Friday, 16 January 2015

A Place of Her Own: MO

If you wanted one, and you have a place of your own to create.
Count yourself lucky.
I, do.

 Yesterday, Mr Fascinata and I did a road-trip.
Down Murwillumbah way to see Margaret Olley's place of her own.
Margaret Olley's home studio.
Margaret Olley is a national treasure artist.
After her death the rooms of her house were carefully packed up and restored in a
purpose built annex of the Tweed Regional Gallery.
The Yellow Room and the Hat Factory.
Her creative place is an inextricable part of her art.
You must go.
There's always a few other shows on at the gallery, too.
 It took about fifty minutes to leave the city behind and see
sugar-cane and Mt Warning on the horizon.
Margaret Olley was born in the area.

 It was a truly beautiful day.
Here's the view from the Gallery's car park.
 Sculpture that nods to the surrounding dairy industry.

 Here's Margaret.
She died on the 26 July, 2011 at 88 years. The day before she was painting.
She got around on a walking frame adorned with a tattered old Chanel ribbon.
If you squint you can see it, here.
The frame is in the gallery, for keeps.
So is the ribbon.
The walking frame has seen the pyramids in Egypt.
Margaret travelled all her life.
I have listened to her talk at three exhibitions and seeing that
ribbon again made me cry.

 Margaret did countless still-life and interiors of her creative space. Here's  'Afternoon With Corn Flowers' (1990).
There's many more where this came from.

 There was also a range of black and white photos of Margaret's studio, captured
by a photographer who was shooting work completed for her forthcoming exhibition.
 Here's the dining room table, below.
Margaret was a great cook and loved to entertain.
She would rather stay in, than go out.
She said that when she went out, her creative processes stalled.
Sometimes dinner parties would take place in and around the props
for her paintings.
 Her creative space really was the epicentre of her life.

There's also a moving mini-documentary about setting up her studio at the Tweed Gallery
and the people she knew and loved in the last few years of her life.

 She wasn't precious about 'things'.


In other news, the tree's packed up and put away.

 I have weaned myself of Christmas and am getting ready for 2015.

Any news?
Do you have a place of your own?
Where do you go?


  1. Hi Flora
    Thank you for sharing your visit to MO's place of her own.

    It is such a touching tribute to her and her art.

    SSG xxx

    1. Thank you, SSG. I am so moved by her. She really was such a pioneer woman, too. Single for most of her life, travelling solo in the 1950s to all sorts of far flung places and putting up with nonsense from a lot of male artists. Xx

  2. Flora, I love this post so much and on so many levels. I think all of us have a little tiny Margaret Olley inside us. I just wish I could make my Musician Man see that clutter is part of creating! He's very sweet but a bit of a minimalist..sigh. My little silver tree is safely ensconced in muslin for another year too. I was sad to see it go. As for creative spaces, I too am fortunate enough to have one. And it's just as cluttered and happy and colourful as yours. Bliss!

  3. I loved Ben Quilty's painting of MO, I believe it won the Archibald prize the year she died.
    The walking frame is very moving.
    She has a very characterful face xx

    1. Me too, Cil. I think MO really like Ben Quilty. When Mr Fascinata said to me, 'There's the walking frame...' I felt overwhelmed. Ben Quilty talks a bit in the video.
      Thank you for your comment.xx

  4. Mimi, you and I are lucky to have the minimalist to keep us in check!!! I think I would be a hoarder to a degree if not!!! I can see use and beauty in so much. xx

    1. Yes, that is it exactly. Use and beauty in all things. And thank goodness for minimalist spouses or we'd end up on TV. Maybe those ladies at Bondi that were in the news this week, were just creatively frustrated souls who were waiting for inspiration to use up all their 'stuff'!

  5. I thank god that her friends had the foresight to preserve and share her incredible legacy, for all of us to enjoy.
    What an inspirational woman.

    1. Pia, what a perceptive comment. I don't 'worry' about where some of my things might end up...but, it is a comfort to think we might have friends who might value some of the 'detritus' or 'flotsam and jetsum' of our life...
      Love what you said. Xx

  6. Nice one Flora....just my cup of tea!

    Haven't been to see this yet....but certainly on the list for 2015!

    Saw your frippery the other day my dear....gorgeous! I liked them all...but the little cream straw with black leather tufts was adorable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    1. Dear Robyn, thank you for your sweet comments....yes, I know the headpiece you is quite you!!!
      As you say, not everyone's cup of tea, but would look great on you.
      Go to MOAM stat. You won't be disappointed. The cafe is excellent, too. xx

  7. Hello lovely...this was beautiful!! Love the road trip and the places you went. The sunshine looks amazing. Love your little space as well, we all need those :))) I would love to have seen this, so good!! I hope you have a great week my dear girl Xxx

    1. If you come to AUS, I will treat you a day out to the MO Gallery, Dear Daints!! Xx

  8. How fascinating. Might need to take a road trip x

    1. You should, HIH. It is a beautiful neck of the woods. Xx

  9. Great pictures dear, looks like a great place! :)

    - Che

    1. Thank you, Che. I enjoyed visiting your fashion blog, today. :D

  10. Replies
    1. That little heart is the sweetest reply. Merci. x

  11. Fora what a gorgeous post about a magnificent artist and woman. Thank you for sharing. x