Ready cut artist

Picture of Ready Cut Cottage

In a secluded little valley deep within the heart of Namadgi National Park there is a quaint weatherboard cottage that speaks of a bygone era, of rural exploits, of the trials and tribulations of life on the land.

As the former manager’s residence, Ready Cut Cottage provides a tangible link to cattle grazing in the high country, to farmers battling the elements, of sheer isolation. This cottage stands testament to those whose footsteps we walk in today, to those early pioneers, to those who foresaw the adaptive reuse of a cherished piece of our high country cultural heritage.

Miraculously this picturesque cottage survived the massive fire storm in 2003 that engulfed these mountains. A new chapter started.

Artists have now been coming to this valley, this cottage, for more than a decade. Their creative works have been inspired by the nature they have been immersed in. Their creativity has flowed from the mountains, creating a rich repository of diverse work.

We can instinctively appreciate the values underpinning this artist-in-residency philosophy.  We are not separate from nature, but a part of it. This is not an innovative concept, but a rekindling of what our forebears understood. Spending time in nature, connecting with nature is good for the mind, the body and the soul.  Nature can indeed nurture.

French born textile artist Marilou Chagnaud came to this valley to immerse herself in our nature.

Marilou has been captivated by nature’s artistic shapes, its sublime outlines, transcendent forms and artistic arrangements.  For those of us who are students of nature, natural patterns of design are the building blocks of upon which nature has woven its magic. The repeating blocks of form, shape and contours proliferate in our natural landscape.

Marilou came to Namadgi after spending time at the Australian War Memorial. The technique of war time camouflage, such as the use of shadows or abstraction to create confusion, has direct and tangible linkages to the power of nature; the yellow and black patterns of our iconic Corroboree Frog help it blend into its natural environment seeking refuge, creating confusion beneath the mossy subalpine bogs of the high country.

Marilou’s exhibition at CraftACT, called Functional Shadows, represents a considered yet reflective period of natural immersion for Marilou. It invites us to pause and reflect, to question our ability to make sense of the world around us, our natural world.

See the exhibition from 19 March to 5 May at CraftACT,  Level 1, North Building, 180 London Circuit (the Canberra Museum and Gallery)

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful Platypus.