin of democracy in Australia.

“Red Coats” are the British Soldiers.
Photograph Courtesy of Craig Holloway.

The gold rush and boom gave birth to many other significant cultural legacies. The rebellion's symbol, the Eureka Flag has become a national symbol and is held at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

Eureka flag held in the Ballarat Art Gallery.

Photograph Courtesy of Craig Holloway.

Ballarat and Queens Anglican Grammar School
The Conference, its events and most of the attendees were housed in the Ballarat and Queens Anglican Grammar School, which is an extensive parkland campus near Lake Wendouree and in the subub of Wendouree (Ballarat). It hosts a flourishing community of learners, with boys and girls attending Ballarat Grammar.

Mosaic on a wall of one of the college’s buildings.

Over 200 students live in family-oriented boarding houses. The School’s focus is on the education of the whole person, and engagement with wider communities, locally and globally, in order to develop thriving, happy, well-grounded individuals intent on establishing their pathway in the world.

Water feature (sculpture) on the grounds of the college.

The youngest enter their new purpose-built Centre for Early Education at age 3. Year 7, at the commencement of secondary schooling, is the other major entry point, and boarders enter in Years 7 – 11.

Contemporary sculpture on the grounds of the college.

Many alumni have made significant contributions to the Nation, in politics, in academia, education and health services, in business and as musicians and artists.

The peaceful ambience of autumn at the college.

The Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts (WCPA) was opened in 2006 through a partnership between the School and the wider Ballarat Community. The main auditorium seats 857 and the expansive stage area has the capacity to handle a range of performances. It is used by the School and also hosts community events and performances. Ballarat Grammar's Music School is located within the WCPA, featuring tutorial and rehearsal rooms, and a professional recording suite. The WCPA also features natural cooling utilizing underground catacombs and natural air-flow.

Mural panels depicting aboriginal artworks on the building facade.
In the background, dyed hanging textile lengths featured near the entry doors to the dining hall.

The People
There were approximately 200 participants at the conference and so only a slice of those there – mostly the tutors and the organization ladies (The Golden Girls) – are given below. If you get tired of seeing my profile, have pity of on my husband who took most of the shots!

Estelle Virgen, Christine Atkins - tutor Australia, Marie-Therese - tutor Australia, and Warren Virgen.

Liz Clay - tutor UK, Mags Nixon - Golden Team Foreman, seated right Jade Pegler - tutor Australia, standing at back Julie Ryder - tutor Australia.

Marjolein Dallinga - tutor Canada and Marie-Therese.

Tutors Noriko Endo - Japan, and Peta Lloyd - Australia.

Tutors Cas Holmes - UK, and Marie-Therese.

Tutors Ann Small - UK, Kay Faulkner - Australia, and Polly Jacobs Giacchina - USA.

Tutors John Garrett - USA, and Marie-Therese.

Tutors Polly Jacobs Giacchina - USA, and Alison Withers - Australia.

Noriko Endo - tutor Japan, Dr. Pamela Croft - artist Australia, and Marie-Therese.

Marie-Therese, Heike Gerbig - tutor Germany, and Laziza Hawkins - participant Australia.

Mags Nixon - Golden Team Foreman, Marie-Therese, Janice Appleton - Golden Team Office Manager.

John Garrett - tutor USA, and Belinda Gonsalves - Golden Team #1 Leading Hand.

Doris Gordon - reflexologist extraordinaire and Mags Nixon enjoying a cuppa and a laugh!

The Changing Art Scene
The college grounds contained its own art (see above) but as the conference began, there was a changing art scene on the college grounds created by the students, artists and tutors alike. It became a dynamic art feast, a daily surprise and moreover, something that ushered you into the joy of each day. Below are just a glimpse of some of those images.

View of the dyed hanging textile lengths featured near the entry doors to the dining hall.

Beautifully crafted sculptural forms created from books appeared on a daily basis, which evolved into new works on the following days. These inspiring artworks were created by the very talented book artist Deb McArdle. This image shows a side view.

This image shows a view taken from above of the same piece – see previous photograph.

With delight and anticipation, we were treated to the evolution of these beautiful works on a daily basis.

Evolution of the above works as the week drew closer to an end. This image shows a side view of the piece.

More beautiful works greeting us at the various workshop buildings and elsewhere.

We were also treated to the visual narratives of indigenous artist Dr. Pamela Croft, Kooma clan, of the Uralarai people, SW Queensland who lives and works from her studio near Keppel Sands on the Capricorn Coast in Central Queensland, Australia. A prolific artist who works in various media including prints and works on paper, painting, sculptural assemblage and installation works. Her installation works, which were featured around the grounds and on building facades employed mixed media and found objects.

This installation by Dr. Pamela Croft depicts The Kulin nation, which was an alliance of five Indigenous Australian nations in Central Victoria, Australia, prior to European settlement, that spoke related languages.To their east lived the Gunai/Kurnai people of Gippsland. Five distinct languages were spoken in two groups. The Eastern Kulin group includes Woiwurrung, Bunurong, Taungurong, Ngurai-illam-wurrung. The western language group included just Wathaurung.

The Event
Fern Bant and Maggie Osinga’s exhibition "The Colours of Ballarat"

Fern Bant and Maggie Osinga presented a collection of their new works at the Ballarat Grammar School Gallery. The exhibition works were based on the annual Begonia Festival which has been held in the City of Ballarat for 61 years. These bright, colorful Begonia flowering plants bloom well in the temperate climate of Ballarat. The artists interpreted this vibrant genus of flowering plants as felted wearable arts garments and accessories, which they created in wool and silk fibres. An installation of smaller works relating to the theme of the exhibition was also created.

Artist's Statement
"With this our third combined exhibition we had a directional change from our usual monotone palette to include more vibrant colors. Our colors reflect the begonias of Ballarat. The strong black and white background is complemented by the introduction of intense color.

Each piece stands alone, but together works in harmony to create a cohesive body of work.
Our thought processes are interpreted in our small reflective images.
Wearable art with a strong fashion element continues to be the basis of our collaborative endeavours."

Fern Bant and Maggie Osinga 2013.

The Colours of Ballarat exhibition opening.

In the centre wearing black, Glenys Mann, (Fibre Arts Australia co-ordinator) opens the exhibition with artist Fern Bant to her right. Maggie Osinga is just seen behind to the right of Fern Bant.

View of some of the felted wearable arts garments and accessories, which were created in wool and silk fibers.

View of more felted wearable arts garments and accessories in the exhibition.

The installation, which consisted of smaller works relating to the theme of the exhibition.

Next weeks post will feature my students outputs from the five day workshop - "In Pursuit of ArtCloth: Disperse Dye and Transfer Printing", which was held at the 2013 Fibre Arts Australia Conference.


Flora Fascinata said...

Wish I was there! Thank you for this comprehensive recount. Enjoyed seeing the tutors and participants and what a stylish bunch. I'll enjoy showing this to my Senior textiles students next Semester. :)

Glenys said...

What a fabulous 'montage' of the event makes me feel that we are all together once again.... well done and thnaks so much!

Cordula Kagemann said...

Thank you, Marie-Therese! It is wonderful to See and read this!

Art Quill Studio said...

Thank you for your kind comments.
It was such a fun and rewarding experience. Thanks to all those who made it such a memorable event for all !

ger said...

Hello, Marie-Therese... What a wonderful memory-enhancer (even if I look a trifle worn-out in the photo...;) - hope all is well, and best wishes from Berlin! H.

Art Quill Studio said...

Hello Heike,
Lovely to hear from you.
Pleased that you like the memories we all shared . . . as sleep deprived as some of us were at the end - too much excitement and late night talks !
A great experience never-the-less !