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'River to the Sea' by Gillian Napier at Ongarra Studio (SALA 2013)

Home > Adelaide > Art and Craft Centres | Escape the City | Exhibitions | Free
by Julia Wakefield (subscribe)
I'm passionate about art, poetry, the English language and all things maritime, and I also love drawing: Join the Fight for the Reef!
Published August 22nd 2013
Marine Art and Alpacas meet SALA in the Adelaide Hills
We've had some horrible weather recently, but it didn't deter me last week from checking out some of the SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival venues in one of my favourite regions, the Adelaide Hills. This time of year, the Hills are so green and verdant it doesn't matter how wet and cold you're feeling, and some of the artwork that's on show at the moment is bound to give you a warm feeling inside as well.

I started my art tour at Kangarilla, on a dry sunny afternoon, which was just as well, as Gillian Napier's studio is at the end of a long muddy driveway. But if you have a sturdy vehicle it is well worth the drive even on the wettest day. Gillian runs alpacas, geese, ducks and chooks on her property, and still finds time to produce beautiful textiles, handmade clothes and colourful paintings. Originally a marine biologist, Gillian took up textiles when she moved to the farm, and you can see her passion for marine creatures as well as life under the microscope in her choice of colours and subjects. Rich blues, greens and purples abound in her dyed silk scarves, she knits shawls and wraps that remind you of kelp and coral, and her paintings are strongly influenced by Torres Strait Islander traditional imagery, without being derivative.

Some of Gillian's kelp-like 'neck wraps'
her silk scarves and exotic clothing

Gillian uses a number of intriguing techniques to achieve the stunning effects on her silk clothing, and she also screenprints motifs from the natural world onto aprons, cushions and T-shirts.

aprons screenprints SALA
her screenprinted aprons

I spent a good hour admiring her work as well as drinking in the peaceful atmosphere of her studio. She is thinking of opening her studio on a regular weekday, and I think that would be a very successful idea in the summer months: she's on the scenic route from Adelaide to Maclaren Vale, so she'd attract a lot of visitors on their way to sample the wineries and the Fleurieu Biennale.

But you can still catch her in the remaining week of SALA: she's open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am - 4pm, until August 31.

Kangarilla, Adelaide Hills, Gillian Napier
What an idyllic view!

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Why? a beautiful studio in a stunning environment
When: 10 am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday
Phone: 0428 676436
Where: 159 Chapel Hill Road, Kangarilla 5157
Cost: Free
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