Even though Fi and I only met a year ago it feels as though she’s always been in my life. Actually, you know her too! Well, you know her beautiful photography that often appears on Checks and Spots…and now you get to meet the lady herself!
Since we collaborate on lots of different projects, Fi and I are always on the hunt for new ideas and fresh inspiration. So, last week the two of us (or perhaps I should say three as Fi is pregnant with her first bubba!) ditched work and went on a mid-week road trip to the Yarra Valley.
As part of the Paint the Ford challenge we hit the road in a Ford EcoSport Titanium. From top to tail, the sporty design makes it a real looker! Now, we all know that looks will only get you so far, and after a day on winding country roads I can say that this is one sweet ride. With great handling and poise over bumps, it also gets top marks for comfort – particularly from the pregnant one in our travelling party!
The compact SUV design means the Ford EcoSport Titanium is much more manageable than a traditional heavy-duty 4WD, plus it doesn’t guzzle fuel. In fact, after a full day of driving we used less than half a tank.
Our first stop was TarraWarra Museum of Art, Australia’s first significant, privately funded, public museum. Perched on the crest of a rise overlooking vineyards and the rolling hills of the Yarra Valley, this is a space that doesn’t turn it back on the landscape. Rather it embraces it with a design that is unlike the galleries you are used to. Huge windows frame the view like pictures themselves and let the wintery sun filter in.
The current exhibition, Danie Mellor: Exotic Lies Sacred Ties is a UQ Art Museum touring exhibition, curated by Maudie Palmer with Samantha Littley. This is the first large scale survey exhibition of Mellor, a leading contemporary Indigenous artist, and features more than 50 of his works.
Known for his intricate combinations of pastel, pencil, glitter, Swarovski crystal and watercolour on paper and sculptural installations that combine mosaic, taxidermy animals, gold leaf, neon and found objects, Mellor’s work left Fi and I in awe. The detail was extraordinary, the storytelling humbling and the experience was a true shift from our previous conceptions of Indigenous art
This exhibition is on for another week, before TarraWarra Biennial 2014: Whisper in My Mask, curated by Natalie King and Djon Mundine, opens on 16 August 2014.
Next stop was a fireside sit (for Fi) and sip (for me) at TarraWarra Estate. After all, what visit to the Yarra Valley is complete without a little wine tasting?!
Since their first vintage more than 20 years ago, TarraWarra has established itself as one of Australia’s great wine estates and is known for producing exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – both of which I can now vouch for!
With the rain setting in we headed to the Healesville Hotel for some lunch. Soaring pressed metal ceilings, classic dark Bentwoods and rich arrangements of flowers and local produce, the Healesville Hotel feels immediately welcoming and warm. Just don’t expect your usual pub-grub! Instead, you’ll experience a contemporary, seasonal twist on old favourites. Using ingredients from their kitchen garden or sourced from local farmers and growers, the Healesville Hotel serves up meals to remember.
After lunch the gumboots went on and we went for a bit of an amble. Along the way we foraged a little bouquet of native grasses to take home and might have jumped in a puddle or two!
As we took the long way home, Fi and I agreed that a little wanderlust away from the city is always a good idea….especially on a rainy winter’s day.
Photography: Fiona Storey