To begin the residency, myself and Alex Wisser were to visit three regional public schools to talk about art and to make some cardboard birds. So, with a carload of cardboard and masking tape we hit the road towards Manildra public school. The kids were bright, articulate and certainly not shy about launching themselves Into a furious tornado of cardboard ripping, tearing and taping. By the end of the two hour session the eager young makers had turned the classroom into a veritable cardboard aviary of galahs, flamingos, magpies, cranes and even a pelican.
The second stop of the day was the picturesque Cudal public school. This time we had double the numbers of students which also meant double the enthusiasm and double the leftover cardboard debris. Once again the students produced a menagerie of cardboard birds. Our supplies of cardboard and tape were exhausted and an emergency cardboard restocking at Bunnings in Orange was called for.
The next day we journeyed through serene rural landscapes cloaked by early morning duststorms to find ourselves at Bedgerebong public school. The students were eager and excited and produced many beautiful birds - my favorite was this beautiful yellow peacock.
Landscape – image
Peacock – image
One student pulled me aside to tell me about the passing of a beloved pet Budgerigar and how her mother had deviously sticky-taped the stiff bird back on the perch until a replacement could be found. This act of avian subterfuge did not go unnoticed. Pining for the fjords indeed!
With the conclusion of the school visits, I made my way onwards towards Kandos. Coming down the Bylong way and overlooking Kandos, I was immediately struck by the strange beauty of the cement factory. I was immediately reminded of Howl’s Moving Castle, the leggy mechanical castle walking its way across the landscape. I shared the first couple of days with the wonderful Harrie Fasher who was also on Cementa residency and together we explored the town and surrounds visiting many wonderful studios home to many fantastic local artists.
Much time was spent scouring the treasures of the local Vinnies and tip shop. Bounties included space magazines about the universe, pressed metal letters, a random collection of nuts and bolts and a tiny portable CRT television. Kandos Museum was a fantastic place to visit with Fiona and the rest of the team offering a wealth of local knowledge to dip ones curiouse toes into. The museum was a cache of riches, insects, bottles, dictaphones, dusty Nokias, old newspapers, factory equipment, uniforms, historic newspaper clippings and much more. I found myself particularly fascinated by the now disassembled aerial ropeway – a suspended system of large industrial buckets and pulleys which transported limestone all the way from the quarry to the factory. There are tales of workers who would hitch a lift home and back in these buckets as part of their daily commute.
On the final days I stumbled upon an earthy pit out the back of the tip that was all too reminiscent of the quarries that Tom Baker once would of spent a great deal of time running around in pursuit and being pursued by various aliens. It was very fortunate that had brought my spacesuit with me. Have spacesuit, will travel.