Golden cre­ativ­ity

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - by KYLIE WIL­SON

A SCULP­TOR who has worked in a range of dif­fer­ent me­dia over the years, Beech­worth’s Jo Voigt sees “at least one thing ev­ery day” that re­minds her “how beau­ti­ful and cre­ative the world is”, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to the nat­u­ral world.

Her lat­est project will form an in­deli­ble part of a brand new Beech­worth Arts Coun­cil event tak­ing place over this Easter long week­end dur­ing the Golden Horse­shoes Fes­ti­val, the Golden Art Fair.

The project, a ma­jor in­stal­la­tion made from re­cy­clable poly­eth­yl­ene tereph­tha­late (PET) bot­tles, will form the en­trance way to the fair.

Jo said it will also be an in­ter­ac­tive piece where mem­bers of the pub­lic can con­trib­ute their own “mes­sage in a bot­tle” that will in turn in­spire a writ­ing based Beech­worth Arts Coun­cil project.

The piece will be en­ti­tled Liq­uid Gold, a com­men­tary on the high in­trin­sic and en­vi­ron­men­tal cost of bot­tled water, and Jo said us­ing as much re­cy­clable, sus­tain­able and/or upcycled ma­te­ri­als as pos­si­ble in her work is very im­por­tant to her.

“It’s about clos­ing that re­cy­cling loop,” she said

A ded­i­cated artist, Jo grew up sur­rounded by peo­ple mak­ing things - whether it was craft made by her mother and grand­mother, or func­tional farm items welded to­gether by her fa­ther – and it in­spired her to do the same.

“It is my way of un­der­stand­ing the world around me,” she said.

She ex­plained that she loves to cre­ate pub­lic works such as Liq­uid Gold and re­ceive feed­back from the pub­lic.

“It’s re­ally quite amaz­ing what peo­ple can come up with and re­spond to,” she said.

“I’m hop­ing it is some­thing that will catch peo­ple’s eyes and make them cu­ri­ous.”

Jo has worked on a va­ri­ety of pas­sion projects over the years, but one that has stuck in her mind was a tex­tile re­cre­ation of a scroll Aus­tralian suf­fragettes pre­sented to par­lia­ment dur­ing the on­go­ing fight for women’s vot­ing rights, which was made to mark the 100th an­niver­sary of that right be­ing granted.

As a long time Beech­worth res­i­dent, she said there is an un­mis­take­able at­mos­phere dur­ing Easter in Beech­worth. “The place is pump­ing,” she said. “There’s so many peo­ple that come to Beech­worth.”

Jo also praised the Beech­worth Arts Coun­cil for putting to­gether the Golden Art Fair, and hopes that large crowds will come to ex­pe­ri­ence the event.

Fel­low artist Rose Gard­ner, well known for her work as a fibre artist, will also have work at the Golden Art Fair, and said she has worked with some form of tex­tile her en­tire life.

“I can’t re­mem­ber a time in my life when I haven’t done it,” she said.

At first her work re­lated mainly to knit­ting and cro­chet, in­clud­ing freeform cro­chet that she learned in work­shops with Queens­land artist Pru­dence Map­stone, but in the past few years she has also em­braced spin­ning, felt­ing and weav­ing.

Now with her own stu­dio at Beech­worth’s May­day Hills, she reg­u­larly sells her items at lo­cal mar­kets.

Rose said she was most pas­sion­ate about ex­per­i­ment­ing with tex­ture in her art.

“My work mainly em­pha­sises dif­fer­ent tex­tures and yarn,” she said.

“Each time I start a new scarf or weav­ing, I have a thing in mind that’s in­spired me, like colours or a land­scape.

“It’s an artis­tic out­let as well as be­ing wear­able.”

Rose en­cour­aged vis­i­tors to come to the fair, say­ing “it’s in a fan­tas­tic po­si­tion right in the cen­tre of town”.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the fair, which runs from March 31-April 2 at the Beech­worth Sol­diers’ Memorial Hall at 101 Ford Street, Beech­worth, visit beech­worthartscoun­cil.org.au.

PHOTO: Wendy Stephens.

WHAT A BOT­TLER: Sculp­tor Jo Voigt with some of the PET bot­tles she has col­le­ceted to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­men­tally themed sculp­ture for this week­end’s in­au­gu­ral Golden Art Fair in Beech­worth.

TEX­TILE TAL­ENT: Rose Gard­ner is a pas­sion­ate tex­tile artist who will also be ex­hibit­ing at the Golden Art Fair.

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