As much as I love food, wine and having a good time, sometimes it’s necessary to rein in my philistine and bolster my culture vulture which often skulks in the sidelines.
On those occasions there’s nothing I like to do more than plan a day visiting the various fine art, and art and craft galleries in the region.
Margaret River Region in the news
This holiday season has seen us get out and about on frequent occasions; for a wine and brewery tour , for degustation lunches, wine tastings, beach walks, bicycle rides and swims on glorious, almost deserted beaches.
And as we’ve journeyed we’ve realised that it’s no wonder the region has won awards and was crowned Western Australia’s ‘Top Tourism Town’ by GWN7 for 2013, and in 2010 was voted as one of the top 10 Lonely Planet destinations.
Despite the many accolades, at heart the region is relaxed – yet vibrant too. Vineyard workers, wine makers, surfers, tree changers, professionals, artists and artisans all contribute to the working vibe, and the art world in general is well represented.
And it’s true that it’s the art that often brings us back to the region as we set out on quests to find little known galleries scattered like peppercorns in unlikely places. Up until recently there was little advertising, but now you’ll find a helpful guide available at the Visitor Centre that lists, with a handy map, The Margaret River Artisans a group of over fifty working professional artists and galleries, some internationally renowned.
There are far too many galleries to see in one day but we’ve managed to get to quite a few over the five years we’ve lived in Western Australia. We often visit a gallery, have lunch, walk on the beach and then retire to somewhere nice to stay for the night – ticking a number of life balance boxes, don’t you think!
Here are some of our favourites
Jahroc Galleries is in the main street of Margaret River near the river with a gorgeous karri Forest as its back garden. It’s home to Jahroc Furniture and also exhibits fine art, glass, sculpture, ceramic and fine wood. Wonderful gallery for inspiration and hey, why not visit the Margaret River Bakery right close by for a little sustenance?
Christmas in Karridale, Atelier. This is a jewellery gallery but also stocks (year round) the most amazing selection of imported Christmas Decorations and Cuckoo Clocks from the Black Forest, Germany. We bought some cute Christmas decs to update our tree this year. You’ll find it on 30 Brockman Highway, Karridale.
Boranup Gallery: Over many visits we’ve spent hours browsing and purchased many gifts from this gallery – there are small gifts to be found, large gifts and very expensive ones if you like. The gallery displays a huge collection of local hardwood fine timber furniture and a range of artwork by Australian artists.
At the very start of this post you’ll see a photo that depicts the variety of art for sale at Boranup Gallery.
The drive through the Bornaup karri forest is worth the trip if nothing else, and having a cup of coffee and cake at Café Boranup right next door to the gallery amongst the trees and birds makes a lovely interlude to art buying .
The Studio Gallery, Marrimup Drive is part of the wonderful Studio Bistro and showcases leading Australian artists and studio crafts. The bistro is in a stylish setting and serves fabulous food. Visit for lunch and an enlightening art experience – just wonderful.
Yallingup Galleries. Every time we go past we have to stop here. It’s a purpose built gallery in a natural bush setting on Caves Road on the corner of Gunyulgup Valley Drive. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of artwork from recognized Australian Artists, and also a diverse range of fine arts and furniture.
Further down the road on Gunyulgup Valley Drive (a beautiful drive if ever there was one) you’ll find Gunyulgup Galleries overlooking a scenic lake. Here there’s a diverse range of Western Australian art and design with over 80 artists and craftpersons represented at any one time. Expect paintings, glass, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery and textiles.
Gunyulgup is an aboriginal word meaning ‘resting place near water’.
Happs Pottery and Gallery. We love Happs because there’s a winery, a pottery and gallery. Happs’ wine is varied and there’s lots to taste, but a visit to the neighbouring gallery makes a lovely interlude from wine tasting. It features the work of resident artists and locally produced pottery, along with paintings and jewellery.
There are also glass items and small indulgent hand made gifts some of which always make their way into our present drawer.
Not everyone reading this post will be able to visit these galleries, I know, although some do have online stores.
But if you’re ‘into art’ you might like to visit an art gallery or two online anyway.
I love Art of the Imagination a business run by friends in the UK who focus on art that inspires the imagination. Their stable includes book illustrators, fine artists and and bronze sculptors. Take a look and be whisked away on a flight of artistic fancy. Actually, I wish they’d come and set up shop in Margaret River too
Another site I’ve discovered offering modern prints, limited editions and originals is Saatchi Online, part of the Saatchi Gallery in London where artists exhibit and sell their work commission free. It’s a forum for contemporary art, presenting work by unseen young artists or international artists whose work has been rarely exhibited. You’ll find fabulous inspiration for wall decoration. So if you’re feeling flush then you might want to pop over to the site and Buy Now.
I couldn’t leave Margaret River today without mentioning some arty events …
Midsummer Night’s Dream, part of Shakespeare in the Vineyards at Voyager Estate on Saturday 10th January 2015. We attended last year … it’s a lovely relaxed evening, bring a picnic or book for dinner, or buy a gourmet burger and enjoy a glass of wine as the sun sets, and actors take to the lawns in front of the gorgeous Cape Dutch cellar door.
Movies in the vineyards at Cape Mentelle, Wallcliffe Road, Margaret River- now until 22nd March 2014.
WA Circus Festival, Karridale, end of January 2014 – check it out, a weekend of camping with some alternative entertainment … looks amazing.
For more information visit my friends at the Visitor Centre for heaps of friendly advice.
If you’re thinking of combining an art tour in Margaret River with other activities you might bear in mind the following …
Whale season for migratory whales and land based or boat based whale spotting is best from June to December
The Wine vintage runs from February to April
Wildflower season is very pretty, and for this you’ll need to be around during September to November.
Summer is officially from December to March. The region can be very busy over Christmas and school holidays so book your accommodation in advance.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to art in the Margaret River Region, and online art, and would love to hear about your own favourite galleries.
Until next time,