The ‘Art of Making’ in Castlemaine

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Typical Castlemaine scene of detritus from the mechanical age

While much of regional Victoria is recovering from the devastation of recent bushfires, something positive beckons in the horizon. The central Victoria town of Castlemaine is home to a long tradition of making. Artisanship continues from its early days as a gold town to the present population of artists and makers who keep the foundries and workshops busy.

Here’s the media release for an upcoming Castlemaine Festival (27 March – 5 April) that draws from this heritage:

This year introduces the inaugural 2009 Castlemaine Visual Arts Biennial with the theme of The Art of Making: invention and artisanship. Invention is about resourcefulness and pursuing original ideas to create unique solutions. Artisanship is about the process of making, often by hand, objects that resonate with the finely honed skill of the artist. Artists will talk about these and other key ideas, including methodology and technique, public and private space, urban and regional perspectives, and sustainability. The 45 artists participating in the Biennial were selected by The Biennial curatorial team: Dr Chris McAuliffe, Kevin Murray, Julie Millowick and Visual Arts Coordinator Zoe Amor, and are all Victorian.

Castlemaine’s iconic Market Building will show 3-dimensional works, 2-dimensional works will be shown at the Continuing Education building, and public art installations will be located throughout Castlemaine. The 3-D artworks in the Castlemaine Market Building include work by artists including Kerry Cannon, Noah Grosz, Kate Meade, Kathryn McAllister, Jane Sanderson, Dean Smith, Trefor Prest, Gretchen Hillhouse, Ricky Swallow, Marcos Davidson, Nicholas Jones, Conrad Dudley-Bateman, Kate Spencer, Brydee Rood, Lynette Wallworth, Helen Bodycomb & Vipoo Srivilasa. An installation of contemporary lapidary jewellers will be curated by Lillyan Shirrington.

The Castlemaine & District Continuing Education building will be the venue for 2-D artworks by artists including Tim Jones, Raafat Ishak, Wendy Stavrianos, Donna Bailey, Steph Tout, James Kenyon, Martine Whitcroft, Jennifer Bartholomew, Tamara Marwood, Helen Seligman, James McArdle, Kynan Sutherland, Juliana Hilton & a collaborative piece coordinated by Ashley Mariani.

Public art installations will be located at various sites throughout Castlemaine, including Victory Park, Castlemaine Railway Station and at road entry points to the town. Six local public artists — Lynne Edey, Craig MacDonald, Greg Smith, Roger McKindley, Candy Stevens & James Kenyon – will express a unique vision for the central Victorian landscape; drawing attention to the cultural, environmental and historical qualities of this region.

Other venues include the Old Plumber’s Shop, where Alice Steel will launch her comic SPACEANGEL, & the Old Castlemaine Gaol, where Robyn Spicer, local illustrator, designer & writer, will show Weird Critters.

On each day of the 2009 Castlemaine State Festival there will be free talks by artists, to facilitate the engagement of the public with the artists and their ideas. Artists include Donna Bailey, Steph Tout, Helen Bodycomb, Marcos Davidson, Kerry Cannon, Greg Smith, Roger McKindley, Candy Stevens, Gretchen Hillhouse, Tamara Marwood, Helen Seligman, Kynan Sutherland and Robyn Spicer.

Here’s good reason to return to central Victoria for the healing autumn breezes and mysteries of making in the venerable country town of Castlemaine.

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