Baldessin Press Studio
I visited Baldessin Press Studio on Monday 23rd Feb, was greeted by Silvi Glattauer and then joined by Tess Edwards. Tess was married to George Baldessin, one of Australia’s most prominent artists in the 1970s. He and Tess built this studio for his etching work. An artist, printmaker and sculptor, he tragically died in 1978. Tess returned to the site in 2001 and restored it so that the studio could operate as a working memorial to George (see more here).
The studio takes a little finding: my satnav misdirected me slightly so if you visit, do use the satnav to get you to the area and Tess’ instructions for the final part of the journey. The last part is along an unpaved but easily passable road and the journey is very worth while. The bluestone construction nestles naturally amongst the surrounding eucalypts, various sculptures dotted around the grounds.
We sat and talked for a while in the newly extended part of a huge multipurpose room:
The studio is run as a non-profit cooperative, owned jointly by Tess, Silvi, Tess’ husband Lloyd Godman and Rob Hails. The studio is not strictly open access in the usual sense. Access is available on Mondays, often used by those who’ve attended a weekend workshop and want an extra day to work on their own: booking is required.
The group were preparing to open up another area of the studio, knocking down a partition wall, so this will look completely different shortly:
In the picture above left, Silvi is helping Helga Leunig get to grips with Lightroom. Helga had brought a copy of her newly published photo book, Mother Country. I had a quick chat to Silvi about her photogravure work. The prints she produces are stunning. She has developed a ‘direct to plate’ process that I would love to learn – something to add to the ‘to do’ list for my next visit to Australia. Since the studio also has three separate self-contained apartments available (see details here), I can combine a course with holidaying.
Artists can book blocks of days to come and focus on a piece of work (see here for details). The accommodation makes such an approach very attractive.
The main part of the studio houses two etching presses, one motorised, and an Albion press:
I was invited to join the group for lunch. Just before, Lloyd Godman joined us and I chatted to him about his photography and living sculpture work. The sculptures are fascinating: he joins stainless steel constructions with wire and then trains air plants along the wires, the whole suspended with pivot mechanisms so that they can turn in the wind. The plants then grow and develop the sculptures in unique ways.
(Apologies for the quality of the picture: I’d put the camera away at this stage and only used my phone camera. Once again, I was too engrossed to properly document what we were talking about!)
Lloyd has a number of books, covering the wide range of his interests in photography and ecology, available online on his website, here. He showed me one work, a journey of photographing a forest area during and after a fire. Several triptychs were made and printed separately, but Lloyd also joined hundreds of these into a single, very moving, graphic:
which were displayed high up on a couple of walls in the studio.
Lunch was delicious and, after helping move some stuff from the area about to be demolished, I made my (now, with Tess’ instructions, quicker) journey away from Baldessin. I want to thank Tess, Silvi and Lloyd so much for making me so welcome at Baldessin.