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9 September 1998


This newsletter is written as an update on the progress of the Turn the Soil exhibition for artists and fellow travellers. It will be produced between each venue and distributed by Craft Victoria.


The Sydney-Broken Hill leg

Sydney Installation

Apart from the mysterious disappearance of an artist’s label, the Sydney installation went smoothly. Considering Turn the Soil was the first exhibition in the clock space of Object Galleries, everything proceeded efficiently, thanks to the good work by the crew at CfCC.

The space itself is quite handsome, with a nice balance of old and new surfaces. In terms of exhibiting work, the windows turned out to be an element to contend with. They reveal a fascinating view of Circular Quay, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the bit of the Opera House yet unobscured by the new ‘Toaster’. Even with the blinds down, the intense light that still emanates makes it difficult to control the lighting.

By all accounts, the opening was a dramatic scene. As the heavens dispensed their burden on Sydney, hundreds of guests crammed into the Customs House. By last count, three of the artists were present (Sarit Cohen, H nh Ng , and Anita Apinis-Herman). Yet such was the crush, it did not turn out to be a good opportunity to catch up.


A Turn the Soil tee-shirt was made especially for the Sydney opening. This tee-shirt features all the flags from the Wheel of Fortune. These flags are versions of what the Australian flag might have looked like if a different country hadn’t colonised it. It uses the basic logic of imperial flag in top left corner, star of federation below, and Southern Cross on the right.

One reason for making the tee-shirt was to commemorate the Sydney opening. Originally, a special event had been planned involving the Scandinavian community. Unfortunately, this proved difficult to organise. In addition to the tee-shirt, a tea towel has also been produced with the same design.

To reduce financial risk (and save a curator from bankruptcy), only a small number of these have been printed. As a result, unit cost is rather high. Ideally, it would be good to have distributed them to the artists for free. However, tee-shirts and tea towels are available for unit cost ($15 each plus $5 postage). Tee-shirts come in medium, large and extra large sizes. Tea towels are one size only.

pierre.jpg (5653 bytes)Impress your friends and un-impress Pauline Hansen with this colourful item. Send cheque to Kevin Murray, 6 Blyth Street, Brunswick, Vic 3056.

The most recently sighting of the Turn the Soil tee-shirt was at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Deer Isle Maine, where an international campus of fine makers were exposed to the creative confusion of Australian national identity.

The photo to the right features Sydney jeweller Pierre Cavalan, who is using his chart to expose his cultural preferences (very close to his heart). "French Australia? C’est bon!".


This photo of Pierre is close to where the Vikings cruised along the American coast. Of course, it is rather unlikely that they ventured along the Australian coast, but a little research revealed that this may not have been entirely impossible.

Tweak history a little and you have ‘Mad Max meets Lord of the Rings’, the story of Viking colonisation of Australia, as constructed in the Sydney workshop. This story is still open and has been attracted a great deal of interest. It will be featured in the September issue of Australian Humanities Review. Speaking of Mad Max…

Broken Hill

Broken Hill is alas the last port of call for Turn the Soil. The exhibition opens at Broken Hill City Gallery on Thursday 8th October, at 7:30pm. Elizabeth Fotiadis will be up for workshops and there is a dinner planned for the night after the opening. Originally, we had planned to use this venue to explore the Portuguese scenario. This was to reflect on the presence of Philomena Hali in a venue, close to her home (relatively speaking). Unfortunately, there is not a great population of Portuguese in Broken Hill, so we may have to defer that scenario in favour of something like the Italian or Chinese.

Two nation joke

Two bees ran into each other. One asked the other how things were going. "Really bad," said the second bee, "the weather has been really wet and damp and there aren’t any flowers or pollen, so I can’t make any honey."

"No problem," said the first bee, "Just fly down five blocks and turn left and keep going until you see all the cars. There’s a Bar Mitzvah going on and there are all kinds of fresh flowers and fresh fruit."

"Thanks for the tip" said the second bee and flew away.

A few hours later the two bees ran into each other again and the first bee asked, "How’d it go?"

"Fine," said the second bee, "It was everything you said if would be." "Uh, what’s that thing on your head?" asked the first bee.

"That’s my yamulka," said the second bee. I didn’t want them to think I was a wasp."