The Convent and the Artists

Geometries: Kandos in a perfect setting
Geometries: Kandos in a perfect setting

Cementa_15 has kicked off with a vengeance and the Convent is playing her part as both a venue for artworks and a haven for some of the artists to rest up at night.

The first day, as anticipated, was relatively quiet but we expect crowds to build over the four days, peaking on Saturday.

The eerie and sad image of extinct birds vanishing before our eyes.
The eerie and sad image of extinct birds vanishing before our eyes in Indicatus.

I’m pleased with the exhibits at my place – all different but work in well with the building and grounds. Geometries: Kandos by Beata Geyer & James Culkin has had its share of publicity already, hitting the front page of what’s known locally as the ‘Mud Guard’. It is a site responsive sculpture described “The temporal disjunction between the modular construction of monochromatic planes and multidimensional forms, on the one hand, and the architecture and landscape, on the other, creates an exciting and speculative juxtaposition”. Another description is giant funky pick-up-sticks, which look great in the sprawling front yard with the Convent in the background.

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Indicatus well situated in the Chapel is one of the hits of Cementa.

Another work attracting much media attention is Indicatus, 2014 by Kim V. Goldsmith. In this installation “Goldsmith plays with different elements of our relationship with birds, and their place in our environment, using technology to do so. Taking, often sentimental, notions of birds as identifiable decorative symbols of nature, they are deconstructed using sound, the burning of a series of charcoal drawings created specifically for the purpose, and smell”. The work was specifically created to complement the Chapel and is hauntingly beautiful.

The boxing tent looks ethereal against the backdrop of the Coomber Mountains at the rear of the Convent.
The boxing tent looks ethereal against the backdrop of the Coomber Mountains at the rear of the Convent.

Alexander Jackson-Wyattt & Paulina Semkowicz’s Standard Boxing Tent No.1 was intended to be installed in the nearby paddock, however harsh Kandos winds put a stop to that idea. It’s now housed in my backyard but still suffering at times from the weather (although the cold snap has diminished and the days are kinder). “Kandos has not seen a boxing tent since 1971. From then, the empty field you have passed every day has stood there waiting for nothing to happen. Til finally the boxing troupe comes to town. From the nervous crowd, your hand goes up. You are pulled into the ring and what comes next is not the end but only the beginning”. It’s an appropriate location for the tent given the boxing boys practice five nights a week in the buildings attached to the Church directly behind my home.

Bit hard to photograph this but viewers get a beautifully reflected vision from inside the Grotto.
Bit hard to photograph this but viewers get a beautifully reflected vision from inside the Grotto.

Lastly, the Grotto gets some attention with Dan Kojta’s Infinityscope. “Peering into the infinity scope’s deep velvety depths, viewers are encouraged to reflect on their spiritual state: and interior mirror returns their immediate past back to them as a future event”.

I’m looking forward to seeing more. One of the few other exhibits I’ve seen is the mural being created at the Museum by Djon Mundine which is amazingly spectacular and epic in size and cultural context. This will be a great ongoing contribution for Kandos, well past Cementa_15.

In case any readers think I’m art literate, the descriptions have all been taken from the Cementa_15 catalogue and I can’t take credit for them.

I’ll post more of some of the other works as I make my way around.

Djon Mundine's mural will be a greatly valued legacy for Kandos.
Djon Mundine’s mural will be a greatly valued legacy for Kandos.

The Convent, Cementa_15 and Lots of Artists

Cementa15

Cementa_15 is a contemporary biannual arts festival held in Kandos. The first event was in 2013, in my very early Convent days. This year the Convent will participate again and host a number of artists and welcome the public through the gates.

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Geometries being installed.

 

Geometries casting shadows in the early evening.
Geometries casting shadows in the early evening.

Approximately 60 artists will be exhibiting at over 20 venues around town for four days from Thursday 9 – Sunday 12 April. The Convent will be hosting Beata Geyer & James Culkin’s: Geometries: Kandos, which has already been installed at the front of the property, Dan Kojta’s: Infinityscope in the Grotto, Kim V. Goldsmith’s: Indicatus, 2104 which looks like it will be a standout display in the Chapel and Alexander Jackson-Wyatt & Paulina Semkowicz’s Standard Boxing Tent No 1 in my paddock next door.

Looks like a great few days and it will be exciting to see so many people wandering around Kandos. I’m sure there will be more photos to come.

Geometries from my sunroom early in the morning.
Geometries from my sunroom early in the morning.

The Results Are In!

G's granny squares blankets are always crowd pleasers.
G’s granny squares blankets are always crowd pleasers.

So we’ve just finished the first wave of local Shows. The shop has done very well overall, but no thanks to me.

The overall winner of all the shows we entered - G's shawl.
The overall winner of all the shows we entered – G’s shawl.

G was the champion by a long shot with her beautiful Jamieson & Smith cobweb lace shawl that took out first each show, also scoring Best Knitted Article at two of the shows. This year my shawls languished with minor awards, however I still picked up some firsts, seconds and highly commendeds for more minor articles.

Even Sheepie the Teacosy managed a first.
Even Sheepie the Teacosy managed a first.

Overall it was lots of fun and we still may enter some more local shows. A few of our items are currently on their way via CWA to the Land Handcraft competition.

My baby jumper in Zauberball did well in a few shows.
My baby jumper in Zauberball did well in a few shows.

This year I’ve been pretty focussed on shop knitting and my entries were predominantly the items I also make for the shop. I’m already thinking of next year’s entries and planning to start sooner rather than racing to the finish line as I usually do.

My lace baby shawl was left out in the cold.
My lace baby shawl was left out in the cold.
The linen stitch scarf earn its keep.
The linen stitch scarf earn its keep.

First Results

First Show results (Gulgong) were a tad mixed but overall pleasing.

G pipped me at the post for the Baby Shawl category but we can’t complain with a first and a second. I also picked up a second for my linen stitch scarf, which was great but a little puzzling when my lace shawl, which I thought was significantly superior, in the same category only scored a Highly Commended. There wasn’t really the right category for the Shawl so maybe it just suffered a little in the Accessory class. Although I thought G’s may have taken a first for the category…

We did think that this Show preferred entries that were a little more conservative but have taken in some learning and should adapt our work next time.

Anyway, between us we came away with four prizes. Just a little disappointed that this Show doesn’t award ribbons. We love our Show ribbons!

Anyway, this weekend is our Big Show, with our local Rylstone Kandos Show, so we’re a bit nervous. We both have new baby shawls which we’ve put some work into, although I’ll confess, I’d make a few changes if doing mine again.

Pictures and results will follow after the Show (unless our heads are hung in shame).

It’s Showtime!

It’s that time of the year when we have our local agricultural shows and the community get to display their produce, animals, cooking and handicraft.

G and I have been doing the hard knitting yards for some time now, to the detriment of shop knitting but it’s now culminating with the local shows, all hot on each other’s heels. This week we dropped off a few items each at Gulgong Show – we should find out the results late tomorrow when we pick up our knitting. The big one for us is next weekend with our local Kandos Rylstone Show, with Mudgee Show (which is the bigger one) the weekend after.

Our major pieces are still on the needles, hoping to make their debut for our local competition. Other Shows will come up, including the Sydney Royal Easter, but next week is the one that means most to us.

Will update the blog and post pictures as results come through (or not!)

Social Butterflies

The Blue Wren will soon be at G's home.
The Blue Wren will soon be at G’s home.

… or Flutterbies as a friend’s child engagingly calls them.

Ged, Trudy and Pete Smith performing at Rylstone.
Ged, Trudy and Pete Smith performing at Rylstone.

Last weekend G and I joined the social community with a few outings. Firstly was the regular country music night which is often held at Ilford Hall, but made its way to Rylstone this weekend. Ever few months a few intrepid locals put together a great night of country music which includes a sausage sizzle (out here you get a generous number of sausage pieces, piles of grilled onion, homemade coleslaw and sauce of your choice!) and a great country spread. The entertainers this time were Ged and Trudy, with their laid back and more gentle country ballads, which was quite a treat and Pete Smith, the yodelling cowboy (I think his promo shot may have been taken a little earlier in his career). All three were entertaining and talented and kept us glued to our seats for hours of great music in the little local hall.

Quite a turnout of locals at Gallery 47.
Quite a turnout of locals at Gallery 47.

The next night, we went to the opening of Alisa Burlington’s works on display at Gallery 47, with the wonderful Coffee Concrete supporting the catering. It was a great night, seeing some of our favourite locals and also discovering how talented Alisa is. We’ve always admired her stunning individual jewellery, but had no idea of her painting skills. We came away the night a little lighter in the purse but our homes will be all the richer for it.

The Blue Feather is coming home with me.
The Blue Feather is coming home with me.

We continue to be amazed at the level of activities available here and how busy we are in what was supposed to be a quiet lifestyle – although the activities are hardly stressful (other than prioritising and scheduling!) and we are adding so any different aspects to our lives.

I think someone might be receiving the middle earrings as a present.
I think someone might be receiving the middle earrings as a present.

Show Preparations

I love entering the local Agricultural Shows – I’ve only attempted the last few years and mainly with knitting. Whilst it’s a thrill to win a prize at one of the bigger shows like the Royal Easter Show, it’s more of a buzz to participate in the local ones.

I’ve had some reasonable successes with my knitting but have been an abject failure in other categories such as tomatoes, dahlias and roses, but am determined to persist with my efforts. And I’m way past the Showgirl section!

The knitting categories however are now the core focus for G and me, particularly now we have Convent & Chapel Wool Shop up and running. Somehow the stakes seem much higher this year. Anyway, we have our projects underway – using shop yarn, of course. To date I’ve focussed on lace shawls but will be spreading myself a little more this year, planning on also entering accessories – I’m thinking mitts, scarf and maybe a beanie – as well as possibly a baby garment.

The Shows start with a flurry in mid February, kicking off with Gulgong, followed by our own Kandos Rylstone Show, then Mudgee, Lithgow and Bathurst all jammed in closely. Other shows are a little more spaced with Sydney Royal Easter Show in late March. Not sure how many we will manage, but we will definitely be supporting our local shows.

At this stage the projects are under wraps – we’re keen that they will be surprises. no doubt you’ll hear about our results – good or otherwise.

Our Railway Green Market Day

That's our bright yellow Convent & Chapel marquee  over there!
That’s our bright yellow Convent & Chapel marquee over there!
The town turned out to welcome the train. Some went on a quick trip to Clandulla whilst the visitors had their lunch
The town turned out to welcome the train. Some went on a quick trip to Clandulla whilst the visitors had their lunch

This is the first time we’ve done the Markets at Kandos. On Sunday the Heritage Train arrived from Sydney and the town turned on a great display. As the train rolled in, it seemed like the whole town (plus some) were there to cheer on and welcome the travellers.

W're very happy with our marquee and thinks it looks the part at the markets.
W’re very happy with our marquee and thinks it looks the part at the markets.

Once they had left the train they headed for their luncheon venues with the choices of visiting the market stalls at the Railway Green or boarding a local bus for a tour of the town and stop off at the Kandos Museum which was holding a special railway exhibition in honour of the train’s annual visit. It is years since public trains have regularly run to Kandos, so this special tourist train means a great deal to the town.

Our wares on display. There's non stop knitting to keep up the supply.
Our wares on display. There’s non stop knitting to keep up the supply.

We had a great time at our bright yellow marquee, chatting to other stall holders, locals and the train-trippers. It was a good opportunity to promote our new shop and show off a few of our wares. Whilst rains threatened (which are much wanted), they have still held off and it ended up being A Great Day Out for all. Now a bit tired and grubby, but happy with our day.

Up close and personal with the train - it pulled up right next to the markets at Kandos Railway Green
Up close and personal with the train – it pulled up right next to the markets at Kandos Railway Green

Knitting Our Socks Off …

… Well maybe more scarves and mitts.

The Heritage Train is arriving on Sunday at Kandos. At least I hope so. It was scheduled to arrive last far but unfortunately the shocking bush fires intervened and it was cancelled.

Anyway, this year the town is ready and we plant be at the markets at the Railway Green. For those who don’t understand the significance, the train doesn’t usually come to Kandos. The public train line stops at Lithgow and the line is kept open for industrial use only – not passengers. Train lines were once a major linkage between towns, but sadly no more. The lines through to Mudgee and other towns  not maintained and we drive over bitchumened tracks all the time. Public transport to country towns is often non-existent. So the heritage train coming to town this year is a really big deal. Tickets sell out very quickly and we’s love to see it more often as it is important not just for commerce but also  for the morale of the town.

We plan to be there with our yellow marquee and knitting goods welcoming visitors – we just hope the weather is a little kinder than the last week which has been blisteringly hot. Possibly not the best time for knitted goods, but we’ve found that we provide great presents for overseas friends and relatives who are in Winter and also have a range of cotton scarves for the locals.

Anyway, it’s more being part of the local action and we’re excited to see the train arrive and encourage it to continue.

End of Week One for the Shop

So we’ve just had our first week of being open (we open Friday to Monday) and it was a great start! Locals seem to love having a yarn shop. We’ve had great feedback from tourists as well.

We haven’t started advertising yet, so that will be our next step as well as continuing to add items and keeping the shop well stocked with hand knits which will now reflect our yarn.

We’ve been inundated with requests for classes so that will also be high on the To Do list, but for the next few days it’s tending a garden that’s looking a little ragged and spending some time with the dogs who are wondering where I’ve been lately.