Artistry in collaboration – two heads and two pairs of hands being better than one.
Two artists based in Murrurundi came together to work on projects that they would probably not have attempted alone.
Rumour has it that Charlotte Drake-Brockman and Fran Wachtel met at Murrurundi tip whilst foraging for interesting bits and pieces for art works.
Truth is that they met when Fran who worked in pewter, ceramic and bronze sculpture moved to Murrurundi in 1991 from an isolated property near Barabra NSW. Basket maker, fibre artist and painter Charlotte had been living in Murrurundi for 5 years after moving from Balmain in Sydney.
The two discovered they could work well together by working on community arts projects and catering for art show openings. With other local artists they turned Fran’s studio into an art co-op shop named ‘The Chicken in the Window” (keeps the wolf from the door).
Frustration with endless consultations, discussions and lack of action regarding gateways to the town motivated the couple to collaborate in designing, making and, under cover of darkness, erecting gateways made from corrugated iron and old 44 gallon drums. Permanent replicas of these sculptures now grace the entrances of Murrurundi. They have taken on a life of their own and given Murrurundi a far reaching identity.
Fran and Charlotte are also responsible for the mural in Merriwa which they worked on with the residents of Merriwa. The tin used was sourced from local buildings, the old garage, blacksmith shop and historic rural buildings. A workshop with the Central School gave students an opportunity to cut, weld and batter bits of tin.
In a solitary occupation like being an artist, collaboration produces not only new ideas but motivation, determination and lots of fun.