We are now over half-way through the SALA festival and I have to say that apart from the 2007 festival, when I was lucky enough to meet and become friends with the extraordinary (I could go on and on here, but I won't) Catchlove/Pills, this has been the best SALA I've experienced. This past weekend I have met some truly delightful, interesting and amazingly talented people. I was very unsure how my 'Open Studio' would be received this year, as I had only a handful of completed pieces for sale and lots of 'work in progress', but the response has been enormously positive with a wide cross-section of visitors (which is what I really love to see; kids, grandparents, and especially those people - usually men - who come in begrudgingly with their families and end up poring over every detail and having to be dragged out!). I've had wonderful conversations with people from Perth and New South Wales, a lovely violinist, an eccentrically fabulous woman with faeries in her attic (no, I'm not speaking metaphorically), two beautiful sisters who touched me very deeply (one is now living with "Old Goat"), two young women who fell so deeply in love with the incomplete "Turtle Man" that they would have bought him 'as is' if I had let them and an incredible artist, whose work I'm ashamed to say, I did not know until yesterday. His name is Ron Francis and I think I may have found another favorite Australian painter. I am always quite overwhelmed when people travel, however long or short, to see my work. Seeing this gifted artist's superb paintings only reinforces this feeling as well as simply making me happy that he could also enjoy what I do.
And all of this reminds me why I do what I do. Of course, I'm driven by what's inside of me....a personal vision.....but it's the sharing of this vision and the response of other people that provides the greatest satisfaction. I've always maintained that I would have to make these creatures even if no-one ever saw them, but lately I'm not so sure. That response from another individual is so important to the work.....it gives it meaning. I can derive great personal satisfaction from a well-built armature, nicely sculpted features and a decent paint job, but all of this pales into insignificance when someone looks at a piece with tears in their eyes because, for reasons known only to them, they feel a connection with it. Nothing beats that.
So, I'll keep sculpting and hope that people keep responding. There are some very exciting projects in the works, one of which has to be secret for now, but there will be plenty to blog about. "Turtle Man" is my newest piece, as yet incomplete. The turtle shell is a real one, salvaged by my good friend, Steve. When it came to me it was covered in at least two inches of tube worm casings.....the poor turtle had long since perished, but it took me two weeks of scraping and cleaning to get the shell to it's present condition. "Turtle Man" will be wearing the shell as a kind of armour and if all goes to plan and Steve manages to procure a smaller shell for me, there will be a young'un to go with him.
Again, I really want to thank all those wonderful people I have met over the past week, as well as all my blogging and facebook friends who are so supportive.....special thanks to Nancy for her friendship and wise advice from across the miles.
Till next time.