November 2010 - Artist's Open Studios / by Nerina Lascelles

The last two weekends in November were the Artist's Opens Studios in this, the Nillumbik region. Again, what a marvelous opportunity to open the doors of my studio to meet the general public.

"Within Victoria, Nillumbik is undoubtedly a special place with a unique quality of life. The natural beauty of the area has attracted and nurtured creativity in a vibrant community which continues to thrive. Our Open Studios Program offers a fabulous opportunity to experience this first hand, as artists open their doors to you. Talk with our artists and see them at work. 34 artists in 24 studios... there's something for everyone. Disciplines include painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, jewellery, textiles and photography.

Inspire yourself. You know you want to!"

(Blurb from rear of Open Studios booklet)

Click to view Open Studios Website

Having lived in the Nillumbik Shire for most of my life, it is a great honour to be a part of the program. As a 'new kid on the block', I experienced tremendous excitement in setting up and preparing to open my doors. Being an artist tucked away in my studio is generally a secluded experience... but here was an opportunity for me to energetically connect with the artistic community of the region. Having been to Bali over 20 times in the past, I would marvel at their sense of all pulling together to prepare for a ritual or celebration. Here.... I felt a similar sense of connecting with other local artists to prepare a showcase to offer back to society. Putting balloons up on the sign posts along the roadside was likened to decorating bamboo poles along the Balinese roads before a ceremony.

I have heard in the past that some people feel quite intimidated by artists... and therefore labelling them weird or eccentric, and even though this is sometimes the case, I thoroughly enjoyed welcoming each guest with a big smile to dissolve any preconceptions.

Dunmoochin is really a place of great intrigue within our community also. As Dunmoochin is closed to the general public throughout most of the year, people were drawn to explore the grounds and imagine the life that Cliff Pugh and many other artists lived in days gone by.

(Click image to read online article)

On each of the four days of the November Open Studios an average of 80 people passed through the Dunmoochin Studios where Liz Vercoe and myself showed our paintings and Jeanette Dyke her handcrafted gold and silver jewellery. Singer-songwriter Rachael Byrnes, who is also an artist in residence here at Dunmoochin positioned a bell on a podium below her first story window. When visitors rang the bell, she would appear on her balcony and sing a song. Andrew Garton, a musician and filmmaker who is another artist in residence, put on a spectacular evening where he screened his latest documentary, 'Sarawak Gone' and performed with several other musicians.

My Studio

The Long Gallery

Rachael Byrnes - Singing from her balcony!