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Leura Guidebook

Leura Guidebook

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Leura Streetscapes & Landscapes

Leura Streetscapes & Landscapes

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Light, Lighted or Lit – your preference and yes, all are proper verbs. It's Leura’s Christmas Season.
Trees at the top and bottom of The Mall are decorated.  Garlands and big stars are suspended from above shops and cafes. And, a festive ding-a-ling can be heard from the hundreds of tiny bells hung along the walk of Post Office Lane.

Weekend buskers claimed their favourite (and most profitable) spot by early Saturday, so music adds to our excitement. December is moving along at its usual fast pace and we suggest marking off your gift list with a day of shopping in holiday Leura will relieve a bit of the stress.

For those of us who like the charged thrill of gift-shopping hanging over our heads, Leura is throwing a party Friday, 16 December. I vow each year to shop early, but . . . So, with Santa in tow, caroling by choirs and various and sundry wonderful buskers, we will go looking for the Leura parade. The village is all decked out so we will pull out and put on our Santa hat and join in the festivities.

For a little assist with your shopping dilemmas:

Leura Toy Shop is stocked from floor to ceiling with toys, games, puzzles and smart-science activities.

Megalong Books is our favourite shopping stop for books on Blue Mountains trails and outdoor adventures. Children’s books are well stocked and this staff can help you be it fact or fiction you desire. They read!

Mrs Peel, the vintage shop of choice in Leura has smashing selections for that Christmas party you are planning. The summer shoes are to die for and if you want some crazy accessories: jewellery, socks, hair combs – browsing is the order of the day!

As is the case, we are rushing around gift-searching for the hard to please, so we’ll have a few more recommendations later this week. Ah, it is the Silly Season!

Works of Joan Ross, Blue Mountains artist is included in the Old Government House (Parramatta) exhibition ‘ at home, Modern Australian Design’ The juxtaposition of contemporary Australian materials, patterns and purpose-built in contrast to colonial (late Georgian) furniture and purpose-built design of Old Government House is unpredictable, delightful and thought provoking simultaneously. And, displaying the work of today’s Australian artists in the setting of a cultural icon of Australia’s history lends just a touch of shock value.


  Michael Wee Photography

From David Clark, former editor of Vogue Living and curator of the exhibition, ‘Some of the objects in AT HOME relate directly to the colonial collection in their design, use and materials. Some are ambiguous – that at first glance might fit neatly into the permanent collections but on closer inspection are modern in form or technique . . . others can only be products of the machine and digital ages and that directly contract with the aesthetic history of the interior.’

at home opened 11 November and continues through 22 January 2017, (10am – 4pm daily). We suggest you make a day of it and enjoy a morning/afternoon tea or a leisurely lunch under the shade of the long-vine verandah at Lachlan’s (restaurant) on the grounds. Lachlan’s is casual, yet the white linens offer just a touch of panache in fitting with iconic Old Government House setting.

Now, to our artist, Joan Ross.  First, a caveat . . . we (unfortunately) were neither acquainted with her artistic work nor her lens and viewpoint of our cultural world. The work is unusual, challenging, often overflowing into humour. Yet, through our viewer’s eyes, we are thrown into a state of confusion with her art which addresses the injustices of colonialism. Sadness and humour intertwine – evoking an unusual emotion.

Dr. Jacqueline Miller (feminist art critic) writes: Her material also includes what we likewise disavow in our personal lives — intense everyday neuroses like possessiveness, jealousy, and insecurity — and in our cultural identity as Australians — profound ambivalence towards the legacy of colonialism.

Hanging upon the wall of Governor and Mrs. Macquarie’s bedroom, a portrait of Lady Elizabeth is titled: Her life was never the same without him (2006) The Artist’s statement: With the portrait of Lady Macquarie I play with the possible emotions and projections abounding around history retelling.  She goes on to observe that fiction is often wrapped into the telling and that ‘history may as well be made up’.

A second Ross work, this time hanging in Governor Macquarie’s office, is created by a laundry marker on lino. . again, the Artist reminds us through the title of the absurdity of the situation it represents. The day a white man gave a black man (his) land (2006). 

   Michael Wee Photography

Works, large and small fill the rooms of Old Government House (Parramatta). A beautiful Advent Candelabra (2007) nickel and rare earth magnets by Charles Wilson sits perfectly in place upon the dining table. The Cage Pendant Light (2015) wrought iron and plaster by Anna Charlesworth found in the nursery struck our fancy. It is over-scaled for this room but would delight a child.

   Michael Wee Photography

The broached Colonial Tall Boy, again by Charles Wilson sits perfectly at ease in the historic setting, elegant, traditional and crafted of Blackwood with a French polish finish. Surprises along the way make the exhibition fun – Moon Table (2016) by Louise Olsen is crafted of resin. With its multiple legs connected to the tabletop, it forms a singular piece of resin. We can only imagine the challenge with its construction and its colour?  Seaweed Malachite. This is a delightful work. 

At the top of the stairs, gorgeous textiles, wall papers and unique interior fabrics by several artists fill a small room and are stunning. Sharyn Storrier Lyneham’s unique interior fabrics are digitally printed. Hanging from above eye-level, the movement of long swaths of fabric is at once warm and alternately cool – depending upon the pattern and weave.

We have highlighted only a few of this unusual exhibition. We would love to hear from you with your favourite selections. Art, design and music are so personal -- we don't own the corner on taste or interest!

To give you a broader sampling, this link to a recent blog post with fantastic photos by Michael Wee.

Next week however, we will return for a second viewing to find other choices. Stay tuned.

at home design exhibition