Open Studios Boonah & Kalbar

VISITORS to Studios of the Scenic Rim Boonah & Kalbar next weekend will meet leading professional artists and see inside two of the region’s most historic buildings.

Open Studios moves to Boonah and Kalbar on May 26 and 27, where artists will welcome visitors from the Boonah Butter Factory and the heritage-listed Wiss Emporium at Kalbar.

They are two of the area’s most well-recognised character buildings and reveal much about the history of the local area.

Boonah artists Catherine Anderson, Felicity Smith and Rachael Brook work from the Boonah Butter Factory and that’s where they will welcome visitors next weekend. The trio will provide an insight into bronze sculpture, glasswork and mouth art.

At Kalbar’s beautiful 103-year-old Wiss Emporium, a collective of developing artists will gather to welcome visitors and share their passion for their craft. The collective features Louise Mossom (fibre artist), Lisa Kirk (artist), David Mossom (experimentalist fibre dyer), Sue Wright (fibre artisan), Denise Foster (silk artist), Sue Russ (leadlighting) and Uvon McManus (textile artisan).

The studios are open from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday and entry is free.

Boonah mouth artist Rachael Brook overcomes the physical barriers of cerebral palsy to create brightly-coloured paintings which are full of life and strongly stamped with her unique style.

“My style of artwork is portraiture and surrealism,” she says. “Being a mouth artist is my life and my passion, it’s my drug. My motivation for my art comes from many of my favourite artists, such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Whitley. I started painting when I was living at a disability home. They held a workshop and after that I did some art courses and it went from there.

“I paint on my knees as I find it easier to manoeuvre around rather than in a wheelchair. I enjoy doing Open Studios because people can see a mouth artist at work and people are not as afraid of me now.”

Bronze sculptor Catherine Anderson is self-taught and creates realistic pieces. Her trademark sculptures include beautiful female figures, horses in full flight and fish.

Catherine was working as a taxidermist when she met an elderly bronze sculptor and was in awe of his work.

“I thought, ‘I could do that, I could so do that.’” she says.

“So I got some wax and had a bash at it. I did my first piece for myself. Then I was invited by the Australian roughrider Association to do a bucking horse for them as a fundraising thing. It was my first piece for money.

“I did it and they sold stacks, even though rodeo cowboys don’t have any money. It sold because it was accurate. When I do a piece I need to know everything about it – I rode the bucking machine, I talked to cowboys and made sure all the details were correct, right down to how the boys held the reins.”

Felicity Smith is a multi-faceted artist, skilled in fine drawing, painting and sculpture. Glass is her medium of choice and her glass work will be the focus of her Open Studio.

“Glass is like nothing else, it has all the characteristics of liquid but it’s not a liquid. It’s eccentric “Glass keeps you on your toes; it can never be taken for granted. I like that.”

Felicity has been working with glass since the late 1980s when she first arrived to Australia and secured a job working in a Brisbane leadlight studio. She works across the board in glass, moving easily between large stained glass feature installations, through to sculptural works and table centre-pieces to bold fashion jewellery statements. Her unique, richly-coloured glass works, are beautiful to look at and functional.

Full details about the participating artists and their studio addresses are available at www.liveatthecentre.com.au Select the Open Studios link.

Studios of the Scenic Rim runs every weekend until June 3 and is an initiative of the Scenic Rim Regional Council. On the final weekend, June 2-3, artists will be in residence and offering workshops at Canungra and Binna Burra.

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