Curtin Springs Artist-in-Residence Experience

by Veronica Hodges 1- 18th March 2018

The overall experience of this residency was an amazing opportunity to get away to a unique area of Australia I have only briefly encountered before. The gorgeous colours, textures and dry climate in remoteness is the first obvious sign of difference. Kathy Carter of Recycle me Cards (my co-artist-in-residence companion and fellow papermaker) and I were warmly met by Amee Porter and co-Artist-in-Residence and artist Jasmine Jan and given a private tour of Ayres Rock, the cultural centre and a few stops along the way to begin exploring the grasses of the desert which are used for Curtin Springs Paper. The following days discovering the environs of the area, more of Curtin Springs Station, the Moon Walk and sense of tranquillity which can be experienced here far away from the demands and rigours of modern living which was so rewarding and rejuvenating.
Mt Conner Salt Lake Texture

The air conditioned accommodation was generous, private with ensuite, a double bed and a spare single bed for laying out art supplies! A fold out table enabled late night private workings and a space to let things dry untouched. The caterings of Mr Ram, Trisha and staff in the kitchen was more than expected with tasty different meals provided daily. The staff were lovely and helpful. The Severin family was generous in their time taking us around the station to check on bores, stock and give plenty of opportunity for photos of this rich, vast unique land. The flies being my only negative so bring a fly net, swaggy hat with corks or whatever works!

Amee was giving in her time to show us her processes of bead making both rolled variety, round and rusting techniques. We also learnt her ways of rusting techniques which was interesting and compliments the textures of the landscape for future work.
Bead making with Sand Rolled Beadmaking Paper Rusting

The views while out harvesting the grasses, the diversity of the environment, the textures and colours, all enriched my stay and experience. The papermaking processes, fibres used and workshop experience all differ to my own style which was interesting. The papermaking experience differing as it is part of the tourist industry which is fast paced and constant. Each artist is different and I can see huge potential for the mill, the processes and developments which could further enrich the experience and education of people to reduce, reuse and rethink everyday items with a view to conservation and regeneration of our resources which is a message I share with my students and my workshop attendees.

Curtin Springs Native Grass Harvesting Mt Conner Misty Curtin Springs Papermaking

The natural gifts of the region abound with wild flowers, fauna like the dingo below and many bird species in their natural environment co-existing happily with a large cattle station living off the land together. A unique experience was to collect the bones of feral camels to be repurposed to the Territory Wildlife Park for the children's Megafauna playground with Jasmine Jan. As part of the Territory Wildlife Park's Artist in the Park for 2018 also, I look forward to seeing this develop and use the bones for some future inspired artworks.

Yellow Flowers Dingo Camel Bones

I enjoyed the opportunity to create a few small pieces while there and had the chance to use Curtin Springs Paper to create a lampshade, greeting cards, bowl and a keepsake book. With the hundreds of photos taken while there, I can use the photo references to incorporate more Red Centre pieces for a group exhibition in 2019 to express a small part of the beauty of the region. The whole experience was hugely worthwhile, rewarding and enriching to my own practice. Thanks Amee, family and Staff of Curtin Springs for this great opportunity to share your home.
Paper Lampshade
What is in a piece of paper Pen and Ink & Watercolour Keepsake Book