When I first came to Picola to visit my boyfriend ( and future husband), Cameron Lancaster on his 5th generation farm, I thought I had come to the end of the world! There seemed to be nothing to make it stand out amongst all the other tiny towns in Australia. Hot dry, dusty, flat, no shops, no anything! The nearest University was two hours drive away.
When I married Cameron and shifted into the area I tried to have a positive attitude, saying things to myself like: “bloom where you are planted” and “love can cover a multitude of sins”.
Twenty six years later I can say that I truly love this place and the people in it. I’ve become like Ruth in the bible when she says in verse 1:16 …”Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people…”. After you have been here for a while you discover that there is so much richness. There is history, there is a community that looks after one another, there is beauty all around from the tiniest native Chocolate Lily to the rare Superb Parrot, to the majestic River Red Gum, hidden away in the forest. I even love the Peppercorn trees!
My daughter Erin and her husband Lachlan will be performing ‘the Picola’ song’ at the exhibition opening. Her lyrics beautifully describe how she sees the beauty of her hometown shining through the ‘cracks’. Tammy Muir, our famous local bush poet, will also be performing ‘Ode to Picola’.
The Picola Song by Erin Lancaster, Lachlan Heycox and Austin Lancaster
Don’t know what’s changed since I was thirteen
In that old dusty town where I grew up
But I’m on my way
Like an abandoned movie set
In an out of date western once relevant
Now it’s full of cracks
Cracks in my mother’s forehead as she embraces me on the verandah
It’s been a while
As flat and dry as sunburnt toast
Every time I come home I see the cracks
But the sun still spills over everything
And I smile and love seeps through the cracks
The pub’s been up for sale for years
The station rusts as men sit around
But don’t say a word
Teenage mothers teach their kids to swim
In the public pool now clogged with bugs
Their smiles make cracks
The chemist lady asks me how I’ve been
Living in that big city following my dream
She knows my name
I’m missing my ticket for the morning bus
The bus driver opens the door and smiles and says
I’ll get you home
The above quilt called ‘Blue sky, red dirt, yellow Billy Buttons‘ is a piece I have just finished for the above exhibition at the G.R.A.I.N store, an art gallery in close-by Nathalia.
I have used a linocut of billy buttons (Picola is not know for billy buttons but there are a few that grow down our road) as a starting point. The work was then pieced together with hand dyed fabrics. The quilting added more line and texture over this improvised pieceing. This is a first piece in hopefully a series on these gems.
For further information in the G.R.A.I.N store: http://www.thegrainstore.org
‘Blue sky, red dirt and yellow billy buttons’ detail 2 by Linden Lanacster 2014