PechaKucha – winter arts networking in #OrangeNSW

To celebrate presenting at the very first #PechaKucha winter arts networking night held by ArtsOutWest in #OrangeNSW,  and also celebrating being able to access my blog after locking myself out for two weeks (set up websites using WordPress for clients and forgot my own log in details – doh!).

PechaKucha Overview

When I signed up to give this presentation, lots of friends were asking me what PechaKucha actually was. Basically, you’ve got 20 images and 20 seconds per image to give a talk about something in the design or arts+culture world that you think is worth sharing. A friend who came along on the night described it as ‘very fast Tedtalks for creatives’. PechaKucha nights were all the rage in Dubai when I lived in the UAE, and mostly frequented by graphic and fashion designers. The presentation format was actually started in Tokyo in 2003 by two architects, and it seems that each PechaKucha absorbs some of the flavour of where it’s held.

The first PechaKucha #OrangeNSW

ArtsOutWest is the regional arts organisation for the Central West region of NSW, and somehow they came up with the idea of not just holding one PechaKucha event for the region – but an event for every town in the region. That’s a lot of creatives coming out of the woodwork! Their Winter Arts Networking Nights took in Cowra, Bathurst, Lithgow, Orange, Wellington, Forbes, Grenfell, Oberon and Canowindra. Five people from each town nominated themselves to get up and present, and in Orange we had a wonderfully eclectic mix of two local artists, photographer, author/explorer (that’s me!), milliner and woodworker.

Joy Engelman, Artist

Joy features in every post I write about arts in the Central West, she’s one of the most recognised local artists we have here and her paintings of Australia’s outback landscapes are stunning. And award-winning – Joy’s triptych of panels depicting the western deserts of NSW, ‘This Sacred Place’, received an award at the Florence Biennale in 2007.

She presented on the Arkaroola Art Workshops she runs twice a year in the Outback, taking small groups of artists out to the Strezliecki Desert to get inspired by the wild beautiful Australian natural desert environment. The photos are absolutely stunning, I’ve already signed up for the next one. Watch Joy’s presentation here.

Luke Wong, Photographer

Not only is Luke our local ABC Open radio producer, he’s also an incredibly talented photographer. Luke has his first exhibition ‘Things I’ve Seen’ currently running at the Orange Regional Art Gallery, and gave us an overview on the night – with a wonderful backstory on how he came to pick up a camera at a very young age as a means of exploring identity and place. Take a look at his intriguing and thoughtful photos here, Luke really catches the eccentricities of what it means to be human.

Fiona Schofield, Milliner

We’re pretty lucky to have a creative of Fiona’s calibre living in the region – she’s trained and worked with some of Australia’s best in the industry. I’m fairly confident all the local polo and racing ladies would agree. Fiona creates individual pieces as artworks, and loves to collaborate with clients to create something unique. Watch her talk about her design journey and journey to the Central West here.

Kelly-Anne Smith, Author/Explorer

I was pretty thrilled at this description of myself from ArtsOutWest, explorer yes/mebbe but the only thing I’ve published is a short story from doing a workshop with Luke. However I like the sound of author/explorer, so I’ll pay that. I presented on ‘Abu Dhabi: art + architecture’ to give the local creatives an inside look into how Abu Dhabi is establishing itself as a global arts hub. This is all in the lead up to the opening of some fairly significant museums in a specially-created museum district on Saadiyat Island. The starring photo for this post is the Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opens in 2015. You can watch my rather enthusiastic presentation here.

Geoff Tonkin, Woodworker

A master woodworker, musician and teacher, Geoff shared his journey of music and craftsmanship. He runs courses on how to carve a Windsor chair out of a single block of wood, and how to carve your own musical instruments. He’s also a member of the renowned Aussie bush band, November Shorn. I’m lucky enough to have been invited to visit him on his property near Molong to check out the woolshed that hosts all the workshops. Take a look at his presentation here.

Jane Tonks, Artist

She’s one of the ‘Wild Women of Arkaroola’ and one of the region’s finest artists – Jane shared with us her personal photographic journey of beating the socks out of cancer, and the wonderful process of printmaking. Have a look at her galleries here and her presentation here.


So all in all, a fascinating night held at Union Bank Wine Bar with a great bunch of people. Fantastic way to meet the creative locals and yet another reason for enjoying living here in the countryside.















winter in #OrangeNSW = fireside cellar doors

The sky has turned a silvery-grey, there’s frost on the ground. There’s nothing more for it, it’s time to search out the best local cellar doors with roaring fires(and great wine!).

My first vineyard stop in Orange is always Mayfield Vineyard – summer, spring, autumn or winter, it’s just beautiful. The 100-hectare estate and Georgian homestead are placed on the Icely Road, just outside of Orange and not far from the original Ophir goldfields where gold was first discovered in Australia in the 1850s. The cellar door is in the property’s original schoolhouse, and when it gets a little chilly they start blazing the open fire. It’s the perfect accompaniment to their highly thought of wines.

 From the Icely Road, it’s only a hop and a skip over to Millthorpe, one of the most charming of the surrounding villages in the Orange region. Being a heritage village, it’s awash with original buildings starring open fireplaces. Start with a coffee and a pastry at The Old Mill Café and then work your way over to the nearby Angullong cellar door. Originally the stables for the next door hotel, this bluestone cellar door not only has one of the coziest fireplaces but we think it also some of the best wines in the region. The marvellous thing about buying wine direct from cellar doors is that you get to taste the entire range before making a choice, it really beats grabbing an unknown bottle from a bottleshop and you get to chat with the producers as well.

Speaking of the next door hotel, after you’ve experienced the Angullong hospitality it’s a great idea to drop into Gerry’s Commercial Hotel. Best village pub ever! A stellar local wine list, Guinness on tap served up by the Irish publican and award-winning pub food (Gerry’s scored the 2014 ‘Best Lamb Burger’ and 2013 ‘Best Steak’ awards from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Pub Food Guide) – and all by the crackling fireside.

If you manage to drag yourself away from the pub, on the other side of Orange you can take a little tour through the rolling hills of Borenore and stop off at Small Acres Cyder for a cheeky cider tasting by the cheerful potbelly stove.

Not too far away, Cargo Road Wines also boasts a merry cornerside potbelly stove warming up the cellar door. Go straight for the Zinfandel to keep you even toastier inside, the wines here are amazing and have become a firm favourite. Slow-cooked goat curry and venison pies are served up in the picturesque café overlooking the vineyard, and the cellar door also doubles up as an art gallery.

When you’re finally ready to make your way back into town, head straight to the Union Bank Wine Bar for a final sample of local wines and a welcoming fire. Owned by local winemaker Tom Ward, this is also the location of his Swinging Bridge handcrafted wines cellar door. With live courtyard music and a glass of award-winning Pinot Noir in your hands, you won’t want to leave.

Enjoy! Kelly

A version of this article first appeared in The Localist online travel and culture magazine in May 2014