Saturday, 7 May 2016

Hands-On Happiness

Today was a day of treasures for me. Firstly I got myself up to town this morning, full of excitement, to meet up with a woman I had known 46 years ago at school. We have been in touch on Facebook for the past few years and as she lives in the United Kingdom, we have exchanged snail mail and had a few 'chats' online and that has been lovely. I knew she was visiting mainland Australia and hoped to come and visit Tasmania one day and then suddenly, out of the blue, came a message that she was coming to Hobart for the day with her sister, brother-in-law and one of their grandchildren. They planned to visit Salamanca Markets and would I be able to meet up for lunch. How exciting! 

So yes, today we met up for the first time in 46 years and it was wonderful. She is a treasure and I feel very lucky to have such a beautiful and caring friend. We shared stories about our lives, of course, and laughed and smiled at some memories...but best of all, we didn't run out of things to talk about and we'll be able to catch up again when she returns with her husband later this year. New friends are silver, old friends are gold. There is something precious about rekindling friendships from the past. Shared history and all that. It's really nice.

Too soon the time came for her to leave, but I had kind of made a plan to take myself on an artist's date to the museum with what remained of the afternoon. Julia Cameron speaks of the importance of a weekly artist's date to help unleash creativity, so I'm all for that! After a hurried farewell to the travellers who were heading up to Richmond on their way to the airport, I wandered over to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. Ah, what a glorious place it is. Another priceless treasure that I have not visited in recent times. 

The cavernous interior, accessed via almost tunnel-like timber clad corridor, expands upwards and draws one into its mysteries with the beckoning of sight and curious sound. It's delectable to the senses. How can a person not be enthralled? It holds treasures too...and you never know what you might find! I had remembered hearing or reading something about a patterns exhibition and being a teacher of young children, patterns are of infinite interest. I was thrilled to find it was still showing and couldn't wait to see just what it might be. It was wonderful. More than I could have imagined. A feast of fun!

There were a number of people enjoying the exhibits and I asked them if I might photograph their hands to show what they were doing. I have included them here and must note that each individual was thoroughly engrossed in what they were doing and hardly paused to give me the okay. Hopefully they will look in some time and find their hands here. Hands-on happiness was what I saw. It was lovely to see and although I didn't make or do, I shared in my own way by recording it with a few snaps. Joyful time it was.
Collage on disc to go on spinning disc wall
Another collage disc underway
And one more. The discs could be put on a turn-table similar to a record player to see how the patterns looked when they were spinning. Many were mounted on vertical spinning turn-tables on the wall. It was pretty spectacular!
Two more sets of busy hands creating pattern art
There were calico bandannas ready to stencil with bright patterns
More hands working on another bandanna
The lovely Museum staff member who showed me how to make the amazing kaleidoscopes work. How fascinating they were, all along the wall and all different, changing as she moved her hand across the sensor.
This was part of a huge collage. I think I'd enjoy doing something like this one day!
The designer of the exhibition. How wonderful it must be to give people permission to play in this way!
Patterns in nature were not overlooked. There were many more beetles sporting vibrant metallic patterns as well as less gaudy examples such as spots on quolls to help camouflage them at night in the moonlight
 I'm not going to show you any more as if you are in Tasmania it will be much more fun for you to make your way along to the exhibition and have a look and a play for yourself. I'm so glad I went as I came away inspired and looking at patterns in a whole new way!

Right next door to the Pattern Bandits was another exhibition that drew me to wander through. Migrant Women...that should be interesting, I thought. I enjoyed looking at furniture and home decorating reminiscent of my early childhood and teen years. Eventually I found my way to a film booth and sat entranced for an hour listening to the stories of women who migrated to Tasmania during the 1940s, 50s & 60s. They had travelled as young women from England, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Poland. 

Their stories were fascinating and as they described the photos that they had carried carefully to their new lives in Australia, and those taken during the years after often to be sent home to families in their countries of origin, I noticed parallels between them and the photographs carefully hoarded in my own family. The familiarity was somehow shocking and comforting all at once. It gave me new insight into how it might have been for my own parents who migrated back in the early 60s. More treasures. Knowings. Understanding unfolding.

I remind myself that I can find treasures in all sorts of places when I take the time to go looking; to stop and watch and listen. It has been a most satisfying day. 

Where do you find treasure in your life? Are there places not too far from home that you've been meaning to visit, explore or revisit? I'd encourage you to get to it. Life is short. It is also pretty amazing if amazing is what you're looking for.

Oh, and if you're a local, do get into the TMAG - you won't be disappointed! ... and it's FREE!

With love

Kerry x

ps I did buy a that told all about the patterns used in the exhibition...marked down to $9.95! A treasure and a bargain to boot!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for kind words Kerry, it was absolutely amazing and wonderful to be able to meet up with you and I have such happy memories of that day. I would so loved to have seen the migrant women display, I saw that it closed two weeks later...I have no idea where it went though if anywhere. Looking forward to seeing you again soon...sorry I didn't thank you earlier, I have only just found your blog. xx