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Pigment of the Imagination
The annual Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail is a weekend bursting at the seams with opportunities to revive your creative spirit.
Words and Images by: Sinead Reilly

THE LOWDOWN

Picture this: you are at an art gallery or craft fair, standing in front of a beautiful work created by an artist you’ve little knowledge of, who has used methods you’ve perhaps heard referenced but have never seen in action. After admiring their piece for a time, you’re left wondering exactly how the work was made, with thoughts of ‘if only they were around for a chat,’ lingering in your mind. 

The annual Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail offers arts and crafts enthusiasts of all ages a singularly unique solution to this all-toocommon scenario.

Set to run from 29–31 October 2021, the Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail — or GBART, as it is affectionately known — is an open studio event comprising meet-the-artist talks, workshops, demonstrations, and a plethora of street art. With a trail map spotlighting over 25 local artists and creatives on the roster this year, the event will deliver three days jampacked with enriching experiences. 

Held during spring in Queensland’s Granite Belt area, which intersects the Darling Downs region and the New England region of New South Wales, visitors to GBART will also be drawn in by outstanding natural scenery, gourmet food trails, and myriad boutique cellar doors to explore in between program events.

GBART will kick off with festivities in the form of a spectacular opening night on 29 October. A two-course dinner crafted by chef Jason Costanzo will be followed  up by entertainment by local professional musicians. Bookings are recommended to avoid disappointment.

Patena Moestert at Pottery Club

ARTISANS ABOUND

The Exhibition Hall at Stanthorpe Showground will act as GBART Central, where you can browse a couple of pieces by all of the artists at the 20 venues along the trail, pick up maps, and pick up a picnic hamper from Granite Belt Rotary (pre-order at gbart.org.au).

Below are just a few of the creative workshops and events that can fill your itinerary at GBART. Please note that due to COVID-19, bookings for each event are essential, including free events. Head over to gbart.org.au to book your spot and avoid missing out.

Judy Pidgeon

LAURIE ASTILL — Oil painting

Laurie has immersed himself in a wide variety of art mediums over the years including watercolor, acrylic, oil paints, pastel, pencil, sculpture, and pottery. Laurie has continued to learn different art styles, mediums, and ways of capturing emotion, light, and tonal values, particularly in painting which has been his primary focus and direction. He has been selected for the Stanthorpe Art Prize for four respective years, and won the Margaret Burton Memorial Award in 2016.

Free daily demonstrations are at 10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, at Villa Costa Lotta, 439 Granite Belt Drive, Thulimbah, Queensland. The studio is attached to the artist’s private residence, and peaceful picnics can be enjoyed in the tranquil gardens surrounding the studio.

Emily Coelli at Twisted Gum Wines

LIZ SAUL — Resin, alcohol inks, mixed media, glass painting

Liz has been practising visual arts for 15 years with a focus on mixed media, glass painting, and resin. You can buy Liz’s works and get tips and tricks for the following day’s workshops in between classes.

29 October: Ink demonstration — 10am and 2pm, free

30 & 31 October: 2.5 hour workshops

Resin art — 10am, $95 half tray, $115 full tray ‘Alcohol ink techniques’ ceramics — 2pm

Heritage Estate Winery, 747 Granite Belt Drive, Cottonvale, Queensland.

Wheelchair accessible, no steps, ample parking, and plenty of space inside

Elizabeth Saul at Heritage Wines Cottonvale

ALPACA ARTISANS — Textiles

 Alpaca Artisans The Summit Hall

Alpaca Artisans selects fibres for spinning, knitting or weaving into sumptuously soft garments in a wonderful range of natural colours. Some items can even be traced to an individual alpaca. Passionate about Australian grown and Australian made, its members work together on everything from husbandry and breeding to shearing and classing alpaca fibre for the commercial fibre industry. Training is offered to new breeders and shearers, with an emphasis on correct fleece handling and skirting.

The Summit Hall, 110 Granite Belt Drive, The Summit, Queensland. Workshops at 1pm daily. Work on one design, and receive a take-home kit to do later. $10 includes all materials and instructions. Allow 1.5–2 hours.

Borderline Regional Arts at The Summit 

KRISHNA HEFFERNAN — Collage/ mixed media and printing techniques

Krishna is an Indigenous woman from the Wiradjuri nation in New South Wales, with family connections to the Yorta Yorta people in Victoria. Krishna looks within the scenery to convey the spiritual nature of the elements of the environment. She uses textural aspects in her work to draw attention to certain elements. If you’re interested in moving beyond paint on canvas, Krishna will be giving tips on including texture, depth and using glue and acrylic washes to achieve interesting outcomes. Examples of her work will be available for discussing these techniques and more. Krishna will be demonstrating how to construct a collage painting daily. Start times for each free session: 10:00am, 11:00am, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm. 

Granite Belt Brewery, 146 Glenlyon Drive, Stanthorpe, Queensland. Established in 2012, the brewery sells handcrafted lagers and ales.

STANTHORPE REGIONAL ART GALLERY — Photography

The inaugural Stanthorpe Photography Award Exhibition is a collection of photographic works from all over Australia. This wonderful and eclectic exhibition explores the edges of photography practice, creativity and technique.

Free daily exhibitions from 10:00am–4:00pm, and free guided tours and talks 10:00am to 11:00am on 30–31 October.

Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery in Weeroona Park, 56 Lock Street, Stanthorpe, Queensland.

Artworks GB at Stanthorpe Railway Precinct

EMILY COELLI — Watercolour, acrylics

A young emerging artist specialising in watercolour and portraiture, Emily creates intriguing images that exude a magical feel, achieved by using a fresh underworked technique. Emily’s paintings also depict subtle unexpected imagery and colours. She is consistently inspired by the bush around the property and incorporates this flora in many of her works.

Two ninety-minute workshops on 29–30 October starting at 10am and 2pm, and one ninety-minute workshop on 30 October starting at 10am. $50 includes all materials and your own brushes to take home. These workshops have sold out in previous years.

Twisted Gum Wines Cellar Door, 2253 Eukey Road, Ballandean, Queensland.

BORDERLINE REGIONAL ARTS COOPERATIVE — Acrylics, prints, pottery, textiles, sculpture, botanical art, watercolour, and mixed media

Borderline Regional Arts began in 1994 as a cooperative with 20 members, and has since grown to 50 members from both sides of the border. Borderline aims to encourage artistic expression and interaction with other artists via workshops, exhibitions, networking, and social gatherings. Borderline is open to anyone who has an interest in the arts; from enthusiasts and novices to experienced creators. Materials provided unless stated otherwise.

Members of Borderline Regional Arts will be holding workshops and demonstrations daily over the entire weekend. For more details and times, peruse the GBART Guide Book at gbart.org.au/media/Granite_Belt_Art_Craft_Trail_2021_Guide.pdf.

Alpaca Arts Collective, 2/117 Granite Belt Drive, The Summit, Queensland.

Jen Martin at Jamworks

GORGEOUS SIGHTS AROUND THE GRANITE BELT

Amid the creatively-fuelled chaos of the weekend, take some time to inject a little serenity into the weekend with one (or more) of these incredible sights around heritage-listed Main Range National Park.

GIRRAWEEN NATIONAL PARK

Famed for its incredible displays of flora and dramatic granite outcrops and tors, Girraween National Park is located halfway between Stanthorpe and Tenterfield. Check out parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/girraween for highlights and maps of this stunning area.

GOOMBURRA

The Goomburra section of Main Range National Park is home to jaw-dropping lookouts, lush subtropical rainforest, and some of the most beautiful swimming spots in the region. There are also private and national park campgrounds close by, as well as lodges.

Broaden your artistic horizons

QUEEN MARY FALLS

A must-do on any Granite Belt trip, Queen Mary Falls will not disappoint those scouting for amazing natural beauty. Embark on the Queen Mary Falls Circuit, an easy 40-minute walk that takes you from the lookouts at the top of the falls to the creek below. From late October to November, look out for fireflies and glow worms at dusk. Chase more waterfalls by heading off on The Falls Drive, which takes in Browns Falls, Daggs Falls, Queen Mary Falls, and Carr’s Lookout.

WHERE TO STAY

The Granite Belt area has numerous campgrounds and caravan parks around which you can base the weekend. Top of the Town Holiday Park in Stanthorpe is set on 20 picturesque acres with a wealth of space to discover native flora and fauna.

Foxbar Falls Campground, 21km north-west of Stanthorpe, offers lakeside bush camping, onside walking trails, swimming and canoe locations, birdwatching, and fishing.

Country Style Caravan Park is 9km south of Stanthorpe among the eucalypts; you can also fish, kayak, and take riverside walks. Each of these campgrounds have fire pits and are dog friendly upon application.

For more accommodation options check out granitebeltwinecountry.com.au/camping/.

Boomerang at The Summit Hall

GETTING TO THE GRANITE BELT

The Granite Belt region is just a two-hour drive from Brisbane, or two-and-a-half from the Gold Coast via the stunning Cunningham’s Gap. The region is well connected via highways and road networks including the Cunningham, New England, and Australia’s Country Way. To plan yourtrip, head over to queensland.com/au/en/plan-your-holiday/road-trips.html. This website also has up-to-date information on COVID-19 restrictions.

Jason Simpson

Tags: Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia CMCA Campervan Motorhome Caravan Fifth Wheeler RV Camper Trailer granite belt art and craft trail art art workshops exhibition stanthorpe showground GBART camping options for GBART art trails in stanthorpe arts and crafts Queensland art show qld art show twisted gum wines how to get to the granite belt region where to stay in stanthorpe queensland art and craft workshops queensland new south wales art exhibitions
Category: Features
Written: Fri 01 Oct 2021
Printed: October, 2021
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