Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Artist in Residence @ Cataract Gorge, Tasmania

For the next two weeks, I'm Artist in Residence at Cataract Gorge in Launceston, Tasmania.

I'm staying in the historical Kings Bridge Cottage, built in 1890 for the gorge Caretaker. The cottage is situated at one end of the gorge, clinging to the side of steep cliffs, close to the busy Kings Bridge that its named after.

After the last caretaker left in 1980, the cottage was used for educational purposes but during periods of unoccupation it was neglected.  The cottage was converted for use for the Launceston City Council's Artist in Residence program in the 1990's, and has been in use as such ever since.

I did some research at the Launceston Library (LINC) today and learnt that the first Artist in Residence in 1993 was landscape and environmental artist John Wolseley.  This was a real surprise and pleased me to know that I'm following in his footsteps!

This arts residency is a mix of urban and natural environments.  Cataract Gorge is located within a few kilometres of the centre of town, and the gorge itself has been heavily modified by humans since the late 1800's.  The dramatic natural gorge elements of river, cliffs and basin have been modified with exotic plants and fauna, as well as buildings, chairlift, pool, bridges and concrete paths.

On my walks through the gorge,  I've been able to spend time examining the landscape around me, trying to discover what is 'natural' or the original vegetation and what is exotic or 'feral'. This is the basis of the artwork I'll be working on during my stay, which fits with my themes of the urbanisation of natural spaces.

My suitcase of art materials weighed just over 20kgs and includes supplies for making collagraphs, drypoint etchings and monoprints.  I flew with Virgin Airlines and pre-bought the extra luggage allowance for $70 return, worth every cent!

I'll be blogging a few times in the next couple of weeks about my AIR progress and artworks I'm working on.  I've only been here one day and I'm relaxing into a routine that takes me away from the daily grind (and heat) of my home studio.  I'm excited to see what happens with my artwork with plenty of time and space to focus on my creativity, with the added discipline of limited art materials...!

 Kings Bridge Cottage in Cataract Gorge.

The pedestrian walkway passes directly under the patio of
the cottage.  The proximity of people to where I'm working reminds me
of my AIR in the Valley Mall earlier this year, except this time
I can see people and they don't see me unless they look up!
The very un-ergonomic stairs that I had to drag my
suitcases up to the cottage.  

Walking the Zig-Zag track, lots of she-oaks.

The historical Suspension Bridge.

These are the concrete paths along the gorge edge,
built in the early 1900's when they
were less environmentally conscious than today,
but it does provide good access to the gorge for everyone.


  1. checking in to find a wonderful report--may your residency be fruitful in every way for you. following in wolseley's footsteps, what could be more auspicious?!

    1. Thanks Velma. I was really chuffed that John Wolsley has been here, as well as many other creative people. I really admire John's work.

  2. One of my favourite places in Tassie. Have a very productive (and fun) time.

  3. Well Sandra, as you know, I was SO excited to read about your AIR program at the Kings Bridge Cottage, I emailed you a reply at 4.30am!! Crazy, I know, but I was so excited to hear of this fabulous opportunity for you. I am also a massive admirer of John Wolseley's works, so it must be such a thrill for you to be staying at the same cottage. Knowing your amazing work ethic and the beautiful pieces that you make, I am sure you will make the very most of your 2 weeks there. Sandra, you are a constant inspiration to me and my own art practices and I continue to follow your progress on each of your artistic ventures. Looking forward to reading more blog posts and seeing more photos. Have an amazing time and keep safe. x

    1. Thanks so much Fiona for your lovely comments. I'm also an admirer of John Wolseley's very creative and expressive work.

  4. Best wishes and a creative happy time Sandra. I had the joy of spending some time there in the mid 90's

    1. Its a very special place with loads of history and a fantastic location for creativity, and great to know that many artists have enjoyed it too.