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.
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.