Artistic Adventures: Art class with Fi Wilkie in Margaret River. Credit Dylan Alcock.

There is a reason that spring inspires creativity: the days get longer, the light gets brighter and with nature bursting into bloom, it’s almost hard not to reach for the paintbrush.

With the warmer months on our doorstep, it’s also the perfect time to pause and take a breather before the social season starts. Instead of ramping the levels of busyness up; take some time to slow down, reconnect, and get creative.

Need one last gentle push into the artistic realm? Just remember how good it felt as a child when you’d look up and realise a whole afternoon had flown by creating mud pies, colouring in picture books or designing your dream cubbyhouse…that’s creative flow. It’s the ideal anecdote to the modern world’s pace of life.

Happs Pottery Workshops
Purchase a special piece or take part in a class at Happs Pottery.

Ceramics for the Soul

There has been a significant resurgence in the popularity of pottery and ceramics over recent years. Whether it’s thanks to the calming circular motion of a pottery wheel, the fun feeling of wet clay between one’s fingers or the union of creativity and practicality; there’s something deeply satisfying about walking away with useable cup, bowl, vase or plate after the creative process has been completed in the studio.

There are a number of options for pottery lovers in the region. Happs Pottery has been around for many years – you’ll find their handiwork on the tables of a number of the local restaurants too. Myles Happ will create the experience you are after, whether it’s a beginner’s intro or the chance to step up your skills to the next level.

Margaret River Printmaking
Margaret River Printmaking.

A Passion for Print

For those that don’t think they have a creative bone in their body, a session at Margaret River Printmaking will quickly turn things around. Francesco Geronazzo lives and works in Margaret River, Western Australia and Castel del Rio in Italy – so you’ll be getting a touch of international creativity with this class. Settle in with a glass of wine and a hunk of cheese and let Frank guide you through the basics of printmaking. You’ll find inspiration in nature and learn a variety of techniques, tricks and artistic design elements. Oh, and you’ll also have a heap of fun and head home with a finished piece of art.


Get Thee to the Gallery

With over a hundred artists living in the region, it’s no surprise that there are some fabulous galleries to visit year-round. Smack bang in the town of Margaret River sits JahRoc Galleries, housing a diverse collection of local and Australian artwork and furniture and hosting a calendar of 5-7 exhibitions annually.

Head down to Karridale, and you’ll catch Welsh artist Heather G Lowe-Sims at her gallery and working studio, Oriel Karridale Gallery. Filled with ocean hues and beachy vibes, her work ranges in medium from textiles through to paint and mixed media.

You won’t just find great wine in a delightful setting at the Mr Barval cellar door, it is also home to a rotating collection of art from remote Indigenous communities. Run as a not-for-profit, all proceeds go straight back to the artists.

Further north is Yallingup Galleries, a beautiful space nestled in the bush just off Caves Road. There is a diverse selection of established and emerging artists, including paintings, furniture, and jewellery.

Finally, if you’re ready to settle in for some lunch and a glass of wine, try The Studio Gallery and Bistro. After you have browsed the artwork in the gallery, head through to the restaurant for a relaxed dining experience in the sculpture courtyard.

Art Geo Busselton
Art Geo in Busselton

Canvas Creations

Fi Wilkie is based at her Margaret River creative hub, Toot Studios, and here you’ll find all sorts of inspiration to boost your own creative practice. One of the regions most established artists, Fi has a wide range of workshops on offer from beginners painting workshops, through to collage workshops and creative art and travel journaling. You can even get out in the fresh air and try your hand at her ‘open air art gym’. It’s practically impossible not to find creative inspiration after a session with Fi, no matter what age or experience level you are at.

Towards the northern end of the capes, you’ll find Busselton’s heritage precinct which is also home to the ArtGeo Cultural Complex. Put aside an hour or so to wander through the bush food garden, the historical buildings and art exhibitions before jumping in and developing your own artistic instincts at one of their regular workshops. Classes range in focus from printmaking through to painting, drawing, jewellery and creative writing so there’s always something new to give a go.


Talking Timber

A visit to the Busselton Woodturners is a chance to see the masters of this craft in action. A local community group, they are located in the Old Butter Factory complex in Busselton where the craftspeople demonstrate their skills and have a chat about local timbers and techniques. You will be amazed at the precision and beauty of the finished works.

Vasse Virgin Workshops
Create your own bespoke perfume at Vasse Virgin.

Inhale and Invent

The sense of smell is often forgotten about when it comes to creative ponderings. There are several options to heighten your olfactory skills, from candles through to gin.

An afternoon at Vasse Virgin is filled with opportunities to succumb to the world of scent. You can fill your basket up with goodies to get creative in the kitchen back at home, but we’d recommend taking things one step further and try one of the classes on offer. From a simple lip balm through to a full afternoon of natural perfumery creation, you’ll leave with your own piece of artistry and a head scintillated with sublime smells.

For those that like to sniff AND sip, Giniversity is the ultimate in creative adventures. You’ll spend the afternoon at the Margaret River Distilling Company learning the craft of distilling gin and the secrets behind blending aromatics. Learn exactly what it is you like and dislike, and finish up with your own bespoke bottle, crafted precisely to your tastebud’s preferences.

Just a short drive south of Margaret River, you’ll be able to find the Margaret River Candle Company in the heart of Witchcliffe. Alongside a store full of fire-friendly goodies, they also offer individual and small group candle making classes. The gift that keeps on giving, candle making combines the joy of creation with the relaxation of enjoying the finished product long after the wick is set in wax.


Walking and Wondering

Artistic inspiration very often comes from mother nature, so what better way than to pull on your boots and get out on the trails in the region? Dr Erika Jacobson is a creative practitioner and lecturer in creativity and innovation at Murdoch University  – that is, when she is not hosting a guided hike with Edgewalkers. Whether you fancy delving in for just one day of walking or a full multi-day hiking experience, you’ll be guaranteed to come away with the creative juices flowing and oodles of self-expression itching to find its way out into the world after one of her tours.

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