Take a Walk on the Art Side around Margaret River … and beyond

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro

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.

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro, Redgate Beach

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.

Favourite Galleries

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.

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro

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.

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro, Boranup Forest

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 .

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro

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.

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro

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.

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro

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.

Fast Fact

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.

Art Margaret River by Jo CastroOnline Art

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.

Arty Events

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.

Art Margaret River by Jo Castro

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.

Fast Facts

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,

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Comments

  1. Mike says:

    OMG! I just checked for a new post from you 30 minutes prior to my email Subscription notification coming through, Johanna! We hadn’t heard from you in so long we were wondering :) I liked in the paragraph how you described, “vibrant, yet relaxed…” as that is exactly how you as a writer and blogger affect me. You do know you will need to be my personal WA tour guide when I make it down there. I always forget it’s summer Down Under now. Another fantastic post, our friend! :)
    Mike recently posted..My Top 10 Favorite Movie Theme Songs Part IIMy Profile

  2. Bonny
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Johanna, great to see you back in the new year! I loved this overview of all the galleries and artists down in Margaret River. I think my favourite is Boranup Galleries (I’ve always wanted one of those tables made out of the cross-section of a huge tree!), and I also really like the glass-making studio in Margaret River town.

    To anyone who likes art and wandering around galleries, I recommend going for a drive around the back roads inland from Yallingup where it seems every second property is a gallery or artist’s studio of some sort!
    Bonny recently posted..Top 10 West Australian BeachesMy Profile

  3. Thanks Bonny! And thanks for the reminder of the glass-making studio and inland roads too … I think the fun thing is that there is always ‘just one more’ place to discover if you’re doing an arts-trail around Margs, hey!

  4. Hey Mike! Happy New Year to you and Phoenix!
    Ha Ha … not sure my husband would describe me as ‘relaxed’ ;) Yes, we’ve had a busy family oriented festive season in this part of the world, but back to blogging now :)

  5. you have picked some of my favourite galleries Jo – pitty I don’t have the wallet to match my likes! Lucky aren’t we to have so many amazing artisans so close to our doorstep.
    Life Images by Jill recently posted..Summer and 2014 beginsMy Profile

  6. Yay! Jo is back. Nice post. A great reminder that I need to seek out museums in our area. We live near so many wonderfully historic places and don’t often enough take the time to appreciate them and even more importantly, take the children to learn from them .
    Mary Martin recently posted..Let Them Slurp Sno-Cones!My Profile

  7. Janet Scott says:

    My favourite is the Boranup gallery – I could spend hours browsing there! This makes me want to visit again.

  8. It’s a bit of a treasure trove isn’t it Janet! And I hope you get to visit again soon :)

  9. Ha Ha, thanks Mary for the lovely welcome back! Glad you enjoyed the post, and I agree we often overlook art and culture things in our own areas and then overdose when we go somewhere different.

  10. I know Jill, my wallet too needs a bit of a stretch to match some of the pictures where I go “Ooh nice, I like that,” and then “how much?” and it’s all over! But there is lots of affordable art too thank goodness. Just a matter of tempering our desires ;) Yes we are very lucky :)

  11. Those Fast Facts are great Jo. I think wildflower season would be a wonderful time to visit. Love the close-up of you in the last collage. :)
    budget jan recently posted..Tuesday in Townsville in 2013My Profile

  12. Thanks Jan! Glad you liked the fast facts – for visitors I think they are key to planning holidays.

  13. Neva
    Twitter:
    says:

    You put together a very complete listing of galleries. I’m going to have fun searching for the on-line stores for some of the special things you showed in your pictures.
    Neva recently posted..Our Secret’s Out – We Love TrainsMy Profile

  14. Glad you liked it, Neva! Thanks for popping by, and enjoy a little online retail therapy :)

  15. Wanda says:

    Thanks Jo for this super retrospective. It’s a great reminder that there is so much to do in our own backyards. We have been to the Boranup Gallery, and it’s just brimming with wonderful bits and pieces that just scream ‘touch me!’ Time go go back there, I reckon.

  16. Yes, our backyards are always important but often overlooked aren’t they Wanda. Glad to hear that you’re inspired for a little trip back to Boranup Gallery.

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