Monday, January 11, 2010

Australia!!!! 2009

Another trip to The Land Down Under - the home of serious textile-makers, kangaroos and koalas, and very warm and welcoming people.

My first stop was Melbourne - back to 'my' room at Wendy and Peter Golden's home. We visited my favorite spots: Wendy's studio at the Abbotsford Convent and the Aboriginal Gallery at Federation Square. During her spare minutes, Wendy finished creating Maude the Meek, a life-sized nun, who would be present at and bless the Geelong Forum.

My two days of teaching plaited basketry for the Basketmakers of Victoria were fun for me, and allowed Wendy and Maude a little extra working time together.

On to Geelong (by Aussie train) - where I helped to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Geelong Fibre Forum. Janet De Boer and TAFTA (The Australian Forum for Textile Arts) keep these conferences fresh and alive and exciting. Once again I was on staff, and performed my duties as The Virgin Mother, welcoming all the newcomers (Virgins) to the conference.

We all agreed that we were the best office staff ever. Besides running a very organized conference, we served as bartenders, and set examples for the Frida Kahlo look-alike contest.

I had one free afternoon, and sat in a yurt and learned throat singing. (What an amazing opportunity!) It was a very special time in a very special place.

And of course there was my Dragonfly Sister, Janet De Boer. We had many smiles and much laughter.

Once again, Di Williams was my great traveling companion, with Kangaroo Island and Adelaide as our destinations. Kangaroo Island was stunning - flowers, gum trees, hiking trails, beautiful beaches, incredible rock formations, and many, many koalas.

The field of yellow in the first photograph are canola flowers.

Adelaide is a charming city. The arts abound, and we appreciated them all, including a visit to Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute with a beautiful gallery. We were very fortunate that our visit coincided with the Port Adelaide Festival, where we spent some time with Aboriginal basket weavers. We also visited with two very talented and creative Australian basketmaker friends - Judy Grey-Gardener and Nancy Duggan. We reaped the benefits of one of Ken Duggan's many pastimes - feeding the birds. They were colorful and noisy, and ate a lot!!!