spring hill reservoirs: the weight of light

I’ve been fascinated by the Spring Hill Reservoirs in inner-city Brisbane for some time.

The first reservoir was built in 1871, and the second just metres from the first some eleven years after. Both were built primarily of red-brick and mortar, set in-ground. Interiors feature columns and arches between walls for reinforcement. At the time of planning, Spring Hill was considered to be the ideal location for a Brisbane water source, due to its elevation above most of what is now Brisbane CBD. Water was sourced from Enoggera Dam via gravity feed. They were built in 1871 and 1882 by Henry Holmes. They serviced water to what is now Brisbane City until 1962. Currently, the reservoirs are covered by three hut-like structures above ground. For many years the reservoirs were locked and inaccessible to the public. However, since 2014, they are used occasionally for cultural events.

I’ve been waiting for a ‘cultural event’ in the reservoirs so I was lucky enough to find out about a light exhibition by artist Meagan Streader, The Weight of Light, being held in the reservoirs.

So last Thursday we picked the boys up from school and visited the reservoirs at Spring Hill. I’m not sure what I was more impressed by: exploring centuries old underground reservoirs or the neon light art exhibition within the darkness. It was a very memorable experience – particularly as we were the only people in there initially.

I can’t wait to revisit – it seems there is another art installation planned for the reservoirs as part of Brisbane Open House on October 7 – that’s definitely on the must-do list!

field with dandelions, philadelphia

Browsing through Instagram today I found a random comment about a large green ‘plastic wrapped’ building in Philadelphia with a lens you can look into to see some art. Unfortunately the description of the location was rather nebulous (‘near Monk’s Cafe’) but I still managed to find it during my lunchtime walk today (it was on the corner of Chancellor St and S 16th Street after all).

The art installation is called ‘Field with Dandelions’ and it consists of the building wrapped in a plastic dandelion field print and a small lens which looks into a diorama of a field with dandelions. Quite amazing really. I’m glad I found it!



the atlas of tomorrow

Consider a problem. Spin the dial. Contemplate the story.

A Device for Philosophical Reflection

I discovered The Atlas of Tomorrow project whilst wandering through the streets of Philadelphia today.

The Atlas of Tomorrow is an interactive tool that promotes mental wellness as a critical component of thriving communities. Inspired by the I Ching, individuals are invited to consider a situation in their lives where they seek clarity, and then spin the dial to select one of 64 fable-like stories along the wall for poetic guidance. The stories and artwork provoke a surreal inner world, a “town in your head,” full of characters that can help us examine our struggles, behaviours and opportunities for growth. Designed with the idea of art as a form of meditation, the artwork was finger painted by Candy Chang and over one hundred members of the Philadelphia community.

There’s a great introduction on the wall also:

We tell ourselves strange stories. Stories like I am not good enough or I will never be understood. We hear these words in the private chatter, the hum in our heads that tells us who we are. But sometimes we catch a glimpse of who we might become. Perhaps it’s a rogue thought in the shower. A shiver of déjà vu on the sidewalk. But for a moment our mental weather clears and the world makes some kind of sense. They call this synchronicity, when our insides meet the outside in a meaningful way. You might call it gut sense of intuition, but you know when it happens. It’s encoded in the hairs on your neck, the flutter in your nerves, and it’s been with you all along, a deep prehistoric knowledge that occasionally breaks to the surface before disappearing beneath the next wave of chatter.

The machine on this wall was built to make these moments happen more often for you. Here you’ll find sixty-four stories inspired by the ancient I Ching that reach back to cold nights of campfires and stars, long before the written word. The I Ching examines the inevitably of change. For thousands of years it has provided counsel and reassurance to those of us who struggle with challenging relationships, difficulties  with work, unhappy emotions, and forks in the road. These stories remind us that our problems are not unique and that wisdom endures, if we are willing to listen.

I considered a problem I’m currently facing, and I spun number thirty three: ‘The Nap’.

When are overwhelmed, rest may be wiser than action. Retreating from the world and looking inward might save you from future struggles.

Brilliant stuff.

cat & fish

We love the Cat & Fish books by Neil Curtis & Joan Grant: they have the most amazing illustrations and words. We bought two ex-library copies from BetterWorldBooks and Kitty cut out some of our favourite illustrations and framed them for the new sleeping room that Junior Pixels and Little Bear are now sharing. They look fantastic.

cool bonsai art show at south brisbane

Yesterday on a walk we discovered by chance a show at the Arts Factory Gallery at South Bank titled “Nature of the Duchess” by Monique and Faye Dobson. It contains lots of bonsais and antiques mixed with art and categorized by world region (Australia, the US, the UK, Japan and Africa), and all the plants and art are for sale.

I really enjoyed the combination of art, furniture, collectibles and bonsai. The bonsai that Faye has grown and displayed are amazing, some of the best I have ever seen. She has an amazing old fig for sale that I would love to buy but I think it’s out of our price range.

The show is on for the next couple of weeks (until October 5th) and Monique and Faye are planning on conducting some art and bonsai classes, which can be arranged via moniquedobson@hotmail.com. Check it out before it disappears!

south brisbane street art

The empty block next to us is about to be developed, which is a shame as it has quite an eclectic collection of street art. The old brick walls on the site make the perfect texture for all sorts of art, so I thought I’d ignore the ‘do not enter’ sign and capture these before they’re gone forever.

mexican prayer candles

Whlist wandering supermarkets in Austin, Texas, last year, I spotted a whole shelf of cheap yet aesthetically pleasing candles in tall glass jars for sale at $2 a piece. Naturally I picked up one to bring home to Kitty and to see what it was like.

The candle ended up being one of the best candles we’ve had. Not only did it last for weeks, it also had one of the nicest rose scents I have smelt from a candle. Not bad for $2!

I later found out they’re known as prayer candles, or veladoras in Spanish, and each candle has a picture of a saint and a prayer printed on it (in both Spanish and English). They’ve been made in Texas since 1947 and there are over 350 saint varieties alone! They’re often left at vigils as they burn for about seven days straight.

I will be making sure I stock up on these if I am ever in Austin again.

apt6 @ goma

We took Junior for a walk in the pram to GOMA this afternoon to check out the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT6). He only gave us enough time asleep to view one floor, but from what we saw it was an excellent collection. Luckily it’s on until 5 April next year, so we have plenty of time to go back and check it out again. Here are some of the cool things we saw today.

fritz scholder

We saw a Fritz Scholder exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York City this morning.

Fritz Scholder

A couple of his quotes were quite neat:

“You must walk that tightrope between accident and discipline. Accident by itself…so what? Discipline by itself is boring. By walking that tightrope and putting down something on a canvas…coming from your guts, you have a chance of making marks that … will live longer than you.”

“I give thanks every day that I’ve been able to take my craziness and make it work for me.”

weekend roundup

We had a pretty fun-filled weekend in Brisbane:

  • Friday Night: I had a friend over from work and we drank a couple of Cascade Greens and ate some Texan Beef sausages with fried onions;
  • Saturday Lunch: Kitty and I had Dim Sum at Yum Cha in the city;
  • Saturday Afternoon: We went to see Yes Man at Myer Centre Cinema with some corporate vouchers we got for Christmas: quite an enjoyable movie;
  • Saturday Evening: We went for a drive to Mount Coot-tha. We sat and watched the stars and city lights while drinking our BYO tea and pineapple;
  • Sunday Morning: We went for a walk through South Bank and right along Boundary Street, West End. We spent some time looking in shops including the great Avid Reader store;
  • Sunday Lunch: We cooked burgers. Mine looked so great Kitty took a photo:
Beef burger with free-range egg, beetroot, lettuce, pineapple, cucumber & grated carrot.
Beef burger with free-range egg, beetroot, lettuce, pineapple, cucumber & grated carrot.
  • Sunday Evening: We met K’s little sister for takeaway in the park on Bowen Terrace looking at the Storey Bridge.
  • Sunday Night: I hung the canvases I made last weekend with fabric and frames from IKEA.
Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame

Canvas on frame
Canvas on frame

They cost $8 each to make, and I still can’t decide on a favourite.

Good times.

young designers market @ south bank on 7 dec 2008

I’ve been approved for a stall at the Young Designers Market @ South Bank in Brisbane on Sunday 7 December 2008 (10:00am-4:00pm).


I’m making a few different items including a match box canvas, some small potplants plus some shopping trolley lamps. It should be good.

the biennale of sydney on cockatoo island

We were lucky enough to visit the Biennale of Sydney on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour yesterday.

The island was amazing. Neither of us had been there before so it was a real treat for us both. The art installations were great and so were the buildings; some looked like they had just been abadoned.

All photos are by snap happy Kitty.

street art in kl

It was our last full day in KL today, so we took the super quick light rail to Chinatown. When we got off the train at Pasar Seni station I was surprised to see lots of great street art, mostly stencil based.

We are flying to BKK tomorrow morning. I can’t wait.

fascade by christopher langton in burnett lane, brisbane

I still can’t get over how cool this is. If you’re in Brisbane check it out. I recommend dusk and start walking down Burnett Lane from the Albert street. Unreal.