Melton Willows

Where: Melton Willows Supported Residential Services, 
16 McKenzie Street, Melton VIC

Lead Artist: Lawrence Finn
Support Artist: Alesh Macak

Promoting the SRS artists' unique creative voice  ( July - November 2014)

The Willow SRS residents enjoy driving their own creativity and owning their creative voice. Many of the participants have a strong vision and focus in their art.Therefore projects  Fiona Halse and Natalya Garden Thompson created  for the SRS residents during this July – December period were created in response to feedback on creative plans, development of work that was ‘exhibition ready’. There was also arts participation project ‘ Home’ with the Arts Centre  and promotion of local SRS studios and Arts Access Victoria at Melton City Council Carers Expo.  All of these projects aimed to try create low costs promotional opportunities for the SRS artists and for Arts Access Victoria SRS programs.  

During the SRS pop-up studios sessions from July to November 2104 a number of  projects were delivered:

Willows Art Group was involved in:

Arts Centre Melbourne HomeProject 
(outcomes will be part of event in January 2015)

Home is a large scale participatory art project that offers everyone a chance to explore and celebrate the ideas, stories, memories and emotions that the thought of home can invoke. SRS residents all created a house to be part of this project and some houses were exhibited at the Melton Visitor Information Centre Exhibition. 

On 10 January 2015 Home will be launched with all the wooden houses gathered together and proudly displayed in and around a supersized installation called ‘The Big House’ on the Arts Centre Melbourne lawn - which will be home to 16 days of free workshops, music and performances.

Highlights included:
The Arts Centre ‘Home’ project sparked ideas with Richard Smith who created a beautiful collaged wooden house in his room in his own time.

Melton Visitor Information Centre Exhibition 
(30 October – 11 November 2014)

Group exhibition at Melton VisitorInformation Centre by artists at Melton Willows and Meadowbrook SRS Pop-Up Studios.

Installation of exhibition at Melton Visitor Information Centre ( 30 October - 11 November 2014) 
( photo credit: Natalya Garden -Thompson) 
Installation of exhibition at Melton Visitor Information Centre - close up of houses and associated imagery 
( photo credit: Natalya Garden-Thompson)
Bill Griffiths and his drawing of  'home' at Melton Visitor Information Centre ( photo credit: Paul Dunn)
Rosie Sita and her portraits ( photo credit:Paul Dunn)  
Ziggy Okrasa and his cryptic poetry to the aliens  (photo credit:Paul Dunn) 

Highlights from the Willows Art Group:
  • Bill created numerous drawings of houses and caravans that complimented the  small house installation
  • James Mount and Julie-Ann Kreyan explored Van Goghs sunflowers
  • Color was explored by Anita Agius, Stella Strartis,  Angela Brodo, Gerardine Scarffe, Richard Smith, Roselva Maria Sita (Rosa), Virginia Palmer
  • Zyggi Okrasa created cryptic poetry to the aliens with moving stencils on the paper  
 SRS Artist Profiles were also exhibited.

Melton Learning and Library Hub exhibition of text based work 
(5 November – 30 November 2014)

Cabinet at Melton Learning and Library Hub with text based work ( photo credit: Paul Dunn)
Pasha Kasem in front series of color paintings ( photo credit: Paul Dunn)
Jarna Lee Wilson  holding one image from her series of text and image works ( photo credit: Paul Dunn)
The proposal of using the library cabinets to display text based works sparked an interest in writing and it enabled these strong visual artists to explore different approaches to creating art. It also gave SRS residents ICT skills when choosing font and formatting.

Highlights include:
  • Anita Agius created an image of a light house and Natalya transcribed her story about this lighthouse. The font and format of the story was chosen by Anita on the lap top.  
  • Jarna Lee Wilson created text for all her images that often comprised of collaged photos of her garden and textures such as concrete, bark and rocks that she responded to. Jarna expressed an interest in booking this display cabinet as an independent artist to continue creating text and imagery.  She also expressed an interest in creating a blog and was very good at using the lap top with formatting and saving files.
  • Pasha Kasem created a series of color scapes on stands for the cabinet
  • Rebecca Warnock, Peter Spur,  Sylvia Stojanovic also contributed an artwork to the exhibition
  • Irene Heather Ryan, displayed her musical scores that she eventually transformed into drawings. These note books and scores visually displaying how text, lyrics, rhythm can give visual art narrative and formal ideas.

On 5th November 2014 there was a soft launch of the Melton Visitor Information Centre Exhibition  and Melton Library exhibition for text based work. Councillor Bob Turner personally congratulated all participants and Arts and Culture and Economic Development and Tourism Council representatives were also present to recognise the SRS residents art and written works. 
Jarna Lee Wilson was able to personally explain about her ideas about nature spirituality and poetry to the general public and other SRS artists. 

There was a small catalogue created for the Melton Library exhibition to enable cross promotion between the two council venues. 

Installing, Instilling and Expressing Creativity ( February - June 2014)

Door Mural
SRS Artists in front of door mural ( photo credit: Natalya Garden -Thompson)
Second Door - Willows SRS ( photo credit: Natalya Garden - Thompson)
Detail - Door 1 ( photo credit: Natalya Garden -Thompson)
Detail - Door 2 ( photo credit: Natalya Garden -Thompson)
Door 2 ( photo credit: Natalya Garden -Thompson)

The pop up SRS studio sessions  ( February - June 2014) had a similar ideology to the initial pilot program where artists were encouraged to explore their personal vision and aesthetic. But mid-way through the session the SRS residents seemed ready to try a set project and new mediums. Many Willows SRS residents were familiar with working with the foam etching plate and acrylic paint. This is due to many of the SRS residents being involved with Nebula in 2013 at Djerriwarrh Festival. All SRS residents were keen to express pride about their creative abilities through completing two door murals that face McKenzie Street in Melton.The approach was simple - small square panels were painted in yellow based colors and printed in contrasting colors and these were assembled in grid pattern. It was suggested to the residents that home based imagery could be explored as it related to the door and SRS home. All participants were included in the mural.   

Ziggy Okrasa; cryptic writing to the aliens ( photo credit: Natalya Garden -Thompson)

Ziggy Okrasa added to the mural by writing in his calligraphic style  what he would 'say to the aliens if they came to the SRS door'. 

Stella Stratis and Rose Sita did not enjoy the printing process, so they created paintings inspired by rainbows on the small panels instead of printing. These paintings were installed next to the door as its own separate mural late in the session. 

Richard Smith;  drawing  (photo credit: Natalya Garden Thompson)
Canvas installation ( photo credit: Natalya Garden- Thompson)
Canvas and Gallery installation
Willows SRS residents added new artwork in the dining room and artists such as Richard Smith had been creating art work in his room and his drawings were added to the salon style art installation. This arts space in the dining room has become 'their gallery'.

Several SRS artists created paintings on small canvases and these were hung in salon style on a wall in the dining room.  
Pasha Kasem; painting on paper ( photo credit: Natalya Garden - Thompson)
Joey Mallia ( photo credit: Natalya Garden - Thompson)
Jarna Lee Wilson;  drawing on cardboard ( photo credit: Natalya Garden-Thompson)
Ziggy Okrasa drawing ( Photo credit: Natalya Garden- Thompson)
Development of SRS Artist profiles
Within these sessions there was also a development of written artist profiles. These profiles allowed the SRS residents to reflect on their own work, summarise their key ideas and express to others what they value within the arts. These written artist profiles were workshopped with the residents and are now online and exhibited as a label for the artwork in 'their gallery'

Melton Willows 2013
Exhibition of work produced within six week workshops at Melton Willows SRS in 2013.

(Photo credit: Leonie Van Eyk) 

Video of Willows and Meadowbrook SRS residents - created by Leonie Van Eyk

Stella Stratis; abstract painting ( photo credit: Leonie Van Eyk)

Stella Stratis; abstract collage (photo credit: Leonie Van Eyk)

Virginia Palmer; Portrait of Leonie on paper ( photo credit: Leonie Van Eyk)

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