The theme was set as shrines which opened up a wide variety of things I could do and teach. I hadn't really thought of who I am now as an artist but I think it's safe to say I am a mixed media one or at least a creator out of the box LOL...come to think of it I'm not sure I was ever in the box ROFL. On one of the first phone conversations I had with Jessie I scribbled down and drew ideas like altering a sardine can, etching metal for the door, fabric heart shrine made from Vilene and tissue, necklace shrine and a Mexican shrine to alter some way. These initial ideas and drawings became the basis of what I did make and teach and the images are in previous posts. The weeks flew past as examples were made, instructions/supply lists were done and items sourced to make it all happen (both from here and in New Zealand). A wonderful NZ man Denis, even made wooden shrines for us all to alter at a later date...these are about 40cms high and 23cms wide and have doors and a recessed inner part.
Before I knew it September had come around and I was on a plane from Darwin to Sydney and then Sydney to New Zealand. My bags were bulging with supplies and very little clothing LOL. I was so excited as I could slowly make out ice capped mountains which I later found out were the Southern alps of the South Island. Then we came closer and closer to the gorgeous city of Wellington. Everything looked so green and beautiful to me compared to home. I loved the mountains...eerrr hills to the Kiwi's but def mountains to me LOL....surrounding the city as its very flat and dry were I live.
Getting thru Customs was a bit of a pain as I had to explain over and over the heavy package of cut, prepared and stamped brass (it came up as a dense object in their scanner) but I eventually emerged to the smiling faces of Jessie and Trizzy. Trizzy had loved her stint at teaching and decided to come back for this year but in the class this time. We then went over the hill (mountain!!) to Wainuiomata where Jinny and Allen Bell's house is. Trizzy and I would stay with Jinny and Allen during my time in NZ. I had never met Jinny and Allen before but grew to love and adore them...just amazing people who had let a complete stranger in their home and treated me like family. Oh and Allen can and did cook some yummy meals for us all too.
Jessie, Jinny and many others had put in so much work before I even got there and I am sure Jessie was stressed to all heck organizing it all. Jessie was meant to stay with us too but she had been unwell pre me coming and remained unwell while I was there so I didn't get to know her as well as I would have liked....Jessie and I had known of each other for many years though on line and we had also been on various groups and in some swaps together too. The first night we spent getting to know each other and sorting supplies for the projects in what became a huge production line. Thankfully Jinny had an huge art room and big tables for us to work on.
Organized chaos LOL
We got there in the end. Trizzy and I were on "Australian time" and spent the first of many nights sitting up late chatting and exploring Jinny's wonderful art space. Trizzy was great company and I am so glad she came across the ditch too. The next night I got to go and see the utterly amazing World Of Wearable Art show...OMG that was truly freakin amazing. All the clothes are made to themes and there was even some steampunk ones there. If you are ever in NZ when this is on you have to go to it. I drooled, my jaw dropped many times and my eyes were as wide as plates!!!. I had wanted to see this for years and still can't get over that I was there and what I saw. Shame you can't take photos though.
Before I knew it we were off to Forrest lakes on the Friday were the retreat would be held. It was in a lovely rural setting. There was a great open area for the classes and then the rooms spread out to the left and right from the main room. This is the lake behind us.
Next are some photos from the classes...in no particular order. That's Anne who kindly kept us Aussie's warm with lovely snugly bedding.
and here is Jessie(end of table),Ruth, Kate and Catherine
Here I am in my ever present fluro pink shoes that kept my toes warm while I was in NZ LOL.
After the retreat it all felt surreal. I really enjoyed the company of all the people I met and they will be forever welcome in my own small humble home should they venture across the ditch to Oz. I got to know Trizzy, Joan and her hubby John, Jinny and Allen further after the retreat and they all have a special place in my heart. None of that would have happened if it wasn't for Jessie asking me though and her insistence I could do it....thank you Jessie. I did do it and I think I'm in love with NZ and its people...our neighbours and some of the people my friends...across the ditch.
Annette In Oz xxx
PS If anyone has finished a project from class can you send me an image of it please?