The Tasmanian Government Art Site Scheme

The Tasmanian Government Art Site Scheme is the state government's public art program and is managed by Arts Tasmania. It's a great initiative that supports local artists and designers, and since its inception in 1979, has delivered over 1000 works to the public across Tasmania. 

Towards the end of 2014 Arts Tasmania advertised a commission for a work to be located on the (then under construction) Three Capes Track on Tasman Peninsula. When I first saw the commission I remember thinking what and amazing opportunity it was... for some lucky artist, and left it for a couple of weeks before I came back to it. It was getting to the end of a pretty tough year - I'd lost my mum to illness earlier in the year and I'd never taken on so much work since having kids. I wasn't sure I could get my head around such a big project just before Christmas.

But I remembered talking with Mum years earlier about the proposed Three Capes Track (I'm not sure if it had a name back then) and we'd agreed that it would be a fantastic walk. We had walked the Cape Hauy track together and many other great Tasmanian walks since then. So even though I thought it was a long-shot, I couldn't let the opportunity pass and started to scribble a few loose thoughts in my sketch book...

The brief was to create a work or series of works to be located trackside, at the start/finish of the track, or at the hut sites. The works had to compliment the Three Capes Track interpretation philosophy and celebrate the unique qualities of Tasman Peninsula. There was a lot more to it, and a fair bit of support material to read through, but that was the gist of it.

I began to have a few ideas around natural materials like stone and timber, and patterns based on forms inspired by the site. I was lucky to have Tony Bacic working next to me who was a great sounding board and he kept me focussed on the task. We put a lot of time into thinking and developing ideas arounda family of works that would work with the natural surroundings, reflecting the history, geography and ecology of the area and hopefully capture just a little of the spirit of the walk itself. We managed to distill our thoughts down to the allocated 2 pages and we were done. We handed the submission in and I put it to the back of my mind to get on with other projects. 

2015 arrived and some time in March we were on our way to the north west of Tasmania to do a site visit for a work at Smithton High School when I got a call from Arts Tasmania to let me know that our submission had been successful. I could not believe it! 

The next 8 months working with Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service were so enjoyable, rewarding and challenging (in a good way). So for myself and anyone who's interested, I've documented the project in this diary. 

 

Installation - Denmans Cove

Having only recently passed my drivers licence(!) I'm not keen on making the 2 hr trip down to Tasman Peninsula by myself (especially on the bumpy dirt road to the depot) so I usually car pool with someone working on the project. It's always interesting chatting to people on the trip there and back, and the drive down today with the Mountain Trails crew turned out to be a problem solver as well. I'd seen their beautiful stone track work at Cape Hauy, and knowing they were already on site, I asked if they'd be up for making and installing my stone nest for me (take two). Yes! 

But today's trip was to install the work at Denman's Cove. The work components had already been flown in to a site 500m from the install location, along with barrows, tools, materials and large bags of gravel. I just had to meet the Parks boat at Stewart's Bay along with a few other staff to be taken over to the site. 

How could you not be happy going to work on such a beautiful day?! 

Lucky for me I had a team of people there to get things done because it was a very long day and bloody hard work.  being nesting season for the Eagles it meant helicopter drops weren't possible to the beach so we had to carry or barrow everything from the drop site to the work location -