The Story Seat

A Knox City Council Community Arts Project, supported by Mountain District Learning Centre (MDLC) and Community Housing Victoria Limited (CHL).

Photo: Barbara Oehring

Photo: Barbara Oehring

July 27 saw the launch of a beautiful mosaic seat in the centre of the CHL Housing Village in Dorset Road. Made by the residents with the support of artists Sarah Hammond and Leanne Mooney, the seat is both a work of art and a place to share stories.

Artist Sarah Hammond spoke with feeling about the value of sharing stories.

Thank you for welcoming us into your space and allowing us to play for a while to help you create this incredible piece of community art.

We need stories like we need sunshine. Behind every living or inanimate thing, there is a story. Stories connect us. They enrich our lives. Make sense of our fears. Answer our questions.

The Story Seat came into being built on the stories of the people who created it. Stories of joy, of sorrow, of hopes and dreams. Under the guardianship of two giant oaks, we replicated them in mosaic and drew upon their strength to create a special place. Through tears and laughter, we shared tales of our children, our families, of love, pain, pets, travels, wonders and wisdoms. We bonded over piles of broken tiles as we pieced together a whole new work of art. And the art is glorious. It embraces colour and radiates life.

The Story Seat is a space to meet, to sit and talk or to simply reflect. And like the mosaic vine that encircles the seat, the stories told there will weave our lives together. The Story Seat sits on the village green. It invites you to come and tell your story.

Photo: Barbara Oehring.

Photo: Barbara Oehring.

Now, as everyone knows, behind every great achievement there is generally a whole team of people. Without the steady stream of student artists (you) from this fantastic community, we would probably be still mosaicing the background. It started with your tiles of inspiration- words and wishes for you all. Then we let your imaginations lead the design.

You came in the rain. You came in the cold. You worked until there was no light left. Working in the mud under tarps that leaked and sometimes tipped whole bucketloads of of water down your backs. And those of you who didn’t make it down to the save, you waved at us from your balconies to encourage us, or stopped for a chat while walking the dog.

And on the occasions when the clouds cleared and the sun shone brightly, our community art angel from Knox City Council, Jo Herbig, would appear. She was great. She left us alone to ‘do our thing’ while always being there in the background if we needed her. We don’t know how she managed it, but she always brought the sun with her. I think she wondered what on earth we were whinging about. Whenever she visited… it wasn’t cold, it wasn’t wet, it was a glorious winter day!

We hope that you enjoy the seat for many years to come, and that the village green becomes a central hub for your community. We will send wishes to the powers that be for some shade, a huge picnic bench, and a barbeque!

Barbara Oehring-15401-Edit

Photo: Barbara Oehring.

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