Spring Issue 24 * 2016
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The hillscene is created in partnership with Burrinja
Private Group and Individual Crochet Workshops Take some time out and learn a new skill. We are now running private 3 session and term-long crochet classes in Upper Ferntree Gully. Contact Shona on 0468 881 961 for further information and bookings. Visit us on Facebook
Online purveyors of fine natural yarns.
Spring is Budding @ Burrinja Bucket’s List - Melbourne Fringe Festival on Tour Friday October 7, 8pm
Emily Kame Kngwarreye Bush Yam Dreaming
A dark comedy about love and buckets by award winning Belgrave writer Sarah Collins. “quirky, hilarious and heartwarming.” - Beat Magazine
Emily Kame Kngwarreye 16 Sept – 27 Nov A survey exhibition of one of the Western Desert art movement’s most important artists. ‘Few artists have painted the country like she has, with an ability to penetrate its very soul’. - Margo Neale Burrinja - Cnr Glenfern Rd & Matson Drive, Upwey ph: (03) 9754 8723 w: burrinja.org.au
Always… Patsy Cline Starring Courtney Conway Sunday October 23, 4pm From Broadway success to Burrinja. Get swept up in Cline’s magnetic world through 27 of her most unforgettable hits including Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, Sweet Dreams and Walking After Midnight.
burrinja - BUILDING COMMUNITY THROUGH ARTS
editor’s rave We can all breathe a sigh of relief; it's Spring. The wattles have started flowering, and other brave blooms are beginning to make an appearance here and there in celebration of the warmer days that have begun. Ahhhhh, beautiful days make me feel so energised. A lot of energy is exactly what I'll need to get through the next few months as things start to ramp up towards the end of the year. This issue is full of energetic souls who are busy creating, performing, teaching, organising and generally making the world a more awesome place. There are a lot of local achievers who are making great art, such as Andrea Innocent, who has created this edition’s cover exclusively for Hillscene. Her gorgeous works grace the pages of children's books, and she currently works from one of the artist studios at Burrinja. Others, like Michael Di Cecco, are starting up record labels to release the work of alternative musicians. Some are teaching their skills to both young and old, such as Jude Craig, an eco-conscious textile artist, who is the artist in residence at Upwey High School; or Mardi Terrasson, who is imparting drum making skills in her workshops. This is also the season for hillsceneLIVE, a threeday festival presenting seventeen new live art and performance works that will lead us into the unknown. It's an ambitious program which is bound to take you on a journey unlike any other.
We've welcomed two new recruits to our editorial committee: Justine Walsh, who is part of the hillsceneLIVE team, and has written for us in the past; and Jen Angel, whose photography enhances several of our stories, and whose positive energy makes our meetings so heart-warming. Plus, there are those who are contributing to the community by trying to help refugees, or ridding the Hills of plastic bags. These are some of the many energetic locals who will be making the Spring season a time to get out and get busy. So take a deep breath and be inspired by the beautiful weather – and the equally beautiful artists, performers and achievers of the Hills.
Editor/Designer Adriana Alvarez Cover Andrea Innocent Editorial Committee Adriana Alvarez, Ross Farnell, Amy Middleton, Gareth Hart, Anna James, Justine Walsh and Jen Angel. Contributors Andrea Innocent, Jen Angel, Tiffany Morris North, Gareth Hart, Tiffany Parker, Carolyn Oates, Michael Di Cecco, Justine Walsh, Alana Michaud, Toni Main, Omi Milentijevic, Hayley Wilson, Lucy Demant, Darren Clarke, Jude Craig, CJ Baxter, Meeko Jesse Shine and Adriana Alvarez facebook: The Hillscene www.hillscene.com.au blog: hillsceneblog.wordpress.com/ For submission and advertising enquiries email: firstname.lastname@example.org Printed by Ferntree Print on Envirocare 100gsm recycled paper. © Copyright 2016
The hillscene is created in partnership with Burrinja Proudly sponsored by Photo by Adriana Alv
Photos by Jen Angel - Facebook Istoria Photography
WOW! Great Cover Words by Adriana Alvarez and Andrea Innocent Tell us a little about your illustration/art work.
I've been working as a commercial illustrator for almost eleven years. However, I have been in the creative industry for around twenty years working in fashion and graphic design. The work I do now is either for digital media â€“ vector graphics and character design for marketing â€“ or illustrations for books, which is what I am currently working on. As my work was influenced initially by Asian art and design, it maintains that aesthetic, although my style can vary according to the job. I have come to appreciate a tight brief and I'm not talking about underwear. Were you always interested in drawing and art? Yes. Drawing takes me to my happy place.
How did you get started on your journey to becoming a successful artist?
I grew up in a household that really supported and encouraged any creativity, so by the time I was in high school I was 'that kid that draws good'. I found myself deciding to rebel against the assumption that I would become an artist (I was rather contrary) so I studied Fashion Design after completing Year 12. After a few years in my own business I decided to
return to University and do my Masters in Multimedia Design.
How did you end up working in illustration?
I'd just graduated from my Masters when I decided to go and live in Japan. I had the vague idea I was going to pursue animation, however I found it difficult to do this whilst working full time as an assistant English teacher. Animation requires much patience and time, so instead I found myself creating detailed illustrations which told bigger stories, and many of those stories were inspired by Japanese folklore and culture. These images I uploaded to a blog, and I started to get a following as well as commercial work as a result. How did living in Japan influence your art?
Immensely. I lived in Japan for three years, and during that time I really noticed how important visual communication was within that culture. Character design in particular was prolific, and it's only just started to become popular here in
Australia. I think the biggest influence, however, was my ability to tell a story through an image; it took escaping the familiarity of my own culture and living in another to get me intrigued enough about the world around me to want to distil it all into an image. Your characters are simple, yet expressive. Are they based on observations of real people, or more on imagination?
I feel it's most likely a combination of both. My ideas and concepts usually come from an experience or an observation of life, but the characters they embody come from my imagination. Tell us about your other creative projects.
I am currently working on writing/illustrating a couple of books: one is a children's book, whilst the other is more of an art project which began when I was five! I also have several smaller works that I am turning into zines or comics. I am also looking to create an interactive work, which is a long, illustrated scroll based on how music influences our lives.
What's the most important thing when illustrating children's books? The most important â€“ and difficult â€“ thing I find about illustrating for children's books is the ability to match words and pictures. Both words and
pictures should enhance each other; the illustrations need to show more than just a description of the words. I don't tend to strive to tell lessons with the images, just to have fun characters that children can make a connection with. What artists inspire you?
I've been inspired by many different artists over my life, but there are some that I keep coming back to; Beatrix Potter, John Everett Millais, Yoshitomo Nara, Osamu Tezuka and Jaime Hernandez. What do you like about living in the Hills?
The layers. I love that you can look through a canopy of trees to the hills beyond, and often the hills beyond that, usually shrouded in mist in between. It's so calming to be surrounded by green, waving leaves and to be made aware of the passing of time through the seasons. I also love the community of people here. It feels comforting to know we are all huddled around on a mountain â€“ mysterious too. Where can we find out more about your work?
My commercial illustration website is www.andreainnocent.com and my art project website is www.otoshimono.org. I'm also on facebook www.facebook.com/andreainnocentart.
Rocka Babies Words by Adriana Alvarez
If you’re interested in music and would love to introduce your kids to it from a very early age then RockaBilbies is a good place to start. Run by founder Kristy Lewis, RockaBilbies consist of mixed age music classes for families with kids ranging from 0-5 year olds. But unlike other music classes these are based around Kristy’s own music. She writes the songs and puts them on a CD for everyone in the class. The classes are then based around those songs using percussion, dancing, singing, and playing different instruments to develop a sense of beat and love of music. You can also play the songs at home or in the car to get the kids more familiar with the music and enhance the skills that have been developed in class. Kristy decided to start up RockaBilbies after trying to find a class for herself and her child, but finding that the classes available weren’t varied enough. She makes her classes fast paced – one minute drumming, the next dancing with scarves, or using puppets, bubbles or a parachute. Using different games and activities to keep things interesting for the kids and the parents as well. “I kind of wanted to do it to get mums, parents, carers out as well,” says Kristy. “I know I needed it when I was a new mum. I needed to get out and do things.”
Before starting RockaBilbies, Kristy was in a band and worked as a primary school teacher, so teaching music classes was a perfect way of utilising both her talents and expertise. “After becoming a mum I didn’t go back to my band but I still wanted to use my song writing skills and use that creative part of my brain. So I thought this was a good way of combining that.” I asked Kristy if she thinks music is important for children. “Yes definitely, I think children are born with that sense of beat and they can easily lose it. I think, not just music but drama – all those confidence building art subjects – are so good for kids, so that’s why I try and use all those elements.” Drama, dance, learning beat and developing a love for music from the word go is what Kristy is trying to develop in her classes. Making it fun is important for the kids, and it’s a very sociable class, so it’s great for the parents as well. They get involved and make friends or bring a friend with them. “We all chat, it’s very relaxed, it’s not like the kids have to sit, they can run around and move about. It’s relaxing for them too. So the parents tend to tell me it’s a great program, something a bit different.” To find out more including class times for RockaBilbies, go to www.rockabilbies.com
cafe tarts The Patch Store - The Patch Shhhh I’m going to let you in on a local secret. The Patch Store A week earlier, I was all ready to review a café but after a mediocre meal and terrible service at a café that will remain nameless, I decided to find somewhere else to write about. The Patch Store was recommended and a date was set with friends. This quaint general store/ post office/ café was just what we were looking for. The staff were super friendly and, after giving your name with your order, treated you like old friends. The décor is relaxed and homely, and the service prompt. The menu is small – in a good way. Slow cooked, smoked Pork, Beef or Lamb burgers or sliders, roast vege quiches and toasties. We were all drawn to the cake cabinet like bees to a honeypot. The selection was extensive. Homemade and locally made cakes and slices. We chose a vanilla slice, sticky date pudding cupcake and a chocolate brownie. Both the cupcake and the brownie were served warm, yum! As well as supplying local bread and small goods from Bills of Belgrave, like any good general store they sell lollies! Prices are reasonable. Coffee is good. I’ll be back 16 The Patch Rd, The Patch www.thepatchstore.com.au Tiffany Morris-North Tiffany is a passionate artist/crafter/ foodie living with her family in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. Follow her adventures on her facebook page Tiffany Morris-North artist.
Unarticle Words by Gareth Hart According to event organisers, Fusion: The Art of Connection, is an unconference. It is a space for gathering, discussion and inspiration, an informal event that brings participants together to share their expertise with each other. Expect an unfiltered exchange, with over thirty sessions inspired by local arts leaders. The concept of an unconference is that attendees at the conference have just as much to offer as â€˜professionalâ€™ speakers do. Thus, the attendees drive the content and agenda themselves. I participated in the inaugural Fusion in 2015, and the second unconference is taking place at Burrinja on October 14th and 15th, 2016. In the spirit of an unconference, this piece of writing will be an unarticle. Without any set agenda, I wanted to craft a cohesive piece of writing that was driven by responses to the provocation: what ideas, thoughts or questions keep you awake, obsessive and driven? This is an exercise in a number of things: experimental journalism; discussing a shared creative obsession; and unpacking a collective consciousness.
What I received was a collection of deeply insightful and personal responses, which highlighted a fairly concrete flaw in my attempt to probe a collective consciousnessâ€Ś communities are not homogenous. So then, the difficulty: how to acknowledge the voice of the individual within a collective unarticle? As a festival director and cultural development worker, I soundly acknowledge that communities are made up of many micro-idiosyncratic voices, and that to nurture, support and cultivate these communities, one must genetically adapt and grow hundreds of ears.
Alas, I have still committed to writing this article. So how best can I do this? How can I craft an unarticle that is less about my own agenda, and all about an assembled one? How do I avoid this article becoming didactic in its apparent desire to capture an aggregated voice? Instead of a cohesive piece of writing with collective authorship, I now offer you a discreet snippet from each respondent, reproduced verbatim. And I ask, out of respect to each respondent, that you take a deep breath in between each of the following statements.
What ideas, thoughts or questions keep you awake, obsessive and driven? * The idea of arts practice as a highly effective social research method. How can we validate the knowledge and social value of the arts? What does it mean to be an artist who exists in the local rather than national sphere?
* How do we educate creatives to enable them to have long, wonderful careers in the creative arts industry? How do we support creative people in a sustainable way? How do we educate the wider community to the benefits of a creative culture? * The process of creative engagement with communities and cultures that challenge the current western paradigm; indigenous self-determination which runs parallel to my own self-determination. How do we consciously create cohesive selves and live in the liminal space between these binaries, holding on lightly to everything that we know and are in order to develop compassion and resilience and beauty in this strange experience we call life?
* What connects us? What makes us care? What makes us not give a shit? Are single passenger cars an indicator of more people dying alone in nursing homes in the future? What if Pokémon hunting teenagers were welcomed in our parks? What if they knew they were welcomed? What if they knew they were welcomed there when they were not welcomed anywhere else?
By using the space below to pen your response, you keep my belief alive that communities are made up of a mind-blowingly large amount of voices, and that, rather excitingly, communities are not homogenous.
* My art is a tease! She is hard to get along with at times and I often wonder why I love her as much as I do. Finding the threads that make me feel part of a creative consciousness makes me very fulfilled. It keeps me making. I can live without my work… But I can’t live without connecting and it’s through my art that I do that in the most authentic way. * I ’m finishing a Creative Fellowship at the State Library and have unearthed such rich information. The place I am researching has become more than history, more than real. The people are not historical figures, they are people; their daily lives present with me as I go about my daily life. * How needs motivate humans to employ complex strategies in order to have their needs met. Simulation and the remembering of feelings and events. Belief in the possibility of the present moment to connect with self, other and the natural divine world. And now, in parting, I ask you the same question that I asked others, and offer you some much treasured space within the Hillscene magazine to note a response to the provocation: what ideas, thoughts or questions keep you awake, obsessive and driven?
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Thank you to the provocation respondents Viv Rogis, Katherine Reynolds, Justine Walsh, Saba Issa, Amy Middleton and two respondents who would prefer to remain anonymous. Fusion Unconference: October 14th and 15th, Burrinja Cultural Centre. A partnership between the Councils of Casey, Cardinia, South Gippsland, Baw Baw, Bass Coast and Yarra Ranges. Find out more at www.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/fusion
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Spear A review by Gareth Hart In form and content, choreographically and culturally, Spear is an amazing film. The complexly beautiful and evocative movement scores allow you to settle in and be engaged in the entertainment of the film, and whilst engaged, the film serves up some insights into contemporary Indigenous culture. It is riddled with social commentary that is not exclusive (although more present) to modern Indigenous life. Spear is a feature length dance film created by Bangarra Dance Theatre, based on the live dance work of the same name. The stage work, performed in 2000, was critically acclaimed, and showcased the dance company’s true strength: telling stories of Indigenous relevance to a contemporary audience. Bangarra is one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies, and continually creates new dance work of critical and social acclaim. Spear is the first Australian feature film produced by an Indigenous producer. I was lucky enough to see this film when it screened recently at the Warburton Arts Centre. I sat in seat J5 – not an important detail beyond the fact that I had the choice of every seat in the theatre. I was the only person in the screening. I had a chat to the Front of House attendant about why this was; we agreed that
dance is hard. Dance film is probably even harder. Usually dance films are limited to punchy 3—5 minute shorts, or the risker 10— 15 minute long-form version. Spear sits at 80 minutes. The film is something to be celebrated on many levels. Spear is the most culturally, cinematically and thematically important dance film I have ever seen. As the film opens, we are presented with a number of Indigenous people set against a backdrop of tumultuous crashing waves and jagged cliff formations. We are introduced to the bodies of the cast; they stand, dressed in jeans, in relative stillness atop the rocks. One man stands out – Djali – played by Hunter Page-Lochard, whose haunting gaze seems to stare into the camera with simultaneous poignancy, confusion and longing. PageLochard’s performance, for the majority of the film, consists of a deeply considered use of gaze, posture and facial features. It is a bold choice for a dance film to portray the lead character with barely any dance until late in the film. Interestingly, Djali seems to be a protagonist of observation, as opposed to the subject of the narrative. It is a curious cinematic device, distancing Djali from the action of the film, and creating a sense of empathy with the viewer in seat J5. As I watch, questioning my place and relationship to land, so does Djali. Instilling this sense of empathy is a powerful thing, and testament to PageLochard’s performance.
Photos by Tiffany Parker
The film begins being washed by the sea, cleansed by smoke, dressed in denim. This is cut with images of the urban streets of Sydney, set against the fading twilight and the glow of car headlights. The cinematography is breathtaking, the lack of dialogue speaks volumes to me, and the juxtaposition of natural and urban landscapes is as transparent as glass: this is a film about having â€œa foot in two worlds, a heart in noneâ€?. This theme is repeated throughout the film, but in differing emergences. We are constantly presented with images of polarity: the natural and urban environments; narrative based cinema and complex choreography; cinematic time and historical time; contemporary dance and traditional Indigenous dance. Indeed, the film finds feet in two worlds, consistently. The film traverses many micro-narratives. These stories are framed around a number of scenes that each hint at a powerful commentary on contemporary issues. We see one man grappling with being in prison; a homeless man ranting about equality as a group of men ignorantly pass him by; a Welcome to Country ceremony being performed in an obviously westernised community hall; and an Indigenous drag queen putting on his make-up, whilst another Indigenous man paints himself in ochre. These scenes are loaded heavily with context and commentary, although the delicacy and care with which they are portrayed
never presents as preaching. The themes explored in the film are most opaque when looking at the list of character names that appear in the film. These are: Old Man / Big Man / Romeo / Old Lady / Earth Spirit / Dingo Man / Abused Man / Woman of Desire / Alcohol Man / Androgynous Man / Prison Man. The commentary of the film is evident even here. The character development in each of these performances is superb. It is rare that a dance film can portray character so convincingly, without falling into the trap of over emotionality or pathos. The complexity of character explored throughout the film is nothing short of striking. Cinematically, Spear is stunning. Acknowledgement must be given to the producer John Harvey and his team, who have created a dance film that traverses the art forms of dance, film, visual art and sociology. The scenography is outstanding and some of the internal scenes are infected with flavours of Bill Viola and Bill Henson. The film traverses a tightrope between darkly textural at times, and richly visceral at others. Congratulations to Bangarra for a landmark dance film achievement, and thank you Yarra Ranges Council for taking a punt on programming this film. Even though I was the only person in the theatre, this film has left its mark on me in a very real way. www.spear-film.com.au
Yodelay records Words by Carolyn Oates and Michael Di Cecco The vibrant music community in the Hills has every aspect of the industry covered: venues, managers, bands, retail outlets that sell local music, and now, a record label. Michael Di Cecco is the kind of go-getting person who saw a need and decided to do something about it. So he started Yodelay Records. You have started a record label; what does that mean in the modern world of music streaming? With everything available as a digital download, what does a record label do these days? The role of a label in the modern music industry is definitely a very different proposition to what it was in the good old days. Many artists today are hugely DIY in their approach. It’s not unusual for bands to record, mix, master, distribute, book, promote and run publicity all on their own, and there are many examples of local acts who do a very good job of it too! I love that, and I want to work with bands and artists who have this kind of ethos but might just need the digital distribution side of things taken care of: a launch booked, an instrument tracked, a mix done, an introduction, a lineup for a gig put together, or whatever industry ‘thing’ it may be. I see Yodelay Records as a community for hard working artists whose music will never make it to high rotation on Triple M. I believe ‘not pop' deserves more prominence in our society instead of the dumbed down, image driven white noise that seems to occupy 95 percent of our airwaves. Ideally, I’d like Yodelay to bring so called ‘weird
music’ into the periphery of the mainstream. Yodelay Records is a place where hard working artists who reside outside of the mainstream can find a cost effective, no-frills way to release their music into the wild, onto the major platforms and into venues. I want Yodelay to be there to help in the many ways that could be needed along an artist’s journey. How did you go about finding artists for the label? It was easy! I started by contacting my musical friends that had recordings nearing completion or an amazing back catalogue sitting around, and they eagerly got involved. Also, there are a few bands on Yodelay Records that I might – ahem – be a member of. You have to start somewhere, and now that word is starting to spread to wider circles, I’m finding that I’m not playing on any of the releases that I’m working with, which is a sign things are starting to build, I guess! Once I started collecting some acts together to start it all, I realised I had a pretty unique and eclectic bunch of sounds hanging out together. It wasn’t long until I was approached by a filmmaker who liked this peculiar oddness and wanted to have the entire Yodelay catalogue at his disposal to use as a kind of musical palette for his future films. This has turned out to be a great partnership and another way that I’m helping artists to use their music to passively earn some decent cashola! Needless to say, I’m looking into ways to expand into that area more.
What advice would you offer artists who are looking for a record label? Choose wisely. The old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’, is a good one. Beware of large cash advances. Sending unsolicited CDs to Sony doesn’t work. There are no free rides or easy shortcuts in the music industry generally, sometimes you do hear the odd freak story, but that shouldn’t be the plan for your music career. You are also a fine musician. How do you think being part of bands – live and in the studio – has shaped how you run a record label? Cheers! I’m finding that playing music and running Yodelay require very different sets of skills. I guess basic principles apply to both in terms of being organised, honest, motivated, personable and passionate about what you do. Also, being a working musician has driven home the importance of having a good general industry awareness in relation to bands, venues, festivals, studios and the intricate network of key people behind all of these entities.
I’ve always played music for money at weddings and corporate extravaganzas, but my true passion is making original music. I’ve been around this scene for a while now which, I think, has given me a good ear for artists who are being authentic and producing music that is truly ‘them’. I might not always personally like the particular style that an artist is releasing, but if I get a sense they are really involved, proud, committed and enjoy what they are creating, then it doesn’t matter what I think. I will get behind this kind of artist and do whatever I can for their career. Yodelay Records can be found on Facebook, or on their website www.yodelayrecords.com.au Carolyn Oates Carolyn is a local singer/songwriter who has played guitar for Deborah Conway, Paul Kelly, Vika & Linda Bull, Claire Bowditch Ali Barter & Rebecca Barnard. She also offers music tuition, for more information go to www.carolynoates.com
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Following instinct Words by Gareth Hart For all of its woes, social media has great potential for the Arts industry. It can connect us globally, share our ideas with an engaged audience, and is a great marketing tool. And it is exactly how I discovered Debra Kelly, a talented Monbulk-based artist.
There is something incredibly exciting about an artist who is embarking on a journey of self-realisation. Thankfully, I happened to grab Debra for a hot chocolate recently for what will be, I predict, the first of many interviews for this creative soul! A trained make-up artist and hair stylist, Debra's thirst for creativity and curiosity has led her further into the design, installation and fashion worlds. Her works are delicately hand-crafted with texture and intent, and allude to a timeless haute couture. They hold an ethereal and other-worldly beauty.
DK: I like to keep everything balanced, rhythmic and flowing. I have a little formula in my head so my work has to be harmonious, have rhythm and balance. I guess what I try and do is create an experience and try to transport people to somewhere else. Debra’s journey began in Brunei, where her husband was posted for a work contract. There she undertook some volunteering with theatrical make up, which quickly led her to costume, fashion and design.
DK: We were in the Borneo jungle, so I was inspired by the wildflowers, the shapes and the leaves. It’s very organic. I had always loved makeup and done it for friends, so I decided to push it further; I volunteered for the amateur dramatic society and did make up for them. And it just sort of grew from there. I tried to do my best within the confines of the country I was in. This was my own informal training, really. Fast forward a few years and a number of international moves and Debra stumbles across some dried lotus leaves in a flower shop in Monbulk. Something itched inside, and she knew, for whatever reason, that she should buy them. Home they went, and sat in a drawer for a while. After a time, she dove to her studio with a photographer and a model, and started to create something. What emerged was a thing of immense beauty. A whole world was created
from set, lighting, mood, makeup and model, all focused around a hand-crafted dress made of lotus leaves. It is a work so delicately crafted that it screamed to me through the computer screen. I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to see the installation in its original form in Debra’s private studio. It is a visceral work, richly textural and tactile.
Following instinct, she continually rebirths the design: recrafting and tuning the creation throughout the design process and photo shoot. At one point a bodice becomes a headdress, and a corset made of bark emerges.
DK: [The lotus] has symbolism in Egyptian, Buddhist, and other cultures. And I just thought ‘oh this is so fitting for me right now’. But, was I conscious of it? No, I wasn’t. When I went back and researched, it is all about a cycle of birth, death and growth, so I guess for me, it runs parallel to my life. I move so much every 2-4 years, which is really a birth and a death, because I am coming to terms with this new environment, I have to learn it, get to know it, and then there is the end, when you know you have to leave. It is almost like the death. And I go to the next posting and it all starts again. It’s been a pattern in my life for 18 years. Debra’s process is a complex one, and one that is hard to define, even for the artist herself. I guess that is why I am so drawn to her work. It taps into something subconscious, something less known.
DK: There’s a piece of me that has never grown up, a tiny part of me that has not gone. I guess when I am doing these things, it is the child in me coming out. Often what I do is very quiet and personal. It’s just me. It’s kind of a soulful therapy session with myself. I make an appointment with myself to go down into my bungalow, and just build and create. And that lotus piece, as beautiful as it is, it really came from quite an angry place, a frustrated place.
Whatever it is you do Debra, however consciously, and whatever it means to you – please keep making. Keep being curious about your inner child, keep finding things in the strangest of places, and please keep posting these online to share with the world! See more of Debra’s work at www.debrakellymakeup.com
Photos by Danielle Lopes
Kindred souls Words by Justine Walsh Kindred is a not-for-profit group in the Dandenong Ranges, set up to form friendships with people seeking asylum, provide them with access to important resources, and encourage community engagement. In a time where compassion and kindness towards our fellow human seems to be severely lacking, Kindred represents a gentle and determined approach to reshaping our political, cultural and social landscape.
Put together by a small core group of passionate and dedicated women, Kindred has been raising awareness and providing support since 2014. The group, led by Clare Pritchard, set out with no experience or in-depth knowledge of how to create a fundraising and support organisation. The group has now expanded into a large community of caring people who develop ways to assist in the disturbing and challenging socio-political situation we find ourselves in today. By offering basic care, opportunities and friendship to people traumatised by the process of seeking asylum, Kindred is finding ways to humanise the debate on asylum seekers in Australia.
I spoke to Clare, and local artist and Kindred member Eliza Phillips about what Kindred does, and the reality of seeking asylum. The real life stories are rarely, if ever, told in the mainstream media. People flee their circumstances looking for somewhere to be safe, and instead end up in limbo â€“ usually detained for many years. Deep trauma and
loss of place can result in people developing severe mental illnesses, self-harming and often suicide. The long-term effects of children growing up in these situations are seldom considered. Babies who need to be learning how to crawl cannot because the ground is too rough; the conditions are too appalling for children to play, let alone learn or develop as they need to. Even the most simple needs are not met. It is difficult to even imagine yourself in this kind of situation â€“ once you are in Australia, there are still manifold barriers in place. Even if you are not locked up, the overwhelming majority are still unable to work, can't stay over in another house with friends or family, and travel is very limited â€“ often for years. Bridging visas have no security and your case has the status of 'still in process'. You could be taken away to a detention centre at any time, making it very hard to feel safe or to start building anything. You end up relying on charity, which depletes your self-esteem further. The fabric of society cannot have integrity with people slipping through the cracks. The adversity here cannot be played down. People are suffering, and upon realising the scope of this, Kindred members decided that they could not be complicit, and had to do something. However, it can be damaging to be a witness to the suffering of fellow humans and to have only a
limited capacity to help. Everyone involved has to be aware of their own needs, to ensure they are maintaining their self-care and are supporting each other – and of course seeking professional support for oneself when necessary.
The Kindred community are not individuals who have had experience in setting up organisations, strategic planning, or international relations. They are humans who, simply put, care for their fellow human and know they must do something about this situation. A concern about the Federal Government's policies, and a common vision for a kinder and more compassionate Australia is what has united them. Learning along the way, Kindred has grown into an effective resource for people who are in need of support, and for people who wish to offer their support and want to know how. Some ways to get involved are: - Follow Kindred on Facebook - Join the online action group - Come and meet everyone at a public meeting
Tai Chi & Qigong CURRENT STUDENTS TERM 4 ses Weekly Clas resume 26th September
Chi Generation Tai Chi
Belgrave • Ferntree Gully • Silvan • Upwey
FREE INTRODUCTORY CLASSES UPWEY - 6:30 to 7:30pm - Tues 27th Sept
BELGRAVE - 10:00 to 11:00am - Sat 1st Oct ~ ﬁnd out what its all about at a free one hour session ~
Bookings required for all classes
Call 0437 949 919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginners classes from 3rd october
- Attend fundraisers – or even run one and donate the proceeds! - Become linked up with a family (this is a decision that requires a lot of forethought; you will be screened beforehand, as only dedicated, longterm commitments will be of use to the families) The larger the group becomes, the more funds that are raised, and the more people that are engaged, the more that Kindred can do.
We often feel guilt and shame for feeling like we can’t change anything, don’t know where to start, or for questioning if we can even make a difference – and this is paralysing. However, by doing small things like making connections and raising awareness about the reality of these situations, we can put aside the guilt, shame and helplessness, and share our lives and skills with those who are suffering at the fringes of our society. Together, we can find pathways to integrate and heal. Find out more at facebook.com/kindredkindness or www.kindredkindness.org
Our 2016 Dream
Words by the hillsceneLIVE team: Gareth Hart, Justine Walsh, Alana Michaud and Toni Main HillsceneLIVE has always been ambitious. Since catapulting into the Dandenong Ranges in 2014, we have been on a steep and rapid course destined for the dizzying heights of the unknown. And 2016 is no exception. In fact, the ambition of this year’s program is – I am happy to say – ridiculous. In essence, 2016 encompasses: • A three day arts festival in Mt. Evelyn, presenting seventeen new live art and performance works • A leadership committee for the future arts and cultural champions of our region • A series of critical conversations and professional development sessions • A month long pop-up theatre space in Lilydale (yes, we do branch off the mount!) • HillsceneLIVE 100, a social inclusion project • Practical workshops in theatre, dance, and more All in a day’s stride for a festival and program that refuses to accept the past as pinnacle, and constantly strives to create enriching creative programs for our loving community – the one and only Dandenong Ranges. To surmise, here are some thoughts from the festival team… 2016 Curatorial Vision – insights from Gareth Hart It gives us great pride to introduce the 2016 festival theme: mapping immediacy. As artists working within time-based structures and parameters, we constantly deal with ideas of the immediate. It is, in fact, the potency of our form. That fleeting, immediate, ephemeral nature of the ‘thing’. The immediate holds incredible power to us; it is a tool through which
we present our art. And yet, the immediate world in which we live – which is forever past, constantly future, and perpetually now – demands that we listen with intent. In curating the 2016 festival, we have asked artists to consider the immediate. We wanted to know what work had to be experienced now, which questions were craving answers, and how immediacy plays out in creative practice. Alternative Engagements – insights from Justine Walsh One particularly exciting element of this year's program is the alternative processes of engagement we are integrating: the critical conversation series and workshop sessions. We have discovered over the past four festivals how enriching and fruitful it can be to simply cultivate conversation – not only to inspire and connect artists and people working in creative industries, but also for advancing the overall cultural landscape. These interactions spark new ideas, validate unusual and innovative inquiry, and create new networks. Through the process of flattening the territory and provoking intriguing and vital conversations between individuals, we pave new and exciting paths to traverse, and create opportunities that may not have arisen otherwise. These expansive exercises can also be facilitated through our workshops, where artists share their skills and processes with each other and the public. This year, the hillsceneLIVE program will be overflowing with many alternative ways to engage, and I am so curious and keen to find out what arises through these processes!
Youth Engagement – insights from Alana Michaud Across all the hillsceneLIVE festivals, youth engagement has been an integral part of the process and success of the festivals. HillsceneLIVE supports young and emerging artists, giving them a platform to explore, expand and share their craft. This gives young creatives the space to develop who they are as an artist, while springing them into the art world through the industry connections they make. As a young creative, hillsceneLIVE has given me numerous opportunities through the cultural leadership committee, from personal development and meetings, to producing and working alongside an incredible and experienced team. HillsceneLIVE is excited to work with young and emerging artists, and encourages involvement at all levels – creating, producing and production. HillsceneLIVE 100 – insights from Toni Main Another exciting new addition this year is the hillsceneLIVE social inclusion dinner. On Saturday the 29th of October, the team will host
a free dinner for up to one hundred people. The dinner will include live entertainment from artists selected from the full festival program, giving those who are curious a taster of new and experimental art. Everyone from the local community is invited to come and mingle with the artists, enjoy the entertainment and engage in a discourse about arts and social inclusion. The evening will provide a space for discussion on how arts, and specifically the hillsceneLIVE festival, can provide networks to connect disparate members of a community. Come and join us for food, fun and friendliness. In fact, just come and spend the whole weekend with hillsceneLIVE. It will be a blistering, dynamic and eclectic weekend of creative practice, collective consciousness and culture collisions. Find out more at www.hillsceneLIVE.com and join us on October 28th-30th
Drum dreamings Words by Omi Milentijevic Kookaburras nestled outside a dwelling in Belgrave recently bore witness to a small group of women gathered to craft drums with celebrated Drum Crafter, Author and Rainbow Star community leader Mardi Terrasson. We created our instruments in ceremony, ensconced in the physical immediacy of lacing the strapping and working with the deer hide, all the while connecting with ancestral songs of those who crafted medicine tools before us. With wisdom and gentleness, Mardi guided our hands and hearts to realise the drums each woman had long been holding in their waking and dream life. The relationships formed between drum and maker are ineffably intimate. One workshop participant Padma expresses the strength of their connection, “I could not have imagined the love I have for my drum before creating her. She has a way of singing which calms me when I feel nervous and brings about peace.”
Carol, a beautiful woman who ushered in her drum dreaming by the fire with us recalls, "...sitting with a group of women in a non-judgmental, supportive and nurturing environment; gently crafting, laughing and sharing food...as our defences slipped off, I thought, this is how women are meant to be - not competing and comparing but supporting and nurturing. This is what Mardi embodies. She inspires me to have courage, to follow my path and to do my best to make the world a more generous and caring place” An opportunity to converse with Mardi is an unforgettable honour. I recently shared some tea and tales time with this powerful woman of many talents. Your drums hold many crafting histories and ancient wisdom within…how was the seed planted for your path with the drum?
A long time ago, I had the privilege to meet and share time with American Indian Elders who were also sacred drum crafters. I witnessed a healing with the drum where I saw a person transform into wellness. I observed a breathtaking miracle as their light glowed stronger, in the form of a renewed hope
and inspiration for life. I was mesmerized by the beautiful sound of the drum and how a calm would emanate from deep within my being. Each drum was respected as her own Spirit with her beautiful sound being her Spirit song. The seed of fascination was planted. I knew this tool was more than a musical instrument and that her effect on people awakened natural beauty. I began to hear the sound of the drum wherever I went. I could hear her call as a distant beat within me. When I crafted my first drum I felt like I had been reunited with an old friend. My heart literally opened. I could feel this tool had always walked alongside humankind. This began the journey of drums and the lifelong commitment to learn from many drum makers from many cultures, including my own Celtic and Mongolian heritage. Those of us who have crafted their drums with you, echo the feeling that it is a heart opening experience. You guide the creation of these heartful instruments in many different locations - one that holds a special significance for you is the Dandenong Ranges. Can you speak about the connection your drumcraft has with the Hills? I have lived among the Hills many times in my life and continue to spend a lot of time there. It is a land of great inspiration, beauty and history. Crafting drums in nature among the trees is an unforgettable experience and this leads me to regularly craft in the Dandenong Ranges. Often the Elders we host ask to share their wisdoms in the Hills environment, for its ancient presence and beautiful surrounds encourages everyone to feel alive and happy. My heart is in the Hills. People are drawn to your drum making for a plethora of reasons. How does drumming positively impact the wellbeing of the drummer and the receiver?
I craft drums the old fashioned way and wherever possible with the full preparation of the hide directly from the animal in the wild. This is a time consuming process with some hides taking weeks of loving preparation. The goal is to create a drum that resonates multiple octaves. A drum should have full resonance of sound when tapped in the centre. When played in nature they can create a calmness within
Photo by Hayley Wilson Photography www.hayleywilson.com.au
our minds and spirits. The lineage way of learning teaches that we always honour our teachers who took the time to teach us the skill. Many of the wise teachers I had the privilege to learn from have passed, so each tool we craft and earn money from supports our Indigenous Senior women to be able to share their wisdoms. Giveaway when crafting important tools of empowerment helps to build love and generosity of kindness, only good things can come from gifting. Our drums are only laced with hide and not artificial sinew, as this material is temperamental and has a limited life span. Drum for health and wellness. Our modern world is busy with heavy daily demands, I believe the human spirit was not meant to endure long periods of stress and anxiety from daily living. Drumming offers an alternative method to calm and centre our minds. Music lifts and heals the human spirit. Learning to drum gently for long periods whilst
sitting in nature and combining the gift of song is a magical expression of our beauty.
Crafting and forming a connection with drums allows nature to reveal herself in us. It is an utterly life altering experience to nourish ourselves with an elemental tool - a drum who awakens in their player an ability to see/to move/to shift themselves into renewal. Myself and all those who hold their drums crafted with Mardiâ€™s guidance will attest, drumming is a source of returning to our divine self. We give thanks for our teachers and so I thank Mardi here for warmly sharing her powerful teachings on drum knowledge and mysteries with loving respect. If you are interested in crafting a drum with Mardi, she can be contacted at email@example.com
Volunteers sewing, cutting and pinning Boomerang bags for local traders.
Ban the bag Words by Lucy Demant
Wanting to see real community action around single-use plastics, Hills residents Jen Ellison and Vicki Boyle put a call out in May this year to garner support for a Plastic Bag Free Dandenong Ranges campaign (PBFDR). The community’s response shows the strength of support for this issue. The campaign aims to stop the distribution of single-use plastic bags in the Dandenong Ranges by 2018, and was officially launched in July to great success at Burrinja Cultural Centre. The launch featured a screening of the documentary Bag It, followed by a Q&A that highlighted the depth of feeling our community has for ending single-use plastics. The launch also saw a mass sewing event with over 50 ‘boomerang bags’ produced. Look out for these bags in your local Hills’ plastic bag free retailer – if you forget your bag, just borrow one and return it the next time you shop. Our dependence on plastic bags has an environmental impact that goes far beyond that casual moment when our groceries are placed into them at the supermarket. Every day, Australians use over ten million new bags, with more than fifty million bags littering our parks, waterways, forests and beaches each
year. Made from toxic materials, plastic bags last anywhere from twenty to one thousand years and, while they may break down, they never biodegrade. Plastic bags result in the death of wildlife and marine animals, including semiaquatic animals such as the platypus, found throughout the Dandenong Ranges. Animals ingest the plastic and then die from internal blockages. When the animal’s body breaks down, the plastic remains, and the cycle continues1. But this doesn’t need to be the case; if every Australian family reduced their use of plastic bags by just one per week it would result in a massive 253 million bags taken out of circulation each year2. There are many ways you can support this campaign. The simplest step is to start taking your own reusable bags when you shop. But there is so much more you can do. Following Plastic Bag Free Dandenong Ranges on Facebook and subscribing to the campaign’s email list will keep you updated on campaign activities, events and tips on how to be plasticbag free. And there are other ways you can get involved too – from reusable bag sewing groups, school education, resource development, leaflet drops, stalls and so much more.
Photos by Darren Clarke Left to right: Some of the bags made ready to be taken to shops. Q&A with (L-R) Heather Liney, President of Upwey Township Group; Jen Ellison, PBFDR; Michelle Fisher, Plastic Bag Free Warburton; Jeff Springfield, President of Belgrave Traders Assoc.
This movement celebrates what communities can achieve together. All over Australia and around the world there are amazing communities already plastic bag free, or working hard to achieve this goal. Locally, we have partner movements in Warburton, Healesville, Torquay and Anglesea, while state-wide bans have been placed on singleuse plastic bags in South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and the Northern Territory.
Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by environmental issues. Stopping single-use plastic bags in the Dandenong Ranges is something we can do together, now, to really make a difference and show how the Hills community can lead the way in environmental change. For more information, visit Plastic Bag Free Dandenong Ranges on Facebook.
1. www.cleanup.org.au/au/Campaigns/plastic-bag-facts.html 2. oceancrusaders.org/plastic-crusades/plastic-statistics/
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Invoking Indigo Words by Jude Craig This year I am the artist in residence at Upwey High School. With funding from Creative Victoria, I am introducing students across the year levels to the magic of natural dyeing and, in particular, the alchemical wonder of indigo. I am an eco-conscious textile artist and have been living in the Dandenong Ranges for ten years. I have worked with a variety of natural dyes, from plants foraged from our local environment like eucalyptus and wattles, to master dyes like indigo and madder. Both reflect the same ethic: tread lightly and care for our environment. There is excitement in the serendipitous nature of ecoprinting, coupled with the control and precision required when working with master dyes. I regularly run workshops from my studio Atelier Bye-Ways, sharing this modality with adults and children alike.
The residency at Upwey High School, titled Invoking Indigo, will culminate in an exhibition at Burrinja for those in my Visual Arts classes, and a stall at Grassroots Market for those in the Student Talent Program. Invoking Indigo is a two-pronged creative concept. Students are introduced to the process of extracting colour from an indigo plant
and are encouraged to use it in their own practice. Whilst enveloped in nature, they are then asked to consider the current impact the textile industry is having on the planet. The project’s objective is for students to have an understanding of this precious, natural commodity and to question how it links to the sustainability of our planet. The ‘bigger question’ of the impact of the textile industry will complement the learning of the ancient skill of indigo dyeing. The juxtaposition of the two diametrically opposed practices will encourage students to make a statement through their artwork.
The students have begun their semester by viewing the hard-hitting documentary film The True Cost. This film examines the impact the fashion industry is having on our planet: ‘fast fashion’ is driving the rights and wages of workers in third world countries to an intolerably low level, whilst selling us the ‘dream’ of fashion affordability. The only winner is the fashion house. Substantiated by investigating artists who are manipulating clothing to create works of art, this is the springboard from which students have launched themselves into Invoking Indigo. They are encouraged to rip and
tear garments destined for landfill to redefine the clothing’s sculptural form and to convey a message of treading more lightly on the planet.
The other element of the project focuses on indigo. Indigo is a natural blue dye, which comes from a plant. Through a process of reduction and oxidation, indigo surrenders many shades of heavenly blue hues. It has been used for centuries all over the world, but fell into decline with the invention of chemical dyes. With the global awareness for sustainable lifestyles, indigo is once again being considered a precious commodity. The students have gained the knowledge of how to care for a living vat, and how to coax natural blue from it. Feeding ‘her’ fructose and balancing the pH level with hydrated lime to draw out the blue. They have fully embraced the idea of treating this living vat with great respect and keep challenging me to help them bring their creative notions to fruition. I am discovering that the student’s imagination knows no boundaries. Some have embraced Japanese techniques of shibori, while others are attempting to create a variety of clean hues on clothing to form large organic works. As I write, we are at the middle point of the project; it’s a time to consider curating the exhibition, to collate the disparate elements. At the inception point, I pondered filling the gallery space… presently we are tracking for a sterling show!
And so, we look forward to spring. We look forward to planting out our dye garden and watching the seedlings grow. These plants will yield colour themselves – some in a matter of months, others in years. Our collaboration with the Green Warriors program at Upwey High will continue to develop a garden full of vegetables, complemented by new plants with another objective. So what am I getting out of this residency? I mean, isn’t that the point? A reciprocal arrangement? An exchange of ideas? Well to be fair, I am even more in awe of today’s educators. The consolidated energy that they bring to a classroom determines the outcome. I am learning to find balance and viewing Invoking Indigo as a stepping stone to an ongoing relationship with the school. Learn more about Jude’s work at www.naturallydyed.com.au or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed by Words by Adriana Alvarez Nestled in one of the streets around the corner from my house is a great service which will appeal to a lot of local artists. It is the sort of service you usually have to travel to the city to get, but which now is just a stone’s throw away – a printing and custom framing service provided by now local, Shaun C. Duncan. This is no ordinary print service; Shaun provides high quality printing for artists who want to produce limited edition museum grade prints of their work. Printed with a nine colour printer using pigment inks, not dye based inks, these printers produce a giclée print, which can be printed onto art paper stock, like a textured rag or glossy photo paper. In giclée printing, there is no visible dot screen pattern, and therefore the image has all the tonalities and hues of the original painting. Shaun uses only acid-free, archival, museum grade materials, which means that prints which are properly framed in a conservation frame should last over one hundred years; two hundred years for blacks and whites. Printing onto rolls also means that you can have non-standard sizes, like tall and thin artworks, or Japanese type scrolls. “I use the best materials I can find, so it’s the highest quality printing you can get around, in terms of the actual raw materials that I use, and the passion that I put into it personally.”
The service Shaun provides also extends to printing on demand, so that if an artist wants to print an edition of thirty prints, they only need to start off with one. Printing thirty prints at once can be a considerable expense for artists, but printing on demand can make that process much easier and more affordable. If you’re selling your work online, you can email Shaun when you get a print order. He will then print it, and can even ship it to your clients, using acid free packaging materials so prints will be protected for display or storage purposes.
He can even provide certificates of authenticity, detailing what kind of paper was used, and when the files were destroyed, if that’s relevant. Some artists printing an edition don’t want their files kept, to ensure that the print run is authentic, and that extra prints aren’t made beyond the stated edition number – as has been done by some unscrupulous operators in the past, devaluing the works.
“All you can go by is the reputation of your printer, and so that to me is the key part of my business, establishing myself so that my name carries some kind of guarantee. It means that I have to conduct myself in an ethical manner at all times, and a transparent manner at all times. Hopefully, in time, ‘printed by Shaun C. Duncan’ will actually mean something.” Shaun has also recently added a custom framing service to his business, having acquired specialised equipment from the framing shop in Belgrave South when he recently retired. Shaun can provide hand-stained frames finished with oil and wax, with conservation frame materials such as acid-free mounts and UV resistant museum glass, which blocks ultraviolet light, protecting your investment. He also does regular framing for people who want something more simple and affordable. Shaun first got into printing to print his own photography and the work of his wife Amy, who is an illustrator, so they could sell their own work. They soon found more people wanting to use his printing services. “I’ve always been creative, kind of interested in the arts. It’s always been central to my own life and sense of an identity. I feel lucky recently that I’ve found a trade aspect of that. That, at the end of the day, can give me the same satisfaction that I get from my creative work. My creative work has always been very process driven, I’m interested in technique and implementing stuff like that, and so that craftsmanship side of framing really appeals to me on that kind of level. So it all kind of informs everything I do.” For Shaun, now working in his printing and custom framing business from his home in the Hills, this means that he is living the dream… to spend more time in the Hills and “not come down off the mountain.” Find out more at www.shauncduncan.com
FOR ALL YOUR PRINTING NEEDS • flyers • posters • stickers • plans • large format scans • presentation folders • brochures • retail shelftalkers + wobblers • catalogues • newsletters • magazines • business cards • swing tags • invoice books • note pads • letterheads • with comps slips
Visit us at our NEW ADDRESS
Factory 6 & 7, 1154 BURWOOD HWY UPPER FERNTREE GULLY VIC 3158 9753 6505 artwork@ferntree print.com.au Your friendly local printer over 10 years!
Concept photography for upcoming performance by CJ Baxter, for hillsceneLIVE. Photos: D. Clarke Photography Make Up: Meeko Jesse Shine
Work in Progress
Spring 2016. A Maga'zine' about all the interesting people and things happening in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges.