From this place

FROM THIS PLACE – Inspiring Women Artists of the Upper Yarra Valley is a book and exhibition by Lindy Schneider, writer, and Angela Rivas, photographer.

For a project that started as an exploration into why so many women artists chose to live and work in Warburton, the book and exhibition that are the creative artefacts of From This Place offer a visually stunning and a universally compelling insight into the many ways women create lives that sustain their art practice.

Creators Angela Rivas, photographer, and Lindy Schneider, writer, lovingly take us into the studios and lives of fourteen women artists from their hometown in the Yarra Valley. They feature women that could be your neighbour, of every age and medium (there are painters, poets, potters, scenographers, sculptors, authors and more), with the wise words of the artists as moving as the ‘Essence’ portraits that define the visual heart and soul of the book.

To create something of real beauty, both Angela and Lindy have nurtured this independent work into being for more than two years. During that time, they have found themselves living out the very themes that define the stories in this book. The value of community and collaboration, the need to live authentically and courageously take a leap of faith from time to time, the unfettered belief that what is created is of value are all themes that permeate not only the book but also their own lives.

The stories, told against the backdrop of mountains, forests and the Yarra River provides a theme in which nature and the river is the thread by which all stories are connected, and are motifs that can be felt by any reader, anywhere in the world. Together, Angela and Lindy have also
sensitively explored and documented the intersecting themes of community, art, collaboration, body image and working sustainably as artists.

‘We wanted to create a project that could be an inspiration to others,’ says Angela, who has a profound interest in bringing out the beauty in women, evident in her ‘Essence’ portraits, where each artist was supported to create their ‘ultimate’ photo shoot.

‘We followed a shared impulse to pursue this project feeling that it was a wonderful opportunity to work creatively in the way we ached for, while also supporting our women artists by helping raise their profiles,’ says Lindy. ‘We all rise together.’ The ripple effect will mean the inspiration and beauty of this book will be felt by many women for a long time to come.

‘Community and art don’t exist without each other.’

The book

This is a book of stories told in words and images – stories of courage, hope, love and togetherness. Stories of finally saying yes, of heartfelt longings set free to shape new lives, regardless of age, or stage, or medium. This is a book that allows you to unearth your own wisdom.

FROM THIS PLACE is a book you will keep forever – the kind of book you keep close to dip into whenever you’re in need of a little inspiration. The voice of each artists is like a song of their own becoming. For every artist, there will be approx. an 8-page spread with a 1500 word story and a photographic series.

Is this book only for women? – Art is for everyone. Art unites. This book is inspiring for everyone.

The artists

So we developed a list of 14 artists at various stages in their careers. There are painters and poets, potters and scenographers, sculptors and authors and artists that have so many layers it’s difficult to hold them in any one definition. They gave us the honour of entering their lives, to photograph and interview them in their practice. They also showed us their essence by curating (with Angela)  their own unique photo shoot to show something of their inner world.  Each one shared something we could learn from. And we loved them all. Women’s art is important. These women are important, their work matters and they deserve the world’s attention.

“I read the book from cover to cover in one weekend, absorbed it deeply, shed many tears over the beautiful stories and stunning photos. I have been so deeply moved by the vulnerability, beauty and richness of all the artists. I feel so inspired and connected myself to this place – Warby – the mountains and the river are so beautifully woven into the stories, the images and the essence of heart and home.”

“To be an artist requires honesty, intimacy, vulnerability and courage. All of these qualities are needed for us to come into deep relationship with that which we seek to share. The amazing process of making this book with you, Angela and Lindy, required us to grow in all of these qualities. You’ve helped us to become better artists. Your love and generosity are infectious. Your kindness and generosity seemingly infinite!

All artists need champions in order to flourish. Lindy and Angela, you have been our champions! That is an unbelievable gift. Thank you so much for sharing us with our community and for enabling our love of this place to be seen more completely by the world.” Xxx

“Last night I went to the launch of ‘From This Place’, a pictorial coffee table book about the women artists of the Upper Yarra Valley. With tears in my eyes I gazed at the breathtaking images of these women expressing themselves in unique ways and read their stories and listened to the spoken words and songs at the launch.

These women follow their dreams and explore many levels of life and who they are unfolding to be – often against huge odds…very inspiring and very moving. I feel fortunate to be part of this awesome community.

When I am here I know I belong. Even when I travel, people, animals, forests, rivers of Warburton, I hold you in my heart.”

“This beautiful book – a tribute to 14 female artists of our gorgeous Yarra Valley. The launch of ‘From this Place’ and its accompanying exhibition last Friday was very special to be at. I have been enjoying this book daily since! The stories captured speak of the various journeys of artists, artist identity, balance of work/family and our creative drive. The raw truth shared of their stories: Spoke deeply to me of inner longing. The photographic images offer insight into their worlds and their essence It has become a great source of inspiration and motivation. To dedicate myself to my art, what makes me come ALIVE with excitement and freedom!”

Love your work

“Congratulations Lindy Schneider and Angela Rivas on the launch of your book “From this Place” and the exquisite exhibition of photos from the book. There was such a heartwarming feeling of goodwill and deepest gratitude at the Arts Centre last night. Thank you for inviting me to join you on this journey.”

“Thank you so much for delivering my book today , all my clients loved it and it has even inspired her to get creative again with her water colours, whilst laying back on the basin she looked at the beautiful view out of the window and has said if it rains today she is going to get her paint out! I can’t wait to read it.” xx

“Wonderful heartfelt launch and exhibition…several hours on, have just finished reading your baby from cover to cover…or indeed from head to toe! Significant and inspiring stories complemented by glorious images, penned and photographed by talented artists. Thank you Lindy Schneider and Angela Rivas for fulfilling your vision.” Xx

“Congratulations dearest Lindy and Angela on your inspiring and beautiful book ‘From this Place’ telling the powerful stories of female artists of the Yarra Valley. What an amazing night of artists, photography, music, poetry and community!”

“Launch of a beautiful book about the amazing female artists of the Yarra Valley written by my partner Lindy Schneider and photography by Angela Rivas.  Congratulations to them and all the artists featured.”

“Dear Lindy

To you and all the people involved, congratulations on a VERY successful book launch. The book itself is just wonderful. I bought for me and one for a Christmas present.

Be proud of yourself ,and ,please do an other one…Book that is.

The Valley is so blessed with talents.”

Thank you, Lindy

“My cup of tea went cold…

pouring over your book just now, I was immediately transported to a place I know is nearby but so often just out of reach.”

Thank you for the gift that is a manifestation of who – you and the wonderful women around this place -are.

“As one of the artists featured in this beautiful book, I would love to extend my gratitude for the energy, passion and sensitivity shown by Lindy and Angela and congratulate them on producing such a wonderful book and exhibit. I have no doubt that I would have been the most ‘challenging’ creator that Lindy and Angela had to contend with, questioning whether my story was worthwhile and certainly testing my ‘control freak’ tendencies. I have learnt however that I do have a story to share and perhaps it is time to be confident enough to do so. I need to keep challenging myself. The inspirational stories you have highlighted from fellow creators has encouraged me to embrace and believe in my own world. So thank you for fulfilling your vision.”

The praise

The exhibition

The book and exhibition launched on  Friday 1 September 2017  at the Warburton Arts Centre.  The exhibition features 16 gorgeous portraits from the ‘essence’ shoot. They are images you will fall into, and feel from the inside. They are creative, visionary and capture the uniqueness of each woman. They reveal a beauty that is essential, unequivocal, a gift to the world.

The Exhibition has been at the Warburton Arts Centre, Oscars on The Yarra, Warburton,  the Yarra Valley Regional Museum in Lilydale (until Feb 4 2018). It will then go to Yering Station in the Yarra Valley.

This project has changed us. It’s made us truer versions of ourselves, and connected us more deeply to our own art practice – it will do the same for you such is the wisdom of these fourteen featured women artists. You cannot help but be moved, changed, inspired.

Dive in, breathe in the beauty.

Everyone is an artist. Everyone can do this.