The work of talented locals is the focus of the current Hawkesbury Now Art Fair, taking place at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery until the 3rd of December.
The exhibition is a chance for artists in the area to have their work properly displayed, whether it’s their first or fifteenth time putting their art in public for gallery patrons to see.
Over 150 works by 62 artists have come from all across the Hawkesbury, including from the minds of creatives at beloved community makerspace Hawkesbury Remakery. A number of different artistic disciplines are present in the Remakery section of the exhibit, with metal sculptures, photographs, baskets and upcycled plane parts on display. Hawkesbury Remakery co-founder Liz Germani says it’s “an incredible opportunity for artists to be part of this exhibition and get the exposure. Thanks to the Gallery for featuring local artists at least once a year!”
It’s the first chance that Tasman Clayworks’ Steph Brown has had to display her artwork in a formal gallery setting, despite having already made pottery her full-time profession in the last three years. “It started as a hobby on a Friday morning with a group in Blacktown, and I just fell in love with designing and creating little clay masterpieces,” she says. “I moved to a group in Richmond, and they asked me to start teaching.
“My student list got so big that I had to find my own little shop in the Windsor Mall. Now, I run multiple classes a week with 43 students and no longer have my normal day job – I’ve just had my week as a full time potter, and I’m loving it!”
Steph’s pieces in the exhibit are a number of intricately decorated bowls and a set of breakfast ceramics, all distinctly striking in their designs. She is very pleased to have her work in the gallery: “The Remakery was glad to submit a few of my pieces, and I put a few of my favourites in. It’s so nice to see the talent we have in our little community, all the amazing artists and artwork that’s up there now. It’s a very major privilege to be doing this!”
Another artist, Jim Green, submitted a number of his meticulously crafted metal sculptures of Australiana. He’s been creating sculptures of animals, movie characters and much more for over a decade, and this exhibit is not the first time that his work has been displayed publicly: “I displayed a dragon made out of recycled materials three years ago at the Hawkesbury show, and I got first prize in my category. Last year, I made a rooster, and that also got the top prize.”
For the Hawkesbury Now exhibit, Jim submitted pieces that he was proud of that all revolved around Australian iconography. “After creating for so many years, the quality of my work keeps increasing, and I’ll keep pushing myself to do better next time. Liz at the Remakery has been amazing, pushing me to do public pieces like a farmer over 6 feet and to submit to the Hawkesbury show, and three years in a row I’ve taken the top prize.”
Creating artwork is a satisfying reprieve from working life for Jim: “Work can be repetitive, so I need that creativity so I can use my mind and hands for other things. I’m always trying to find new and interesting things to create and continue increasing the quality of my work.”
Basket-weaver Sally Blackwell is also familiar with displaying her artwork across her 15 years of artistry: “I had just retired from the Department of Education, and I was offered the chance to learn basket making. So I went ‘Sure!’ and I haven’t stopped since, because it’s very addictive.”
Sally has been involved with Hawkesbury Remakery from the beginning, since before they took up residence at their old Loder House location. She says “I like the ethos of it, being not-for-profit and all about giving opportunities to local people, while also having a social aspect. I noticed people isolate themselves too much, and through a number of programs at the Remakery, we try to counteract that.”
The terrific works Sally is showing at Hawkesbury Now are all made out of upcycled materials, including bits of raffia and recycled net. It’s indicative of her general style, for which she has won a number of awards at the Hawkesbury Show. Displaying the art is not what drives Sally, though: “I do a lot of workshops around the Hawkesbury, so that lots of people know how to weave and express themselves creatively. Because I was a teacher for so many years, I really like passing on knowledge and want everybody to keep learning – I firmly believe in that.”