Friday, January 8, 2010

OZ travels - 2003

It was a long and special journey - two months on the roads of OZ!

Tasmania was the first stop. Di (Williams) shared her home, her island, and her family. We visited Strahan and the Creative Paper Mill in Burnie, and went to the Basket Gathering at Poatina. It felt so very welcoming. I knew most of the basket makers, even on this other side of the world (literally).

Sydney was next. I stayed at the beautiful home of Helen and Bruce Hill, overlooking one of Sydney's many harbors. I presented a workshop and slide lecture at Primrose Paperworks. The most special part of this trip was meeting up with my youngest daughter RIna, who was attending Macquarie University in Sydney. We shared the sites of the city (including the Aquarium), and attended a concert at the Sydney Opera House.

On to the Fibre Forum at Mittagong, a conference run by TAFTA and Janet De Boer. I taught for a week to a great group of students. The TAFTA conferences are so very special - serious hands-on learning, incredible inspiration for both the tutors and the students, with fun and laughter all added in, as evidenced by "The Dance of the Too-toos."

Melbourne is one of my favorite Australian cities, and I was happy to return. I met up with both Doris Messick, my "mate" from the US, and Di from Tasmania. We toured Melbourne, visited Federation Square, and found the heart-warming MILK exhibit (Moments, Intimacy, Laughter, Kinship) along the Yarra River. Our tour, of course, included a visit to the Basketmakers Cottage at Wattle Park.

On to the Basket Gathering at Bacchus Marsh, where we were joined by several other Americans, and many Australians. Each one of these biennial gatherings is held in a different state, providing an opportunity to reconnect with basket friends, to laugh, share, and create. They are very special times.

Di's twin sister, Liz Dombrovskis, joined us for our next adventure - a two week zig-zag driving trip from Bacchus Marsh through the Red Centre to Alice Springs. It was another journey of a lifetime - ochre quarries, Coober Pedy, Uluru, Priscilla Creek. Each day brought something new and beautiful and exciting. The colors and visual images touched my soul.

Doris and I bid sad good-byes to Di and Liz, and flew off to Darwin, for a few days of teaching. We joined up with Janet De Boer and two bus loads of textile artists and friends for our next journey, heading west to Broome. We saw the lush part of Australia - Katherine Gorge, thermal springs, Emma Gorge, flights over the Bungle Bungles, and riverboat tours.

The stunning scenery was made even better because of the people with whom we shared it. There was laughter, many flat tires, singing, joyous dancing, knitting Broome beanies, and pencil spinning. On our last night, each of us performed. Doris and I appeared, in a command performance, as Carol Channing and Isabella Rossellini.

Our last stop was an Artist Camp in Broome. It was a time to relax, to enjoy Cable Beach, to make things, to laugh and to dance. Once again, it was the people who made it such a very special time.

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