Artists thrive at Ku Arts workshop

NEW MEDIUMS: Aboriginal dot painter Jeanne Miller experiments with jewellery making at the Ku Arts workshop.
NEW MEDIUMS: Aboriginal dot painter Jeanne Miller experiments with jewellery making at the Ku Arts workshop.

Creative juices have been flowing and ideas aplenty for Spencer Gulf artists as they try their hand at a range of new techniques.

Ku Arts have worked together with Yarta Purtli to bring a two-week workshop to Port Augusta following the success of last year’s Ku Arts Symposium. 

Participants have been encouraged to discuss their creative ideas, learn studio skills, master artwork management and explore product development. 

All under the watchful eye of Arts Development Officer Mel Henderson.

“We turned up Monday last week and just bought a whole pile of different materials and everyone has just been having a go,” Ms Henderson said.

“The first couple of days everyone was learning to cut, stretch and prime canvas – prepping them all the way through to being able to paint their own canvas.

“Some of the ladies have produced their first paintings and they are just beautiful. Just really, really emotive artworks that depict the Port Augusta region.”

Ku Arts works for and with Aboriginal artists, art centres and arts workers across South Australia to deliver support services that allow artists to realise their aspirations.

Ms Henderson said it’s all about delivering sustainable art practices.

“Sometimes from the regional towns we go to, the workshops we run might be the only access that artists do have to these materials,” she said.

“If we teach everyone how to prep and do their own canvas and leave some materials behind, everyone can continue once we leave.”

Many artists have tested their ability using new mediums.

Jeanne Miller is an experienced Aboriginal dot painter, but this week she has decided to tackle new challenges.

“I have been making jewellery and I’ve made a wall hanging out of the raffia. It’s the first time I’ve done it and the work I am producing is just shocking me,” she said.

“We are all really artistic in our own way and when we try new things that’s when our talent shows.”

Some participants, like Denise Champion, are novices in the realm of art.

Ms Champion painted for the first time this week, amazing herself and others with the work she has produced.

“We’ve learnt step-by-step starting from how to stretch canvas. Once you know how and you’ve got those skills you can do it again and you only get more confident,” she said.

“It’s so amazing to work in a therapeutic, stress free environment – and we can have a yarn while we work.”