Owns 'FoodLit'. Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.www.foodlit.com.au
Published February 18th 2010
If you've not yet had the good fortune of discovering the relatively little-known Bruno's Art & Sculpture Garden in Marysville, I implore you to visit. It is, by far, the most mesmerising place I've been to – and I've been around.
Places are just places unless they move you in ways you've not been moved before. Places that make you feel from the bottom of your heart and soul are rare. So, what's so special about this place?
Well, firstly, it's a pure example of an artist, Bruno Torfs, living his dream and creating stunning sculptures that seem to be more alive than made from terracotta. Then he blends them seamlessly into the natural landscape of the forest and river that Mother Nature provided.
It's a journey of discovery and surprise, one that had me encircling the garden for hours on my first visit - albeit in the depths of freezing winter.
So, unless you've gone ahead and explored the website, you might be wondering how the garden fared amidst the February 2009 bushfires. Well, good and bad. Bruno's home and adjoining art gallery were completely destroyed (bad!), but 60% of the sculptures remained intact or repairable (good!). Those that broke were damaged by huge trees falling due to the 150km winds.
View images of the original garden. Then take a look at the aftermath and the re-building process. After a mammoth task, the garden re-opened in November 2009. These are a resilient people whose love for magical Marysville runs deep.
The book, which I keep on my coffee table to share with visitors, is stunning, and its new edition now even more compelling. Buy a copy for yourself, or as a gift for friends and family, and maybe a DVD, and help these good folk along in what must be an extraordinarily expensive re-building process – to say the least.
During a post-fire visit, I was touched by the expression on the sculptures' faces. Some were charred, some broken, some unscathed, but I swear I could read the trauma of what they'd been through on their terracotta faces – and it came as no surprise. This is the nature of this garden. It lives and breathes.
If you don't believe how special this place is just because I told you so, peruse the website and its images well. Look into the sculptures' eyes and read the story of Bruno's miraculous escape from the fires.
If you haven't got goosebumps or maybe shed a tear of emotion by the end of it, something is wrong.
Now, it's time to hop off your bot and GO. Be moved in the midst of the garden and feel the growth and energy and hope that vibrates within it. Meet a down-to-earth, good-humoured Bruno, his lovely wife Marlene, and the colourful community of magical characters with a very special story to tell.