Forged in fire

Limited copies of a unique handmade book recounting personal Black Saturday bushfire survival stories by residents of the Redesdale area are poised to become part of permanent collections at the Australian National Library and the State Library of Victoria.
Entitled Out of the Flames, into the Light, the handmade and very limited edition books feature etching prints and text created by eight residents of the Barfold, Redesdale and Langley areas, with a copy also destined for Kyneton Library and the fourth copy expected to be lodged at Castlemaine Library for posterity as well.
The four copies of the rare artist-made book were bound at Maldon’s Cascade Art, and printed at the local studio of artist Kevin Foley, and represent the culmination of an intensive workshop held at the Mia Mia studio in March and April.
Cascade Art’s Kareen Anchen and Mr Foley led the workshop after the project gained community grants support through Regional Arts Victoria.
Ms Anchen said the unique project marked the 10th anniversary since the bushfires of 2009 raged through the Redesdale locality wreaking a heavy toll on homes, stock and businesses there.
“During the fires they lost something like 30 houses and a couple of businesses. It was heartbreaking,” Ms Anchen said.
“It was pretty scary stuff.
“One of the women lost pretty much everything.”
But creating the book, plus limited edition etchings folios for each of the participants, has been a valuable means of celebrating the process of recovery 10 years down the track.
“It was a lovely project to work on,” Ms Anchen said.
The eight local participants in the project were Sandra Aitken, Barfold; Gloria Pocock, Redesdale; Nic James, Redesdale; Sandra Brajevic, Barfold; Lisa Campbell, Redesdale; Joanne Smith-Sargent, Redesdale; Ruth Booker, Redesdale and Kathy Hall, Redesdale.

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