Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Zealand...had a ball!!! Part 1

Hello blogglanders...been a while but I have not been idle. I was sssooo surprised to be asked to go to New Zealand by Jessie Scherf and teach at a retreat in New Zealand this September. She had done one last year with another wonderful Aussie lady Teresa Crouch (hi Trizzy...waving madly I am to Trizzy in the Blue Mountains in Sydney) as the teacher and then Jessie asked me this year. It was truly an honor to be asked and I at first said no but after lots of gentle persuasion by Jessie I agreed to come. Having never taught before the thought of it all scared the hell out of me but I love creating and love to share the arty farty love so eventually I threw caution to the wind and said yes.
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.

Here are all the shrines Denis made for us all

 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.

After my initial fear I just started talking and the classes flew by...I wasn't nervous after all as I always thought I would have been. It quickly became apparent to me that the New Zealand folks were all so warm, easy going, thoughtful, kind, patient and funny :o). I really loved meeting them all and still smile as I look at the photos from classes and their now familiar faces. I did hit several problems with the weather being colder and things not quite working as easily as they do for me at home...who would have known Masonite goes like cement in the cold sheesh!! We all worked out ways around the problems though just as I do when I am at home alone.
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

on the opposite side of the table is Julie, Jenny and Doreen

On the other side of the room there was Sandra, Heather, Yvonne, Kristi and Bridget.

Denise-head conveniently turned to side LOL, Bridget and Sharon...Sharon is a Kiwi living in Oz. She lost allot when her house got flooded in the QLD floods and the Kiwis raised money for her to come. How awesome is that and a great artist herself too.

This is Shirley trying to make sense of my instructions and Heather looking on too.

and this is Sally
Denis the wooden shrine maker and his gorgeous partner Berenice....the kitchen fairy!!! Berenice isn't greatly into paper arts so was always flitting around the kitchen preparing stuff for us all. All the food was bought by people attending as well.
Denis :o)
Denis made a shrine from the wooden ones he made for all of us. This is his shrine from the front. Denis used to drive racing cars when he was younger so he based his shrine on that and it was wonderful!
with the doors open
Denise and me
The wonderful Jinny
Me and Jinny
We all made and gave each other a charm. Here are some of them.

Me with Catherine
Me, Jinny and Jessie
Everyone made an arty page each and then made it into a book that they gave to me and Jessie. I love it and it just brings back awesome memories looking thru it.

It was amazing how quickly the time went and Sunday afternoon came around way too soon. It was hard saying bye to everyone. We were all trying to pack up and say goodbye all at once. Anne and Trizzy grab a goodbye hug
Kristi and Sharon
Jinny, Trizzy, Sharon at back and me and Jessie at front
Me and Sharon
Jessi's hubby Mark, me and Jessie
Joan (cludgie?sp....Scotswoman *grin*), me and Jinny
Trizzy, Kristi, Me and Yvonne

Here I am in my ever present fluro pink shoes that kept my toes warm while I was in NZ LOL.
Here is poor Mark with every ones cameras taking group shots for us all
and lastly all of us together. Sharnie is standing to my left...missed her and Joan in class shots some how.
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?


Lucy said...

Well, well, who would have ever thought that the quiet, timid Annette, from Humpty Doo, I met a few years ago, would end up teaching across the ditch, in beautiful New Zealand!
So pleased you had a wonderful time, and so pleased that you are teaching.
Hugs Lucy

Behind the name... said...

Loved reading your blog - made me smile from ear to ear, can't wait till we can spend more time together - you are so AWESOME Annette from Humpty Doo - so proud to call you my friend - hugs x a million Trizzy :)

Annie said...

Great blog post Annette, sounds like you had an awesome time :)

Glenda said...

Thanks for a wonderful story about my friends Annette. Knew you could do it and next time I am coming too.
Waves to Kristi in the pics :-)

Sharon F said...

Annette you are the best! Soldiered on through a NZ winter dealing with cold and sleepy etchant, concrete masonite and freezing feet. I had an absolute blast and am so glad I finally got to meet you after stalking your blog for so long. My lovely lady is on the wall above my desk, looking down on me and giving me inspiration. Thanks for a fabulous retreat! Can't wait til we meet again (isn't that a song?? :) x Sharon

Suzanne said...

What a fantastic journey, one never forgotten!

Jen Crossley said...

Im so proud of you Annette you have come along way as Lucy said it well.
You go girl you are an amazing artist.

Chris Arlington said...

I knew you could do it!!! You are so talented. I am glad you had such a wonderful time and shared your photos with us.
Hugs, Chris

lindacreates said...

Congratulations on teaching Annette! What a lucky group of ladies to get you as their teacher. Your trip looks wonderful.


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