Friday, 8 September 2017

Art in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland

On this trip I was hosted by Visit Sunshine Coast.

On my recent visit to Queensland's Sunshine Coast, I joined a couple of media tours.

The first one, held before the Australian Society of Travel Writers' annual convention, spurned the region's famous beaches and headed inland.

There's quite a rise in altitude as you head west, and a dramatic change in landscape. Instead of sleepy holiday towns along a strip of beach, you find villages scattered through mountainous green countryside.

The focus of this media tour was art, and I think our small group was fairly dubious about its abilities. We could all write, of course, but our skills at painting and pottery were largely untested.

Our first artistic stop was at the Mary Cairncross Reserve. There's a great view from here of the Glass House Mountains (named by Captain Cook; but I urge you to look up the Aboriginal story of the mountains' formation on Wikipedia, it's fascinating).

Set up on a grassy area next to the visitor centre, and instructed by veteran artist James McKay, we had a go at painting the scene in watercolours...





I think we didn't do too bad for beginners.

The next day, the challenge was clay rather than paint. We dropped into Fried Mudd, a pottery studio near Maleny, to fashion a chicken in only two hours.

Again we were assisted by an expert (thank god), in this case potter Cathy Lawley. Cathy guided us through the process, as we fashioned two 'bowls' from strips of clay, which would then be joined to form the body of the chicken.

Tricky business, especially when we progressed to the finer details of markings, and fashioning the beak and comb. Here's how it went...




And here's what they looked a day later, after they'd been fired and delivered to us at the convention:

I don't think we did a bad job here either, though I was happier with my painting.

But we learnt the basics of the two crafts, had some fun while creating, and saw some beautful scenery on the way.

If you're wondering how we got our two very heavy chickens home to Melbourne, by the way, we didn't.

We gifted them to my colleague Kerry Heaney, who lives in Brisbane, so she could add them to her chicken and have a trio of ceramic chooks in her garden.

And the names of our creations? Dahlia and Agatha. PG Wodehouse fans will know where we got those from.