Friday, August 22, 2014

Back from Australia

A "short" recap.

Wednesday was taken up by errands in Nelson and travelling to Brisbane.

I had only Thursday in Brisbane. I arrived at the Art Shed before their opening time, waited patiently, and browsed every isle exercising great self-control, coming out with relatively little. The most notable purchase was a set of 12 ink blocks; a giant box of the pencil version was on sale in Japan and though that box was too, too big for me, I often wondered about the medium. Now I can experiment. Also many questions answered, but not all; I was too excited.

Then I ventured out to Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Arts a block away from my accommodation. The latter's indigenous arts room is one of my favorite museum rooms anywhere but I've really become a fan of museums' own collections exhibitions since my last visit to QAG, and spent most of the time in there again. In between, (it's located between the two museums,) I really enjoyed this exhibition at the State Library of Queensland. And needless to say, I spent considerable time in each of the museum/library stores, but came out unscathed, in spite of the tax-year-end book sale at GOMA.

I had on hand postcards and drawing material to work on while traveling, and I started working on it in Brisbane.

On Friday I managed some people-doodling at the airport, then arrived at Old Bar to meet Kaz and Sampling and to do a Saori workshop on the weekend. On my flight, the lovely lady next to me wondered how we'd find each other if we never met them before, but I knew Kaz from her blog pics and besides, I reassured her, "I'm the only middle-aged Japanese woman on this flight, so I think they'll manage."

A separate post on the workshop will follow, but I have to comment on the variety/colors of pebbles on Old Bar beach; I don't think I've seen so many of either on one beach before; if you are ever on the North Coast of New South Wales, Old Bar is worth a visit for that reason alone, but as long as you're there have at least one meal at Sai.

Monday was spent tying up loose ends: me finishing my Saori class warp, wet-finishing, translating Saori book passages more hilariously than Kaz ever expected, eating the last of a yummy orange cake, and Kaz discovering my "train ticket" was indeed for a bus operated by the train company. Just in time.

On Tuesday I went to Gosford to meet Hope, (spotted her outside the train station from her FB pics,) had a fabulous Lebanese dinner with Hope and Jonathan, and spent the evening sitting in front of the fire looking at Hope's numerous sketchbooks discussing making, mixed media, and portraits.

On Wednesday Hope drove Carol and me to Lake Macquarie for the Mixed Media workshops; again, I'll write a separate post about Seth and the workshops, but I must mention the venue had a fantastic restaurant; one lunchtime quite a few of us had a second panna cotta and the next day had helped ourselves for a second serving of kalamari. Classes started on Thursday, but since I knew I would need some down time by then, I didn't sign up for any and instead put a warp on Hope's RH loom.

On Monday Hope dropped me off at the Gosford train station, but when I arrived at Sydney Central station it was bucketing down. I arrived at the hotel at noon, was told my room won't be ready until 2PM, (didn't believe it; it's not a small place, but that's what it says on the reservation so it's OK,) but I walked to Museum of Contemporary Arts, in the rain, in the lunch time traffic; browsed the museum shop, didn't like the woman/textile art of, among other things, human innards made of yarns, but enjoyed their permanent collection, had a quick lunch, caught the train to Central, checked into my room, and changed into dry clothes. I was grumpy and prepared to hate Sydney by then.

I met Claudia, who moved out of Nelson a year ago, and before dinner she took me to an art supply shop for me to get some gold-, silver- and copper-leaf pens Seth showed us. We had Mexican, (can't remember where,) for dinner, and went to a funky bar and I got home after 10PM - very late for me!

I was planning to sleep in late and have an easy day Tuesday, but I was out the door by 8.30 and arrived at Australian Museum 25 min too early, so kept walking to Art Gallery of New South Wales and arrived 35 minutes too early, but I waited for this one because I always regretted not going in in 1988. It was so worth it, again, their permanent collections being the best part, including one van Gogh; the museum shop was mind-blowing and it was hard not to come home with a van Gogh book I've only heard about; it weighed 3kg; I had them weigh it. I also descended to their library to ask about books on the Torres Straights Island art, (especially 3d,) I've been looking for over a decade, and was told there are none; only a few pieces appear in some of the Australian indigenous art books. What she got out for me, I looked, but I had seen many before. To date, Otago Museum holds the best collection I've come across.

I took the train to Newtown, but successfully walked past Arts on King, (where I knew a book sale was taking place,) and several other art, book, and herbal shops. I was nearing the end of Newtown and was going to go as far as the last traffic light when I finally found Suzy Spoon's Vegetarian Butcher and had a Viennese Schnitzel most adamantly recommended by Carol. Instead of turning back and walking past those other tempting shops again, I kept walking towards Sydney CBD, past three or four universities and rows of terrace houses, when suddenly I saw Powerouse Museum near my hotel on the map. Since it's only the most exciting art place I found on the Internet of late, I had to go. I was exhausted on arrival and had energy for only their shop, so I bought some Shaun Tan postcards. As I was walking away from the place, I noticed an exhibition he was involved with was still on so I staggered back, and it was oh-so worth it. (Since it was nearly closing time a security guard tried to tell me to come back another day so I told her I was flying back to New Zealand the following day, whereupon she snuck me in free of charge!)

I had Tapas and Sangria with Claudia at a place where we happened to walk past, and was delivered back to the hotel by 9PM, packed and went to sleep. I needed to get up by 5AM on Wednesday, but luckily (?) woke up at 3.48AM so I stayed up, did my morning routine slowly, and enjoyed my last Sydney train ride to the airport. On my flight, I was seated next to a man who smelled like wet contents of an ashtray, but was allowed to move to the last row, so I had a good flight home. Landing in Christchurch and going through the processes, I ever so relieved to be back in New Zealand. And then Ben was waiting for me. In very cold Nelson. (I.e. I can still plant garlic.)

My time in Australia was wonderful. I like Australians, they are warn and enthusiastic, except when they get officious and authoritarian because of their roles, (airport, security, even hotel receptionist,) and then they are a little intimidating. I had horrible weather in Sydney but apparently it arrived after months of dry weather so I can't complain.

I used to tell Ben we should one day have a month-long Australian holiday but it's such a big country a month may just cover the eastern coat of New South Wales and either Melbourne or Brisbane but not both. Sydney alone could easily take up a week. But then Claudia told me about MONA in Hobart, Tasmania, which alone could easily take up two days, so all I can say is there are unlimited holiday options in that huge, our nearest country next door.
My best shot from the trip; Art Gallery of New South Wales.

9 comments:

  1. Great Recap! What a busy time you had really. And yes MONA is on my must see list too.

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  2. Thank you for your hospitality, Kaz, and the cake and the cafes!! Post about your class to come soon.

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  3. I am very impressed with the territory you covered in two days. You're a great walker! It was wonderful to spend a few days with you and I'm looking forward to your post on Seth!

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  4. I was, too! I am a city girl, and though I might not want to live in the big smokes any more, a good walking means pounding the pavements rather than in the bush, to me, and shops and museums and the like.

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  5. I love the Queensland Art Galleries and Museums - when we were there some years ago, there was an exhibition of indigenous weavers and their work. Am still haunted by the lady whose testimony, on video, was how she was the only child in her village. When the Whities came to take all the children away, her granny was a weaver and had a big woven basket. She popped this little girl in quickly and so she was saved. Man's inhumanity to Man is mind bogglingly awful.

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  6. Wow, what a story, Jane! How fantastic. Thank you for sharing.

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  7. What a great adventure! Wish I could have been there with you. Visiting Australia (and NZ) are dreams that will never come true in this lifetime. But wait, isn't Vegetarian Butcher an oxymoron?? Glad you're back. Look forward to the photos!

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  8. Thanks for sharing your travels with us! BTW, all the Japanese-to-English translations I've ever found are hilariously unintelligible. (I personally would have skipped the schnitzel, but that's just me.) Can't wait to see what you made.

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  9. Connie, I hear when Suzy opened, a bunch of meat butchers came spying and taste-testing, LOL. Margery, I did do a bit of Margery!

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