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Here’s a wonderful place in the middle of the Yarra Valley. Three Stories Artspace.  Under the creative watch of Ali Griffin, it’s a mecca for local artists.  Since losing their Yarra Glen house in the black Saturday fires, Ali and partner Billy Chisholm have been more determined than ever to foster the arts in the Yarra Valley. Immediately after the fires Ali was busy arranging an exhibition at Three Stories to assist herself and other locals to come to terms with their losses. The space is available for hire and exhibitions. It overlooks a ripper Healesville view. Every week Ali welcomes artists into her artspace to be creative and enjoy the inspiration of being with other creative people. Last Thursday when I arrived, Amanda Ruck was in the middle of working on these paintings.

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Amanda loves painting clouds. Clouds themselves get a lot of bad press… “She’s got her head in the clouds.” “My mind is clouded over.” “There’s a black cloud on the horizon.”  Amanda is on a mission to change all of that. She reminds us that clouds bring the rain that waters the garden and makes fruit and veggies grow. So she paints them in all their cumulonimbus beauty.

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Amanda Ruck’s website.

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I just had to get a shot of Ali with her Three Stories show stopping view.

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It makes perfect sense to me that Ali is interested in connections, wanting to preserve the connections of memories, especially the memories held in the house she owned at Yarra Glen. She wrote down many of those memories and shredded them so that each shred contained a memory.  She wove the shreds into nests so that they created a home of another sort.

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Ali is also exploring connections within her poured paintings.  These often include words and maps.

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Within about five minutes of arriving at the artspace Mim Kocher had set herself up and was working on this little sculpture, made with a paper clay modelling compound which is air dried. Little sculptures like these are painted and attached to a recycled base. A candle stick, vase, money box or shoe last might be saved from oblivion by providing these little figures with a quirky base. The sculptures are available at the the Artist’s Lounge in Healesville.

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The coffee and the conversation flowed, encouragement was given and ideas were shared and workshopped.  I so enjoyed this little glimpse of the Yarra Valley arts community.

All three of these artists will participate in the Yarra Valley Open Studio’s program later this year. Three Stories (if it’s anything like last year) will be buzzing with art lovers and art makers for the duration of the Open Studios.

Three Stories Artspace website