Dianne Longley is one of those people with connections so extensive that it seems every printmaker in Australia knows her. When mentioning to Tess Edwards at Baldessin that I was from Adelaide, she told me that Dianne had had a studio there for many years but had recently moved and just this year opened a new studio at Trentham, north-east of Ballarat. I was lucky enough to find that Dianne would be able to see me on the day that I left Melbourne for Ballarat and so I turned up at Agave Print Studio on Friday 27th Feb.
I visited Melbourne’s Australian Print Workshop on Thursday 26th February and was shown around by technician, Chris Ingham. Sadly Dianne Shannon, Deputy Director: Business Operations, with whom I’d organised the visit, was tied up with auditors and only had time for a quick hello. Chris did an admirable job of filling in.
The workshop is in easy reach, along the route of the number 86 tram:
I visited the Firestation Print Studio on a sunny Wednesday 25th Feb, after figuring out the Melbourne tram system and which route was best for me to use (see transport info on the website here). The building presents a lovely frontage with its warm red brick and bright red arched doors:
I visited Baldessin Press Studio on Monday 23rd Feb, was greeted by Silvi Glattauer and then joined by Tess Edwards. Tess was married to George Baldessin, one of Australia’s most prominent artists in the 1970s. He and Tess built this studio for his etching work. An artist, printmaker and sculptor, he tragically died in 1978. Tess returned to the site in 2001 and restored it so that the studio could operate as a working memorial to George (see more here).
The studio takes a little finding: my satnav misdirected me slightly so if you visit, do use the satnav to get you to the area and Tess’ instructions for the final part of the journey. The last part is along an unpaved but easily passable road and the journey is very worth while. The bluestone construction nestles naturally amongst the surrounding eucalypts, various sculptures dotted around the grounds.
On my way from Canberra out to the coast, I stopped at Basil Hall Editions in Braidwood to meet Basil and talk to him about his work with remote indigenous artists and their communities. I arrived, was greeted by Pam, Basil’s wife, and was immediately invited to stay for lunch, which I accepted (good choice: they have the most amazing baker in the town making superb pies – Dojo) and then had a look around the studio with Basil.
Here’s the back of the studio, extended to the very edge of the property, with Basil standing in the lane next door:
I visited Megalo Print Studio and Gallery in Canberra on Thursday 19th Feb. I had spent the morning in the National Gallery of Australia (which in itself made me wish I’d planned a much longer stay in Canberra) and had taken a picnic lunch down by the lake. After lunch (partly spent watching an angler hauling in a huge fish), I allowed the satnav to direct me to Megalo’s address. I needn’t have bothered, it was only a couple of k’s down the same street but what an introduction to the studio: driving past what seemed like (and was) an enormously long frontage. Parking and walking back to the entrance was even better. I had to cross the street to fit this much in:
I was invited to visit Warringah Printmakers Studio, in Sydney, by Susan Baran, their President, and Sandra Williams, Treasurer, on Wednesday 18th Feb. It was a very warm day so I was glad to get out of the Sydney traffic into this wonderfully light and airy studio. I arrived just before Susan was due to teach one of her regular classes at the studio. It is based in Manly Vale and is located within the Manly Vale Community Centre complex but has its own dedicated space. I forgot to get a shot of the exterior (which can be seen here on their website), so we’ll start with a shot down the length of the studio:
showing Sandra and Susan busy setting up.
I visited the Newcastle Printmakers Workshop in the late afternoon of Friday 13th Feb after a long-ish but very scenic drive from Coffs Harbour. The workshop is situated opposite parklands in a lovely tree-lined street in a residential suburb of Newcastle. The building is newly refurbished after a significant grant gained in 2013 (and, for the moment, you can see the old building on Google maps street view which only serves to underline how well the external renovations were undertaken),
complete with the group’s new logo on the street facing wall.
Once again, I was visiting a printmaking studio housed in an interesting building, one with a past. Impress Printmakers Studio and Gallery, in Brisbane, is in a former electricity substation for the local trams.
The fabric of the building is protected and the customisations needed for housing printmaking facilities have been sensitively handled.
I was met at the studio, on Monday 9th Feb, by the group’s Treasurer, Sue Pickford, who had kindly taken time off work to meet me, show me around the studio and talk to me about the history and work of the group. We talked for a long time and I must admit that I was often too involved in our discussions to take notes. I hope Sue and other members will contact me with any corrections required or use the comments section below to expand on what I have managed to capture.
I visited The Art Vault in Mildura on Tuesday 3rd Feb. The gallery is closed to the public on a Tuesday but staff are still in: hanging exhibitions, packaging and posting art and performing the usual organisational administration. The founder, joint-owner and Director of The Art Vault, Julie Chambers, showed me around. Read the rest of this entry
I made the first of my Australian studio visits last Saturday (24th Jan) to Bittondi Printmakers (two Facebook links, here and here), in the Aberfoyle Park suburb, in the hills south of Adelaide. A ‘photopolymer etching’ course was being run by Julia Wakefield and I met her and the three printmakers learning this technique with her. Also there when I arrived was member Kay Walker; she and Julia showed me around the premises.
The group have a lovely building in the grounds of the Aberfoyle Park High School: