SALA Festival 2023 – A Successful Event for us

The SALA Festival 2023 is officially finished and it has been a very successful exhibition for us here at Tong and Chic Creations. We had our work displayed at 3 locations, The Top of the Torrens Gallery, The Springton Town Hall, and a solo exhibition at the Lyndoch Lavender Farm. In all we had 35 pieces on display and for sale. The end result was 21 pieces sold over the 3 venues, and it was certainly a surprise to us both. We also got a couple of commission pieces to make as well

The pick axe fish and grass trees proved to be very popular at all venues. Demonstrations at the Lyndoch Lavender Farm on metal rose making inspired people to buy some hand made roses. The bonus is that $10 from each rose sold is donated to the Hills Murraylands Military Brotherhood MMC to support veterans in the local area.

Having three exhibitions at once was quite a challenge, especially when it came to making artworks for display. As you can see in the gallery below, there were some similar items in each exhibition, but each one had its own identity. This is not a complete list of our works on display but it is the majority of exhibited work.

The final weekend of SALA, I was invited for an interview on radio station 5AA with Michael Keelan. The interview went well, and we discussed how long I had been creating metal art. Michael was surprised to find that I had only been doing this since 2019. They had obviously done their research as they were discussing a previous emu I made with welding goggles on. I had to take the opportunity to put in a plug for each of the exhibitions we were connected with as well as Ann’s glass artworks

Now we are starting all over again to create art for Brighton Jetty Sculptures! Watch this space

Jetty Sculptures 2023

Back in October we told you that we have entered some artworks in the Brighton Jetty Sculptures 2023 (BJS). Well the ride there was nothing short of interesting. On the first count only one of our pieces was accepted and we were feeling a little dejected. Shortly afterwards we were notified another 2 were accepted, so we were feeling a little better. After all, we were entering a competition with some big guns and amazing artists.

On the set up day we arrived ready to roll and met up with the amazing staff from the BJS and Surf lifesavers club. The assistant curator Marc showed us where our locations were and made sure our artworks were secure. Ann and I both connected well with Marc and discovered he is also another metal artist.

The day after we were at Murray Bridge shopping and also checking out the flood waters. We received a phone call just as we were leaving asking us to bring our other 2 items down to fill a couple of last minute no shows. It was a mad rush to get home, pack up the ute, and head down to Brighton to set up the 2 items. In all, all 5 pieces were on display.

Fast forward to the exhibiton opening event. We turned up early so we could look at all the artworks, and we were really up against the big guns. The exhibition is set up in the Outdoor Display and the Indoor Displays. Meeting other fellow artists and discussing different methods, styles and opinions was a great experience. Unfortunately I was suffering a bit of heat exhaustion and started to fade out. Fortunately for me I was at a surf life saving club. Marc’s eagle eye saw the colour drain from my face. He immediately sprung into action and in no time I was on the floor getting cooled off and stabilising my blood pressure. Needless to say Ann took me straight home after that. I cant thank the staff at the Brighton SLSC enough for what they did for me that night.

Anyway we get home and Ann has a message that she has sold her ‘Under the Sea’ piece. This was our first artwork sold at the exhibition so we were pretty excited. A few days later I received a call advising that my ‘Catch of the Night’ had also sold. Later that day, I had another call that a lady was interested in commissioning me to make a similar piece for her. So far that has not eventuated, but Ill keep my fingers crossed.

The final day for the sculptures is Sunday the 29th January 2023 and I receive another call advising that my ‘Joanna Perentie’ sculpture has also sold. Of all the pieces this one was Ann’s favourite. I must admit, it did hold a special place in my heart. I was actually planning to put it on display in front of Ann’s Studio, but alas it’s not to be. ‘Little Red Roo’, my final piece will be lonely there, until I make another to keep it company. In all, three out of five pieces were sold. Even though there is a commission on each piece, we are happy with the result and happier that the Brighton SLSC is getting a cut of the sale.

The Brighton Jetty Sculptures is going to be a permanent fixture in our exhibition calendar. We are already planning next years exhibits.

Getting Ready for the Brighton Jetty Sculptures

We have been talking about doing this for some time and now we are actually doing it. October had us working on some exhibits for the Brighton Jetty Sculptures. This is SA’s biggest sculpture exhibition and will be on display from 18 January to 29 January 2023. This will give us some statewide exposure for our work The bonus is that there is some serious prize money up for grabs. We both caught Covid at the beginning of the month so isolation meant we had the time to immerse ourselves in our art.

Little Red Roo exhibit for the Brighton Jetty Sculptures
Little Red Roo

Metal Exhibits

On the metal side I have revamped a couple of previously displayed items for this exhibition. My Little Red Roo from the SALA exhibition was missing something. Once I worked out what it was, it was a simple case of adding some more structure and sealing up the rust. The other item that was very popular in SALA was my horse shoe Goanna. This was displayed with a cyprus pine log. After a bit of procrastination, I reworked some steel and created a steel stringy bark tree trunk. The Goanna will remain on the sealed clean steel and the stringy bark has been rusted and sealed.

Goanna exhibit for the Brighton Jetty Sculptures
Joanna the Perentie

The third item is a new one that I have been wanting to make specifically for this exhibition. Those that know me well have an idea on what I have planned, and work has started in earnest on this sculpture.

Glass Exhibits

Ann hasn’t been a slouch either and is currently working on 2 items for the Brighton Jetty Sculptures. Needless to say there is glass involved and these are totally different to what she has done in the past. I wont spoil the surprise just yet so you are just going to have to keep following us on Facebook and here for the latest news.

Class Update

The first beginners leadlight class is almost finished now and more will be run in the new year. Ann is looking at doing a 1 day Christmas decoration class where students can make some glass decorations for the Christmas tree. She is well into the planning now and more details will be available soon………. Watch this space!

What happened to September 22?

Well time really does fly when you are having fun. Before we knew it September 22 had come and gone and what have got to show for it?

Studio Ribbon Cutting in September 22
The Studio is officially open now

Well firstly, we officially opened the glass studio and launched our first group of lessons in leadlight creation. Ann has been busy creating her leadlight manuals for students to use. They must be good because our first students are loving what they are learning and doing. So much so that they stay on for overtime after the class has finished!

Metal Emu Left Side

In the forge, things have been slow but steady. After moving Ann into the studio, September 22 was a good time to re-organise the working areas. There is now a dedicated sheet metalwork area as well as forging, woodworking and welding areas. Because I have been using the plasma cutter more I also built a cutting table to keep the cutting slag to an isolated area.

A long overdue emu commission was getting the final touches and work has begun on a street art commission for the local gallery.

We were advised in the beginning of September that the local gallery (Top of the Torrens Gallery), was successful in securing a grant for some street sculptures. Exciting times ahead for sure in the forge area.

So we are well into October now and there is more news on the horizon. You will have to come back and see what October brings before the end of the month.

A New Beginning

It is no secret that the word is a totally different place than it was 3 years ago. Covid has changed the way we do things and the aftermath of that is affecting how we spend our money. Here at Tong and Chic we took advantage of the isolation and created some art for our own exhibition in February and March 2022. The exhibition was a resounding success to say the least. All of our art in this exhibition can be seen on our gallery site We also made the move to create a separate glass studio for Ann .

Building the Glass Studio

The new studio will be a lot more comfortable (and cleaner) than sharing the workshop with the forge and metal working area. The studio build didn’t go according to plan though. The contractor who was supposed to come and build the shed didn’t show up. They didn’t even bother to tell us they were not coming. Not to be set back we called out to some friends from the Military Brotherhood to assist us. Without their help we would have been waiting another 3 months with no guarantee from the contractor.

Studio Construction image
The Start of the Glass Studio

We had the structure up in no time, and over the next few weeks had it ready for a concrete floor. Once we let the concrete harden we laid a floating floor on moisture resistant lining. We moved in the equipment and worked out the basic layout. It is a lot easier on paper but having the actual equipment in place makes a big difference.

The next thing is we need is some power, and once again military mates come to the rescue. A qualified electrician came and installed our power. We are now just refining a few things and it will be ready for use very soon. I have created a short video from pictures of the build below for you to see.

We have plans to provide lessons in the future. This work space has taken into account the space needed for small classes in glass work. Stay tuned for updates on the official opening.

What the Future Holds

With a new studio we thought it was time to update the web site. The old site was out of date and needed some refreshing. We hope you enjoy navigating this site and welcome your feedback.

Till next time.. take care and stay safe.