Rebinding Routes, by Fingal Head artists (pictured, left to right) Christine Slabb, Cath Elliott, Marcia Gibbs, Dawn Walker and (absent) Susan Stone, drew much admiration at the Ocean Shores Arts Expo last weekend.
Rebinding Routes, by Fingal Head artists (pictured, left to right) Christine Slabb, Cath Elliott, Marcia Gibbs, Dawn Walker and (absent) Susan Stone, drew much admiration at the Ocean Shores Arts Expo last weekend.

Expo draws an art-loving crowd together

Rebinding Routes, by Fingal Head artists Christine Slabb, Cath Elliott, Marcia Gibbs, Dawn Walker and Susan Stone, was a hugely popular sculpture at the Ocean Shores Arts Expo last weekend, and took out second prize in its category.

“We all live in the small community of Fingal within a few blocks of each other ,” explained Cath Elliott.

“All of us are crafty, and originally Christine, who is an indigenous girl, asked us to work with her on a sculpture for a National Parks and Wildlife exhibition.

“We found we all worked well together, and won a prize in a category for indigenous and non-indigenous collaboration.”

Rebinding Routes is made from driftwood found on the beach at Fingal, all bound with the intriguing Cobb and Co Hitch, taught to the group by carpenter/farm girl Marcia, and finished with the surprise of a nest containing a little bird, found by the women on the day they completed the previous sculpture.

A big crowd packed into the Ocean Shores Community Centre last Friday night for the Expo’s official opening and awarding of prizes, with the space given a whole new look with the ingenious addition of above eye level hanging space, and a gallery-style viewing couch.

“Each year we seem to have a 20 per cent increase in both exhibits and people through the door,” said committee member Colin Tarbox.

“We had 250 people in the room, not counting the 30 or so volunteer workers – we’re the only Ocean Shores event that packs this hall.”

Other prize winners included Gary Worley for Stillpoint (drawing/pastel), Cheryl Bailey for A Change of Heart (mixed media), Lynne Wallis for Plant Seeds of Wonder (oil/acrylic), Annique Goldenberg for Rocking the Boat (sculpture) and Elizabeth Crennan for Eternally Transforming (watercolour/gouache).

And locals flocked to the event throughout the weekend, with children drawn to add their splashes of colour to the ever-popular collaborative work, would-be artists to get tips from both Peter Pinzer and Ri Fraser at art demonstrations, and picture-book lovers to snap up a copy of “Kids Rhymes of Bygone Times” – the latest production of local historian Frank Mills with artwork by grand-daughter Renee, and selling like the proverbial hot cake.

“We’ve sold out,” said Renee, “and we didn’t think we’d be able to cover printing costs – we’re taking orders now.”

Also selling steadily over the weekend were the artworks themselves, although the committee likes to make it clear that the event is not just about sales, or indeed just about art.

“What we see here are paintings on the wall,” said committee registrar Maggie Golightly, “but it is the undercurrent of what is happening that is the joy.”

Most of that undercurrent is the sense of community that the event gives Ocean Shores, an event that brings volunteers, artists and everybody else together for an uplifting experience and sometimes an unexpected outcome.

One of these was the gorgeous seed pod decoration on tables everywhere, created by Lions volunteer Lynn Fitzgerald.

“Maggie gave me two bags of seed pods when I had called to collect basil for the pesto,” she said, “and I had no idea what to do with them until later that night when, after two glasses of wine, it came to me.”

The committee is already looking towards all the fun of next year’s event, with the idea for another category in the pipeline.

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