Once upon a time there was a policeman….

posted in: Community, Family | 4

 

Policeman Russ Sheehan

Once upon a time, there was a brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ. His job with the force brought him and his family of princesses to a small country town, where they met other little families and before very long, the loyalest and most wonderful of friendships were forged. Grown ups, kids, (so many little princes and princesses) – even family animals – all became cherished, each by the others. One day, the time came for the policeman and his now bigger family of little princesses to move to another town. The friends by now had become friends for life, so even though they moved far away, there were still many celebrations and holidays and special times when all the princes, princesses and grown ups spent happy hours in one another’s company.

In time, the princesses and princes became grown ups as well, as is the way of princes and princesses. They found new princes and princesses to draw into the circle, and of course, began to bring new tiny princes and princesses into the world, who all became cherished – each by the others.

The job of a policeman can be a hard one, and while the brave and handsome policeman was keeping us safe, he was seeing things that troubled his kind heart. Maybe he thought he always had to be brave and strong. Maybe he was afraid what the grown ups and princes and princesses would think about him if he told them how he was really feeling. What he was really thinking.

Then one day, the brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ left the gown ups and the princesses and the princes forever, and all of them who had become cherished, each by the other, had broken hearts and lots of questions that had no answer.

Then, Blue HOPE appeared on the horizon, and the grown ups and the princesses and the princes wished so hard that they had known about Blue HOPE before the brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ had taken his own life, because maybe, the brave and kind policemen at Blue HOPE may have been able to help Russ to stay.

You see, Blue HOPE need some money to spread the word about the help they have available to brave, kind policemen. So, the grown ups and the princes and the princesses and all of them who became cherished, each by the other, decided to have a special day, in honour of their brave, kind and handsome policeman named Russ, and to raise money to give Blue HOPE so that other grown ups and princesses and princes who cherish kind, brave policeman may never have to know the sorrow of saying goodbye far too soon. 

 

 

As fairy tales go – this one is crap. Sadly, there is no happy ending ending to Russ’s story, but as the grown ups and the princesses and the princes who cherished him, we are choosing to honour his memory with a family fun day  – A Fuss About Russ – to raise money for Blue HOPE, as they aim to raise awareness & share information about Police Suicide globally, introduce an anonymous, external referral system and 24hr helpline.

 

artist Tracey Hewitt with her work "Turquoise Tranquility", which is being auctioned for the charity Blue HOPE

I’ve donated this piece “Turquoise Tranquility” as an item for the charity auction. It will go under the auctioneers hammer along with an astonishing assortment of goodies: from pearl jewelry to a tonne of mung bean seed! I’ll also be packing up my artwork and books to set up a market stall alongside my clever Mum and her handmade glass beads and jewelry. There’ll be plenty of market stalls, live music, games, helicopter joy rides, BBQ, yabbie races, clowns, and of course the auction action, plus lots more besides.

 

Family Fun Day flier for Fuss About Russ

Here are the details if you live close enough to come join us:

When: 17th September 10am to 4pm

Where: “Harcourt”, Baralaba – Moura Road, Baralaba, Qld. (We’d love you to you pre-purchase your tickets!)

For more information on the family fun day have a look at the Fuss About Russ facebook page, or contact me.  Further information about Blue HOPE can be found on their facebook page.

 

 

 

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Junction Park Mosaic Mural – A Theodore Community Arts Project

posted in: Community, Design, Mosaic | 2
Amanda Whitney (totally amazing Community Development Officer) and I finally get to relax and admire our handiwork!
For you special souls who visit the blog regularly, here is the explanation for the lack of regular postings lately.
Our mosaic wall. That’s the reason. It was a big part of our lives for a while. It’s finished. Can you hear the heavy, satisfied, exhausted, slightly sad sigh?
That was fun. Full on, and at times overwhelming and a bit scary, but fun. Amanda, our very dedicated Community Development Officer approached me, what seems like years ago now – oh hang on, it was in fact two years ago – with the offer of a wonderful creative opportunity. Would I be interested in creating a design for a mosaic work for our community, and acting as the local coordinator for the Banana Shire Council ? I’m so glad I said yes! Though there may have been moments in the ensuing couple of years when I seriously questioned my faith in my own capabilities, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
This is why:
Theodore locals turned out in force to work on a piece of the mosaic that they’ll feel forever connected to.

It’s no secret I love our little town and the people who call it home. Sandy Robertson and her wonderful hubby Dave came from Ozmosaics in Brisbane, bearing tools and tiles and other treats; and spent the next seven days showing over 60 Theodore locals the ‘how to’ of mosaics. No small accomplishment considering that of those 60, maybe 2 had any previous experience of mosaics. That’s one of the things I love about this place – people get involved. Even after hearing me on Jacquie Mackay’s ABC Radio interview, they still came! To stand in the middle of the shed, and look around at the absorption on people’s faces, listen to the stories being shared, the laughter, see the sense of satisfaction when they looked at what they’d accomplished; was a great privilege and tremendous buzz.

Black Cockatoos, Saratoga fish, Tawny Frogmouth Owls (totem of the Wulli Wulli people), Fitzroy Bottom Breathing Turtles and the Livistonia Palm – all locals themselves – are depicted on one side of the wall.
After working on the mosaic (I have to add that ‘work’ doesn’t quite feel like the right word) for 7 days on tables in the shed, we had a break for a couple of weeks, and Sandy and Dave returned, to glue the mosaic onto the wall that had been purpose built in Junction Park, one of Theodore’s loveliest spots. A green, leafy, tree studded park, flanked by the Dawson River and Castle Creek; this location was the inspiration for the design. 

Bottle Trees, wheat, cotton, a water wheel, a cow and a slightly abstracted version of the water tower and town main street complete the other side.
Sandy’s inextinguishable energy carried us along, as we glued, patched, grouted, cleaned, laughed and shared endless stories. She even showed us her clever secrets to create three dimensional effects with the tiles, as well as the plates and bowls that were donated by the community.

We loved our brass plaques acknowledging ‘those who made this project possible’ including the State and Federal  Governments, Operation Queenslander, and the Banana Shire Council

These loose circular shapes on the ends represent the stacks of timber from the local sawmill, and  also reference the many  circular traffic islands in Theodore’s main street.

I have a confession. I drive down to the park, just to look at this wall. The resident Grey Nomads in their  camper vans possibly think I’m stalking or something. Every time I look at it, I find myself thinking of Jeanie working on the water wheel, Diana creating amazing birds, Lotte bringing the bottle tree to glorious life, Jim laying roadway…. I could go on, and on, and on…… but I’m pretty sure you’ve got better things to do than listen to me list where 60 individuals laid their tiles. But the point is, I know, and I will always remember. From our youngest kids and oldest residents who created sweet, five petalled flowers that create a special background; to the brave souls who didn’t believe they could do it, but discovered that rivers and leaves and green rolling hills were not beyond them at all, this wall has the hearts of a whole community cemented right into it.

One of our talented locals, Kelly, showed up with this amazing cake collection  as we were finishing off the wall.

This Thank you is for them. And for our mosaic artist extraordinaire Sandy and Dave, whose DNA is in this wall – literally. Sandy bled into it more than once! For Community Development Officer Amanda, without whose vision and efforts this would never had come to life. For Laticrete – ceramic tile and stone installation products manufacturers –  who very generously donated all the glues, cements and grouts we would need for the project, and to everyone who supported, encouraged and shared in any part of the process. I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity, and beyond delighted with the results. One day, the grout might even come out from under my fingernails!