On the road to the…

On the road to the artists' colony of Monsalvat, we stopped for gas and ice cream. Karina claims this was a childhood favorite ice cream. I have no words.

This place was built from recycled materials, on almost no budget, by volunteers. I mean, that's so impressive, it's just bewildering. http://www.montsalvat.com.au/

"Justus J�rgensen, as a student of Max Meldrum, spent many happy hours painting in Eltham. In 1935 J�rgensen purchased land and with his friends (see details of the Artistic Community here) commenced work on the buildings that became Montsalvat. The first buildings were two small �French Provincial� style cottages where they could stay at weekends. By 1938 work had started on the Great Hall. This mainly stone building includes two galleries, a studio and a large dining hall.

"J�rgensen had the ability to make use of whatever material was at hand. The earth and stone from the excavations formed the walls, with other materials sourced from wreckers� and builders� yards across Melbourne.

"With the outbreak of World War Two, the collective energies at Montsalvat were redirected and Montsalvat became largely self-sufficient, with a market garden, poultry farm and small dairy. Several more buildings were hastily built for the �farm� - the dairy, barn, stables, silos and storehouses belong to this period."

Geese (I think?) wander freely.

Not the best photo -- I should have asked her to pose. But this is Karina's mother, Jill.

I want to recline on that chaise and dream about my next novel.

Dining hall -- Karina had a birthday party picnic here.

See, don't I look at home here already?

The artists who work here have a variety of skills and interests; instrument-making seems fairly popular. (This one is a luthier and shakuhachi flute maker.) But there are writers too!

There's art all over the place, including some impressive galleries. But she just charmed me for some reason.

Guitar-making.

A rare moment of display!

I'm ready for my close-up.

Bracken and ivy.

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