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You will know by now that I didn’t want to leave Birrarung House.  The final day came around all too quickly but there was a little bright spot on the day that propelled me back into my previous life, in the nicest possible way.

One of my favourite places in the area, the Baldessin Studio, was having a birthday party at the Light Factory Gallery in Eltham and I was invited. The local arts community was out in force to help them celebrate.  A fine collection of work by the four members of the Baldessin management team, Tess Edwards, Silvi Glattauer, Lloyd Godman and Rob Hails covered the walls.   Lloyd Godman’s ethereal, jaw droppingly beautiful installation, “Carbon Obscura” filled the courtyard and Tess Edwards launched her book “Metaphysical Fishing”.  I momentarily forgot my sadness at leaving the residency.

I’ve been sitting up in bed thinking about how to describe “Metaphysical Fishing” and do it justice. If I say it’s a signed, limited edition, tiny gem of a book, it only goes part of the way.  Probably best to tell the story of its evolution to put it into context for you.

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It’s no secret that after George Baldessin’s untimely death, Tess Edwards Baldessin, his wife, fled to France with her two sons.  They lived there for 17 years. Tess spent those years coming to terms with her grief.  A very accomplished artist herself, she began painting ‘stream of consciousness works’ on the pages of tiny french prayer books. It was central to her healing process. There are seventeen books in all, each one filled with these meditative works. Researching this piece, I found the catalogue for an Australian Galleries exhibition of this work held in 1999 titled ‘Indicia’ (a Latin word for traces, marks or clues). Metaphysical Fishing is made up of a selection of these pages plus some beautiful quotes from the likes of Albert Einstein and Thich Nhat Hanh. I particularly liked this little quote from Sir John Lubbock,

“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”

I’ve known this book was on its way into the world for a year. I have been privileged to see some of the original works.  I was looking for the book to be an exquisite replica of the originals.  A book  that I could hold in the palm of my hand. The contents of which I could enjoy often, either  with breakfast in the morning or just before hopping into bed at the end of the day, full of the mysteries of the artist’s soul…some resolved and some not…  That’s exactly what I got.  

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Tess Edwards thanking her community for their support and filling the room with her abundant heart and personal beauty.

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Wayne Rankin ( on the right) is responsible for the design of “Metaphysical Fishing”.  He is a graphic designer and artist as well as a very valued member of the Warrandyte community. Wayne works on his printmaking at the Baldessin Studio every Monday.  His work is in the background. Lloyd Godman, on the left, is the creator of the “Carbon Obscura”.

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Carbon Obscura  Lloyd Godman©

“Metaphysical Fishing” is available at the Light Factory Gallery until the close of the Baldessin Studio Exhibition at the end of this week.  The book is also available at the Baldessin Studio.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BALDESSIN STUDIO!

PS.  As this is the last post generated during my stay as Artist in Residence at Birrarung House, I would like to take this opportunity to  thank the Nillumbik Shire, Irene Pagram, Jane Woollard  and the team for making my stay possible. Birrarung House has found a little tranquil place in my heart.

If you would like to apply for a residency at either Birrarung House or River Bend (I wholeheartedly recommend it) follow the link.