28 February, 2017

Mosaics on the Barwon

According to Wikipedia:
...the word mosaic is from the Italian mosaico deriving from the Latin mosaicus and ultimately from the Greek mouseios meaning belonging to the Muses, hence artistic.
As an art form, mosaics have been around for thousands of years. The earliest known mosaics, dating to the third millennium BC were located in a temple in Mesopotamia. Both the Romans and Greeks used mosaics on the floors and ceilings of their villas whilst eastern and western Christians, Jews and Muslims all used mosaics to adorn their various places of worship.

The use of mosaics has continued to the present day where they often take the form of public artworks. Conveniently for the topic of this blog post, the Barwon also boasts some modest mosaic pieces in the form of a large structure near Fyans Park as well as some drinking fountains which have been given the mosaic treatment at a couple of points along the walking/cycling path.
Mosaic-coated drinking fountain near Breakwater
depicting the bull-rushes found along the river

A second fountain at Fyans Park
Mosaic structure at Fyans Park
In recent times, working with mosaics has also become popular as a leisure activity with classes being offered to cater for a wide range of tastes and abilities. For the last few years, mosaic artist and teacher, Rosemarie Kviz has conducted classes in her studio at the Old Fyansford Paper Mills, Lower Paper Mills Rd in Fyansford.
Mosaics at The Mill, June, 2015. Piece by Rosemarie Kviz
In 2015 I attended an open day at the Mill and saw the work of Rose and her students. It took almost a year however, before I finally took the plunge and started attending classes myself.
The view of the Barwon from the classroom at The Mill
So, for about a year now, I have been mosaicking everything from flat plywood pieces to candle-holders and even a mannequin. My starting point was - unsurprisingly - a view of the Barwon River.
On the Barwon looking south towards
the Barrabool Hills
My second piece was also a Barwon scene, this time a depiction of the ruins of the Carrah Flour Mill on the north bank of the river about 3km south of Inverleigh and the topic of a previous blog post.
Ruins of the Carrah Flour Mill near
My third - and to date final - Barwon piece portrayed one of the many Rainbow Lorikeets I have seen along the river over the years.
Rainbow Lorikeet on the Barwon
Whilst mosaics have traditionally been created by arranging tiles to create an image, in the computer age it has become possible to create digital mosaics and some time before I began creating physical mosaics, I also dabbled with creating a photographic mosaic. Realising I had amassed somewhere in the vicinity of 14,000 photos of the Barwon River (significantly more some two years down the track), I decided to see if it was possible to create a digital mosaic which used as many as possible of my Barwon photos.
After a significant amount of time spent editing, manipulating, finding the right program and finally compiling, I had created a digital mosaic composed of 10,000 unique photos, each in some way related to the Barwon.
Digital mosaic created using the AndreaMosaic
The end result was a 150cm x 106cm version of the above image which now hangs on my wall. Each "tile" in the photo mosaic is a high definition 15mm x 10mm image visible to the naked eye. The windmill in the image was situated slightly downstream of Wilson's Rd, St Alban's Park however, it now lies in pieces on the ground.

04 February, 2017

The Cadel Evans show rolls into town again...

After Friday's paddle, I switched the 'yak for the bike and on Saturday morning headed out onto course to watch the women's event in the third edition of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. As I have done in previous years, I headed round the river and took up position along with one other interested local at the foot of the Breakwater Bridge to wait.
The peloton rides over Breakwater Bridge
The tail end
As usual, the arrival of the peloton was presaged by a barrage of scouts and photographers on motorbikes, police bikes, police cars, the race director's car, the commissaire and finally the lead car. Within minutes the riders had come and gone and whilst they made their way to Barwon Heads, I headed to Fyansford.
After a stop for lunch under the shade of the peppercorns, I took up position at the bottom of The Deviation and waited for the riders to return. As I did so, I spotted Sebastian Flaccavento on one of his modified kid's bikes, about to slog his way up the Fyansford Hill ("Cementies" to the locals). As he has done in previous years, I presume Sebastian was the last of around 3,500 riders up the hill in the People's Ride which preceded the women's race.
Not happy with one ride, Sebastian also rode up "Cementies" prior to the
men's race on Sunday
By about 2:15pm the helicopters filming the race came into view over Highton and a few minutes later the riders descended on Fyansford. Significant winds out on the couse had fragmented the peloton. The first rider to enter Fyansford was English rider Emma Pooley with a handy lead heading up "Cementies" however, in a sign of things to come the following day, she was reeled in with the race eventually being won in a bunch sprint by the Dutch rider Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) ahead of Ruth Winder (Unitedhealthcare Pro Cycling Team) and Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle High5).
Lead rider Emma Pooley hits Fyansford
The remains of a fragmented peloton riding down The Deviation
On Sunday it was back on the bike and out to see the men's race. Once again I watched the riders leave town from the Breakwater Bridge before heading back to Fyansford. This time I opted for a position halfway up "Cementies" from which to view proceedings.
The peloton crossing the Barwon at Breakwater
The riders came and went, viewed by a cluster of interested locals and I headed off firstly to Queen's Park, then to the bottom of Challambra Crescent followed by a position on the rowing course to watch as the peloton proceeded to reel in a four man breakaway which had been out in front since the opening kilometres of the race.
Riding up "Cementies" with a glimpse of a Eugene von Guerard view
in the background
Lap 1: racing onto the Queen's Park Bridge
Lap 2: heading for Challambra Crescent via the Barwon at Highton
Lap 3: the final time along Barrabool Rd
With the third lap of the city circuit underway, I headed down to the Waterfront to watch what turned out to be a dramatic finish which saw German rider Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb) win by half a bike length from Simon Gerrans (Orica-Scott) and an unfortunate Cameron Meyer (Korda Mentha Real Estate Australian National Team) who had led the final sprint only seconds before in third place.
100m to go as Arndt, Gerrans and Meyer sprint for the finish line