Sally Baldwin – 2019
Artform – Textile and Collage I was really excited to be accepted on the Artist in Residence (AiR) programme, and it more than exceeded my expectations.
From the word go we were treated with incredible friendliness, generosity and hospitality from all the family. Amee had her hands very full running the place while Ash and Lyndee were away, but she still managed to find time to take us on amazing trips around the station, show us all sorts of techniques in the paper workshop, and to make sure there was always prepared pulp for us to work.
It was great to work with the other AiRs, Isabelle from France and Karen from Tasmania, and of course Amee herself. I absolutely loved the paper making process: the creation of paper from the land, with the colours and textures of the land itself, and I came home feeling extremely inspired to develop my own work using some of the papers as backgrounds in my stitched bird and plant collages, and also in three dimensional forms. I have several ups and coming exhibitions and Curtin Springs paper will feature in all of them.
I also loved the opportunity to learn about life in this harsh climate, and about the history of the station and how it operates now. The trips out were so interesting in this respect, and also because the land is so beautiful. Not dry and barren as one might have expected of this desert region, but full of colour and adapted vegetation. One of my favourite trips was going out to the salt lake, an astonishing place, where we watched the sun set on one side and the giant golden full moon rise on the other, with Mount Conner in the background changing colour all the time.
It was lovely to get to know the family: Peter, Grandma Sylvia, Amee, Emma, Sean, Ben, Matt, and Lyndee and Ash, who were sadly only there for a day before leaving for a short break. We were treated with great friendliness, as we were by all the people working there. My HAIR ( husband of artist in residence) Mike enjoyed working with Kevin on various farm duties such as fencing, gutter cleaning, painting etc, as well as persuading Peter and Sylvia to sit for him while he drew their portraits. We had fascinating encounters with interesting wildlife including perentie of varying sizes, an enormous python, Jack Flash the kangaroo, lizards, feral camels and amazing, colourful birds, both wild and in the aviaries. The flies were not so interesting, but I even started getting used to them!