1. Thomas what does The Storehouse at Koonwarra offer?
The Storehouse – Lifestyle Store, opened in its current form in early 2014, having originally been the residence of the Koonwarra Store. Whilst quietly reflecting our region, it is our intention to be highly discerning in our selection of unique products that are of real value and made with integrity, such as clothing, accessories, furnishings, homewares, gifts, and fine art.
We offer everything from pieces designed and handmade in the Storehouse - using local materials - to pieces crafted by nearby artisans or produced by small family businesses in Melbourne, through to products we believe simply to be of the highest quality and to which we have a connection. Our entire fine art collection is made by exceptional, internationally-recognised local artists. We always consider why, where and how our products are fabricated. Everything we offer is intended to become a favourite and kept for a lifetime.
2. When did your passion for style begin?
Very early on! I grew up in a military family, so we moved a lot and my parents were always dressing for events. I was constantly having to create new spaces where I felt comfortable and was imbued with the importance of beautiful, quality presentation. Quality and value, probably more so than style, became important to me. Style is very personal and it’s great if others can appreciate my specific style.
3. How long have you been working with artists?
I attended The National Art School in Sydney in the design department. However, I had many friends in the fine art department as well which gave me great exposure to local artists. As a designer, I see my creative expression as quite different from a fine artist, and I greatly admire their talent and skill, not to mention confidence, to express themselves so publicly. I’ve always believed that the acquisition of art is very important in completing a space with real warmth and personality. It’s the one thing that really makes a very personal statement. I have, therefore, always worked with artists throughout my career.
4. What gave birth to the idea of exploring “Art & Meaning” as a discussion topic?
We are seeing major changes in society today. As manufacturing has grown, we have seen the introduction of mass-produced goods, and at the same time we have equally seen a slow lifestyle movement take place. This movement has focused on the value and quality of organic food through to clothing, homewares and artworks made with real passion and thereby possessing real value. ‘Art & Meaning’ is a topic that has evolved from The Storehouse concept of curating pieces with depth and meaning, a story. We want to continue this discussion by inviting people to come into The Storehouse and meet the artists themselves in order to participate in these ‘artistic conversations.’
5. Angela, when did you first come to Australia?
I was working at The London International Film School and living in Hammersmith with my four children when I came across an advertisement for a Writer in residence at the Sydney Film and Television School, as it was then called. The Head of the Writing Department, Keith Thompson, recently a Producer on the ‘Soprano’s’ film, came to interview me. I gave him home made strawberry jam with scones just like his Mother used to make - and I am sure that is why I got the job.
Australia happened by an act of serendipity and indeed most of the serendipidous moments in my life have been Australian in origin. Within a month of arriving in Sydney I was sent out to teach an outreach course over a weekend in Darwin. I fell in love with the rich tropical greenery and my first experience of Aboriginal art.
"Australia happened by an act of serendipity and indeed most of the serendipidous moments in my life have been Australian in origin" ANGELA NEWBERRY
6. Why did you change from scriptwriting to art?
A couple of years after my first Australian trip, my youngest son left school and my middle son left Chelsea School of Art. I went to collect his portfolio and the smell of oil paint and mice so redolent of my own days at the Royal College of Art brought back good memories. Friends urged me to change career back to that of printmaking. So after a quick refresher course, I set myself up in the garden shed with a small press and never looked back.
I was helped in finding art collectors by my neighbor and ex-tutor, the artist Julian Trevelyan and his wife painter Mary Fedden when they invited me to join in the annual studio open day that they organized for their artist friends along Chiswick Mall.
It was on a subsequent trip to Darwin that I met tour operator Ian Sinnamon, he offered me a five week tour of Kakadu and the Kimberley region. That was a magical experience which led to a collaboration with master printer Larry Rawling and several series of screen prints.
7. Which prints are your most successful pieces?
In England the WALKABOUT I and WALKABOUT II which virtually sold out at the Royal Academy Summer exhibition, because people responded to the warm colours and wide Australian horizons. FOGG DAM has received a lot of attention because there is a universality about wetland areas and the birdlife to be found by water. BUSHFIRE I and BUSHFIRE II are popular outside of bush fire areas although not in Victoria.
"WALKABOUT I and WALKABOUT II which virtually sold out at the Royal Academy Summer exhibition, because people responded to the warm colours and wide Australian horizons"
8. How do you create art?
My work is to do with wilderness areas. Usually I am travelling with a group and constantly on the move, so it is a case of absorbing the atmosphere, walking the ground, breathing the air, remembering the colours and capturing the image with a series of long, medium and close up camera shots or quick sketches. Then compiling a picture back in the studio.
Angela and Thomas continue this discussion on Good Friday at Storehouse Koonwarra 4pm-7pm, March 25th. The event will be featuring wines by The Wine Farm – Koonwarra’s new vineyard. Please note that bookings are required to enable catering for the event.