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Talisman Gallery creates upscaled jewellery to adorn the home

Traipsing the Victorian goldfields with his father in the 1960s, a young Ron Fitzpatrick could never have known how those gold hunting jaunts would influence an art show at Hartley, NSW, in November 2019.

The Blackheath metal artist’s show, Adorn, at Hartley Historic Site, blurs the line between jewellery and sculpture by upscaling jewellery designs into forged iron sculptural pieces incorporating semi-precious gems and opals.

Every time I go prospecting or to a gem fare I think of my dad,’’ Ron says.He had one of the first metal detectors around. He actually made himself a special tripod with a winch on it so he could lower himself down mine shafts.

“When I was young I was interested in being a gemstone dealer and a jeweller. It’s like its coming full circle and melding into my forged work.’’

Ron’s artistic journey began at school with a teacher who taught mechanics and metal skills. He left school for a fitter and turner apprenticeship at age 15.

During a trip around America when he was 20, Ron “met this guy in San Francisco who made the most amazing handmade knives, just beautiful – all etched on the blades’’.

On his return, Ron opened a shop in Caulfield, Melbourne, in the 1980s and sold the knives and Thai Chi dancing swords he made.

“It was a pretty tumultuous kind of time in my life and I probably didn’t have the discipline and the life skills and marketing skills needed, so I didn’t pursue that.’’

Ron next took up tree surgery work, travelled to India, worked as a cook, then got a job installing security grills, where he was introduced to the wrought iron work he is renowned for.

Today, in an old woolshed clinging to the side of a hill overlooking a clutch of sandstone colonial buildings, the circle meets at Talisman Gallery.

But this time, Ron has brought to the forge the experience and skills needed to understand the metal and coax it into the shapes of beauty and art from his imagination.

“It feels like the older you get, the more you gravitate towards what’s in your soul,’’ he says.

Ron’s work has changed tack several times since he opened Talisman Gallery at Hartley.

There was wrought iron pieces, polished dragons and mirrors. Then came the exploration of driftwood and large coloured glass garden sculptures.

Through it all have been recurring themes – gemstones, ammonites and nautilus shells, Fibonacci spirals and the Balinese jewellery he imports.

So the upscale jewellery concept for the Adorn range was no great stretch.

Meaning “to decorate or add beauty to, as by ornaments’’, the Adorn pieces are embellishments for the house or environment in the way that small-scale jewellery is for the body.

The new pieces show Ron’s experimentation with gemstones such as labradorite, moonstone, tiger’s eye and opal.

Their shapes reveal the feminine balance of fine jewellery design with the masculine of metal and scale – “the balance we’re all looking at in ourselves ‘’.

The new range also shows Ron’s new skills like splitting metal to make fine features such as strands of hair, feathers or claws.

“Every time I teach myself a new skill, it opens me up to a new piece in a new direction and new design possibilities,’’ Ron says.

Adorn will be held in the historic Corney’s Garage below Talisman Gallery throughout the November 30-December 1 weekend, with an official opening at 2pm on the Saturday.

Talisman Gallery at Hartley historic village, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Details: Ron 0407 723 722, talismangallery@bigpond.com or the Facebook page @Talisman Gallery Hartley.

  • Create your own piece of art on the anvil by beating red hot steel into the shape at a guided workshop. Cost: fire poker $45, decorative wall hook $60, sculpture $65, additional element costs vary. A great family activity available to anyone aged 13 years and older on December 28 & 29. The 2-hour Creative Fire experience is also available as a couples’ workshop activity anytime at the special price of $275 per couple until February 15, 2020. Bookings essential. Gift vouchers also available.


Creative fire unleashed at Talisman Gallery blacksmithing workshop

An example of what participants will make. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

By Ellen Hill for Talisman Gallery

Unleash your inner creative fire, work off some energy and learn an ancient art under guidance from an experienced artisan at Talisman Gallery this festive season.

Burgeoning metal artists will create their own piece of art in the 30-minute blacksmithing session on the anvil by beating red hot steel into the shape of a fire poker, decorative wall hook or small sculpture.

Extra decorative elements such as crystals may also be added.

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick at work. Photo submitted by Talisman Gallery

Talisman Gallery metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick of Blackheath said the activity would interest beginners as well as those who had previously taken the Fire Poker Challenge at the gallery, located in the historic woolshed behind Hartley Historic Site.

“Creating metal art is very satisfying. It’s quite physical and people love the fact they can make something with their own hands, which we don’t do a lot of anymore in this modern society.’’

While the location amid undulating pasturelands with the dramatic backdrop of the Blue Mountains escarpment helped, Fitzpatrick believed the attraction to lay in the metal itself representing the romantic notion of a lost era; a simpler lifestyle; clearly defined values; and endurance and quality.

“It’s an ancient material that comes straight from the earth. That you can make something so beautiful out of something with such strength fascinates me and draws me to it. I think it’s the same for a lot of other people.’’

An example of what participants will make. Photo: David Hill, Deep Hill Media

Fitzpatrick’s artistic journey began in the early 1980s, creating handmade knives and Tai Chi dancing swords in a small shop in Melbourne.

Since moving to Sydney in the late 1980s, his art and business has evolved from a need to provide for his family by making his own furniture from scrap metal to trendy inner west wrought iron work to finally settling in the Blue Mountains and Hartley.

He and Lithgow-based metal artist Steve Cunningham will be on hand to guide you through the process.’’

“You remove the red hot steel from the fire, bringing it to the anvil you begin to beat the hot metal. You watch as it changes shape, yielding under the blows. Working quickly before it cools, you wrap it around a form into a spiral shape. Before you know it you have created your first piece of metal art.

“So put your phone down and come and make something!’’

A great family activity available to anyone aged 13 years and older, the Creative Fire experience will be held daily from December 27 to 30. Cost: fire poker $35, decorative wall hook $40, sculpture $65, additional elements costs vary.

A participant in action. Photo submitted by Talisman Gallery

Visitors to Talisman Gallery can browse the collection of large high-end pieces along with signature metal art mirrors, small affordable sculptures and candleholders and an extensive collection of imported jewellery and new crystal pieces.

The gallery, Hartley Historic Site, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Details and bookings: Ron 0407 723 722 or Facebook page Talisman Gallery Hartley/events, website: www.talismangallery.com.au.

 

 


Blue Mountains: Talisman Gallery brings contemporary edge to Everglades

Metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick of Talisman Gallery with one of his sculptures at Everglades Historic House & Gardens

By Ellen Hill for Talisman Gallery        Photos: David Hill

The avant garde curves of Everglades Historic House & Gardens will be given a contemporary edge when metal artist Ron Fitzpatrick displays his distinctive garden art at the Blue Mountains heritage property this month and next.

The selection of outdoor pieces will be exhibited in the terraced space beneath the row of cherry trees next to the main building from September 30 to October 8

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, the graceful Moderne-style 1930s house at the Leura property is set among 5.2ha of native bush and gardens designed by Danish-born landscape gardener Paul Sorensen.

The magnificent inter-war period gardens feature formal European-style terraces and winding paths revealing the many moods of the property, from the tranquil Reflection Pool amid towering trees from all over the world to the subtle charms of the lookout and contemplative Grotto Pool. Visitors also enjoy the surprise unveiling of vistas through to Mt Solitary and the Jamison Valley.

To this setting, Fitzpatrick’s sculptures of rusted forged steel mounted on sandstone plinths textured in convict henpecked-style will introduce whimsy and colour.

“It’s a really tranquil experience to sit in the gardens with a Devonshire tea watching the light play on the flowers, the breeze moving the branches and leaves and how the artworks interact with the space,’’ he said.

“The Everglades house has lots of spectacular art deco wrought iron work so my sculpture pieces blend in too because of the materials I work with – steel and sandstone, the sandy colour of the building and its curves and patterned façade.’’

Referred to by one customer as “the zen iron master’’, Fitzpatrick creates his inspired metal art in his Talisman Gallery, an old woolshed behind the clutch of colonial-era sandstone buildings of Hartley historic village at the western foothills of the Blue Mountains.

Most of his designs are inspired by his daily meditations practice, when he often “sees’’ the shapes he creates.

A fitter and turner by trade, Fitzpatrick’s artistic journey began in the early 1980s, creating handmade knives and Tai Chi dancing swords in a small shop in Melbourne.

Since moving to Sydney in the late 1980s, his art and business has evolved from a need to provide for his family by making his own furniture from scrap metal to trendy inner west wrought iron work to finally settling in the Blue Mountains and Hartley.

Fitzpatrick’s exhibition of garden art will also coincide with the famous Leura Gardens Festival, with several pieces also to be displayed in select private gardens during the event.

Also on in the Everglades indoor art gallery, Nadege Lamy’s Dancer in the Dark exhibition will reflect on the visual and emotional of the then and now, of the ever-changing life journey of an artist through her body of work. The paintings and sculptures will shed light on the processes of art making and various subjects.

Talisman Gallery at Hartley historic village, Great Western Hwy (400m before turn off to Jenolan Caves heading west) is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday. Details: Ron 0407 723 722, talismangallery@bigpond.com or the Facebook page @Talisman Gallery -Hartley.

Everglades Historic House & Gardens, 37 Everglades Ave, Leura, which is open from 10am to 5pm daily during daylight savings and from 10am to 4pm during autumn and winter. Entry: $13 adults, $8 concessions, $4 children, National Trust members free. Details: (02) 4784 1938 or email everglades@nationaltrust.com.au.