Mak­ing a home a work work of of art art

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - HOME - Jes­sica Howard

UN­MIS­TAK­ABLY the home of an artist, this Black­mans Bay res­i­dence has light stream­ing in from ev­ery di­rec­tion to high­light the art­works which are both on dis­play and in progress.

Ten years ago, Margaret Skowron­ski con­verted the space from a cold three- bed­room house into a mod­ern Asian- style home, gallery and studio for her paint­ings, sculp­tures, cast­ings and wood­works.

Leav­ing be­hind her life in com­mu­nist Poland in 1977, Margaret has never looked back.

“I worked in Poland at the med­i­cal acad­emy as a se­nior lec­turer but I be­came frus­trated there,’’ she said.

“You would do one thing and be­lieve in an­other, so I de­cided to give up the job even though it was fan­tas­tic.

“A dis­tant rel­a­tive of mine came back to Poland and she told me she thought I would do well in Aus­tralia.’’

She moved to Canberra and then Syd­ney, spend­ing over 20 years in both.

How­ever, it was in Syd­ney the qual­ifi ed nutri­tion­ist be­gan to em­brace the artist within and started turn­ing out more and more pieces.

It was 1999 be­fore Margaret made it to the Ap­ple Isle, hav­ing pre­vi­ously spent some time here.

“My fi rst hol­i­day af­ter my hus­band passed away, I came to Tas­ma­nia and I re­ally fell in love with it,’’ she said.

“When I came to live, I rented a small house with a small work­shop in How­den but it was too dark – I needed more light.

“I looked at so many houses for eight months and couldn’t fi nd any­thing I liked.

“I thought I wanted to live in the

coun­try but there was al­ways some­thing to stop me.

“I like peo­ple but also to have my own space. To be right out in the coun­try with­out peo­ple, I re­alise that’s not re­ally me, and this house is a com­pro­mise be­tween those two things.’’

The for­mer liv­ing room has been con­verted into gallery space, which mostly dis­plays works by Margaret and also a few select pieces from other artists in­clud­ing well- known Aus­tri­an­born artist An­ton Holzner.

An­ton also helped Margaret with the de­sign of her studio space in the back­yard.

The tim­ber struc­ture with cathe­dral ceil­ing and ex­posed beams is con­nected to the rest of the home via a con­crete court­yard and slid­ing door back into the lower level of the home which con­tains Margaret’s sculp­ture and paint­ing work­shop.

The front and rear gar­den form an ex­ten­sion of the studio space, and again Margaret’s deft artis­tic touch is ev­i­dent.

“I tried to add dif­fer­ent colours and tex­tures,’’ she said of her flour­ish­ing gar­den. “When I look through the win­dow, I can see when the morn­ing sun hits the gar­den the gre­vil­lea changes colours from yel­low to sil­ver.’’

De­spite the sub­ur­ban set­ting, the pri­vate and quiet prop­erty could in fact be al­most any­where in coun­try Tas­ma­nia, a bal­ance that is very im­por­tant for Margaret who spends a lot of time in the home, work­ing at all hours.

“Some­times I stay in the studio long into the evening,’’ she said. “Work­ing and liv­ing in the same space has a lot of pluses, I like it. It can be a lit­tle iso­lat­ing some­times but you just have to find a bal­ance be­tween work and life.’’

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