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Perspectives, Issue #016--Easter Greetings
April 04, 2010

"Perspectives" - Easter and more rain.

'Rain…rain…rain…well, after all, it is the Wet season in Far North Queensland and right across tropical Australia as the monsoon settles in to cloaking the northern part of the continent with grey'.

This is how I started my last newsletter to you and it seems that little has changed. Still it rains, night and day it rains...I think that we have had a few fine days but they are forgotten in the monotony of the present relentless drumming on the roof.

The garden is out of control; my back lawn has been taken over by sweet potatoes and pumpkins, passion fruit vines clamber over shrubs and trees, weighing them down and trying to turn it all back into jungle.

Happy Easter greetings to you all! I hope that you are enjoying the break with family and friends, perhaps in the ‘great outdoors’.

Without doubt, the sense of renewal and refreshment of spirit which comes with ‘getting back to nature’ cannot be denied and is in tune with religious thoughts of re-birth, which Easter Sunday celebrates.

In the southern states of Australia, autumn is showing its face with calm, mild days and greens turning to orange and russet as deciduous trees shed their summer attire and prepare for bleak winter.

But that’s a very subjective assessment as most people who live ‘down south’, compared with ‘up north’, enjoy the cold weather and avoid the often humid heat of the tropics.

As mentioned, for us living ‘the dream’, Paradise this Easter is rather gloomy, with incessant rain keeping many people indoors and most planned camping and boating trips being cancelled.

Indoor activities

I decided that, as my planned island trip was cancelled, I would work on dyeing/painting some more bamboo pashminas, several being already finished. I like the idea of bamboo as it is relatively eco-friendly but the fabric is a little heavier than I expected. Pashminas seem to be in fashion, either worn as a long scarf or a wrap; they are also very practical.

Cashmere is much warmer – such a beautiful, luxurious, light-weight fabric and I am still trying to source un-dyed ones from Nepal or Kashmir. I did import some a few months ago. They were reasonably priced, felt beautiful and seemed to have all the properties that I expected.

However, to my horror and disappointment, after I had dyed them using my usual techniques, the dyes washed straight out. Further ‘burn tests’ confirmed my suspicions that, despite their cashmere labels they were, in fact, polyester or a similar man-made material. So it’s a matter of ‘buyer beware’ and I shall be much less trusting in my dealings with overseas wholesalers in the future.

Arts workshops

Arts workshops and classes are being planned in North Queensland by regional galleries in Cairns and Townsville as well as in private studios. Arthouse Port Douglas and Douglas Arts Base in Mossman have interesting programmes of classes planned while Go Troppo Arts Festival is currently developing a range of one or two-day workshops in a variety of disciplines for the festival in October.

Judith Bohm-Parr is offering a series of glass workshops at her studio at Fishery Falls, south of Cairns. This is a remarkable opportunity that has never been offered before in North Queensland as far as I know.

If you are looking for a very special arts experience, check out these art retreats organised by Australian artist, Ruth Rich. Taking part in workshop retreats in romantic parts of Europe and Australia is what Ruth really enjoys – so now she is organising them herself! Ruth has run arts workshops in Australia for many years and knows participating instructors well so her organising and artistic experience bodes well for the fortunate participants.

Fibre Arts

The other day I met Richard, who is a basket weaver as well as a painter and musician. His Easter is being spent weaving dozens of coconut palm baskets for a film being made in the area.

We are thinking that basket weaving, perhaps combined with fibre arts might be an interesting workshop for this year’s Go Troppo Arts Festival in October. Please let us know your thoughts about subjects that you would like to see included?

I expect that you know that Melbourne artist, Sam Leach, won both the Archibald Prize for his painting of Tim Minchin and the Wynne Prize for his ‘Proposal for Landscaped Cosmos’. Quite an achievement and only the second time it has happened in the history of the prizes.

Watch this space for other interesting North Queensland and Australian workshops.

Anyone else who would like to upload information about their art stories, poems or activities is very welcome to do so by following the links on this page. There is no charge for this service. What you are doing is building your very own web-page, to which you can send your friends to see your latest artwork, painting or photography tips etc.

Go Troppo Arts Festival is cranking up again with lots of new art activities and performances in the gestation stage. Do let us know if you would like to be involved this year as a participant, helper, spectator – or benefactor!

And now...on with your painting, writing, drawing, sculpting, acting, singing... enjoy!

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