And we all know why.
Needless to say - I've been far from idle.
The main news is I've opened a new public studio!
In Essaouira's medina on the Atlantic coast of Morocco,
and while in the process of creating it, I've been looking back.
This will be my fourth public studio, so I thought I would share some pictures of one, two and three. A walk down memory lane....
my first public studio space was in Manly, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia - a large room I purposely designed for teaching, exhibiting and developing my own artwork. It saw many people pass through it's doors during its twelve years of growth and I'm happy to still be in contact with many of them. Some have visited with me here in Morocco; joining me on tour and enjoying my workshops in a very different culture and landscape!
The interior had good bones and after I renovated it: carpet removed with all the staples and nails removed by hand, one by one, floors sanded and polished, completely repainted, new lighting installed and shelving built in - it was transformed into a lovely space to create in.
A non-negotiable request.
So, after weighing up my options; I decided to move out of Sydney,
north to the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast; a place called Maleny, in Queensland.
After 50 years in Sydney, I spent the month of January 2010 packing up my apartment and studio and in February, moved my life north.
The weather was challenging at times, specially during the Wet season when torrential rain and floods lasted for weeks. The ever present mould and mildew would take off with a growth spurt; the rural setting making it necessary to deal with hand-sized spiders, families of mice and the occasional snake. The building was technically one big tin shed and during downpours your voice or the phone couldn't be heard over the din.
I found my tribe in Maleny - a large population of artists and creatives. People with wonderful skill sets in this rural community of kind, practical and hardworking humans.
There were times I missed Sydney and the museums, galleries and exhibitions, but was able to make a few visits for special workshops on the Hawkesbury River. Special for their time allowing me reconnection with friends and students in such beautiful surroundings.
Of course there were day trips to Brisbane's galleries and museums, where possible, and they were very inspiring.
Long quiet evenings making artists books and drawings. During the floods I remember making lots of linocuts, monoprints and reductive linocuts - fond memories.
The handover was on Melbourne Cup Day (November 2011) and we had one last party.
The new owner wanted to take the place in a different direction, so......
By April 2012, I had found a small and affordable commercial space to rent, in Maleny's town centre. My studio was the last in a row of shops with a huge tree outside. The Obi Obi Creek flowed through the gully behind, audible during heavy rains and the view was onto a vacant, grassy plot of land.
I happily continued my classes, courses and workshops.
From this little place Maleny Printmakers was birthed. We held our first meetings and exhibitions here.
Also the idea for creating Pop Up Galleries in the then empty shops of Maleny's main street. The artists were able to create four Pop Up Galleries in all, helping to bring life and creative energy back into empty spaces and see the area fully operational again.
because I'd said yes, to the opportunity that had come my way:
to move to Morocco via Catalonia. And that's a whole other story.