Renton Bishopric

Behind the Scenes – Noosa Open Studios

Image source: Contributed

Ever wondered what an artist’s creative space looks like? Noosa Open Studios invites you to get up close and personal with amazing local artists and step inside the secret sanctuary where creations come to life, as John Caruso reveals.

Noosa has grown into a thriving hub for artists and artisans and more than one hundred of our best local artists are about to throw open the doors to their private studio and invite you IN as part of this year’s Noosa Open Studios. 

Meet a local knife artisan, lantern maker or sculptors of metal, glass and wood; illustrators, silversmiths, jewellers, furniture makers; painters in pastel, oil and watercolours; even printmakers, photographers, potters and ceramicists; or artisans of mixed media and mosaics. There is truly something for everyone and the chance to enter the sacred, creative space and watch the artist in action will provide a whole new appreciation and understanding of the creative process.

Now in its sixth year, the self-drive event will feature five art trails centred around different areas of Noosa Shire, namely: Noosa with 34 artists and 3 galleries to discover; 32 artists along the Beaches trail; 24 artists and two galleries from Tinbeerwah to Eumundi; 15 artists and four galleries in Cooroy; and 7 artists and two galleries, including Juniper in the Pomona Distillery, from Pomona to Cooroibah. 

Each trail offers creative diversity and the chance to further explore our beautiful region. Be inspired and make a full weekend of it to discover gift shops, cafés, restaurants and craft beer and gin distilleries along the way. Why not book a staycation at a boutique bed & breakfast or resort? You’ll not only be giving yourself the chance to fully immerse yourself in the inspiring environment, but you’ll also be helping our local businesses. 

Kicking off the month being coined as “Artober”, most studios will be open for three days of both weekends from 1-3 October and 8-10 October with some special midweek trails. 

If you’re not sure where to start, the home of Noosa Arts and Crafts, Wallace House, will be open from 9am-3pm daily and will feature a piece of work by every artist so you can get a sense of their style. Pop into the café and plan your day of discovery! 

Noosa Open Studios President Anthony Wynne-Hoelscher said the trail was recognised as a marquee event for the region, especially with the growth of cultural tourism.

“We are now Queensland’s biggest art trail with more than 100 participating artists and local galleries,” he said. 

“This year is the greatest number of artisans we’ve ever had, second only to an art trail in Margaret River, Western Australia. As well as the art trail, there’s a series of workshops and art installations too.”

Deckchairs on the Green, a major initiative from last year, created by local installation artist and member of Noosa Open Studios, Yanni van Zijl, will return as a signature event the week before Noosa Open Studios officially starts. 

This crafty collaboration of forty deckchairs handcrafted by the Cooroora Woodworkers from locally found hardwood; features canvases individually and artfully painted by local artists and sown by artisans at The Sewing Project. 

“For the first time ever, the deckchairs be on display at the Gold Coast Swell Festival from Friday 10 until Sunday 19 September before coming home to be showcased along Gympie Terrace in Noosaville on Saturday 25 September,” Anthony said. “You can bid on your favourite chair and take it home at the charity auction at the Noosa Botanic Gardens on the following day.”

Workshop sessions will again be a big highlight for those wanting to get more hands-on.

There’s a total of twelve workshops, all very diverse and delivered by local artists in their natural environment. 

From landscape painting and mixed media workshops; sessions that will focus on techniques as well as materials; exploring pastels and water colours, even making your own animal lantern, there’s something for all interests and levels.

Workshops generally book out quickly so don’t delay if you are interested in unleashing your inner artist or learning new techniques from some of the region’s best.

Despite the challenges of COVID and lockdowns, last year’s event saw about $400,000 worth of art sold by artists participating in Noosa Open Studios.

Anthony said this reflected the quality of work that is being produced from the region and a broader understanding of the value of art.

“Even with limited interstate visitors, the people that explored our art trail last year were primarily locals and visitors from within Queensland,” he said. 

“I know one local collector alone who would have spent about $20,000 on art in 2020 – there’s a growing understanding and appreciation of the value of art not only in monetary terms but in the value it adds to our lives.

“It’s all about the artists. We’re a volunteer organisation where every cent we raise is spent promoting the artists, working on that exposure and giving them every opportunity to engage with the community who appreciate their creations,” explains Anthony.

Deckchairs on the Green

Secure your seat! Bid for one of the handmade one-off deckchairs to raise
money for Noosa Open Studios

Saturday 25 September

Viewing on Gympie Terrace, Noosaville

Sunday 26 September

LIVE auction, Noosa Botanic Gardens

Noosa Open Studio

1-10 October 2021

View the Noosa Open Studios Guide for times and dates

About the Author /

After 30 years in radio, John now runs the Conversations IN Noosa podcast and in between being our writer, sanity checker, accounts manager, event MC, and delivery boy; he spends time with his first love, recording a daily Drive program for regional radio from home (often in his pyjamas); and presenting Saturday mornings on Hot 91.1. He has previously worked for FoxFM Melbourne, Triple M Brisbane and SeaFM, as well as managing and presenting on ABC Sunshine Coast.

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