Category Archives: Education through Creativity

Design Canberra Festival

Happening now throughout November

According to Craft ACT this is Canberra’s fastest growing festival!

Throughout November 2017, over 150 events, exhibitions, talks, tours, activations, markets, collaborations, artist studios and open homes will be showcased as DESIGN Canberra, transforming the nation’s capital into a new platform for the best in design. The festival, now in its fourth year, is for all interests and ages and most events are free.’


There is definitely something here for everybody, whether you love architecture, design ware, gardens or fashion. There are Open Studios to investigate, Open Living rooms in architect designed homes featuring original craft work made in Canberra.

I’m very happy to be part of this festival showing my new work, some old work and how important the garden is to my aesthetic.

Not only am I showing art at Germinate, but my place is part of an artist’s garden tour running on the 25th November.

I invite you all to check it out at my home and studio on the weekend of the 25th/26th November.

Germinate; exhibition and excursions.

Germinate exhibition opening this Friday 24th Nov. Open Studio Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th , 10-5 at Hearth, 67 Schlich St Yarralumla.

We love art

The art director of Creative Catalyst, Teffany Thiedeman is showing what she does! Friday night is the opening night with nibbles provided by Scrumper’s Garden and some lovely craft beer.

All are welcome over the weekend to have a look at her ceramic art work and garden, you can see the clay pizza oven in action over Saturday lunch and  there will be a free-time clay table for anyone to have a turn. Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain!

If you are an after school art student you will be walking over to her studio on the week of 27th- 30th November to have a look at the work and enjoy the animals and garden. While there you can draw, paint or play with clay or maybe just soak it all up and have some bunny therapy.

Last year Teffany opened her workshop and garden and launched Hearth as a place for making and showing art in a living environment. Along with the clearly functional garden works like fountains and planters, this year Germinate develops the seed metaphor of sprouting and growing. The concept of the garden being a controlled, enclosed space for the cultivation of plants, animals and states of mind is the perfect setting for art that investigates our role and responsibilities in how we live in the world. Teffany is  proud to share the  backyard with bees, chickens, rabbits, insects, fish, frogs, birds, lizards, possums, a dog and plenty of humans.

In the workshop you can find teapots, candelabra and cups slip cast under the design label Fetish Designs and you can check out some of the work grown-ups have made during drop in sessions at Ceramic Salon.




The Aeoncademy Open Day – Spring Edition!

August 19th – Put it in your calendar – the amazing Aeoncademy Open Day is happening then!

We’re here to pull our community together – and want to invite you along as well! For newcomers, there’s just no better way to understand what Aeoncademy is all about – and to nurture your Creative Spark!

Open Day Spring 2017

We will be launching our beautiful Spring Holiday Program on the day – with an amazing blend of classes all ready to provide Education through Creativity to children & young people! Not only are we launching the program, but you’ll net our special 20% discount on the holiday program if you book in on the day!

Please call in any time between 10am and 4pm!

Discover the amazing artwork in our exhibition of children’s ceramic work – with a gorgeous array of work from our workshops. Of course, looking at art is only half the fun – and you’re invited to learn how to make things in clay, paint and play with watercolours, and chat to our amazing team of artists and educators!

Open Day

For folk who came along to the Winter Program, you’ll be able to pick up fired ceramic work from the holidays and admire the art work from our after school classes this term.

Open Day

You’ll also be able to join in and learn all about our Dramatic Adventures in a magnificent interactive scene, happening around midday. We’ll also be releasing the 4th issue of Aeondawn Magazine and announcing the winner of the Vala Contributor’s Prize!

Open Day
The Open Day is the best place to catch up with friends and family while enjoying a little hands on activity, whether it’s catalysing your creativity with some casual clay work, watercolour painting or drawing, or stepping into the dramatic shoes of a Knight of the Round Table. We’ll have something for everyone, with our Kitchen Garden, face painting, and more, or just sitting back with a cup of tea, a delicious biscuit (made by our Friday view at Cornucopia!), a beautiful space to spend the time, and delicious food from Scrumpers Garden at lunch time to keep everyone going.

Where do I find the Open Day?

Defying Empire

Recently, Anna, Andrew, and Teffany grabbed an opportunity to attend a tour through Defying Empire with curator, Tina Baum. This is the third instalment of the National Indigenous Art Triennial. The tour also included an information session about related resources and curriculum links for NIAT 3 from the Programs and Education team of the National Gallery of Australia.

Defying Empire
detail from Karla Dickens, Assimilated Warriors

This is a diverse exhibition full of provoking ideas examining indigenous identity fifty years after the referendum of 1967 when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were finally recognised as citizens of Australia. Much of the work looks at how contemporary art practices are connected to a traditional past. From native materials like shells and sedge grass, to video projections, paintings and a collection of altered fencing masks, the work ranges across a huge variety of materials and approaches.

It also starts almost immediately as you enter the gallery with Reko Rennie’s painted Rolls-Royce parked in the front foyer. 

Don’t forget the NGA Play- a fun space for kids to move around and discover ways of interacting with art. Because you can touch things , move around freely and lie down on pillows before you enter the main galleries it’s a nice buffer space for families.

Defying Empire
checking out NGA Play

The exhibition is broken into eight themes;

Forever memory- an eternal connection to the land and its flora and fauna.

Recounting and Revival – acknowledging and recognising the past.

Resistance and Refusal – withstanding stereotypes and challenging popular perceptions.

Defying Empire
Yunggulba (Flood Tide) series by Megan Cope

Disrupting Invisibility -revealing Indigenous histories.

Defying Empire
Black Dog by Archie Moore


Asserting Presence – affirmation of Aboriginal existence in Australia

Defying Empire
Andrew contemplates the style of Assimilated Warriors 2 by Karla Dickens

Rising Passion – rage at injustice

Defying Empire
Captain James Crook by Jason Wing

Bearing Witness- highlighting cultural, political and social issues

Defying Empire
A dress made of seaweed,  kerliggener-leewunna by Vicki West

Defying Empire – encouraging conversations challenging outdated ideologies

This is a simplification of a deep and complex show , only intended to give an impression of the monumental issues and ideas covered in the work. Really you need to see it yourself there is so much going on and so many excellent artists are represented.

We all found it deeply moving and profoundly interesting and encourage you to go check it out. It’s free and on until early September.

Find out more at the NGA’s website.

A Cure for Freyja

Freyja is a part of the Aeoncademy Family. Her and her family, Lizzie, Bryn and Inge, have come to countless Open Days, and even helped us with our exciting Halloween events in the past.

Freyja has a rare and aggressive cancer, and has needed to travel far from home to undergo some challenging and expensive treatment. She’s only five years old, and while her sisters, Bryn and Inge, and mum, Lizzie, are doing their absolute best, they need our help.

As you all know, we held a raffle this Open Day to raise some funds for Freyja, and we want to say thank you so much to all the families whose hearts went out to support Freyja as a part of our raffle. The number of people who chipped in was incredible, and we raised $250 which will be going to Lizzie to support Freyja and her siblings.

Congratulations Linda, Mr. Gray, and C35 for your wins!

Linda, you’ve won first prize, two spots in our fabulous Holiday Program over the coming year!

Mr. Gray, you’ve won Second Prize: an exclusive Fetish Designs Chicken Teapot

And C35 – You’ve won 3rd Prize – An amazing Boffer Double Headed Viking Axe.

We’ve got the prizes here at Aeoncademy this week, so bring in your raffle stub to collect your prize.

If you want to put a little more in to help them out, you can find all the details and ways to contribute at A Cure for Freyja


The Aeon Team Away

Periodically at Aeoncademy, artistic directors, Mathew and Teffany have, for many years, facilitated intensive weekends of team-building, programming, and philosophising down at a little house in Broulee.
Beautiful South Coast
And so it was that late on Friday evening we made our way down the winding road and over the Clyde to reach our weekend.

Before we go in to what we got up to, we should mention a little by way of context.

Aeoncademy, founded by Mathew and Teffany, has continued to grow and expand in terms of size and in terms of our team, and over the last twelve (or so) months, with Aeoncademy’s growing footprint, we’ve brought a number of extra amazing individuals into the team, or advanced them in leaps and bounds by way of responsibility. Monica with her years of teaching experience continues to be a mentor and resource for our new trainees, along with Anna and Andrew, who have been with Aeoncademy for years.
Following in the footsteps of the Vala Director, Mathew Long
Over the course of these weekends, following the same kind of creative modalities delivered in Aeoncademy, Teff and Math facilitate the engagement between the Team and the Aeoncademy philosophy.

These intensive weekends have, for a long time, developed the way we work as a team, harnessing the experiences we have as a team to solidify the connections between our trainees, facilitators, executive team and directors, building the bonds of our Aeon family.
Bookkeeper and finance officer Garry, gets Teffany to carry the books!
These weekends – as fun, light, and enjoyable as they are, are periods of significant development for all of us here as a part of Aeoncademy. We learn more about each other, grow closer as a team and practice new and old skills, helping teach and grow our creative capabilities.
Monica Capturing a trio of Vala types
From Sand-Sculpture to Sketching, from Campfire Stories to Role Playing Games, over the our Team Away, Aeoncademy has drawn closer together and strengthened who we are and what we do.

So – with that in mind – let me introduce our newest members of the team; beginning with Enki.
We’ve all known Enki for a very, very long time as the son of our Creative Directors, but over the last term Enki has stepped into an exciting role as a Trainee Facilitator – taking on responsibility for Vala classes and administering the Aeoncademy Office – and is almost ready to be set free on these responsibilities solo.

Ella is another of our trainees, who’s stepping up fast to the plate and crossing over into Facilitation. Ella, who also attended Aeoncademy from when she was very young, has been moving into running the facilitation of our Sparks program, as well as taking on a role in the office.

We also got to have Steph and Annika along for our intensive weekend to help facilitate their ongoing growth as a part of Aeon.
Annika and Steph
Both Steph and Annika came on at around the same time, midway through last year, and have seemed to take to the Aeon way like a stingray to water.

Annika has accepted, and graduated a traineeship over the fourth term last year, and is now Facilitating on the floor and in the office.

Now that we’re back, we’re unfolding our program for Term 2.

Adventure to Maria Island

Over the Anzac Day Weekend, while Mad Hatters and Jabberwocks took over the Aeoncademy Centre, a few members of our team managed to get away for a brief adventure.

Together, Mathew, Teffany, Ochre, Enki, and Andrew loaded up and took a cruise to Maria Island.

Maria island – originally pronounced ‘Mar-ree-ah’, but now pronounced ‘Ma-ry-ah’, was named for Maria Van Dieman in the 17th Century, and lays across the Mercury Passage from Triabuna, off the East Coast of Tasmania.

We set forth, early on Monday Morning, just as the centre doors opened, and stepped aboard the Spirit of Maria, a gorgeous boat built for the unique cruise that we then embarked upon.

First, we made our way across the straits, touched down on Maria Island and checked in with the conditions, then set out to Ille Des Phoques – the Island of Seals.

The seals, whom it should be mention reek, were used to our boat’s presence in their waters, and while they were not at all tame – they stayed a wary distance at all times – they were happy enough to explore what was going on, dancing and diving underneath us and watching us with curiosity.

While we were exploring the island by boat, we circled into some frankly fantastic caves. Students of the Young Mutant Chronicles are well aware of how bright and vibrant the ocean can be – but it was unreal to see these amazing colours in person.

Teffany says she’s inspired – and ready to bring these amazing colours back into an amazing Art Workshop.

Eventually, and regretfully, we left our friendly seals behind and made our way back to Maria Island, past more amazing caves, caverns, and the Fossil Cliffs…

…then on to Darlington – the only township on the island (population: 3 park rangers, 200 wombats) for a late lunch and a walk.

Maria island has a fascinating history, stretching from the Aboriginal Tyreddeme band of the Oyster Bay tribe, through the Convict Period of its history where the island became an Australian Alcatraz, to the roaring industry of entrepreneur Diego Bernacchi in wine, cement, and tourism.

Once on the island, exploring the remains of a collection of industries, and the magnificent natural beauty, we made our way around to a sandstone embankment called the Painted Cliffs.

This space needs a workshop of its own to unpack – amazing sandstone cliffs eroded in fascinating patterns, with beautiful sea life all around.

The landscapes there and back, as well as the wildlife, were just unreal. Words fail me, so pictures will need to suffice.

From there, it was a quick rush back to the boat, all aboard, and off to conclude a magnificent day.

Big thanks go out to East Coast Cruises for the wonderful tour.

Oh, and happy 50th birthday, Mathew!

Southern Harvest Festival

Ruth making spider pizzas and maggoty capsicums, check out that salad- ewwwww!

Our fantastic Maestro of the Kitchen, Ruth, is a founding member of the Southern Harvest association, and is helping spread the word about good, local, delicious food.

To that end, this weekend come and check out the Southern Harvest Festival in Bungendore! Food, wine, cooking demos, and more all come together to help show off what amazing food is available just around the corner!

Aeoncademy is really passionate about providing great local food, and Ruth has been helping us explore some really exciting ways of doing so, including now taking on and developing our amazing Kitchen Garden program.

We’ve also got something going at the Southern Harvest festival – head along and check out our beautiful Cornucopia Painting – take a snap and post it to our Facebook page when you find it!

We’re looking forward to doing more with Southern Harvest as they and we continue to grow.

Image may contain: text and food

About the festival, Southern Harvest have to say:

Join us for a weekend that promises to put Bungendore on the map as an identity for food, farming and fibre related activities. The Bungendore Harvest Festival will promote integrity and freshness in the growing, breeding and production of produce in the Southern Harvest Region.

On Friday 28th April, linger over meals showcasing locally sourced food and beverages.

On Saturday 29th April, the streets of Bungendore will come alive with stalls, talks, cooking demonstrations and other activities. The Festival will take place in marquees along the footpaths in Ellendon Street and at participating businesses. Stalls along Ellendon Street will include fresh seasonal produce and meat from local farmers, food preserved from local harvests, local wines for tasting, other local food delights.

On Sunday 30th April, explore the region and discover Bungendore’s potential as a regional food destination. Participate in farm and winery tours, sample Bungendore’s freshest and finest local food at cafes and restaurants, and attend courses and demonstrations.

So head out and enjoy awesome food and amazing produce on offer.

Find out more.

Aeoncademy Facilitator at You Are Here 2017

Our fantastic Creative Catalyst facilitator and all round excellent artist, Isabelle Mackay-Sim, is appearing as part of the You Are Here festival with a brand new artistic installation: Municipal Animal.

You Are Here 2017

Here’s what You Are Here has to say about the exhibition:

“Municipal Animal is an interactive exhibition to help you experiment with a new and fantastical identity – to escape your human repression and insecurities. Isabelle Mackay-Sim’s elaborately constructed masks sit between sculpture and costume and their wearers will inject a healthy dose of surrealism into the landscape of the city centre. The masks are made from recycled materials crowd-sourced from around Canberra.

This installation has two Accompanied Explorations where participants are encouraged to try on the masks to dreamy and improvised soundscapes by local indie duo, Kilroy.”

You can check out Municipal Animal at the You Are Here Hub (46 Northbourne ave.) from the 5th to the 9th of April as part of the You Are Here festival.

You Are Here 2017 wraps up just in time for our Autumn Holiday Program!

A Tasmanian Community Garden

Mathew and I are visiting Tasmania and have been staying just out of Hobart at Dodges Ferry. Over the last couple of years we have watched with great interest a community garden space develop, complete with Pizza Oven and food co- operative. We went for a stroll on an overcast day to check it out again and were very impressed!

welcome to the garden
Welcome to the Okines Community Garden

The Okines Community Garden was established in 2012 and is looking great. We wandered through well looked after lawns and pathways, signed beds with various plants clearly labelled for identifying culinary, medicinal and cultural uses. There is a big wood fired pizza oven which we were informed is fired up regularly for Friday soirees and garden gatherings.


Wood fired Pizza oven outside the food co-op

The garden is situated next to Dodges Ferry Primary School and the Okines Community Centre. It is a hub where local school children learn about the environment, gardening and recycling.  There are well set up worm farms and compost bays. One huge compost pile  has been used to heat water running through irrigation pipes for a temporary shower!

We were kindly taken around the garden for an impromptu tour by a regular volunteer.  She proudly showed us the Labyrinth, a grass pathway created to inspire a quiet contemplative space for people to sit (or walk) and ponder. We saw the beginnings of a mushroom garden, a shaded area of woodchips inoculated with  edible mushroom spawn.  Organic adobe forms make up garden walls and benches, there is a seating in a circle made up of large rocks around a firepit. The entire garden is full of beautiful details and hand made objects constructed with care.

A Food Coop is open a couple of times a week allowing members and guests to purchase bulk food and exchange information. The garden sells produce and seedlings on an honour system any time it is needed and is open three days a week with regular working bees and social events. Along with the school children, a group of senior citizens attend supported gardening sessions as part of the Dignity program.  Special raised beds have been created to allow access for people in wheelchairs or walking frames. The garden is an inspiring and lovely place for all people.