Second Instameet and new shops in the Borough

Just over four months ago we held our first Instagram / social media users meet-up here on the Fraser Coast. At the time we vowed we’d do so again and then I kinda procrastinated about the whole thing hoping someone else would initiate it.

Thankfully a few fellow Fraser Coasters ran into each other in some new shops in Maryborough and decided it would be a great spot for the next gathering.

The lovely Katie again did the hard yards and liaised with Sotik Sanderson (from Open City ESS) who is apparently not at all worried by the concept of smart-phone carrying locals tramping all over her lovely shop taking random pictures of themselves, each other and… various pretty things.

Of course I must confess I’m yet to make to the new fabulous shops (Open City, The Burra Bub Co and Hey Posy) in the Adelaide Street laneway (remembered by me as the place we bought my bicycles as a kid!), but I follow all three new shops on Instagram and Facebook. And… because my friend’s just written a blog post about them I’ll send you in the direction of The Daily Recovery to check it out: Laneway Life (258 Adelaide Street Maryborough) and for more information.

Pic via: Gayel / The Daily Recovery website

I for one am really excited about the new shops opening around the Fraser Coast. I know we continue to lose some, but new blood ahem, arrivals are certainly something worth celebrating and supporting.

So… I might see you on Saturday (5 August, 12-2pm)! Drop by for a coffee and say hello!

For non-Instagram users, Katie has set up a FB page you can follow for news of other meet-ups.

And if you’re on Instagram but can’t make it we’ll try to use a sensible hashtag, like #frasercoastinstagrammers, so you can follow along from your deathbed (as there surely can be no other reason for not coming! 😉 )

** You can find Instagram and Facebook links for the great new shops in the Adelaide Street Laneway in The Daily Recovery post **

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Karen Andersen: Fraser Coast fine artist

I’ve become a big fan of Instagram. Sadly I remain exceedingly unartistic myself when it comes to photography and visual art, but I’m discovering some fabulous business and personal accounts on Instagram and – more importantly – some very talented people!

I don’t even know how I stumbled across Maryborough’s Karen M Andersen but I was immediately taken with her art and started planning my eventual purchase of one of her pieces.

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Karen’s gorgeous Instagram feed

Karen’s refreshingly honest online (you can follow her on Facebook, Instagram or check out her website) about her experiences with depression and anxiety. And she openly talks about the benefits of using art as an outlet for her emotions and creative energy.

I had the opportunity recently to meet her and talk about her work.

As Karen notes on her website, she’s always loved art but grew up in the era when it wasn’t really seen as a ‘vocation’. It was a hobby, not something to pursue career-wise. Fortunately Karen was also passionate about biology and science and left her hometown of Maryborough to study at Rockhampton’s Central Queensland University in 1993.

It didn’t entirely work out for Karen and ended up being the first time she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Karen says there was still a lot of stigma around mental illness in the 1990s and anyone over 30 or so will certainly agree that it’s taken a loooong time to recognise its debilitating effects, and the importance of appropriate treatment.

In the meantime Karen started a family (her two children are in their mid teens) and although she continued to pursue her creative interests (drawing and art journalling) during this time, it still wasn’t something she saw as anything other than a hobby.

In 2016 Karen travelled to Rockhampton to a Ken Done exhibition. Inspired she signed up for a Masterclass run by Done – which was the first the popular artist had conducted.

Karen came away from that with a renewed passion for her art and a confidence which surprised her.

“I don’t know where that determination came from,” she said.

Since then Karen’s more vigorously pursued her art (she works with acrylics on canvas and, as a non-artist, I was surprised at the complexities of surfaces, primers, textures and hues).

Karen now sells her magnificent abstract work via her website.

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I admired a piece of Karen’s work recently (via Instagram) but she responded that it was not yet ‘finished’. I was intrigued and wondered how one knows it’s finished? (Did I mention my ignorance when it comes to ‘all things art’?) Is there a temptation to edit and edit and edit – which is something many of us who write struggle with, I asked.

Karen agrees that’s certainly the case. She says she still experiences doubt sometimes, but she heeds Ken Done’s advice that there’s nothing that a bit of white paint can’t fix.

Karen said her confidence in terms of her art has grown in recent times and she’s far less likely to ‘overwork’ her pieces. She also keeps a sketch book to document her ideas and things that inspire her – and it doesn’t allow her to erase any of her work. (Kinda like journalling I realise!)

Though she hasn’t been putting herself or her work ‘out there’ for long, her talent is already starting to be recognised. She recently won second place at the Hervey Bay Regional Gallery’s Hidden Wonders Art Exhibition and her work has been selected for future exhibitions.

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I love that she continues to be inspired by her surrounds – our beaches, rainforests and reefs. And she finds painting therapeutic and a way to express and explore her emotions.

I again confessed my artistic ignorance to Karen in admitting that I just love the colours of her work. I’m not a particularly visual person but even I can tell that Karen adding a patch of white to a vibrant piece somehow improved on what I thought was already finished.

I’d suggest following Karen on social media or checking out her website if you appreciate beautiful things, love colour and take inspiration from other’s creativity and talent.

I look forward to seeing more of Karen’s work on display around the Fraser Coast and beyond.

For more information on Karen or to buy her work, check out her site: Karen M Andersen.

** Big thanks to Karen for her time and letting me pick her brain. **

Pictures all from Karen's Instagram account.

New shops in Hervey Bay

I know it’s been a ridiculous amount of time since I posted here, but I hope to rectify that as things settle down. Between starting a new job, some medical stuff and moving house, this year has been a hectic one.

My ‘to-do’ list is ridiculously long but as I finally ticked off two of the things on it today I thought I’d share them with you.

Once upon a time gift buying and frivolous self-indulgent purchase options were fairly limited here in Hervey Bay. I’ve written before about a few gift shops in Maryborough (though I know Janet’s Art has now closed and I’m not sure about Maddison’s Cottage). In the Bay I’ve relied on Pandanus (on the Esplanade) or Open House (Boat Harbour Drive, Pialba) for most of the ‘stuff’ I want need.

However… although I’ve been watching from the sidelines I’ve been celebrating the arrival of some new alternatives and today FINALLY made it there to investigate.

Space & Oddity

Space & Oddity appeals to me on so many levels. Although I’m a little confused about the ‘&’.

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From Space Oddity’s FB page

Firstly, it’s quirky so HELLO… what’s not to like?! Plus they’re excellent marketers and have held a number of events since they opened with a bang several months ago. On top of that I salivate every time I see something new on their Facebook page. They sell furniture, comics, records, clothing and things you don’t even realise you need.

Their goods are eclectic anyway but this month they’ve been odder than usual, today hosting Oddities in the Attic. When I asked, they said they were going more for a ‘kitschy’ Ripley’s Believe It Or Not theme than Halloween. And they certainly achieved that.

And, I should note, this was in response to my…. “Do you always stock teeth?” question.

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I’m not sure if I should be embarrassed that I recognised so many of the ‘retro’ products and was bizarrely comforted by the familiar sense I got from some. I swear I’m only in my 20s. Not double that. Ahem. I’ve never heard of Tang or drank it as if it was nectar from the gods! 😉

On the recommendation of a friend, as well as expanding my Hervey Bay shopping repertoire, I was also on the hunt for something for my recently-purchased drinks trolley. The trolley itself seemed like a good idea until I realised I had nothing to place on there. And as it happens I found a très cute ice bucket for the excellent price of $18.

Thankfully Space & Oddity is very active on Facebook – an imperative as it’s the sort of store you need to monitor closely as you never know what will arrive when.

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Find them: around the corner from Dominos Pizza on the esplanade at Torquay
3/486 Charlton Esplanade, Torquay

Follow them on Facebook for opening hours, upcoming events and fun pics.

Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves

I passed this store a few weeks ago and some cushions caught my eye. I couldn’t stop at the time but then yesterday on Instagram they shared this picture of some gorgeous new stock.

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I was in love. Sadly I’m not in need of cups and saucers, but it seemed the perfect time to pop in and investigate.

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From Gypsies Tramps & Thieves’ FB page

The store is gorgeous and has a tasteful minimalistic feel. They stock clothes – some nice light linen pieces and an array of kaftans and the like. There’s also jewellery, some home decor and then a heap of gorgeous candles and body cream and wash.

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The branding on the latter very much appealed to my sense of humour and I (w)racked my brain for upcoming birthdays. Cos… guess what they’ll be getting?!

Like Space & Oddity the store supports local artists and their range changes regularly.

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Although I was eyeing off some of the jewellery I reminded myself that I don’t actually need any. I did – however – inadvertently walk away with a gorgeous carafe and glass. Ostensibly it’s for my drinks trolley but I’m now thinking it’d be really cute on my desk at home. Not to mention useful.

Find them: Shop 3, Corner the Esplanade & Bideford St, Torquay.

Check out their Facebook page for more info and pics of current stock.  And follow them on Instagram.

I know a few other places have popped up in Hervey Bay in recent times. Where else should I be shopping?

Gift shopping in Maryborough

I have been stunningly slack in this blog of late. Ummm… sorry ’bout that. It’s been busy but I know that’s no excuse.

It’s not just this blog I’ve let slide however, as my friends will tell you I’ve been spectacularly negligent on that front as well…. which is a problem because most of my close friends’ birthdays fall within these few months. And – in terms of them getting presents on time – well, I’ve failed miserably.

Instead there have been apologetic emails and phone calls. I generally have their gift, but buying, wrapping and then posting it so it arrives on time seems to be beyond my current capabilities.

However, it means I have been spending a lot of time gift-buying. In my current hometown of Hervey Bay I have a few go-to places: Pandanus and Open House are generally my best bets… but a couple of weekends ago (as I was looking for something specific) I spent much of Saturday checking out some of the great stores Maryborough has to offer.

Homewares from Everywhere is (seemingly) fast becoming a coffee / catch-up favourite. Located slightly off the beaten track (45 Gayndah Road) my mother has met friends there for coffee half a dozen times there in the last month or two. I’ve been once before but it’s expanded since then – the cafe in particular growing to meet its increasing trade.

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As the name suggests, the store has an eclectic array of ‘stuff’ (which is a technical term, in case you were wondering!). There are lots of lovely gifts and homewares as you’d expect; but there are a heap of scarves and clothes as well. I actually fancied a couple of the handbags but sadly couldn’t justify any new purchases for me.

It was my first visit to Maddison Cottage Gift Shop and Tearooms (located on the corner of Richmond and Ann Streets). It also houses a cafe along with its giftware range. I fell in love with a few pieces there and bought an early birthday present for my aunt while my mother bought a few gifts as well. Some of its products were bit too french / shabby chic for my taste but I know they appeal to many and the store certainly had a great array.

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Janet’s Art, Books and Coffee (264 Kent Street) was our last stop. I’d been there before but was looking for a particular book for a friend and I knew that Janet’s had a HUGE range of books (non-fiction coffee table books, albums and the like). It also stocks jewellery and knickknacks, while the cafe sells some gluten-free goodies. I often actually go there to buy my cards because there’s always something (a bit different) that takes my fancy. Janet’s Art also has jazz music in their courtyard on a regular basis.

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I probably need to add that the only downside to all of these venues being cafes / homewares and gifts is that you ‘occasionally’ have to wait a while for service. But… I’d recommend you go when you have time to spend as they all deserve a lengthy browse.

I’ve missed stores within Maryborough’s CBD I guess, but anywhere else?