Old flower show blooms again

A BEAUTY: Rose ‘Lamarque’ flowering in a Beechworth garden. Image: Jamie Kronborg

BEECHWORTH, Stanley, Murmungee and Wooragee gardeners are encouraged to enter Beechworth Arts Council’s revival this weekend – November 17 and 18 – of the district’s long-defunct formal Spring Flower Show.

The Arts Council has included the fresh show in its packed five-week Spring Arts 2018 program. It will be staged in Beechworth Town Hall, where it first was held on October 19-20, 1882. The Ovens and Murray Advertiser reported on October 21, 1882, that the North East Agricultural and Horticultural Association’s first spring flower show had attracted a “fair attendance” and that exhibits were “good of their kind”.

FLOWER POWER: Exhibitors admire blooms in this 1955 image of dahlias on show. Image: State Library of Victoria

Arts Council president Jamie Kronborg said the limited-category show was open to all. The only proviso is that exhibits must be grown and arranged by the entrant. He said the program had been devised so that anyone could enter exhibits from garden or kitchen. 

Intending exhibitors can collect an entry form Beechworth Visitor Information Centre or Beechworth NewsXpress or download it in PDF versions.

Exhibits are to be delivered to Beechworth Town Hall on Saturday, November 17, between 8:30 and 10:30am. Exhibitors must also complete an entry form and submit it with a gold coin donation.

The Spring Flower Show will open at 11:00am and run until 4:00pm on Saturday, offering opportunities for visitors to Beechworth Vignerons’ Spring Tasting in the nearby Soldiers’ Memorial Hall to take a short walk to see some of the North East’s finest cut flowers and kitchen garden produce. It will also open between the same times on Sunday.

Prizegiving will take place at 3:00pm on Sunday.

For more information call or text Jamie Kronborg on 0409 912 967 or email beechworthartscouncil@gmail.com.

‘Elements’ cuts new cloth

FINE CRAFT: Detail of casuarina and eucalyptus leaves and paddock flowers in Maggie Hollins’ ‘kilt’.

BENALLA and Beechworth textile and visual artists stepped into frontier interpretations of Beechworth Arts Council’s inaugural Elements of Indigo art-to-artwear project in Beechworth on November 10.

Maggie Hollins, Inga Hanover, Kay Hampton and Daren John Pope exhibited their radically distinctive takes on the brief for the Spring Arts 2018 project – to design and make a navel-to-knees garment that expressed connection to place in a way similar to that by which Celts display ‘cultural badging’ with tartan.

Arts Council president Jamie Kronborg said the creative idea stemmed from the tradition that forms and styles of clothing throughout history have evolved to identify a people’s tribe, clan, community, place, culture and even country.

EPHEMERAL: Beechworth artist Inga Hanover created this garment from recycled plastic shopping bags in native plant material from Beechworth Gorge.

“In this project, as the Arts Council’s contribution to the development of Beechworth’s longstanding Celtic Festival, participating artists were encouraged to tease apart the idea and tradition of tartan and re-work it to identify the communities of Indigo,” he said.

The two-phase project – a visual design and a created garment interpreting the form of a kilt – asked entrants to depict or express ‘elements of Indigo’ – its sky, landscapes, colours, seasons, geology, topography, plants, crops, animals and birds, and other inspirations.

TRANSLATION: Moss on rocks in Beechworth Gorge inspired Inga Hanover’s first design for ‘Elements of Indigo’.

“A kilt is a traditional skirt that covers from navel to knees and has a deep history in Gaelic, Norse, Mediterranean, Tartar and First Peoples’ cultures,” Mr Kronborg said. “The Old Norse word kjalta means ‘pleated’ – of a ‘garment or cloth tucked up and around the body’. Australia’s First Peoples wore skirts or coverings made from grass, bark, and kangaroo, wallaby and possum skins decorated with feathers and echidna quills and tooled imagery.”

Ms Hollins, from Benalla, used a re-purposed woollen blanket as the base for her work.

“The choice of materials has been deliberate,” she said. “It was dyed with commercial indigo dye. Indigofera australis is a plant that grows in Indigo Shire and the First Peoples of this place used the flower of this plant to produce a blue dye. I want the viewer to remember their own blanket, how it felt safe and warm when it surrounded them. To highlight the landscape’s beauty I layered the base textile with vegetation. When heated pigments are drawn out of the plants and leave marks on the material.”

Ms Hanover created two designs and garments – one inspired by moss on rocks in Beechworth Gorge and the other using recycled plastic and partially-dried leaves, seeds and flowers.

“The influence for (the first) design has its starting point in the geology of Beechworth and the repetitive nature within a traditional kilt fabric. The repeated motif is taken from the left hand corner of the image below of lichen on granite from the gorge. I chose the granite as Beechworth sits atop a granite outcrop, with its ancient, degraded granite soil, in Indigo Shire.”

“In (the second), a wearable garment, I have sourced a selection of native grasses, seeds, leaves and blossoms from the Gorge. Using heat, these native items have been ‘trapped’ within supermarket packaging. These items are encased/laminated in clear and white plastic bags. In some sections, the natural items are covered by several layers of clear thin plastic and their colours are subdued and hidden, in other areas the colour comes through more vividly hidden only by one plastic layer. It’s a commentary on contemporary consumerism.”

HUMOROUS: Beechworth colourist painter and illustrator Kay depicted Indigo as a village scene with playful creatures and objects adding to the scheme.

Beechworth painter Kay Hampton created a rural village scene with a mixed farming landscape.

“It is a small snapshot of an intended larger finished work, which would be incorporated into a wearable garment showing this particular style of artwork,” she said. “It would be more comprehensive by including more villages so as to be representative of towns that make up Indigo Shire in Victoria’s North East.

“The colours I’ve used, while coming from an ancient landscape, have a contemporary relevance as the LGBTQI community uses them as the colours of diversity. This diversity, as illustrated, is also strongly evident throughout the Indigo community where wide diversity is paralleled by strong acceptance.”

CHALLENGING: Beechworth fabric artist Daren John Pope used overhead projector transparencies to craft his ‘Elements’ garment.

Beechworth fabric artist Daren John Pope explored photographic repetition using historic images of Beechworth and Indigo and smart phone images with a deliberate emphasis on casual, non-discriminatory composition.

“In transferring these onto a patterned tableau, these photo snaps have been printed up, arranged in a grid format and stitched together to create a single graphic.”

  • Elements of Indigo’s five interpretations will be exhibited in Beechworth Town Hall from November 12 to 25.

Fresh take brings history to life

PROUD ADVOCATE: Kay Hampton’s completed gouache depiction of Kate Sutherland and Max as Beechworth suffragette Margaret Trim and her dog. Photo: Jamie Kronborg

BEECHWORTH artists Nina Machielse Hunt and Alan Phillips on Saturday led a public art class ‘en plein air’ in Beechworth’s historic Town Hall Gardens – a feature of Beechworth Arts Council’s month-long Spring Arts 2018.

The pair helped to guide participants to translate in contemporary media a photograph of Beechworth’s Margaret Trim taken in 1891 by leading colonial-era photographer James Bray in his Camp Street studio.

Bray was highly regarded for the quality of his work by which he documented much of Rutherglen’s development after 1866, and Beechworth’s after 1870, and its people, including many associated with the Kelly Gang outbreak.

He was one of four photographers at the Glenrowan siege in June 1880, when Ned Kelly was captured and the other three in the gang killed.

GARDEN SCENE: Beechworth’s Margaret Trim and her Saint Bernard hound against a painted backdrop in James Bray’s Camp Street studio in 1891. Photo: James Bray

The image of Margaret Trim – modelled on Saturday by Beechworth Burke Museum Friends’ committee member Kate Sutherland, and Mrs Trim’s St Bernard hound, modelled by Max the brown labrador – was one of a series taken by Bray in 1890-91 to record the women and society organisations advocating for women’s suffrage, or the right to vote “on equal terms with men”.

Mrs Trim was one of 30,000 women throughout Victoria who signed what became known as the Great Petition, tabled in Victoria’s Parliament in September of the same year with the support of Premier James Munro.

The petition also played an important role in Federation in 1901, when Australia became the first nation in the world to give women both the right to vote and the right to stand for Parliament – although women did not achieve the right to vote in Victorian Parliamentary elections until 1908.

Bray took the Trim photograph in his Camp Street studio against a painted backdrop of a forest glade or garden, the Arts Council’s inspiration for setting Saturday’s class in Town Hall Gardens.

Artists Kay Hampton, Tania Sutton, Jill Keith and Daren John Pope and photographer Pamela Thomas participated, their workings across the morning attracting the interest of passers-by in the park and on Ford Street.

FINE FRAMES: Nina Machielse Hunt and Alan Phillips helped to guide participants in ‘Fresh take’. Photo: Jamie Kronborg

KEEN EYE: Pamela Thomas sets up her Leica camera to photograph, as Daren Pope prepares to paint, the Margaret Trim ‘fresh take’. Photo: Jamie Kronborg

ART GARDEN: Kay Hampton with her gouache sketch of Kate Sutherland as Margaret Trim with her dog. Photo: Jamie Kronborg

FRESH TAKE: Kate Sutherland as suffragette Margaret Trim and Max the brown labrador as Mrs Trim’s Saint Bernard hound in Beechworth Town Hall Gardens for ‘Fresh take’. Photo: Jamie Kronborg

Indigo landscape springs into frame

FRAMED LANDSCAPE: Beechworth Arts Council is opening Spring Arts 2018 at the Old Hospital facade in Church Street on October 26 at 5:30pm.

INDIGO mayor Jenny O’Connor opens Beechworth Arts Council’s Spring Arts 2018 at the Old Hospital façade in Church Street on October 26 – launching a month-long program of creative events and exhibitions that place Indigo’s landscape in the frame.

Shows of works by Beechworth artist Valerie Crosse in Christ Church and printmaking trio Tania Sutton, Janet Sutherland and Chris Dormer in Indigo Library Beechworth open on launch day. Sponsor Off Centre Gallery in Milawa also opens ‘Flourish’, new works by Fleur Rendell, and a tantalising array of objects – in ‘O for object’ – appear in a number of places across Beechworth.

SPRING: Valerie Crosse explores beyond her window.

On October 27 the Arts Council hosts two 75-minute guided walks exploring Indigo’s art heritage, starting at the Burke Museum from 10am and 2pm – a ticketed event. There’s also a Young Creatives’ Extravaganza hosted by Beechworth Secondary College and Old Beechworth Gaol, at the gaol, celebrating young people’s creativity.

In the week ahead Beechworth painters Alan Phillips and Nina Machielse Hunt will lead ‘Fresh takes’, a community art class open to all, in which participants on November 3 in Beechworth’s historic precinct will re-work images with deep links to Beechworth’s past. Valerie Cross will also host a workshop, ‘Drawing from life’, on November 4.

Arts Council president Jamie Kronborg and Spring Arts convenor Daren John Pope said the program, which runs until November 25, was designed to challenge and encourage artists, crafters and the community to explore, discover and translate elements of Indigo’s landscape – its skies, seasons, colours, geography, topography, botany, animals, birds and cultivation – in fresh ways.

Alan Phillips charts the day

IT HAPPENED: Alan Phillips ’10 Rillington Place’ is among the works in Old Beechworth Gaol’s Carpe Diem exhibition.

AN exhibition of collage works by Beechworth artist Alan Phillips has opened at Old Beechworth Gaol.

Carpe DiemCollages is a retrospective, presenting 40 years of commentary on significant world events, bringing Alan’s sense of humour, inquiring mind and life experience into view as he interprets the consequences of people seizing the day.

Whether they be quirky, dramatic or life-changing, Alan documents such events as The Evolution of the Vespa, 9/11, Nirvana and the Uluru Hardback, to name a few.

Alan has spent 40 years maintaining visual diaries. The collages, some measuring 400 x 1500mm, feature pages from his diaries and materials gathered from places around the world.

Carpe Diem – Collages opened on 14 September runs 10am-4pm daily until September 24. Entry to the exhibition at the gaol in Williams Street is free.

Exhibition information

Readings refresh poet’s legacy

INSIGHT: Beechworth Secondary College former English teacher Jean Memery reads ‘Enlightened age’, a poem by Ada Cambridge published five years after she came to Australia in 1870.

BEECHWORTH Arts Council next year is looking to establish a permanent honour in recognition of writer Ada Cambridge and her contribution to Australian literature and colonial life in Beechworth and Yackandandah.

The words of the poet and gender equality advocate and descriptions of her times were recounted in the town’s historic Christ Church on Friday (July 6).

The English-born writer between 1885 and 1893 lived in Beechworth where her husband, George Cross, was Christ Church priest and rector.

Reverend Cross had earlier held ‘livings’, as church pastoral appointments were known at the time, in Wangaratta, Yackandandah and Coleraine.

The 44 people attending the readings – hosted by Beechworth Arts Council and Christ Church priest Thomas Leslie and parish council – heard that a deal of Ms Cambridge’s well-regarded literary work was written during her husband’s Beechworth posting.

The appointment coincided with the approach of Australian federation when women, in a changing political climate, were agitating for the right to vote.

Arts Council president Jamie Kronborg read an extract from a July 1887 Ovens and Murray Advertiser editorial in which then-editor Richard Warren wrote that “such a revolution should not be attempted without much more general consideration…”.

“Women are, undoubtedly, well-fitted to succeed in all the ordinary walks of life, but we very much question whether the arena of politics is suitable to their nature, their habits of thought, or their idiosyncrasies,” Warren said.

Ms Cambridge in 1891 was one of almost 30,000 Victorian women who signed ‘The Great Petition’, by which the colonial parliament in Melbourne was asked to give women the right to vote “on equal terms with men”.

Artist, printmaker and former Indigo Shire arts officer Chris Dormer described Ms Cambridge’s life and work to the audience before she introduced readers who included Wangaratta High School English domain leader Lesley Milne, artist and teacher Valerie Crosse, former Beechworth Secondary College teachers Helen McIntyre and Jean Memery, college current principal Patricia Broom, historian Jacqui Durrant, and Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor.

Fr. Leslie said Friday’s readings were the start of what he hoped would be an ongoing collaboration between the Arts Council and Christ Church to develop the 1858 building as a centre for cultural activities and events.

Take sherry with Ada on Friday

WARMING WORDS: Enjoy sherry at Beechworth Arts Council’s Ada Cambridge readings in Christ Church on July 6. Image: Jamie Kronborg

HEAR Beechworth and Stanley women in the arts, education and community advocacy bring to life the works of Ada Cambridge – Australia’s first significant colonial-era woman poet and Beechworth resident – in the town’s Anglican Christ Church on July 6.

Teacher Lesley Milne, teacher and artist Valerie Crosse, former Beechworth Secondary College teachers Jean Memery and Helen McIntyre, printmaker and former Indigo arts officer Chris Dormer, historian Jacqui Durrant, Indigo mayor Jenny O’Connor and poet Jill Keith will read poems they’ve selected from Cambridge’s literature: some of them in the very place where they were penned.

The English-born writer, poet and keen social observer lived in Beechworth between 1885 and 1893 during her husband’s tenure as vicar of Christ Church. She was in her 40s at the time and was considered avant-garde by some of her peers for her views on a woman’s role in marriage, sex, gender equality and suffrage.

EQUAL RIGHT: Ada Cambridge’s signature, using her married surname of Cross, among those of Beechworth women who signed the 1891 Great Petition. Image: Parliament of Victoria

Cambridge was one of many women in the North East who signed the 1891 ‘Great Petition’ to Victoria’s parliament in which almost 30,000 throughout Victoria sought the right to vote “on equal terms with men”.

Chris Dormer said Cambridge’s writing was widely read in Australia, England and the United States. “Her work was extremely modern in addressing the conditions of women and the social issues of her time,” she said.

Williamstown Literary Festival annually awards prizes named in Ada Cambridge’s honour for biographical prose, poetry and young writers’ work. She moved with her husband from Beechworth to Williamstown in 1893 when he was appointed rector in the bayside western port. She died in 1926. More information about her life and works can be found in the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Event information
Where: Christ Church, 27 Ford Street, Beechworth Victoria 3747
Date: Friday July 6, 2018
Time: 7:00pm
Ticket: $10 includes refreshments: book now

 

Reading Beechworth’s Ada Cambridge

Ada Cambridge at about the time she lived in Beechworth. Image: National Library of Australia

COLONIAL Australia’s first significant woman poet —who expressed thoughts on the ‘limitations of sexual love’ and concern for the underprivileged in a book of sonnets published while she lived in Beechworth in the late nineteenth century — will be celebrated with readings in the town’s Anglican Christ Church on July 6.

Beechworth Arts Council has joined with Christ Church to present readings from the works of writer Ada Cambridge, who lived in Beechworth between 1885 and 1893 where her husband, George Cross, was vicar.

It was from these parish experiences and Cambridge’s keen observations of colonial society that she wrote Thirty years in Australia, which was published in 1903Her earlier ‘rebellious book of poetry’, Unspoken thoughts, was described by academic Margaret Bradstock in 2006 — in a new introduction to a reprint of Thirty years — as ‘evincing a strong social conscience and investigating a freeing-up of sexual mores and religious conventions’. Publisher George Robertson said that Unspoken thoughts when published in 1887 placed Cambridge ‘among the immortals’. It was later republished in 1913 in a curtailed, toned-down version as The hand in the dark.

The Australian Dictionary of Biography’s Jill Roe wrote that Cambridge began writing with purpose during snatched leisure in 1873 ‘to add … to the family resources when they threatened to give out’. ‘Her fluent and unpretentious work attracted attention at once: Up the Murray which was published as a serial in the Australasian in 1875, the first of several to appear in the next 15 years in those pages, gained her passport into the society of the Anglo-Australian aristocracy which she found so congenial and portrayed repeatedly in her novels.’

The Arts Council readings will take place almost 92 years to the day after Cambridge’s death in Melbourne in 1926. She was 81.

Event information
Where: Christ Church, 27 Ford Street, Beechworth Victoria 3747
Date: Friday July 6, 2018
Time: 7:00pm
Ticket: $10 includes refreshments: book now

Take tea and talk with ‘Vincent and me’ artist

FERTILE FIELDS: Artwork by artists and filmmaker Michael Rubbo. Image: Michael Rubbo

BEECHWORTH Arts Council is pleased to support Quercus Beechworth’s morning tea on Thursday – April 12 – with brothers Michael and Mark Rubbo.

Michael is promoting his book ‘Travel with my Art’ – an amazing life told through Michael’s gorgeous paintings. Mark is Readings Bookstores’ managing director.

The talented and creative brothers were featured in the The Age Good Weekend in ‘The two of us’ on January 27 this year.

Quercus and the Arts Council would love you to join us for morning tea at 11am at what will be a delightful excursion through story telling, art and conversation in the garden at 30 Ford Street. Please let Quercus know if you’ll be attending by calling 03 5728 2386 or email. You might also forward this post to others who could be interested.

Go to Michael Rubbo for more information about Michael and his work.

‘Art Roads’ series heads to Benalla

SINUOUS: Brett Whiteley’s ‘Marulan bird with rocks’ circa 1980. IMAGE: Art Gallery of NSW / Wendy Whiteley copyright

Beechworth Arts Council is encouraging members and friends to take to the tarmac and join the first of its ‘Art Roads’ series on March 18.

These self-drive, shared vehicle journeys are being planned across the year and will be led by Arts Council vice president and fine arts creative honours student Daren John Pope.

The first Art Roads drive will take in Benalla Art Gallery’s Brett Whitely exhibition ‘West of the divide’.

Participants will depart Beechworth post office at 9:30am for Wangaratta Art Gallery and Christine Johnson’s ‘Voyages Botanical’ exhibition and a spot of morning tea.

The ‘Art Roads’ caravan will then drive on to Benalla where the Whiteley exhibition features works from the late Sydney artist’s enduring connection with country west of the Great Dividing Range. Daren is hoping to organise a discussion about the Whiteleys with Benalla Art Gallery director Bryony Nainby for Art Roads’ travellers. He will also provide commentary on the works.

Benalla Art Gallery has a lovely cafe for those who want to lunch. Alternatively, the adjacent Benalla Botanical Gardens offer wonderful options for picnicking.

Car-pooling is encouraged. If you’d like to join Art Roads #1 or can offer seats in your car please email Daren by March 12.