Hand Made in Healesville

Traditional to quirky. Pamela Gordon at Malka Studio Healesville February 24 2019

‘Traditional to quirky’ celebrates recent works by Pamela Gordon. Her pieces sell quickly so it’s hard to put together a retrospective of a lifetime’s work. This current exhibition hosted on the eastern wall at Malka Studio Healesville is defined by its title with sensitive prosaic pastels: ‘Autumn Vintage’; ‘Cherry Orchard, Silvan ‘; a selection of wildlife pastels highlighted on alcohol ink background (‘kookaburra’; ‘nest ‘; emu’; ‘gang gang’) while ushering expressive revelations of alcohol ink dispersal on yupo (pink & gold; a play with green).

Weaving a story - JOURNEY of the BASKETS, Elizabeth Stevenson-Ryan January 30 2019

Low swampy paddocks, dark green swamp reeds. Watch out for snakes, stomp my feet hard as I venture to pick them in Tasmania and Victoria.  These reeds are the most desired plants for weaving into coil baskets.  They smell of rain breath from plats bedded in moist soil, as I create contours bending their pliable roundness.

Gold turquoise light shines through the wave arching up to lift our yacht up into the sky, foaming a song of water music as it fizzles and rolls past. The wet towels of swamp reeds purposely lie on a long cockpit seat.

I stand up, gripping the Spray Hood edge, gazing over, to view,the ocean...to navigate, to plan ahead...for a short rest back to weaving reeds with favourite double waxed linen thread.  This tread is traditionally used for canvas sail mending.

I took up basket weaving to bide the journeying hours to a destination.  My weaving additions to the reeds and vines festooning the cockpit, are: seaweed, coochgrass, shells, tall tree Eucalyptus Regnans bark, native 'Shoe Lace' bush, Weeping Sheoak. My threads variable, but I mainly use Waxed Linen thread.

I have ten minutes of calm before I tighten a sail, avoid a rock, grip on tight when spotting a large'ish wave, make a cup of tea in the galley, lift with the wind,sing to a dolphin whilst lying on my stomach looking over the side of the boat.  Do they want to look at me whilst I sing? One will travel along keeping eye contact with me for some time, so I believe...

Read the chart to journey on to a planned craggy tuck in the rugged Tasmanian rock coastline to then drop anchor.  More weaving reeds, out of the wind. Calm.  That is what my baskets are.

I learnt eel net weaving of wetland reeds with a Wurundjeri elder, Dot Peterson.  She came into my ceramics classroom, for many sessions, working with the students.  Reeds were collected along the Healesville creeks, and the water ribbons in the river.  Her tribe had taught her as a child.

My baskets are not made in a traditional Aboriginal style, well in part, but I make up stitching techniques. I use ornamental Passionfruit and Jasmine vine at my home in Healesville, as I continue weaving baskets when not sailing. 

Elizabeth Stevenson-Ryan taught Art at Healesville Secondary School for 30 years.  Now retired she balances her annual sailing exploits around Tasmania with attending to her garden in Healesville.

Aileen September 07 2018

Earlier this year Aileen on her way to the organic cafe, intrigued by the fragrance of Sweet Cinnamon wafting down the main road, popped her head into the studio to see what we were about. There ensued a half hour or so of conversation; she told me about her art and would I be interested in selling her cards? A few days later she returned with a bag of reproductions of her animal portraits and I could not quite reconcile the talent with this doe-eyed, unassuming lady. Of course I can now. Since then Aileen has introduced the "Arts and Minds" group to the Malka Studio and helped coordinate "Nelly's Gift" an exhibition of Petronella Jones' inspired monoprints in May of this year. We are delighted to host her retrospective exhibition.


In 2001 at the age of 50, a notice at the Corinella Community Centre caught my eye ‘Exploring Drawing’ with Gary Simmons

From different aspects of drawing and then onto other mediums I explored

A diagnosis of fibromyalgia I turned to art for therapy, it gave me purpose and something to focus my mind upon.

And then there was a random gift of art supplies including canvas board and oil paint – and not knowing what to do with them.  Soon after receiving them, my friend Cathy asked me to draw from photographs, a picture of her Clydesdale. After making a few drawings from photos, without telling anyone, I had a go at painting one of them in oil. I just used the oil without any other medium. (I thought you used them straight out of the tube)

Painting finished, I showed it to the art group where without prompting, someone offered a frame that fitted the canvas perfectly, and another took it to her work at an art framer to have it framed. It was so worth the effort.  When I took the painting to Cathy she was so overwhelmed and happy, she burst into tears. Her reaction was priceless. And without knowing, the frame fitted her décor.

The way it all came together made me realise I was being directed. My motivation and urge to make the painting were quite strong. Step by step, materials I needed were given to me as needed to make it happen.

I then discovered my preferred mediums: soft pastels, charcoal, and oil pastels.

In 2004 I moved to Healesville where I joined and now tutor the U3A ‘Art and Craft’ group.

2009 & 2010 I participated in the ‘Yarra Valley Open Studios’

I like to experiment with organic eco-printing using iron sulphate and sometimes tea diffusions; and ‘gelli printing’ with a solution of vegetable gelatine, glycerine and dried leaves.

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me in my art journey.  Aileen

This retrospective show celebrates Aileen’s uncomplicated approach.

Original artworks, cards and reproductions are for sale.

Portrait commissions on request.

Granada Reflections , Chris Joy August 23 2018

Chris Joy lived in a small village in Spain sharing domestic life with the women there over a 3 year period and then over a 20 year period of visiting. Joy is intrigued by the role and experience of women expressed through the creativity and limitations of the domestic landscape, feminine camaraderie and the concentric circles of activity focused on the home and its inherent trials and tragedies.
Granada Reflections, a series of Joy's acrylic paintings exhibiting until  10 September 2018
Fiesta  |  The Observers  |  50 Years in this House  |  Tita Maria (Aunt Maria)
Luz y Esperanza en la Calle (Light and Hope in the Street) 
Fiesta  Chris Joy
Chris Joy's style is experiential, responding to direct lived and imagined experience. Utilising an emotional immersion technique her work is based on the exploration of the sensory, emotional and physicality of real and imagined places. Through the process of paring back and simplifying form, examining the dynamism of relationship, and the emergence of symbolism, she asks where do symbols emerge from and what is the process wherein object becomes symbol?

A Confluence of Creativity - Malka Studio Healesville August 22 2018

When we were looking for a space to set up the Malka retail studio there was a list of criteria: heritage listed building, easily accessed destination, beautiful views.  Also on the list was an open door to creativity.  25 years at the Esplanade market in St Kilda nurtured a deep respect for hand made works. Malka Studio Healesville provides shelter from the elements and work-space for Malka Natural Skin Care Products, it shares walls with artists, cabinets with with hand made cards, baskets of local crafts.  An ever changing feast.