Meet the Spring guest designer

Meet Tiffany Morris-North, local artist and foodie. She’s been our cafe tart for many years and was the first artist featured on our cover. I’ve known Tiffany for many years as our kids went to school together, I’m lucky enough to work with Tiffany and she’s always got great stories and fantastic recipes to try. She shares some of her stories here.

Tell us a little bit about your creative journey?

I don’t feel like I’ve been on a journey. Its just a part of me. I think my creativity is what keeps me grounded, it’s like a meditation and helps me to relax. I love learning new things, experimenting and attending workshops. 

Why did you want to become an artist/designer?

It hasn’t been a decision I’ve ever made. I’ve just always drawn pictures, painted, crocheted. Maybe I dandy have a choice.

Did you study art/design?

After Secondary School I studied an Art and Design Certificate at TAFE before working for a graphic designer, which I hated!!I then travelled overseas and studied prop-making and visual merchandising in London.

How did you become involved with the hillscene?

I have always had a small interest in the hillscene from the beginning. I’ve contributed photos, written cafe reviews and also had a painting featured on the cover of the premier issue. So I’ve been part of it right from the start.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

In the past I have been a part of Open Studios, helped start a local business (Leaf studios in Kallista), been part of local art exhibitions and initiatives and sold my wares at local markets. Because of this I’ve met many locals and artists and we continue to talk and share local interests and events.

What do you wish you knew about being an artist/designer before you got started?

I wish I knew more about the business side of things and marketing myself. Although these things really don’t interest me, I just wish I knew stuff.

Who are your creative heroes?

My heroes are the friends and artists I’ve met along the way who can fit their creativity into their work and family life as well as all the other surprises along the way.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges?

I love the trees, the colours, the space and hearing the birds when I get home from work.

Where can people find more information about you?

I’m on facebook, instagram and have a website.
Facebook: Tiffany Morris-North Artist
Instagram: tiffanymorrisnorth_artist
www.tiffanymorrisnorth.com

What are your plans for the future (immediate or long term)?

Nothing definite. I’m always planning the next painting even if it never eventuates. I’m always on the lookout for a class or workshop to learn and have fun.

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Creative Opportunities

Eliza-and-Ben-Phillips-Doll

At the hillscene we often get people sending us their information to share with our talented community so here are a few creative opportunities that are on the horizon…

Applications for Dandenong Ranges Open Studios 2016 close on Monday the 5th of October.

The Open Studios weekend is one of the most anticipated events for the region’s cultural calendar, attracting art minded visitors and tourists since 2004. The Dandenong Ranges Open Studios program provides a unique insight into our artists’ work environments as well as their art.
There are 5 funded Emerging Artist spaces available. For more information go to Dandenong Ranges Open Studios.

Collective Consciousness – End of the Line group exhibition

Collective Consciousness is an outdoor exhibition located in BlackSmiths Way. Participating artists will be provided with a plywood board 90cmX 120cm that can be collected from Limerence between 22 September to 31st of October* – 10am to 5pm. Each board is attached to a large fence upon installation on the morning of the festival. Please note that holes will be drilled into corners of the boards so we can attach them to the fence.
Your job as the artist is to spread your creative wonderment on the board in any medium you like, using any subject matter you like! Just please keep in mind that the work will be displayed in a public space so it needs to be safe, any objects must be securely attached to the board and the work should be weather proof – just in case we end up having  to rain dance on the day!
Please note that you will be required to drop off your artwork for the Collective Consciousness exhibition at Limerence (1642 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave) between the 3 to 20 November* – 10am to 5pm.
*Closed on Sunday and Monday

The Doll House – End of the Line group exhibition

We would love to assemble a collection of handmade dolls in a tiny and curious exhibition space… they can be as lovely or creepy as you like! We just ask that these “people”… erm, I mean artworks, be no larger than 40cm squared.
Please note that you will be required to drop off the artwork for The Doll House exhibition at Limerence (1642 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave) between the 20 October to 3 November* – 10am to 5pm.
*Closed on Sunday and Monday

If you would like to take part in one or more of the End of the Line group exhibitions please email the following details to amym@burrinja.org.au
Artist Name:
Group Exhibition you want to take part in:
Do you fancy lending us a hand installing the exhibitions?

Studio Space Available at Burrinja

Studio 3 is available at Burrinja from the 1st of December. For more details go to Burrinja studios.

The Regional Exhibitions Program is now accepting proposals for the 2016 program.

The program exhibits at:

  • The Memo Gallery at The Memo, Healesville
  • The Studio at the Arts Centre, Warburton
  • Red Earth Gallery at the Mooroolbark Community Centre

The Regional Exhibitions program is a valued part of the Arts, Culture & Heritage Department in the Yarra Ranges Council. Consisting of three galleries, these vibrant spaces are situated within multi-disciplinary art and community centres aimed to inspire and foster the community.

The Regional Exhibitions Program every year exhibits local, national and international exhibitions from established and emerging practitioners.

For all the information you need go to www.culturetracks.info. Get in touch with Jade Bitar, Regional Exhibitions Officer on 03 5965 3509 / 0419 384 526 or email exhibitions@yarraranges.vic.gov.au if you have any questions.

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Mount Everest - Twilight by Murray Lancaster

Reaching the Summit

Gokyo 3 by Murray Lancaster Gokyo 2 by Murray Lancaster

Why paint mountains? After all, anyone can visit them in situ and enjoy their physical presence.

That’s a question that many people may ask as they view my work. On a general level, my interest in mountains is both visual and philosophical. Visually, I find mountains endlessly fascinating with their intricate patterns of snow and ice, sharp ridges and serrated skylines. On a more thoughtful note it must be remembered that the highest mountains, particularly the Himalaya, attract extreme weather which results in snow and rain that helps to sustain human life elsewhere, so that they help replenish the earth. However, I also speculate on the future for them with the effects of climate change.

Mountains used to be considered the ‘abode of the gods’ and many people in olden times were fearful of going there. Although this is largely not the case now, “as the highest and most dramatic features of the natural landscape, mountains have an extraordinary ability to evoke the sacred.”* Mountains can both attract and repel us with intense feelings of wonder and awe. “Floating above the clouds, materialising out of the mist, mountains appear to belong to a world, utterly different to the one we know.”* It is this ‘otherness’ that attracts me to them.

Mountains, and more specifically Mt. Everest, have been an interest of mine for some time. I have always been attracted to them from my youth and have camped and walked on them for many years. Over the last thirty years, where I have travelled outside of Australia more extensively, my attraction in particular has been to the Himalayan range of mountains.

I have travelled to Nepal for trekking purposes six times in the last 18 years, and in 1999 I walked to just above Mt. Everest base camp. This is where my preoccupation started with documenting the highest peak in the world. Reading about mountaineers attempting peaks like Mt. Everest has given me an insight into the deprivations one must face in order to reach the summit. These are symbols of extreme effort, but along with the courage of climbers, it is inevitable that climbers’ tales also contain stories of greed and selfishness. Mt. Everest has a chequered history in this regard.

Using photography and my imagination, I wanted to specifically focus on Mt. Everest. My wish, when you view these images, is for you to imagine what it might be like to be there, to appreciate how compelling Mt. Everest can be and to enjoy its aesthetic beauty. Colour is important to me and I will not hesitate to augment or alter colours for varying moods.

Murray Lancaster

*Sacred Mountains of the World – Edwin Bernbaum

Mount Everest - Twilight by Murray Lancaster

How would you describe your creative practice?

I’ve been an artist for about 40 years and particularly like painting, especially oil painting but also working with non-traditional media such as bitumen and poster paint.

What do you enjoy about living in the Dandenong Ranges, and is the environment you live in important to your making?

Having lived in the Melbourne suburbs, I’m so glad to live in the Dandenongs (have done for the last 30 years). I’m drawn to the open spaces and the forests. I find this gives me the peaceful background I find necessary to paint.

How did you get into making art?

I enjoyed doing Year 12 Art and soon after I got married I concentrated on my painting for about 18 months. Finding I wasn’t progressing further, I later completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at Monash University. I then became aa art teacher, whilst still practising my craft.

Everest - North Face

What motivates you as an artist?

Lately, my specific focus has been on Mount Everest but I have been drawn to the Himalaya for a long time. I’ve visited and walked in the Himalaya six times over a period of 18 years and am continually drawn back to it.

In what ways, if any, do you engage with the hills community?

I am about to have a show at Arvy’s Gallery in Olinda. I also showed my work at Morrison’s in Mt. Evelyn about 5 years ago. On a different front, I’ve been involved with the No Maccas in Tecoma protest since it started.

Do you have any strange obsessions or bad habits that you care to share with out readers?

I am a bit of a bicycle tragic and used to record and keep a tally of the number of times I rode to work (almost 2000). I also love buying obscure books from overseas about mountaineers attempting to climb Mt. Everest.

Everest by Murray Lancaster

What do you wish you knew about being an artist before you got started?

Good question. I already knew it would be hard to make any sort of living from it. I think that I would have liked to have known how much time was needed  to fully commit to being an artist and how you have be prepared to work on your own. Painting is a very solitary existence in some ways, and there may not be many people to help you work through your ideas.

Who are your creative hero’s?

They are all painters. Growing up, I liked Andrew Wyeth. When I was studying, the colour of Bonnard and Matisse and the Impressionists really appealed to me. Lately, I’ve become more eclectic but I have enjoyed the work of some Australian painters: Peter Booth, George Gittoes, Rick Amor and Philip Wolfhagen.

Where can people find more information on your work and upcoming projects?

Some of my work is shown at the Redbubble website. The details for my art show are on the Facebook page for Arvy’s gallery.

“Chomolungma” Mt. Everest Paintings 2010-2015 by Murray Lancaster
September 18 – October 14, 2015Arvy’s Gallery – 540 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road Olinda.

South col with Wind turbine by Murray Lancaster

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Dawna Richardson-Hyde

Dawna Richardson-Hyde’s authentic journey

Dawna Richardson-HydeDawna Richardson-Hyde artworks

Post by Amy Middleton.

‘Authenticity’ is a word frequently flung around in conversation. I approach the term with caution when explored within the context of arts practise because it poses a contradiction. The devil on one shoulder shouts provocations of revolt, inciting me to use my creativity to bark in the face of (authentic) artistic tradition. The angel on the other shoulder beckons the use of art to pursue creative earnestness and genuine expression. Potentially both interpretations are correct. How do we begin to understand our authentic creative selves when the pressure to justify our practise is measured against a raft of other agencies?

Such was the subject of a conversation I recently had with Dawna Richardson-Hyde. As well as being a prolific visual artist, Dawna also leads a series of Professional Development workshops for artists. Dawna’s advice to all artists is to take your practise seriously and be intentional about focusing on what your creative purpose is. She explains that, “While people are stimulated by different things including political causes, their environment or beautiful objects, the process of creating authentic artwork can be applied to all makers; you need to know what you want to say and what tools you will use to say it.”

I connect with this sentiment but find it difficult to move away from creating products that hold commercial worth, or projects that massage the interest of funding bodies. There is a balance to be manipulated between making work that serves our authentic creative passions, and those that pay the bills. Perhaps for the purpose of this short blog, we can pretend that our basic financial needs are met, and we are on a journey to discover how life and art (creativity) become more closely aligned.

Dawnw Richardson-Hyde artworksDawna Richardson-Hyde artwork

Dawna recently returned from leading a weeklong residency in East Gippsland exploring The Artists Journey. This series of workshops tackle many of the battles artists struggle with including how to combat creative block, the design processes, understanding what kind of artist you are, naming fears, managing distractions and time management. It became clear to me that the depth and richness I see in her artwork is drawn from a deep well of experience and commitment to her creative purpose. I am also very aware of how generous she is to share this with others.

Dawna and I also dialogued about the importance of solitude for artists. She said. “The time you dedicate to being alone in your studios will help bring focus to your practise.” Dawna also shared how she has seen ‘technique surfers’ spend a lot of time learning new mediums, attending workshops and they become very accomplished, but never discover what they want to say because they are too busy emulating how other people work. The longer I chatted to Dawna, the more I became aware of how much knowledge she had, and how empowering it can be for artists to understand themselves more deeply.

Dawna Richardson-Hyde fabrics Dawna Richardson-Hyde library

Upon reflection on my time with Dawna I realised that the pursuit for authenticity is very healthy. (Even though it remains an indefinable concept in my mind!) If you get the opportunity to attend one of Dawna’s workshops I would strongly recommend it. Having spent just one hour with her, I already feel a shift in how I will approach my practise. I understand that the layered contradictions offered up by this illusive concept are integral to the dialogue imbedded within my current work. There also seems little point trying to measure the value of your art practice against the other elements that add busyness or richness to our lives. Art is the sum of all these things.

If you would like to touch base with Dawna and find out more about her work or professional development workshops, please go to www.makeart.com.au or email her; dawna@dajas.com.

Dawna Richardson-Hyde artwork

 

Food? Culture? Community? YES PLEASE!

Post by Amy Middleton.

When I meet someone who is passionate about art and food, I know I am onto a good thing. Add calm confidence and an ethical conscience and I have to write about them!

Daniel Rigos is both an artist in the Hills, and the head Chef at Lentil as Anything at Abbotsford Convent. Lentil as Anything is a unique not for profit community organisation where customers are encouraged to ‘pay as they feel’ for the food they eat. Customers give what they feel the food is worth and have the opportunity to contribute towards a world where respect, generosity, trust, equality, freedom and kindness rule. (Preach it!) As well as creating amazing food, Lentil is involved in a number of community projects that bring food, community and culture together. Whilst Lentil welcomes donations and relies on their volunteers to maintain a sustainable model, it is also a very well run business that attracts great chef’s and produces an incredible fusion of Indian, Asian and middle Eastern food.

Daniel joined the Lentil team three years ago after traveling the world. He arrived back in Melbourne, needed a job and the rest is history. As well as being a generous hearted chef, Daniel is also an artist. His paintings draw inspiration from the landscape, they blend together elements of impressionism, abstraction and the surreal. His painting process is fluid and dynamic, as the paint is built up slowly in numerous subtle glazes. Life in the kitchen can be chaotic and Daniel described his studio practise as a way to slow down and be in control. When talking about living a balanced life Daniel said, “I love the freedom a creative life gives me. Every day is different and that is important to me.”

For those of you who feel inspired to create a delish treat, Daniel has shared one of his favourite recipes with us…. Yummy!

South Indian Coconut Chutney
This chutney is usually served with South Indian and Sri Lankan breakfasts such as dosas (savoury fermented rice and lentil crepes) or idlis (fermented and steamed rice dumplings).

Ingredients
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander (including roots), washed really well to get rid of dirt
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 inch ginger, roughly chopped
1/4 medium onion, roughly chopped
1-2 fresh green chilli, roughly chopped
Spice powder
1 tsp split urid dal
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
Tempering spices
1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 sprig fresh curry leaves
Dash of hing (asafoetida)

Method
Soak coconut with water until just covered by water (it will absorb all the water in about 10 minutes)

Put the urid dal in a small pan and toast until it has turned a pinkish brown colour. Take out and toast the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant. Blend in a spice grinder or coffee grinder until totally smooth.

Using a blender, blend this spice powder with the soaked coconut, coriander, garlic, ginger, onion, chilli and a little salt until well blended. Add a little more water to help the blending if necessary.

In a small pan heat the coconut oil or ghee until hot. Add the mustard seeds and cook for about 15 seconds – they should splutter if the oil is hot enough. Once spluttering add the cumin seeds and the curry leaves and cook for another 15 seconds. Add the hing and then immediately tip the oil into the blended chutney.

Season the chutney to taste with salt and lemon juice. It should be strong and flavoursome and very lemony.

Note: You can omit the spice powder if you are in a hurry or don’t have a spice grinder.

To see more of Daniel’s work head to www.danielrigos.com, or meet him in person at the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios on the 3rd and 4th of May.

Artist profile: Jessie Yvette Journoud Ryan

Jessie_selfie

Jessie Yvette Journoud Ryan

Post by Amy Middleton.

Spending time with Jessie reminded me of playing the children’s party game, “pass the parcel”. With every diversion in conversation, the anticipation grew of something wonderful that was about to be revealed.

Jessie calls Upwey home but there is no denying the echoes of well-travelled life in her artwork. Her journey thus far seems to have been lifted from a story book and the tales she shared with me transverse between her primary school days living in the Dandenong Ranges, to Secondary school in France. Jessie was born in England but reflections of her French heritage are a strong source of inspiration for her.

Jessie describes her past as being a creative well that has consistently been a source she has drawn from, even though she may not have been aware of it at the time. Her most recent large scale commission, The Mad Artists Tea Party has returned memories of hand painting cherries on crockery during her internship in Burgundy at Chateau Raissac under the mentorship of Christine Viennnet. There is a confidence in Jessie’s mosaic creations that can be described as ripe and edgy. Whilst her sculptures are made from smashed crockery and grout, they seem alive and organic, with an air of extravagance. Jessie makes no apologies for the tensions her work present both practically and conceptually. Her use of dark grout in contrast with the floral patterns of Carlton Ware and delicate Royal Winton pastels seems to celebrate the cracks and imperfections imbedded within her medium.

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The Mad Artist’s Tea Party (detail)

Jessie_TheMadHattersTeaParty

The Mad Artist’s Tea Party (detail)

Having completed her Master of Fine Art at Monash University Jessie has had to grapple with those key questions that all artists must face in order to defend a thesis and justify an experimental studio practise. Her work is full of symbolism and intension, and she feels it is important to communicate these ideas to her audience. She also describes her audience response as golden, enjoying the depth and interpretation others bring to her work.

It is a pleasure to listen to Jessie talk about her work, her knowledge of art history and personal drive to push creative boundaries is inspiring. She made a challenging statement that made me smile, “If you’re not excited about what you are making you will get lazy. Why put so much time and effort into mediocrity.”  Jessie’s commitment to her work is evident in how prolific she is. She keeps creating new work that inspires new ideas and pushed the boundaries of her medium.

When I asked Jessie what she loved most about her creative life, the answer was simple, “Now that I have a dedicated space for my art is has become non-negotiable. I just need to do this.”

A collection of mosaic artworks by Jessie is currently on display at Burrinja.

Or head to onlinegalleries.com.au to make contact with her.

Jessie-mosaic-collage