Birrarung House, Day One.

Birrarung_Day_1

My much anticipated artist in residence began at Birrarung House yesterday. It’s 6.30am. on my first full day here. I’m sitting up in my bed writing, so as to let you all know just a little about the experience so far.

Yesterday was a big day of packing and arranging. Two trips from home were necessary before I was officially installed. The fridge is full of food, the firewood is stacked and the studio is now home to my paints, easel and sketch books. I’m pretty pleased with my efforts. I managed a roast chicken for dinner and ate it in front of a roaring fire in the cavernous fireplace. I spent the rest of the evening checking out the collection of books on the Birrarung House bookshelves.

Birrarung_Day_1_3

Photograph courtesy of Kerry Cross ©

I especially loved a beautiful book, “Gordon Ford. The Natural Australian Garden”  written by the designer of Birrarung House, Gordon Ford with his wife Gwen Ford.  The late Gordon Ford is well known in the area for his genius with natural landscape design. The prologue, written by Morag Fraser contains words and phrases so beautiful, I found myself wanting to climb into her head and stay there forever…wowa can she write! I was particularly taken with the pictures of Gordon’s own garden, “Fulling”, here in Eltham. The photographs indicate that it’s true to his own ethos,

We must feel part of the land we walk on and love the plants that grow there…if we are to achieve a spirit in a garden.”

Even here at Birrarung, there is spirit in what remains of his garden. There are the remnants of Gordon’s trademark rock landscaping along with several connecting ponds.  I can only imagine the water from them cascading down the hill to the side of the house.  I wish I’d seen it in its heyday. I understand that Gordon lived in the house for a time. It’s an old muddie held up by enormous recycled timbers. While brick floors throughout create a seamless connection with the outdoors.

Birrarung_Day_1_2

I’ve also unearthed a folder put together by writer Sharyn Munro, a previous artist in residence who chronicled her experience here in words and photos. I’m keen to allow her words to wash over me today. To read and reread her experience so that it informs and enriches my own. Sharyn was obviously moved by the indescribable quality that the house and its bush setting provide. While the flora and fauna of the bush undoubtedly offer a clue to that quality, it’s the sounds here that transport me to a sublime, deeply joyous place. Birds and frogs create an unending soundscape, punctuating the air with symphonic beauty. In keeping with my artist in residence brief, I’m already looking for creative themes… I wonder how an artist would represent that symphony pictorially?

Alas, despite the best efforts yesterday, the internet will not talk to my computer, so blogs will need to be partly prepared and then I’ll have to temporarily leave this magical place in order to find a connection for posting. I hope it doesn’t break the spell.   I can't believe I’m saying this, but already I don’t want to leave here…ever.

Nillumbik Shire offer an Artist in Residence Program at two venues, Birrarung House and River Bend, in Laughing Waters Road Eltham. Go to their website for all the details.

Parent Category: Arts
Facebook Image

Congratulations Nerina Lascelles

Congratulations Nerina Lascelles! Long-Leaf Box Nerina Lascelles© (Winner of 2011 Nillumbik Prize Peoples Choice Award) Late last night an email came through letting me know that… More…

Poetry for Matcham

Poetry for Matcham Last night's Red Chair Event honoured Matcham Skipper. His nephew Sigmund Jorgensen spoke of his uncles life and times. Jenni Mitchell put together a… More…

Work in Progress

Work in Progress I'm working on a doozy of a blog today. I visited the studio of Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn yesterday. It's one of those blogs where the difficulty has been in… More…

Material Things

Material Things ©Libby Schrieber Apple Picking Saints, silk cut linoleum print There's a little number that's been tucked away at the back of my wardrobe for what seems like a… More…

Ev Hales-A Work in Progress

Ev Hales-A Work in Progress Yesterday saw the launch of Ev Hales eagerly anticipated, self published book "A Work in Progress". As the name suggests, it illuminates the process… More…

Jeanette Dyke

Jeanette Dyke Photograph courtesy of Jeanette Dyke© Rarely do I find a silversmith, whose work is as exquisite as Jeanette Dykes. The travelling salt and pepper shaker (above) is… More…

Pamela Irving

Pamela Irving I'm finding Melbourne's cold wet winter really drab. I know we need the rain but oh how I long for a warm day to get outside and enjoy the sunshine on my deck in… More…

The Caladenia Rosella Orchid

The Caladenia Rosella Orchid One of the really lovely things to happen since beginning Isiiad has been the making of connections at Dunmoochin. It's meant, life drawing sessions,… More…

Ev Hales-Static Motion

Ev Hales-Static Motion I sometimes worry that there's something wrong with me. I get so excited by the artwork that I've seen that I can't stop thinking about it...Perhaps I need… More…

Birrarung Symphony in Bird Minor

Birrarung Symphony in Bird Minor When I was at uni, way too many moons ago, I often hung out with the music students. One in particular, who would share the progress of his… More…

Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Awards-2

Nillumbik Ekphrasis Poetry Award Camilla TADICH©, 6.23am Kangaroo Ground 2009, oil on canvas, 94.5cm. x 125cm. framed. "Ekphrasis is a genre of poetry that explores works of art… More…

Strathewen Letterboxes

Strathewen Letterboxes Look what I spied on the way to The Chook Project in Strathewen. I just had to share them with you. These letterboxes certainly brightened up my day.… More…

The Chook Project

The Chook Project Photograph courtesy of Barbara Joyce. Today is the Third Anniversary of the Black Saturday Fires. I want to mark the event with a story that has in turn, made me… More…

After the Storm

After the Storm Days are filled with quiet pleasures here, no bells and whistles. But then bells and whistles are here and gone in an instant, bouncing off the surface of things.… More…

Shaaron Smith

Shaaron Smith I'd need seven extra days a week to cover all of the studios in the Nillumbik Open Studios, so I went through their publication and chose three or four that… More…

Stephanie Mew

Stephanie Mew (Detail) I have to admit that I couldn't get enough of Stephanie's work. So this is the first of two posts I'm planning to show you. I went down to her exhibition at… More…

Mary-Lou Pittard

Mary-Lou Pittard Photograph taken with the permission of the Light Factory Gallery Eltham and Mary-Lou Pittard©. With the Nillumbik Artist's Open Studios fast approaching in… More…

Bountiful Birrarung Dinner

Bountiful Birrarung Dinner Now I’m in love with the Eltham Library. I sit in the section that stores house and cooking magazines in glass cabinets…reminding me of how clever we… More…

So when do you throw the flowers out?

I can't tell you how much I love a house full of flowers. Parrot tulips and peonies are perennial favorites. As a result, I've got a lifetime's collection of vases and vessels. I… More…

Birrarung Alchemy

Birrarung Alchemy There’s a howling wind today. Just now a big branch came loose from its trunk mooring and thundered onto the roof, threatening the structure of the house and by… More…

Copyright

THIS ENTIRE SITE © 2010-2012 ISIIAD. ALL OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND WRITTEN MATERIAL HEREIN, UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ARE COPYRIGHTED BY ISIIAD. NO PART OF THIS SITE, OR ANY OF THE CONTENT CONTAINED HEREIN, MAY BE USED OR REPRODUCED IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.