When I moved to a small country town I arrived full of city-centric stereotypes.
Farmers are dumb; country living is dull; you’ll never find a good coffee in a country town; and the only place to seek cultural enrichment will be in the city.
Nine years on and I now realise how silly and narrowminded I was.
Clearly my first gross generalisation – farmers are dumb – was quickly disproved when I met my lovely farmer husband. He is many things but dumb ain’t one of them. He is possibly one of the most switched on, driven and intelligent people I know.
Country life dull? No it’s not. So okay we’re not out dancing til dawn at the local club (thankfully). Saturday nights are rather tame and the restaurants stop serving at 7.30pm, but there’s plenty of other ways to pass the time. Horseriding, motorbike riding, walks through National Parks, swimming in creeks, boating on the local dam …. how long have you got?
But the thing which really surprised me about smalltown life is the depth of talent in the local arts community. This place is teeming with arty tpes. Sure there’s those who enjoy art as a hobby, but there’s also a rich selection of professional artists who call our region home.
Some of the best ones will be opening the doors to their studios throughout May as part of the council’s Studios of the Scenic Rim event. Basically the event is a month-long celebration of the local arts and culture scene. Visitors are invited into the studios to meet artists, see them at work and learn how they create.
Read about it more depth here.
Some of my favourites are Christopher Trotter who takes scrap metal, old aircraft and trucks and disused plaumbing parts and welds them into whacky, Dr Suess-like creations. You’ve probably seen his work. Councils and governments regularly commission Chris to create public art pieces. He’s in the midst of transforming our boring town clock. It will be called the Blumbergville Clock … can’t wait to see it.
Bec Andersen on Tamborine Mountain is another favourite. She used to work in a commercial rug factory making rugs. Now she works from a great studio where she creates rugs which are true art pieces. She still uses the commercial techniques and says her rugs are fine to be put on the floor, but really I think they’re better placed on the wall. Bec also runs workshops to teach her hooking techniques. I attended one late last year but am yet to finish my ‘masterpiece’. She also runs regular hooking get togethers called The Happy Hookers.
Suzy Buhle is another favourite. Her voluptuous women with big busts and huggy hips really strike a chord with me … a rather ’round’ gal.
I’m also a massive fan of Patena Moesker. Patena teaches art at the local high school and produces the most amazing colourful images of our local landscape. A couple of years back I asked her to create paintings for the boys which featured a few of our favourite things – carrots, onions, tractors, the wonderful mountains which surround our town and of course our dog Seeker.
Recently the super-talented Kimberley Sakzewski moved here from Brisbane. Kimberley is a journalist and film-maker first and foremost. Shortly after moving here Kimberley pulled together Boondocs, a month-long documentary festival. And a few years back this mum-of-two decided to study millinery …. her latest works are being exhibited at our local gallery. They’re fantastic and really fun.
I’m not sure why there’s so many wonderful artists living out here. Perhaps they’re inspired by the natural scenery … who wouldn’t be? I just realise we’re very lucky that they add such a rich dimension to our rural community.
If you have the time during May jump in your car and come and meet some of our local artists during Studios of the Scenic Rim. We’re only an hour’s drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Download the Studios Booklet or go here for a full rundown of what’s on offer.