Liveblogging the ANCA Open Studios: Dickson Campus

Posted by anca in Blog


I left Mitchell campus and made my way to the Dickson Campus. It was much more visible: large screeds of bunting all along the roadsides creating a very festive atmosphere. Inside the gates, there were paper lanterns and a bbq stall and musicians making alternative ambient sounds; it worked because there was a lot of chatter around the courtyard, whereas the Mitchell campus suited the warm cheerfulness of a more Country & Western twang. 

There were seven studios open at Mitchell, and twenty open at Dickson, so I went through each one, chatting and taking photos. It’s a lot to take in! Let’s do it as a gallery: 

Studio 1: Dionisia Salas and Joel Arthur. Neither was there when I dropped in, but I loved the array of yummy-looking paints…

Studio 2: Ruby Berry, spinning near the entrance to her studio, which was very popular with the kids. Ruby is a textile artist who makes contemporary 3D objects that incorporate traditional production methods like weaving and basketry.

Studio 3: Abstract painter Rowan Kane, who wasn’t around but had everything set up to catch the eye for sales. I loved the punk tees. 

Studio 4: Painter Melissa Kamp was very happy, as she’d just run out of sales stock. Her studio was full of birds, rendered in watercolour. 

Studio 5: Installation artist Raquel Ormella, talking to Chris Sutevski about zines. You can see her handsewn political banners in the background. 

Studio 6: New Media artist Anna Madeleine — Damn it! Meant to come back and take a photo of the studio with her in it, but I got distracted. There was some fabulous work in there, lots of it in motion, which was mesmerising. Sorry Anna! 

Studio 7: Painter Marilyn Stretton is in the last months of her tenancy. ANCA residents can only stay for a maximum of 2 terms of 3 years. There’s a shortage of affordable studio space in Canberra, and what is around is not long term. It’s an ongoing problem… Marilyn’s latest work is behind her, but the room was a showcase for some earlier work as well, all very seductive.

Studio 8: Photographer and ceramicist Helene Walsh had a buzzing studio, thanks to her ‘pinch a pot’ clay studio activity.  

Studio 10: Christine Jarrett also looked like she was having a lovely time with her studio visitors, so I had a quick look, snapped a shot and moved on. I’m guessing she’s reselling the textiles on the table?  

Studio 12: This was my old studio, so it was lovely to have a peek inside at Ruth Oliphant’s glass studio. She wasn’t in the room, but there was a gorgeous bunch of yellow roses, and some very impressive equipment. it was a great studio, I hope she’s enjoying it. I loved her urban landscape pieces. Study in yellow…

Studio 14: Barbara Wheeler of etc: every thread counts had her studio door closed, but I noticed people inside, so I went in. She was talking about natural dyes to an interested visitor; her work is all eco-dyed and designed in interesting shapes to suit the many varieties of the female form. She’s got an exhibition coming up soon called A Change of Clothes: Dressing for good, at The Link at Ginninderry, 24 May to 18 July. 

Studio 16: This space is shared by Jess Herrington, who works with augmented reality and other new media (you might have seen her work at Art Not Apart this year) and Chris Sutevski, who was over visiting Raquel Ormella when I popped in. Chris is the neat freak! I’ve added a photo of his pencils too, because I love them so much. Both artists went through the Printmedia & Drawing Workshop at the ANU School of Art + Design. 

Studio 18: Kate Smith is a painter and illustrator. She’s also about to move out, having finished her first 3 years tenancy. Since her upcoming illustration work is small and can be done in her living room, she’s keeping her second 3 years up her sleeve for the future. She’s been working large because she’s had the space but the next few years in a loungeroom and half-garage will force her to re-adopt a more intimate practice. 

Studio 19: This was another busy studio, probably because Alice Sutton was selling specials from her designer clothing label EDITION. Again, I popped my head in and had a squizz, moving on because she was caught up. Lovely when there’s a buzz in the room. 

Studio 20: Elisabeth Kruger, a painter, was again in conversation. I was captivated by her lush floral compositions. It’s wonderful to see really established artists mixing up with emerging artists in these studios, it adds to the magic of the place.

Many thanks to all the participating artists! It was a really interesting day, I loved the variety of mediums and practices, which is the core of ANCA’s valuable contribution to the Canberra arts community. 

Of course there is also an exhibition on it the gallery at the Dickson campus: The Agent is  a multimedia video and sound installation by Megan Keating, Samuel Johnstone and Mathew Boden. The gallery install is spare: two screen areas and some speakers, but the visuals are mesmerising and the sound makes it a holistic experience. It runs until 20 May. 




Open Studios: 11am – 4pm Saturday 11 November 2017

Where: ANCA Mitchell 96 Hoskins St Mitchell

Free Event

More info call 02 6247 8736

Caren Florance  is the current ANCA Critic in Residence


Tags: Art Writing, Residents, Studios