I’m so excited to tell you about this new-retro classroom, rescued from an old portables graveyard over in Central Victora. At the moment, it is a sleeping shell, that we plucked from out of the dust and weedy scrub, and placed in our muddy paddock. It’s waiting for its next life! Over time, I’ll bring updates about how I transform this hut for art-making and life-affirmation sessions.
A room for making in
I’ve been cooking this idea for some time, like a pot of soup on the backburner. It started as a ‘what if?’. What if we had a classroom for Arts & Health Gippsland, to share skills, and share our love of making, and our love of a whole spectrum of aesthetic pursuits? With the VicHealth arts project I’m managing, it would be great to have a kind of ‘headquarters’ for the work. Could it be done?
Not by magic (I wish)
The idea grew and changed. I wondered if it could be done with a shipping container. I applied for a grant for this, but was unsuccessful, so I let the idea subside for a while. Finding money to enhance a community is easy if you’re the right person and you know where to look. But how to truly prove that a thing enhances a community and is not driven instead by a desire for personal gain? That’s the hard bit, the almost-impossible bit. This classroom would be seen as a big personal asset, no matter what it offers in terms of community building. And so the money to fund it must come from personal savings (perhaps one day it might supplement my non-existent superannuation!).
it’s arrived, in all its wonky splendour…
I’ve called it “de Gelehut” (pronounced der Haylahoot with a gutteral ‘H’ sound; ‘-hoot‘ like ‘foot‘). That’s ‘the yellow hut’, in Dutch. No, I’m not Dutch, but I’ve married into Dutch ancestry, I sign my paintings ‘Vandyk’, and my daughter is gleefully learning the language as if it is her own. VanGogh had his Yellow House (which was actually in France). This old classroom ghost shall be my own yellow hut. (If you’re a colour-player, you’re wondering ‘what kind of yellow?’ – I’m still deciding).
BYO hot water bottle in Winter?
For those who spent any amount of time in these portable classrooms (1970s, 80s, 90s and some are still in use because there’s no need to spend money on our offspring’s educational environment is there? 🙄 ) you’ll know that these are icy boxes in winter, and hot, airless boxes in summer (because if you open the windows the flies come in). I’ll be looking into sustainable ways of making it cozy in winter, and cool in summer.
I’m planning a Winter Solstice bonfire smudging ceremony to welcome in any creative sprites that might be hanging about… 🔥