From small steps, great things come: the story of an Arts Association
by Ally Bing

The urge to create is as strong an instinct in humankind as any. Everywhere, even as we are required to find work and support families, individuals of all types and backgrounds find pleasure and respite through the participation in, and creation of, art. The need to assemble could also be attributed to our human nature and is surely just as strong a need within us. Through these two attributes, creation and assembly, humankind has marked the earth with cities and empires, monuments to our species and masterful artefacts of culture. It is in our hearts and minds to create, to problem-solve, and to build.Therefore, the formation of the Caloundra Arts Centre Association was perhaps inevitable, with Sunshine Coast creators and artists yearning and determined to connect with kindred spirits who understand their passions, and hunger to learn more about the artforms they love.

The Caloundra Arts Centre Association (C.A.C.A) was formed in 1976 to ‘stimulate public interest in cultural activity and foster artistic talent and appreciation’. Today, C.A.C.A is a dream organisation for artists everywhere who wish to work on their projects in the comfort of a social setting and to increase their skillset. C.A.C.A hosts a remarkable 540 artisans and over 20 different arts-focus groups, catering to an impressive array of tactile artform interests. From only three groups: stitchers,  spinners and weavers, and potters in 1982, the Association is now a community for lace makers, print makers, tapestry weavers, quilters, porcelain painters, textile and fibre artists, and in addition to many more, of course the painters of many mediums: oils, pastels, acrylics, watercolours, and mixed media. The groups work independently of one another to meet on a regular basis, work on projects, and catch up with friends. At the start in ’76, membership was only 50 cents per week. Over forty years later, the weekly attendance fee has hardly inflated at $3.00 – affordable for students and pensioners alike!

The Gift Gallery features the artwork of around 50 experienced artists and crafters, and newcomers and beginners are welcomed and encouraged to participate at all levels. In fact, ‘art for scaredy cats’ is the Association’s newest group. At the beginning of the Association, the few existing groups met in personal homes or rented out meeting halls. The construction of the Centre on 5 North Street allowed for a common meeting point from 1982 onward, with large, open workshop areas and an outlet for artists’ work by way of the Gallery.

The C.A.C.A has survived and thrived through great volunteer effort on the part of its members and great attention to detail in its organisational structure. Far from the stereotypical flighty gaggle of artists, the central Management Committee is supported by a separate volunteer committee for each and every art focus group. The volunteer group committees manage budgets, exhibitions, field trips, donations to charities and awards, workshops, and manage to work on their artworks and crafts in their spare time. Some groups have their own librarians. On the other side of the spectrum, members ensure enjoyment remains a priority in their experience sharing time together. They attend gallery tours, conferences, craft fairs, and whatever else that takes the membership’s fancy.

In C.A.C.A’s February 2018 Art-I-Facts newsletter volume (a newsletter published regularly for nine years longer than I’ve been alive), art group spokespeople expressed time and again how proud and supportive members are of one another’s endeavours. The spinners and weavers’ representative recalled ‘hear[ing] the buzz of electric ideas sparking’, and the lace makers look forward to ‘friendship…and tatting’. The stitchers’ representative observes, ‘Stitchers members not only attend for the companionship and skills learnt in workshops and from each other[,] but have warm and generous hearts as well’. And the Friday art group secretary has this selfless advice to give to the group members, ‘Your perfectly round “coracle of creativity” remains seaworthy – so take up your faithful, handmade single-bladed ebony coracle paddle and embark on a 2018 artful journey that will surprise and delight, not only you.’ ©2018JWJ

It’s not surprising in a forty-year old association which recently awarded nonagenarian Joan Crane for her years of involvement, that a focus for many is the generational passing along of skills. One group is proud this year to have a mother-daughter team on their committee. A member was delighted when her granddaughter asked her one day how to make lace; this member would most likely agree with a spinner’s opinion on encountering a young man curious if she knew someone who could spin his camel’s shed coat into wool: ‘It is so refreshing to meet young people who are enthusiastic about anything today that is not related to electronics’. And the association as a whole has contracted a consultant team to give advice and assistance in the creation of a Master Plan intended to sustain the association for a few more decades into the future.

For those interested in viewing or owning the members’ works of art and craftmanship, members engage in several fairs and exhibits throughout the year. The C.A.C.A. Fine Art Exhibit will be held on Saturday 29 September (9 am to 9 pm), and Sunday 30 September (9 am to 4 pm). Over 250 paintings will be displayed for purchase in all styles across three different rooms, with free entry. There will be an hourly artist walking tour, and two ‘artists in residence’ working alongside the curious public. Next January 2019, the ‘Hard Pressed Printers’ and ‘Spinners and Weavers’ groups will present an exhibition on the 5 &6  January entitled, ‘Symphony of Fibre’.

‘Art’ is such a little word, and yet to describe the concept in one sentence is an impossibly huge undertaking. In a similar vein, the most incredible undertakings in artistic endeavours – sprawling, entrancing geometric designs splashed out in acrylics; intimate, intricate detailings of lace pulled together by hand; a functional wool garment that is warm and soft to the touch – are formed into being with simple, deliberate actions. These actions could almost better be described as small meditations than dramatic flares of artistic inspiration. The Caloundra Arts Centre Association artists have created a legacy for themselves and their descendants by understanding that from small, deliberate actions, great wonders can be achieved.

To learn more, contact the Centre on (07)5491 6488, visit their website at, or head over in person to the Centre and Gift Gallery at 5 North St., Caloundra.

Bodja Chairs – Mike Epworth

Reject the factory, reject the road, reject the shop.


I feel exhilarated when I pick up my drawknife. It connects me to my tradition, to my ancestors, this two handled blade, used to slice timber and shape wooden components. It is the foundation of my practice. With a small vice and a backpack we go anywhere, carving under trees, by the beach, on top of mountains, next to creeks, by the remains of abandoned huts. Sometimes Bodja chairmaking workshop participants join me to feel the freedom of en plein air, of not being bound to the factory. I use only salvaged timber pulled from structures; material connected to human memories and experience. The first floorboard of a home’s threshold, seen but not noticed a thousand times until it becomes part of a seat. The rake handle my Grandfather gripped for 30 years; the top of the family table that generations talked around, now broken. I go to where these materials are from to make the chair components. I go there to understand where that floorboard fitted in, to see where my grandfather raked, to sit where the table sat. The smells, the sounds, the landscape that folded the memories, become embedded in the chair’s creation story. A story that can continue to be told into the future as the chair gains its own identity in the lives of its custodians. This is a Bodja chair. A chair that rejects the road. A crafted work formed of the experiences of life and its received stories, where the chair’s custodian/owner becomes part of its creation via connections to the salvaged timber or through drawknifing its components at a Bodja chairmaking workshop. Here skills and technologies, both ancient and present, blend to create something of the now, something new from the past. Arcane woodworking skills meet the smart phone and social media to form an alternative to the shop where maker and end-user can truly co-produce and collaborate to create object and meaning.

Read More

There will be a wide variety of woodcraft, glassware, pottery and sculpture and fine art including paintings. Also either woven, spun or hand dyed silk fashion items. Fabric creations including quilted and sewn items will be available. For that extra special culinary delight choose from jams, chutneys and preserves.

From something as simple as a hand painted plate or cup to a painted masterpiece there is something for everyone.


Maleny Arts & Crafts Group


 · Hosted by Maleny Community Centre, Maple St Maleny

Read More

Just this year, Don’s sculpture The Wood Spirit won first place in the Wootha Prize at the Maleny Wood Expo. Don’s sculptures are often inspired by fantastical literature; he has many carvings inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. One of his favourite creations is a scene from The Lord of the Rings that he carved with the Tolkien family’s consent before the movie adaptations were released. 

Although he specialises in faces and figures, he also enjoys carving animals and nature. His sculptures are often made up of several different kinds of wood to create texture and colour. He sometimes includes inlays of gold and silver in his work.

Don has taught woodcarving classes and masterclasses to many students at his home workshop and overseas; however, the person he seems to have most inspired is his daughter, Shari, who has applied his craft and techniques to her own work as a jeweller. A few years ago Shari and her family moved to Maleny to be closer to her parents; she has since fallen in love with the community, lifestyle, and creative inspiration the hinterland has to offer.

Shari designs and creates unique fine jewellery, specialising in sculpted jewellery inspired by her father. While managing and designing for a bridal designer in Brisbane, Shari recognised a gap in the industry for bridal jewellery. She took private lessons from a goldsmith school to learn the skills required to create her designs. The designs were so successful she decided to leave her job and start her first business, wholesaling her jewellery Australia wide. After selling her designs through 50 outlets, she opened her first shop. It was around this time she began taking lessons from her father, Don.

‘His sculptures were imaginative, brilliantly executed, and a great deal of fun to do,’ Shari said. ‘This influenced me a great deal in my work of creating and selling “one of a kind” jewellery. To this day I still like to create jewellery that is unique, something you can’t buy anywhere else, using methods taught by my father.’

Shari also draws inspiration from nature, history, people, and other artists.

‘It all matters and affects my work,’ said Shari. ‘Sometimes it affects it so much that the work seems to have a life of its own.’

Shari says that growing up in a creative family has allowed her to believe that any dream is possible. This sentiment was echoed by her husband, Roy, who she says has supported, encouraged and believed in her since the day they met. In recent years, Shari has been able to share her passion for creating jewellery that tells a story and brings joy to the wearer, with her 17 year old son, Donald, now in the second year of his apprenticeship to his mother.

‘I have always been around the jewellery craft,’ said Donald, ‘but over the past five years my interest has grown.’

Donald likes to define his style as a mixture of old and new, drawing inspiration from history and applying modern techniques. Having had the opportunity to travel and meet famous jewellery designers throughout his life, he has always been surrounded by inspiration. However, it is his creative family that inspires him the most, particularly his mother and grandfather, both of whom have been teaching him their skills.

Shari and Donald are now partners in The Jewellers Bench in Maleny. Shari heard about an opportunity to rent one of the cabins on Maple Street. This is how The Jewellers Bench was born; Shari and Donald set up shop selling their jewellery. They now rent two of the cabins, one workshop and one showroom. Always working, they also make and design on premises in the workshop. If you wandered down to their little shop you’d no doubt find them working away on their latest pieces inside.

Shari and Donald plan to take their collections on tour for sale later this year.

Shari and Donald Wright

38 Cribb St Landsborough

The Jewellers Bench


Read More


Kiki Art in Clay is run by ceramicist Kiki Vassiliou her work can be found at Eumundi Markets


Mosaics by Brett Campbell


Available at the Hempothecary: Shop 1/171 Main St, Montville, QLD.

Lake Cooth Edit


Jonathon Westacott

Sand Carved Series

The intention of this work is using the glass as a Three-dimensional

 canvas for my drawings.  I begin by travelling to wilderness areas in search of old trees that inspire me to capture their story.  I have been exploring the National Parks around Noosa over the last year sketching trees and landscape along the coastline.  I use felt tip pens to create the drawing and back in my studio I have adapted a photographic process to transfer the drawing onto a polymer.  This rubberised image becomes a stencil that sticks to the surface of the glass.  I also use glue with a special applicator to draw directly onto the vessel.

In my hot glass studio, I blow the forms with many layers of coloured glass melted onto the surface so that when the stencil is applied I can sand carve back through these layers.

I liken the sand carving to airbrushing in reverse, where the jet is removing colour to reveal what is beneath. Maleny Art Direct Gallery



Read More
Creativity, Community, Culture