Artentwine

I recently spent a weekend in Launceston with my sister who was here on holiday. Not that we needed an excuse to visit wineries, but the Artentwine sculpture exhibition was added incentive. The biennial competition started in 2014 and features contemporary sculptures by Australian and international artists, displayed at five wineries in the West Tamar. After driving up the East Tamar, we crossed the Batman Bridge and began our adventure at Goaty Hill. The three sculptures on display were set against the backdrop of beautiful vistas and vineyards. The bronze Seated Figure by Jason Farrow caught my eye and was still my favourite at the end of the day. I’m not going to include all the artist statements or this would be a very long post, but I found Jason’s summation quite moving; “Walking under the iconic coke sign of Kings Cross, Sydney, I noticed this guy, sitting there on the steps. Deep in thought, lost in anguish, you couldn’t really tell. Wherever he was, was a long way from here.”

1.Seated Figure

Jason Farrow, ‘Seated Figure’

2.My Other Half

Nicole Allen, ‘My Other Half’

3.CAUTION. This Is Not a Life Saving Device

Christopher Trotter, ‘CAUTION: This is not a life saving device’

Armed with two bottles of 2016 Goaty Hill Riesling, we moved on to Iron Pot Bay Vineyard. We only saw four of the five sculptures as they were positioned in rooms where people were eating and a little difficult to view. Simon Pankhurst’s, The Battle Between Needs and Wants, had been displayed upside down, not the best angle.

4.Wintery Mood

Peter Steller, ‘Wintery Mood’

7.The Night Hunter

Mela Cooke, ‘The Night Hunter’

The man in blue, poised in the garden, sported an outfit knitted with baling twine. My sister and I had been at Deloraine Craft Fair the previous weekend where we had seen numerous knitters eagerly creating something with the blue baling twine. It seems artist, Grietje van Randen, has enlisted volunteers to help complete a double life size Blue Farmer to be sited on a local farm to raise awareness of those living with depression and as a reminder for us all to be Looking Out For Each Other.

We added a bottle of 2016 Pinot Grigio to our collection and drove the short distance to neighbouring Holm Oak Vineyard where a further eight sculptures awaited. The setting was magnificent, unfortunately Smultronstalle and Impression VI were presented back to front, a little disappointing for the artist I would imagine.

18.Smultronstalle

Christie Lange, ‘Smultronstalle’

20.Impression VI

Paul Murphy, ‘Impression VI’

11.Monument of Indifference

Gene McLaren, ‘Monument of Indifference’

14.Water Light

Lisa de Boer, ‘Water Light’

15.Fisherman & Fisherwoman

Sallie Portnoy, ‘Fisherman & Fisherwoman’

19.Perpetual Growth

Vlase Nikoleski, ‘Perpetual Growth’

21.Tall Poppy

Peter Rozario, ‘Tall Poppy’

The competition was won by Wayne Hudson for Pledged which will become a one and a half metre diameter sculpture for the public. A light will be positioned below the ring and shine through the centre, I think it will be quite spectacular.

12.Pledged

Wayne Hudson, ‘Pledged’

A bottle of Duffy 2018 Rosé accompanied us to the next location, Moores Hill Estate. Some of the twelve sculptures were difficult to photograph against the background of corrugated iron and I was disappointed to see Fate had been damaged – the boat should be suspended within the frame but the supporting wires had broken.

23.Fate

Jamie Dobbs, ‘Fate’

Ask and thou shalt receive by Al Roberts was my close second favourite, the man’s face had so much character. It is no wonder it won the People’s Choice award. The artist’s statement is worth sharing here; “ I wanted a turtle dove as an artistic reference for a potential sculpture. I spoke to a friend of mine that is a hunter and she agreed to acquire one for me on her next hunt. Shortly after our conversation my friend arrived home, and by strange twist of fate, she immediately heard a thud behind her on the glass door. She looked down on the ground outside to see a small turtle dove twitch and take its last breath. Feeling guilty, even though the bird died of natural causes, and unsure what to do now my ‘wish’ had been granted, I decided that I needed to make the most out of its life by immortalizing it as part of my sculpture. As with many things in nature and life, we have been given exactly what we need, but still have no idea how to make to the most of it.”

22.Evidence of Passing

David Doyle, ‘Evidence of passing’

25.Changing Tracks

Mary vandenBroek, ‘Changing Tracks’

24.Kanamaluka

Catherine Phillips, ‘Kanamaluka’

29.Illusion

Ben Fasham, ‘Illusion’

30.Continuous

Ben Beams, ‘Continuous’

31.Star Finder

Di West, ‘Star Finder’

32.Nudibranchor

Dan Kershaw & Sara Ferrington, ‘Nudibranchor’

33.Bait

Lynette Griffiths, ‘Bait’

35.curious dream of an architect

Fatih Semiz, ‘curious dream of an architect’

37.Twitter Birds

Cheryl Sims, ‘Twitter Birds’

The views from Moores Hill were breathtaking, as was the 2016 Chardonnay and 2017 Riesling that I just couldn’t leave behind.

38.Moores Hill Vineyard39.Moores Hill Vineyard

Our final venue for the day was Tamar Ridge Cellar Door, in an enviable position with magnificent panoramas of the Tamar River.

40.Tamar Ridge Vineyard

Ten sculptures were on display throughout the extensive premises, although we only found eight. We didn’t partake of tastings here, I will have to return on my next trip to Launceston.

41.Changing Landscape

Keith Smith, ‘Changing Landscape’

43.Finding the Lost

Anita Denholm, ‘Finding the Lost’

44.Brigid of the West

Robert Boldkald, ‘Brigid of the West’

45.Estuary

Rob Ikin, ‘Estuary’

47.Discourse

Craig Ashton, ‘Discourse’

50.Formation

Ben Beams, ‘Formation’

51.Panspermia

Christina Palacios, ‘Panspermia’

52.Above and Below

Barry Smith, ‘Above and Below’

For more insight into the sculptures, the artist statements can be found in the catalogue.

Artentwine 2018 Catalogue

culinary capers

We had an inkling, when we were planning our trip, that after a day in Rome seeing the sights and battling the throngs we would be ready to escape to the countryside. Consequently, we signed up for a cooking class and did just that. There were only four participants, the others were a lovely young couple from Melbourne, Ash and Mel. We were picked up at 8.30am by multi-talented driver and sous-chef, Roy, and enjoyed a very comfortable 45 minute ride to the medieval village of Mazzano Romano. There, we met our chef, Elisa, who guided us through the process of purchasing our ingredients. Firstly, to the macelleria where vegetarian Mel opted to wait outside.

Next was the green grocers, bursting with colourful, fresh produce.

The last stop was for cheeses and smallgoods, so much choice in one small shop.

12.shop

Sharing the load, we made our way along narrow cobbled streets, climbing higher into the village.

16.Mazzano Romano17.Mazzano Romano

Arriving at the apartment, built around 1300 AD, we wandered around in awe at the beautiful interior and breathtaking views.

29.neighbours

The kitchen awaited us, ready to create our culinary masterpieces

and the essential ingredient was poured.

34.pre-cooking

Michael’s first attempt at tossing salt in a pan was somewhat overzealous but with a little more tuition, he soon mastered the art.

We were shown some handy tips when it came to preparing vegetables, including an easy way to prevent eyes from streaming when chopping onions. Take a mouthful of water and hold it in your mouth while cutting the onion – no tears. I have it on good authority that it also works with a mouthful of beer! Michael was assigned the task of making the dark chocolate lava cake, I’m not sure how Elisa knew he would embrace the challenge with such gusto.

Meanwhile, Elisa shared her grandmother’s recipe for pizza dough using flour and sparkling water. Served with three different toppings – potato & rosemary, red onion and tomatoes with mozzarella – they were deliciously crisp.

Elisa had a great sense of humour and Michael didn’t mind being the fall guy. Presented with a pot of cooked tomatoes, he was asked to separate the skins and seeds and was much relieved to discover Elisa had a handy gizmo to do the job.

We learned how to make three kinds of pasta,

shaping the gnocchi on garganelli boards required a certain technique.

Rolling the pasta through the machine was more than a one person job.

We quickly produced enough pasta to cook

53.ravioli, fettucine & gnocchi

and Elisa impressed us with her presentation of the ricotta & spinach ravioli,

fettucine with tomato based sauce

57.fettucine

and gnocchi with pesto sauce.

58.gnocchi

We had prepared a salad to accompany the veal saltimbocca, savouring all courses with the obligatory bottle of vino.

We had just enough room for the exquisite chocolate lava cake, prepared with enthusiasm and cooked to perfection.

The time had come to wend our way to the car for a much quieter trip back to Rome. I hadn’t noticed this gorgeous little pink house on the way in, I wonder how many centuries it has guarded the village.

63.pink house

bespoke bureau

Having finished the back room renovation, our thoughts turned to furnishings. We searched for a suitable sideboard but couldn’t find anything that was just right, though we did get a few ideas. The answer was to create our own. We had some old timbers lying around and supplemented our supply with a visit to the salvage yard where we also found four wooden crates (there were two A.B. Tonic ones).

I cleaned up the crates while Michael slaved over the frame using various reclaimed hardwood timbers

and some old fence palings. I found a recipe for rusting nails and it worked a treat.

6.shelves

A few coats of Cabothane brought out the natural hues as well as the perfect defects.

We kept changing our minds about what to use for the centre front and side panels so Michael experimented with rust effects on steel. The polyurethane coating has preserved the colours well.

9.rusted steel panels

Precision placed finger holes and felt lining completed the crates.

Over the years, we have accumulated some beautiful timber slabs and we selected a Huon pine for this project. Trimmed and prepared,

it was fixed to the frame

15.finished

and the steel took its place in the front and sides.

Some more Cabothane on the top highlighted the grain.

We are very happy with the result.

23.finished

Connemara

Leaving Bundoran early on a crisp, autumn morning, we continued our drive through County Donegal heading southwest through County Mayo toward Galway. The journey was broken by the necessity to stop and take photographs of the beautiful scenery. Solitary stone ruins scattered the countryside

1.ruins

and gentle waterfalls tumbled a tune.

2.waterfall

Rivers skilfully traversed rocks before disappearing beneath ancient stone bridges.

3.river4.stone bridge

Shafts of sunlight shone briefly on the mountains before retreating once again behind the clouds.

5.mountains6.mountains7.mountains

As the landscape changed, gentle streams meandered through farmland

8.stream

and  flowed calmly under stone arches.

9.stone bridge

Despite our distractions, we reached Connemara in good time, this old caravan by the side of the road presented a subliminal suggestion.

10.old caravan

We arrived in Leenane in time for lunch, a peaceful village at the head of Killary Harbour. Extending 16km toward the sea, Killary Harbour is the most westerly fjord in Europe, majestic mountains rising on either side make for a spectacular panorama.

11.Killary Fjord12.Killary Fjord

The cemetery has prime position.

13.Leenane cemetery & Killary Harbour

Further along the shore we had a different perspective of the fjord

14.Killary Fjord

and a breathtaking view of Mweelrea, the highest mountain in Connacht and County Mayo.

15.Mweelrea, Killary Fjord

We were looking forward to exploring Connemara, a region in west Galway known for its National Park, stunning coastline and fishing villages. Our intention was to drive to Clifden on the far west side of Connemara and continue the loop back to Galway. Unfortunately, we hadn’t gone far before a police roadblock informed us the road was closed due to an accident. Taking a detour, we came across a pub in the middle of nowhere and sought to assuage our disappointment with a tasty beverage. Entering the establishment, we were greeted with indifference by the three men at the bar who had seemingly already partaken of the amber liquid. The barman disappeared, presumably to prepare for customers. We waited at the bar, then took a seat at a table while the three aforementioned persons spoke to each other in Gaelic and furnished us with less than friendly stares. We were a bit slow on the uptake but, when the barman failed to return, we beat a hasty retreat and, without looking back, made a beeline for Galway. For those of you who have read of our disgruntlement with Holly, our satnav, here is evidence. She is unable to comprehend that we are already on a road!

16.Holly

beautiful firetail

Venturing out for another bout of gardening, I saw movement from the corner of my eye. Expecting to see the resident fairy wrens bobbing around, I was excited to see two little birds I haven’t seen before.

1.beautiful firetail

I wasted no time grabbing my camera and returned to find they were still in the orchard. They certainly weren’t disturbed by my presence.

2.beautiful firetail

I consulted our Guide to Australian Birds book and found out they are beautiful firetail finches. The only finch endemic to Tasmania, (the European goldfinch and greenfinch are introduced) appear to have an olive green head but it actually has the same fine dark barring as the white body.

3.beautiful firetail

The bright red rump and beak, highlighted against black tail and mask, co-ordinate perfectly.

4.beautiful firetail

Males have a black centre of abdomen and undertail, their plumage darkens and eye ring becomes bluer during breeding season.

5.beautiful firetail

Usually seen in pairs, the beautiful firetail eats mainly grass as well as casuarina and tea tree seeds. I don’t know what they were finding so tasty on this occasion, either the grass or some small insects to complement the herbivore diet?

6.beautiful firetail

These birds share an equal partnership, both construct the nest, incubate the eggs and care for the young. Fortunately, their conservation status is secure, hopefully they will visit again.

7.beautiful firetail