For the Inspired Reader

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Current Exhibition:
Berit Hampel
Once Upon a Time
Jill Edwards
Across the Salty Seas 



Blarney Books Newsletters

Jill Edwards – Across the Salty Seas

Jill says it herself, she loves a window. Even more than a door. She finds the suggestion windows give of looking through (out or in) reveal even more than simply the practical view – a desire to place yourself somewhere else, a curiosity about your surroundings, an imagining that is transportative, a meditation on life itself …

Awaitened Return by Jill Edwards

And with this in mind, in Across the Salty Seas, Jill has indeed produced some very meditative pieces. They can soothe the soul with their peace, their warmth and the feeling of calm that comes from them. As if you’re gazing at the ocean on a mild day.

Greener Pastures by Jill Edwards

Jill has pulled together an exhibition made of the fragments of her past and her present. As a photographer first, she has taken and gathered beautiful images from her ancestral country, Ireland, and merged them with images from her current hometown, Port Fairy. Jill’s artwork also references an old text she found as an art student, Life of the Liberator by MF Cusack. Jill has trekked around Ireland and visited places of ancestral significance (Kilbrogan, Bandin, Derry) and plans to return there later in 2015 for more.

The Life of the Liberator by MF Cusack

For all of those Australians who feel their Irish ancestry, and you know who you are, this exhibition is definitely for you. It will stir within you all those mixed up feelings, that nostalgia for other times, other (greener/older) worlds, that desire to retreat to a little stone cottage set upon a rugged clifftop.

Artist Jill Edwards, with Des Bunyon of Customs House Gallery (Hawkesdale).

On until the end of April. Come see.

Exhibition into other worlds is launched!

The lovely Des Bunyon of Customs House Gallery (Hawkesdale) was invited by the artists to open their current exhibition at Blarney Books & Art. In his introduction Des raised the subject of the The Cottingley Fairies, and has made me think about that a lot – about how we all want to believe in some of the magic that’s contained in a fairytale, and it is this appeal that makes Berit’s fairytale photography so compelling.

Des Bunyon of Customs House Gallery (Hawkesdale) introduces the exhibition by Berit Hampel (left) and Jill Edwards (middle).
Des Bunyon of Customs House Gallery (Hawkesdale) introduces the exhibition by Berit Hampel (left) and Jill Edwards (middle).

In 1917 two young cousins took some photographs where they were playing, and for a while the world believed that they had captured images of true fairies, especially as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle heard of the photographs and asked to see them. The photographs were tested again and again for manipulation/trickery, but none was found. It wasn’t until the early 1980s that the grown women admitted that they’d just photographed cardboard cutouts secured with hatpins.

Fairy offering posy of Harebells to Elsie
Fairy offering posy of Harebells to Elsie

This illustrates not only good imagination, but also a human desire to believe in other worlds, in magic. We all crave a little bit of magic – something that comes from things as simple as a wonderful film, a great book, an evocative meal – or something bigger, like an extraordinary encounter.

Winter's hope by Berit Hampel from the "Once Upon a Time" exhibition
Winter’s hope
by Berit Hampel
from the “Once Upon a Time”

Berit’s photography gives us a little bit of this magic, by taking fairytales and giving them a real environment. She has placed Red Riding Hood in a very local setting, by using photographs taken at our nearby dormant volcano, Tower Hill. Other images were taken in the Otways, rainforest only a couple of hours from this area. Other images at The Grampians.

Red Riding Hood by Berit Hampel from the exhibition “Once Upon a Time”

Berit downplays the fairytale, and brings them to a level where they are at once familiar, but still surreal. In the image above, you can make out some beautifully textured fur (bottom right corner) which suggests the presence of a wolf. We know this story instantly. The red cape, the wolf. I’ve never seen either of these (cape, wolf) at Tower Hill, and we’ve spent years exploring those paths. In each image, there are things that take the mind some time to actually ‘see’. There is a rat at a wintery window, hidden mushrooms, and watching eyes.

Thumbelina, by Berit Hampel, as part of "Once Upon a Time"
Thumbelina, by Berit Hampel,
as part of “Once Upon a Time”

This exhibition is up until the end of April.
(In our next post, we’ll look at the work of Jill Edwards.)



Berit Hampel and Jill Edwards present:


Join the artists for the exhibition launch on
Friday, 27 March 2015
at 6.00 pm.
To be Opened by Des Bunyon of Customs House Gallery (Hawkesdale).
All welcome! Free event.
Drinks & nibbles included.


(Free) Event: Friday, 13 March 2015


Please join us for the launch of

by Robert Gott

Robert will be in conversation with Port Fairy’s own crime writer, Jock Serong.

Friday 13 March 2015 at 6pm,
at Blarney Books & Art.

Free drinks & nibbles included.

Brought to us by Scribe.

RobertYou can watch the book trailer here!








The New Year is looking all Sparkly and Fresh, and New Year resolutions are running strong, so it must be time for BIBLIO-ART 2015! Indeed, the barrow is out and it’s full of dusty old vintage volumes just waiting for artists to carry them off and breathe new life into their old bones! By now you know the drill – come in to the shop, rescue the book that’s calling your name from the barrow, and commit to making your masterpiece inspired by the end of April. If you can’t make it into the shop (and I’ll agree, that’s pretty hard if you live in another state, or country), you are welcome to email us and we can mail you a book selection. Up for grabs is the Biblio-Art 2015 $1500 grand prize, and four smaller prizes of $250 (Storyteller’s Award, Under 18 Award, People’s Choice Award, Random Draw). It’s a non-acquisitive, but all-inclusive competition! Get on board!

The wheelbarrow is full of book selections for Biblio-Art 2015!
The wheelbarrow is full of book selections for Biblio-Art 2015!

Bluestone Magazine have, in a lavish display of largesse, doubled their sponsorship and have morphed their award into a Local Artist Award (value $500) – and seriously, we think this is pretty awesome of them, and important too for our locals to be given an extra dip in the pool. So make sure if you see a Bluestone journo wandering the streets, give them a big hug, buy them a coffee, and best of all, subscribe to their magazine! They are doing wonders for our creative community.




Stay tuned for a date.

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