The 2016 summer became a great challenge for me living in the bush, relying on rainwater to drink and dam water for the garden. By January the dam was getting low and I decided to stop watering the fruit trees. By February the fish were suffocating in the mud. The situation was most depressing. Deep cracks appeared in the earth.
I was visiting the dam now on a regular basis and started to see the beauty in the colours of the earth and the ever changing reflections in the small puddle which once was the dam. Putting two old garden chairs by the water gave me the feeling of life- invisible company.
End of February we had a little rain. I had to move the chairs.
Watching the reflections of the trees in the evening light gave me an idea.
What about an installation of ceramic pole sculptures? Now, where the dam was empty there was an opportunity to do so.
The trees of the box ironbark forest are mostly stunted, with their branches wildly pointing in all directions. I decided the sculptures had to be tall, straight, white and abstract to offset both the wild looking trees and their reflections.
By the time I got all the metal pipes needed and two friends to help me dig the holes, it was getting towards the end of April. In the middle of May I was to go to Europe for six weeks.
The project could not be finished by then.
I decided to at least make the ceramic sleeves for the pipes in the deeper part of the dam-just in case. We might get some rain!
Having made drawings, I knew how the sculptures were going to look. The technical part was no problem.
With the help of my tall friend Dave, I managed to install a few of the experimental sleeves.
The week before my departure I made the top sculptures for the shorter poles. I left them to dry in the studio.
My case was packed the day before I left for Vienna and my train/boat trip to Oslo.
Soon the holiday washed away all thought of work, drought and work on my property.
It did rain while I was away. In June I returned from a beautiful summer in Norway to cold, wet central Victoria. Immediately I caught a shocking cold. I just managed to keep the fire going, feed the animals and myself. Going into the studio or down to the dam was too big a feat. Also I had a new house friend. A visiting puppy had played with my pet chicken “Choockie”. Thanks to my friend Dave she was kept warm and survived. Now she thinks she is a person and likes to spend her evenings by the fire.
When I eventually got down to the dam, I realised, that I would have to take up a new occupation; the one of a bridge builder. Two of the sculptures are well in the water, and it is still raining.
Lots of advice from everyone: using boxes and tyres. Why not be tough and just take off your jeans and go in? I think I will find a fly-fisherman and borrow his waders when the time comes.