CONFINED TO their studios since March, local artists have not been idle.
Artists have spent their time wisely and creatively, producing a myriad of new works that they are now able to present to the public.
Many galleries are reopening and, while many home-based studios remain closed, there are several studios opening to the public.
Ona Henderson and Syd Tunn have kept with the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios tradition and are holding an “Open Studio by appointment”.
Ona told the Diary that, as they are classed as private retail their Creek House Studios is able to operate under COVID-19 guidelines.
“We are already having visitors in our afternoons and making times up until Christmas,” she said.
This will mark Syd and Ona’s 37th year holding an Open Studio.
Their original open studio concept, first held in 1983, grew into what became the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios program, which they hope will return next year.
Syd and Ona’s Creek House Studios, at the Corner of Henley and Oxley Roads, Bend Of Islands, is a cornucopia of artistic delights.
The couple produce a range of paintings drawings prints and art cards, using a range of media.
Bookings can be made by phoning 9712 0393 after 10am.
While it would normally be time for the rest of Nillumbik Artists Open Studios to open their doors, the home based artists have decided to create a gallery exhibition, as well as show their works on an online gallery site.
Program coordinator Annette Nobes said the committee decided “having thousands of people visiting dozens of studios across Nillumbik was not responsible”.
So they have cancelled this year’s event.
You can visit their expanded website to visit a virtual shop plus up-to-date information on studio happenings, events and opening times at artistsopenstudios.com.au
Nillumbik Artists at Gallery 7 six 5
Nillumbik Artists have combined for a rolling exhibition at Gallery 7 six 5.
Located at 765d Eltham-Yarra Glen Road, Watsons Creek, the new gallery run by artists Lisa Ferrari and Benny Archer opened its doors just as Coronavirus hit.
“We opened on June 6 and were open for five weeks before the Stage 4 Lockdown, which was devastating,” Benny told the Diary.
However, they are back with a vengeance and reopened to the public on October 30 with an exhibition of Benny’s works.
This has been followed by an exhibition of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studio.
Each weekend for six weekends, starting from November 6, they are showcasing the works of one of the Open Studio Zones.
“We set this gallery up to support local artists, there is such incredible talent in the Artisan Hills,” Benny said.
The first fortnight November 6—15 is dedicated to Zone A artists, focussing on artists from Eltham and Research, this includes potter Mary-Lou Pittard, painter Claire Dunstan, glass artist Jacquie Hacansson and horticultural potter Jack Latti.
November 20—29 will feature Zone B, centred on artists from Christmas Hills, St Andrews and Kangaroo Ground, including sculptor Tim Read, artists Syd and Ona, Nerina Lascelles, and Robyn Koiker, and the printmakers from Baldessen Press.
December 4—13 will feature Zone C artists from the Hurstbridge area such as metal sculptor Mel Rayski-Mati, artist Harry Z Hughes and artists from the Dunmoochin foundation.
Benny’s studio sits within the gallery space, so you can watch the artist at work as you browse the collections.
With the Dark Horse Café next door, it makes the perfect destination to explore your extended bubble and support local art.
Art on Yarra Street
Warrandyte township is also seeing a resumption of artistic spaces as well as a new pottery space.
Stonehouse Gallery reopened its doors to the public in late October.
Jenny Johns told the Diary they leapt into action as soon as the Premier announced the changes to opening dates.
“We opened last Tuesday [27 October] with all the new rules and regulations in place to keep our visitors and members safe,” Jenny said.
She said during the second closure their team worked hard behind the scenes keeping up with all the general requirements so that they would be ready to open.
“Members and our many talented consignment artists have been making good use of the time out and have created many new and exciting works for the gallery.
“With Christmas in a few weeks we are hoping that all our visitors will find a special hand-crafted gift for friends and family,” Jenny said.
The Stonehouse Gallery is open six days from 10:30am to 5pm, closed Mondays.
A new pop up pottery market is opening each weekend of November and December below the Sassafras Sweet Shop, in the space formerly occupied by Ratty and Moles.
Jane Annois said the pop-up gallery is a forerunner for a permanent gallery and pottery school which is planned to open in 2021.
Jane said she is also participating this month in the Australian Ceramics Open Studio program, an annual nationwide event that celebrates clay, community and creativity.
Hosted by The Australian Ceramics Association, made up of over 100 ceramics studios, potters open their doors to offer insight, practical demonstrations and the chance to take home a handmade piece.
Jane’s pottery studio will be open at 109 Kangaroo Ground Road from 10am – 5pm on November 20 – 21.
Looking to the future, there is a plethora of art coming our way, assuming we keep COVID-19 at bay.
February is looking like a busy time on the art scene with a major photography exhibition (see Page 19) as well as the Mechanics Institute Arts Association hosting an Arts Expo.
“Since March, the hall has been ‘silent’ and so we thought an Arts Expo would help Warrandyte celebrate the lifting of lockdown restrictions and a return to something approaching normal life,” said WMIAA Vice Chair, Ian Craig.
They are planning to host a weekend of artistic activities, promoting local artists, groups, and bands.
The event will include concerts, visual arts and pottery workshops, a community choir event, and the popular Repair Cafe workshop.
“The emphasis will be on the promotion of Warrandyte Arts and ‘getting involved’ in the free activities.”
Ian said subject to Government restrictions, they are aiming to run the Expo on February 19–21.