The North East region of NSW is well known for its grass roots art and craft communities. While towns such as Byron Bay and Nimbin are more readily identified with these industries, the Great Lakes region also boasts a vibrant art and craft culture.
This popular society has a 2 storey purpose-built home near the council buildings in Forster. Here members gather for workshops or to utilise the ample studio space. Specialties include beading, pottery, weaving, woodworking, quilting and photography plus much more. The centre is open 7 days and visitors are welcome to come and watch local artisans at work, participate in a workshop, browse the exhibitions or purchase some of the exquisite work on offer.
The GLAS is actively involved in fostering the development of skilled artists and sculptors in the local region. They hold regular classes for beginners, field days to explore the beautiful landscape along the hills and coastline and workshops with master tutors.
The Members Exhibition is held each year over September and October while the Open Exhibition held at Easter time features over $5,000 in prize money.
Tobwabba Art is a unique organisation. It is 100% owned by a group of Aboriginal artists. Their work is generally focused on their cultural experience of being separated from their roots and gradually creating a new identity with a modern influence. These factors mean that the art work is not considered ‘traditional’. Instead the artists use different colours, symbolism and techniques to tell the stories of their new lives and the lands that surround them now.
Volunteers from the Great Lakes Historical Society do a wonderful job running the museum, heritage centre and shop in Tuncurry. Artifacts from the region’s rich history have been meticulously documented and uploaded to an online database in collaboration with the local library. This allows locals and visitors easy access to information for research or personal interest. Guided tours of the museum are available by appointment. The centre is open every day except Mondays.
This delightful museum is located in Failford; just a few minutes north west of Tuncurry along The Lakes Way. What began as a personal hobby of the owner is now a showcase of all sorts of dolls from the 1800’s onwards. Of the 15,000 or so items in the collection, around 3,000 are antique dolls, prams and cots.
You will also find an entire room devoted to Barbie and her friends along with all their paraphernalia. In other rooms there are collections of character dolls such as Princess Diana and Elvis plus teddy bears, rag dolls, golliwogs and much more.
Bring the whole family as the children will be enthralled at the extensive collection while adults will re-live their childhoods with memories of long-lost toys.
You will find this popular toyshop and studio on Sugar Creek Road in Bungwahl, south west of Forster and just off The Lakes Way between Seal Rocks Road and the Pacific Highway.
The beautiful toys found here are hand-crafted on the premises from local timber including corduroy beech. The shop also has a small cafe attached.
A number of eateries and information centres in the district also support local artists by displaying their works so be sure to look up and the walls and shelves when you sit down to lunch. As you drive around you may also spot signs to individual studios set up in the homes of local artists.
This list is just a small taste of the arts venues in the region so venture out and you’ll see much, much more.