Meander Valley Gazette

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Creative women

Community, Arts & Artisans, FeatureJoanne Eisemann

By Hayley Manning

THE TASMANIAN Craft Fair, held annually in Deloraine, is an opportune time for visitors and locals to look around and find the artists who live and work in the Meander Valley all year round.

Deloraine Creative Studios on Emu Bay Road is a hub for all sorts of artists and craftspeople who work from their own creative spaces within the building. Other artists and craftspeople sell their art through the Studios and Pottery Hub.

All photos by Hayley Manning

Karen Scott-Hoy from Hawley Beach is a volunteer at the Studios and a Pottery Hub artist. She is adept at ceramic sculpture and carving large and miniature items from Huon pine, often combining the two to great effect. Karen recently took up needle felting, a technique that involves stabbing felt wool with barbed needles in order to bind the wool fibres together to create a solid fabric. She is currently making a series of Australian birds using locally sourced supplies from Highland Felting and Fibre.

Karen Scott-Hoy

Karen Scott-Hoy

In Studio 10, Leanne Ames of Migrimah Arts completed a TAFE Diploma of Art and Craft Design at four years ago. She creates her pieces with creative knotting, weaving and sumac, using natural, biodegradable materials, inspiration coming from Tasmanian old growth forests, the earth, mosses and ferns. Leanne uses a natural dye process with bush leaves and the use of fire. ‘I feel connected to a very ancient past, that is elusive, spiritual and a wonder.’

Leanne Ames and grand-daughter Alyssa Lord

Leanne Ames and grand-daughter Alyssa Lord

Marilyn Patton of Studio 14 is a retired social worker who enjoys painting still life, flowers, landscapes, portraits and commission work. She travels from Ulverstone every fortnight and welcomes visitors to watch her paint. Marilyn was a finalist in the inaugural Women’s Art Prize Tasmania last year, and will submit another painting in October this year. ‘I come here quite a lot because I like to be here and interact with others. You know, when you get older, if you isolate yourself so much, it’s not good for you.’

Marilyn Patton

Marilyn Patton

Native plant jewels at Blooming Tasmania

Arts & Artisans, CommunityJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Sharon Webb  Deloraine artist Kylie Elkington features native plants in her work exhibited at Blooming Tasmania’s exhibition at the UTAS Academy Gallery at Inveresk.

Photo by Sharon Webb

Deloraine artist Kylie Elkington features native plants in her work exhibited at Blooming Tasmania’s exhibition at the UTAS Academy Gallery at Inveresk.

By Sharon Webb

THE TINY flowers of Tasmania’s native plants painted by Deloraine artist Kylie Elkington took pride of place in an exhibition to launch Blooming Tasmania’s recent show.

Admirers of roses and rhodos, including Tasmania’s Governor, the Honourable Kate Warner, gazed into the greenness of Kylie’s depiction of Mountain Pinkberry and Carpet Frillyheath to discern shy jewel-like flowers secreted in foliage.

‘My work highlighted the native plant aspect of Blooming Tasmania. It was a treat to talk plants and gardens with Professor Warner,’ Kylie said.

‘My art is autobiographical, a record of where I’ve noticed ubiquitous but often overlooked tiny flowering plants. I aim to draw close attention to the light, detail and understated beauty of plants that may be witnessed by people hiking and moving through the Australian landscape.’

The exhibition, entitled The flower show – birth, death and everything in between, is open daily at the UTAS Academy Gallery at Inveresk until October 25.

Curated by Dr Malcolm Bywaters and Dr Kim Lehman, it also features work by Les Blakeborough, Angela Casey, Fiona Chipperfield, Susannah Coleman-Brown, Leoni Duff, Deborah Malor and others.

Prof. Warner, now appointed to another year in office, told the launch audience that she is working on the garden section of a book on Government House.

‘The Plimsoll Native Garden is a recent addition to Government House. Unfortunately Sir James died in office before it was completed,’ she said.

‘The Queen planted a Huon Pine there in 1988 and the Duke of Edinburgh a Blackwood tree.’

Kylie, whose 2019 Glover Exhibition entry was one of two winning highly commended awards, said Dr Lehman had chosen her work for Flowers having seen it in Hobart’s Colville Gallery.

‘Two of the three works I included in Flowers are new. I think they were a good fit,’ she said.

Aikido, the peaceful art

Community, Arts & ArtisansJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Hayley Manning  Bodhi McSweeney and Martin Bratzel practising the art of Aikido.

Photo by Hayley Manning

Bodhi McSweeney and Martin Bratzel practising the art of Aikido.

By Hayley Manning

‘THOSE WHO are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win.’ O Sensei Morihei Ueshiba (1883– 1969).

Aikido, the Art of Peace, is a modern martial art created by Japanese Master Morihei Ueshiba. Despite being a powerful warrior, he was opposed to fighting aggression with aggression and viewed world peace as a better alternative.

Deloraine Aikido Aiki Kai School instructor of 30 years, Martin Bratzel, said the non-competitive martial art is based on strength building and natural movement.

‘We teach our students conflict resolution and harmonious methods of aggression control without hurting the attacker. Not surprisingly, it is ideal for corporate team building and school bullying.’

Aikido is an interactive way for individuals, families and children over eight to learn effective self defence, while rolling, stretching, getting fit and becoming more centred.

The Deloraine Aikido Aiki Kai School led by founder and Australia’s highest ranking Master Tony Smibert, will be hosting a free trial session on 16 October between 5 and 6pm.

Those interested should contact Bohdi McSweeney for more information on 0409 695 321.

Eric Manukov, photographer and dreamer

Arts & Artisans, Community, People and PlacesJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Eric Manukov, a passionate photographer and documentor of people.

Photo by Mike Moores

Eric Manukov, a passionate photographer and documentor of people.

By Lorraine Clarke

HIS LIFE in Tasmania is a far cry from the dizzy heights of international fashion photography, but Eric Manukov has never regretted moving to Launceston a few years ago.

He was born in Sydney, with Georgian heritage, and describes himself as ‘a strange creative child, a daydreamer’ absorbed with painting, art and music, whose first purchased album was jazz rather than pop or rock.

At school, he had dreams of becoming a photojournalist. Eric spent several years as a photographic stylist in the world of fashion, before studying at the Australian Centre of Photography at age 28.

‘Because I had the skill to create an image, my photography took off instantly,’ he said. ‘I could style my own photos. I worked in Fashion and Editorial for many years.’

Over six years, Eric often headed for outback Australia in a camper van to create his first big self-assigned project – Eric's Aboriginal series. He would fly back to Sydney for his commercial work, then return inland to his passion.

Representatives of five separate environments – desert, fresh water, salt water, cold climate and tropical – feature in this stunning photographic documentary that has been exhibited in Europe.

‘I kept going around the country. I met some very prominent Aboriginals. I would live in a community for about six weeks to get to know them, to develop trust and relationships.’

Eric posted photographs on his van or a tree to generate interest in what he was doing, in the remotest areas where some residents had never seen a white person and spoke no English. He travelled throughout indigenous communities, from Mornington Island in the Gulf, through the central desert, to Hermansberg, the home of famed Aboriginal painter Namatjira.

Eric hangs a dark vertical canvas as backdrop to all his portraits, and people are invited to step out of their own environment into his.

‘The person is the subject and context, not the environment,’ he explains. ‘The canvas is used to delete the background completely and remove the time-line. The intention was always to show them as a very proud people. All the photographs were taken of people in traditional tribal totem paint. I wanted to capture these totems before they were lost. It will all disappear. The series is a historical document.’

Eric holds great respect for the subjects of his hauntingly beautiful photos. He knows their names, their histories, and remembers their home lands. ‘I would wait and talk to people, and tell them what I was hoping to achieve historically. Some of the older people knew about the genocides and would not allow photos.’

Earlier photographers have captured the shaming history of our country’s treatment of its first inhabitants, but Eric had loftier aims. ‘The injustice has been covered. I don’t need to show that. I wanted to show how beautiful they are.’

All Eric’s 80 Aboriginal portraits were taken on film, and developed as silver gelatin prints. ‘I am very proud to have photographed them and printed the pictures myself as well,’ he said.

‘I was allowed in. They trusted me. That’s the number one thing I am very, very proud of.’

Pixels Gallery at Deloraine Online Access Centre is pleased to display Eric Manukov’s significant and striking Aboriginal series throughout the month of October.

There will be an evening viewing where invitees can speak with Eric about his photography and the subjects of his Aboriginal series.

Check the Gazette Facebook for the date and details, or call 6286 8216.

Eric’s website showcases all his photographic collections:

The Forest Folk at work

Arts & Artisans, Community, FeatureJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Jasmine Rocca of Jackey‘s Marsh, an instructor at the Forest Folk workshops, preparing plants and fabric for dyeing with Bonnie McGee of Weetah.

Photo by Mike Moores

Jasmine Rocca of Jackey‘s Marsh, an instructor at the Forest Folk workshops, preparing plants and fabric for dyeing with Bonnie McGee of Weetah.

NESTLED IN a child-friendly wooded wonderland in Jackey’s Marsh, the Forest Folk recently hosted a fun eco-printing workshop.

Jasmine Rocca and Alena Leek are two ladies who have been running a nature club each Tuesday at Deloraine Primary.

They run programs for children, teaching such natural crafts as making lavender bags, growing eggshell gardens, making hommus and colouring fabrics with natural plant dyes. So successful have these programs been that they hope to expand into other schools.

Jasmine and Alena decided it was unfair for kids to have all the fun, so they have extended their workshops to teach natural skills to adults.

First on the agenda was a forest walk to gather a selection of leaves, wattle blossoms, vines, barks, buds and other vegetation.

An imposing steel tripod supported a blazing outdoor fire that dispelled the winter chills, and boiled two large pots of water.

Back at the work tables, lengths of recycled fabric were sprayed with vinegar water.

Leaves were dipped into a bowl of rusty water, then shaken off, and arranged in pleasing designs on one edge of the fabric. The other side of the fabric was folded on top of the leaves. All was rolled around lengths of bamboo, secured with twine, then tossed into the boiling water, one coloured with turmeric.

An hour of convivial tea drinking and story swapping later, the bamboo rolls were retrieved and laid out with much oohing and aahing as the fabric revealed its secrets.

All were amazed at the almost photographic clarity of tiny details in leaves and buds, and the range of muted colours.

The many prints were hung out to dry on a line, some of them turmeric-yellow with the tie-dye effect of the twine adding more interest.

That such a delightful result could be achieved in little more than an hour was motivation to experiment more with this simple, fail safe technique at home.

Jasmine and Alena explained that their intention is to use only found or recycled objects to create beautiful crafts. They source all their boiling pots, tongs, fabric and rusty objects from tip shops and op shops. The only thing bought retail was vinegar.

The Forest Folk will be teaching eco-printing at Cygnet Folk Festival next January, but until then, they have a great program of other fun, nature-based skill-building workshops at Deloraine.

So if you have ever yearned to whittle, learn bush survival skills, make your own clay bead jewellery, colour fleece and fabric with dyes made from your own garden plants, twine flax into cordage and weave useful baskets, identify and collect edible mushrooms from the forest, and even grow your own shiitake mushroom logs, the Forest Folk can grant your wishes.

Materials are included in the cost for each course, and you can take home anything you have made (including two shiitake logs!)

To view the full range of workshops that are available and to make bookings, go to: Email jasminerocca@gmail. com or call/text 0422 193 971 for enquiries.

Sublime Smibert

Arts & Artisans, Meander StyleJoanne Eisemann
Photo supplied  Tony Smibert working in his watercolour studio.

Photo supplied

Tony Smibert working in his watercolour studio.

By Wai Lin Coultas

DELORAINE-BASED TONY Smibert was among four artists highly commended by judges of the 2019 Hadley Art Prize, for his landscape Tao Sublime 5.

Presented by Hadley’s Orient Hotel and now in its third year, the prize celebrates contemporary landscape art. Indigenous artist Carbiene MacDonald Tjangala, of Papunya in the Northern Territory, was awarded the $100 000 Hadley Art Prize. Tony’s fellow Tasmanians Philip Wolfhagen and Faridah Cameron, along with Betty Pula Morton from the Northern Territory, were the other highly commended artists.

Announced in July, these five artists were chosen from the 30 finalists hung in the exhibition from approximately 600 entries Australia-wide.

Tony’s acrylic on canvas dwells upon ‘Tasmania’s precious pencil pines as a living connection to landscape and time before European arrival: dreaming their ancient dream’.

The judges were particularly taken with this ‘expressive, dreamlike work [that] portrayed the weather, the atmosphere and a very particular sense of place in an intriguing medium’.

Tony attributes his artistic style to a whole range of influences, combining holistic qualities of Taoism with a Turneresque sublime romanticism.

He began as a traditional water colourist. Time spent in Japan and his passion for Aikido influenced him to move into minimal works of art.

When he became increasingly fascinated with English water colour, his pursuit of JMW Turner’s techniques led him to discover the philosophy of Alexander Cozens, taking artists away from precise representations of the scene before them.

‘Responding to the sublime, I am referencing nature’s spirit rather than its appearance,’ Tony expands.

The European idea of the sublime resonates with what the Japanese call ten shi jin or ‘heaven, earth, man’ – our relationship to the cosmos, to the Tao and the idea that nature is deeply significant. Tony’s paintings allude to feelings of awe or terror that we might experience in nature.

The landscape in Tao Sublime 5 is imagined from Tony’s response to experience, and not of a particular spot in Tasmania at all.

‘A painting done this way creates itself. Starting with an empty canvas, I might have a sense of place in mind, and then, very quickly, it appears,’ Tony explains. ‘What seemed important to me late last year when I painted it, is now even more so given how many pencil pines were damaged by fires over summer.’

Many of Tony’s works are painted with very few brush strokes. He uses watercolour techniques to paint an acrylic wash on a larger scale, drawing inspiration from abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock.

Tony has exhibited across Australia and overseas. He is a Visiting Artist Researcher at the Tate Gallery and author of a number of well-known books on watercolour. His latest book, Turner’s Apprentice will be published in early 2020.

Tony Smibert Studio Gallery is at 179 Mole Creek Road in Deloraine. Visitors are always welcome. Just call 03 6362 2474 or email tony@smibert. com.

Pottery Hub launched

Arts & Artisans, Community, Meander StyleJoanne Eisemann
Photo by Mike Moores  Pottery Hub coordinator Trish Richers (left) and Brenda Griechen in front of the Pottery Hub kiln, discussing Brenda’s pottery echidna.

Photo by Mike Moores

Pottery Hub coordinator Trish Richers (left) and Brenda Griechen in front of the Pottery Hub kiln, discussing Brenda’s pottery echidna.

By Wendy Laing

SATURDAY 24 August was the official launch of the Deloraine Pottery Hub, held at Deloraine Creative Studios. Sonja Grodski, the President of DCS, welcomed 30 guests to the launch.

Sally Darke, Chairperson of the Tasmanian Community Fund congratulated the Deloraine Pottery Hub on their launch. ‘It is a pleasure’, she said, ‘to see the kiln we have funded set up and being used by the community in this large open space.’

Sonja also spoke of the work that Trish Richers, the Pottery Hub coordinator, has achieved with kiln firings, organising beginner classes and arranging for professional and amateur potters to use the Hub. ‘Through her efforts,’ Sonja said, ‘Trish has produced a relaxed atmosphere where people using the space feel most welcome.’

A toast was then given to the success of the Deloraine Pottery Hub.

The Meander Valley Council was thanked for their generous support supplying shelving, benches and cupboards.

For more information please call into the Deloraine Creative Studios and chat to Trish Richers in the Pottery Hub area, contact her on 0407 930 342 or email

Slamming it at the Empire

Events, Arts & ArtisansJoanne Eisemann

By Lorraine Clarke

WHENEVER ANYONE asks Yvonne Gluyas, ‘What is Slam Poetry?’ she always replies, ‘It’s performance poetry. It’s the best fun you can have in two minutes!’

Yvonne should know. She has been writing and reciting her award-winning poems for years now. After great success with poems like ‘My Cat Can Speak Catonese,’ ‘How Could You Do This To Me’ and ‘What Kevin Rudd Really Said to the Chinese President’ (written and performed in Chinese), she has progressed to mentoring the next generation of Tasmanian poets who enter local rounds of the Australian Poetry Slam each year, culminating in a trip to the Sydney Opera House for the Grand Final in October.

She shamelessly admits she schmoozes politicians and sells raffle tickets for funding to take ‘her poets’ on this interstate trip where she rents a house for 3 days to give them an unforgettable experience.

On August 20, Mark and Amanda Flanigan, proprietors of the Empire Hotel opened their doors and hearts, sponsoring and providing prizes for a heat of the Poetry Slam. A number of poets performed to an appreciative audience in a cosy fireside atmosphere, where MC Yvonne co-opted members of the audience into impromptu judging roles, and put everyone at their ease. ‘That’s my job,’ she said, ‘to make sure that everyone feels included.’

Grace Chia earned third place with her impassioned performance of ‘Like I Loved Him’, about losing her man. ‘I waited too long – someone else got to him first. I can’t speak to him, so I wrote a poem.’

Second place was taken by Rohan King and ‘Neogenesis’. He said he has written lots, but is not really the performing type, which was belied by his very engaging performance on the night.

‘I would like to at least get the chance to go to the Opera House,’ he said, and now his dream seems within reach.

Rebecca Young won with ‘Just the Other Week,’ which took only an hour to write but which she practised 50 times before standing up to recite it. She said modestly, ‘I’ve always liked poems, but never thought I was any good’.

Yvonne said, ‘Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme. Issue-based poems go down well. They can be literary, comedy, burlesque, political. It’s lovely to see the younger generation coming up with skills to equal their talented parents.’

Yvonne polished her public performing skills through Toastmasters. She says, ‘I credit Toastmasters with the ability to go on stage and sparkle.’

Annually, over 1000 writers perform their original poems through heats in country towns and capital cities. Poetry Slam’s motto is ‘Write a Revolution’. If you are interested in expressing your deepest issues in public poetry and claiming your two minutes of best fun, over and over in the next rounds, check out the website:

Piecing things together

Arts & Artisans, Arts, CommunityJoanne Eisemann
MVU3A member Susanne Puccetti works some of her mosaic magic on an old skateboard.  Photo by Mike Moores

MVU3A member Susanne Puccetti works some of her mosaic magic on an old skateboard.

Photo by Mike Moores

ON A cold and rainy Thursday, a group of dedicated artists meets in the Deloraine Baptist Church Hall to explore creativity through mosaic.

The Meander Valley is wellknown for the numerous talented groups and individuals who practice their art or craft regardless of the seasons.

U3A is one of the many organisations that bring people together for a variety of pursuits. The mosaic classes, overseen by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Linda Ireland, is just one of these gatherings.

Class members learn basic skills and develop a familiarity with materials, recipes and techniques, ensuring that pieces will be made to last, indoors or outside in the elements.

Once the artists are comfortable with their medium, creativity can be let fly.

Mosaic can be created on many different surfaces or objects. Linda commented that with the weight of the mosaic on the outside, it is always a good idea to minimise the weight underneath!

Scouring charity shops for china and ceramics is a regular activity. Discarded items can be brought back to life with mosaic. An old bowling ball, an old skateboard or just a wood panel – each artist has their own vision.

Working in a group allows artists to provide commentary and advice, watching and learning by example, building relationships as well as art. Regular meetings provide impetus for creativity as well as an excuse to leave the house.

An exhibition of the group’s mosaics, themed ‘Personality Plus’ is currently on display in Westbury.

In Linda’s words, ‘It is very rare, especially in our area, to have an exhibition dedicated solely to the art of mosaic.

A group of MVU3A mosaic artists jumped at the chance to showcase some of their artwork when Patrick Gambles, the Community Development Officer for the Meander Valley Council, offered the use of the reception area at the council building.

‘The nine represented artists clearly demonstrate their wonderful differences in imagination, and very individual approaches to the construction of each of their items. The possibilities appear endless. It is worth taking the time to view this small, but exciting, glimpse into the world of mosaic art.

’ The exhibition is on display from 1 July to 30 August, and can be viewed between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, MVC reception foyer, Lyall Street, Westbury.