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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 Warrandyte. A visit to Pamela Irving’s studio in Bentleigh last week momentarily reminded me that summer is not that far away and that all’s well with the world.  I’d be really surprised if you get to the end of this post and feel miserable!

I can’t believe what a prolific artist Pamela is.  The scope of the work she’s already completed and the work that is in progress, is mind boggling.

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This great sculpture was sitting in the window of Pamela’s gallery/studio.  She loves kids plastic toys…they’re used here to great effect.

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Collections of ceramics, pottery, porcelain and plastic toys cover benches, tables and window sills.

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This great mosaic of Barak Obama by Julie Richey, was sitting amongst the treasure trove of work in Pamela’s studio.  Have a look at this link for one of Julie’s 3d mosaic works…taking mosaic to new heights.

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This work (above) is part of a mosaic project for the dodgem car pavillion at Luna park. Pamela’s work is perfectly matched to the fun of Luna Park.

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Pamela’s studio has a wonderful courtyard in the middle. Every wall is covered in mosaic…

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“Dreaming with Open Eyes”

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My first experience of Pamela’s work was provided by this current exhibition at the  Light Factory Gallery in Eltham. Every time I go there I love the space a little bit more. Pamela is similarly enamoured with it. When she first saw the LFG, she approached the director Margo, to see if she was interested in her exhibiting there.  Margo suggested a shared exhibition but Pamela insisted on a solo show.  She was determined to see the whole space filled with her work. I’m so glad that Margo agreed. Friend, artist and author Leigh Hobbs opened the exhibition. It was a family event.  Pamela’s daughter played violin with her jazz trio to entertain the large crowd.  I do love a bit of live music with my visual art.

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Being an old St Kilda girl from way back, Pamela’s series of St Kilda works really hit the spot for me.

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“Dreaming with Open Eyes” closes this coming Sunday 24th July.  The Light Factory Gallery is at 21 Brougham Street, Eltham.

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The Bentleigh Railway Station Project.

It seems to be the week for me to discover great community arts events.  Pamela has finished stage one of a project to cover the walls of the underpass of the Bentleigh Railway Station with mosaic.  With the help of local school children, one side is complete, with the other side due for completion in the next few weeks.  Pamela’s studio floor is covered in piles and piles of individual mosaics ready for the  second phase. She is very much influenced by the American artist Isaiah Zagar, who created Philadelphia’s Magic Garden, where he covered an area of Philadelphia with mosaic. His son Jeremiah has documented it in a multi award winning film called “In a dream”. Pamela has a similar vision in Bentleigh… lucky Bentleigh!

I stood in front  of the completed area of the underpass with a passer by.  Together we marvelled at the talent of the locals and the many hours of work it represents.  Then we just allowed ourselves to be bathed in the warmth and delight of colour and creativity.  Aaaah that’s the best soul food I know!

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Pamela’s website is well worth a visit.  If you find yourself anywhere near Bentleigh go and visit the underpass (in Patterson Rd.) for a bit of winter ‘sunshine’.  I guarantee you’ll go away feeling good about the world.

Pamela’s studio is at 68 Patterson Rd. Bentleigh.

PS. If you haven’t seen the mosaic work of Panton Hill’s Shaaron Smith or Warrandyte’s Deborah Halpern  click on their links.  The other mosaic extravaganza I’m totally in love with is the Sculpture Garden of Chandigarh.  See some individual pieces that were on display at The American Folk Art Museum in New York in December last year. They are all the work of Nek Chand.