Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Day At The Show - Rosemary Makes Me Watch The Dancing Flowers

Hi all

As I promised myself I would write something each week to practice my spelling and grammar  and keep the grey matter from further deterioration, I am back again to tell you that today I went the the annual Royal Adelaide Show with my best friend Rosemary.

Neither of us had been to the show for a couple of years and Rosemary kindly purchased my ticket as I am currently financially embarrassed (so if anyone wants to help me become unembarrassed by buying an item or two from my Artfire studio , please do not hesitate to contact me, hem hem (sorry, but a gal's gotta try doesn't she)).

Anyway,  I had my orthotics in my sneakers and she had her walking stick and the two of us hobbled our way eagerly to the entrance, ready to make a slow and steady beeline for the arts and crafts.  As we entered the gate our senses were assaulted by a kaleidoscope of colour and a cacophony  of noise (well that's my two big descriptive  words for the day out of the way) all of which made us decide that, firstly, coffee and cake would be the best way to tackle the whole exercise.   After reminiscing for a minute about childhood rides on the Merry Go Round, an impressive one of which was right by the entrance,  we pushed our way forward through the masses of people in sideshow alley.  We  headed to the CWA (Country Womens Association) cafe and proceeded to pig out in a genteel fashion on jelly slice and Farmers Union Iced Coffee (the only iced coffee to have as any south Aussie will tell you)  before proceeding to our objective, which unfortunately proved to be a little elusive.

The Ferris Wheel and the Merry Go Round

 This Merry Go Round is a work of art itself!

Eventually, we found the craft section where we trekked around and around faithfully looking at all the pretty things on display, all the while making frequent trips to the exit so we could go and sit on a little stone bench and rest our respective arthritic ankles, knees, hips, etc, etc.  (ho hum).   After each little sit down break we forged our way back in and continued our browsing.  I tried not to be annoyed by the fact that a good percentage of the art in the Junior section was better than mine (mutter, mutter, snarl, snarl).

Just as I was ready to rest my bone on bone knees and head for another little "sit down" exit, the microphone announced that the  Jenny Gilles "Naughty By Nature" Performance was about to begin.   Rosemary suddenly became all excited an animated and said "oooo!  oo ah, you don't mind if we watch this do you?"  Did I mention  that Rosemary is my closest friend and she a flower loving hippie from way back - she just loves her veggie garden and her flowers and her sewing machine, so how could I say no.  So giving my best knee ignoring smile  I said "OK" wondering all the while who the heck was Jenny Gilles and what was her "wearable art".

Rosemary (not impressed that I am aiming the camera in her direction)
Oh dear, the diet is still not working, where did that double chin come from drat it!

The ever stunning Rosemary and Heather wearing  their  own tie dye "wearable art". 

I can now tell you that I am an expert on what Julie Gilles and her wearable art is.  As all the chairs were taken by the people who had the good knees, which had been able to carry them to the chairs quicker than ours could, I stood alongside Rosemary to watch the performance.   I am not sure how long it was in real time, maybe half an hour, but in sore knee time it was about 6 hours, but I lasted the distance (barely) and clapped very (relief), very,  enthusiastically when it finished. 

Don't get me wrong though - it was only my knees that wanted it to end.  The rest of me enjoyed the show.  For those (like me) who have not heard of Jenny Gilles, she is a clever and talented artist who makes theatre  costumes.  In this instance the costumes were  floral in nature, with the exception of the odd insect or two here and there.  Apparently Jenny is an artist and quilter  who has turned her talents into an art form,  creating these amazing pieces of this "wearable art".  This was the third time she had been at the Royal Show and she was also drawing everyones attention to the plight of Christchurch, New Zealand.  She used to do a number of performances at the Christchurch Cathedral, which was so badly damaged in the recent earthquake.  This show consisted of a number of dancers performing to music and  all wearing her "art" dresses and hats as they glided and danced about the stage. 

Every type of flower imaginable  was presented to us and the whole thing was lovely and colourful and fun.  Some of the costumes were absolutely amazing and beautiful and some were a little rude but hilarious.  As someone who is singularly inept at sewing and any type of fabric craft, I was truly impressed by her skill and creativity.  Rosemary (who is very much at home amongst sewing stuff and has herself mastered the mysterious art of manipulating fabric into fascinating things) was also impressed.  I raised my camera to take a few pictures but an eagle eyed attendant quickly pounced and informed me photos of the show were forbidden (drat, drat and double drat!), however I was allowed to photograph some costumes from previous shows which were in a static display nearby.  For those who would like to check it out her website is at:

Some earlier examples of Jenny Gillies wearable art. 

After the performance finished (by which time I feared movement was now beyond me)  we forced our frozen ankles and knees into action (groan, groan) and headed for something upon which we could place our bums.  A wall around a flower bed provided us with a place to sit and after we had watched the never ending parade of people laden with children, fluffy toys and show bags we ventured back inside to look at the paintings and photography. 

There were a lot of great paintings and photos on display and quite a few sold stickers on the art as well, which was very promising as it was only day three of the show.  I was pleased to see that my art teacher John Ford, who had entered some paintings this year, had sold one of his train paintings.  He is well known as one of Australia's best maritime artists and although he usually paints ships using watercolours, he also does the occasional acrylic painting especially of trains.    You can see 4 or 5 of his pieces at this site:

Eventually, after we had played art and photography critics for a while and could barely walk another step, we decided we had neither the inclination nor the physical ability to view the real floral art displays or to pat the little farm animals.     We reluctantly decided that it would be best to leave while we could still hobble and so we began the arduous journey  back to where the car was parked.  I am convinced that some evil car park gremlin had moved my car whilst we were at the show,  as the walk back to the car seemed about five times the distance we walked  that morning (and in an ocean of parked cars it  was just as well Rosemary remembered where we had parked!).  So near and yet so far ... just one more step....plod, plod, groan, plod.....We both breathed a big exhausted sigh of relief as creaking from every joint,  we gently lowered our posteriors into the plush and accommodating seats of my Ford Escape (aaaaaahhhhhhh sigh...oh dear, we're gonna pay for this tomorrow.... aaaaaaahhh......).

I should make mention of the fact that earlier whilst we were in the craft hall we spotted my first cousin Dianna's excellent exhibits of smocking and sewing.  Dianna has been studying all that stuff I know  so little about (sewing, dress design, fabric art, etc.).  I don't know for sure how many competition categories she entered or if I missed seeing any, but I saw she had won two First Prizes and a Third Prize, so well done Dianna - congratulations on that cuz (who's a clever girl then eh)!

3rd Prize Winning Smocked entry by Dianna - oh the patience that must be needed to do this!

One of Dianna's entries.
Another pretty little dress from Dianna

Dianna's First Prize Winning Dress

Waterproof jacket - First Prize Winner by Dianna

Well, that's all for today (thanks Rosemary for a fun and exhausting day).  Cheers.


  1. Looks like a fantastic day of creative fun and friendship! Take care of those knees now … and other body parts!

  2. Looks like fun! I'm following you! I need to post.