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We are hosting a series of free creative workshops to share our experiences of the June 2021 storms. Using wood salvaged from the Dandenong Ranges, we will paint, draw, write, burn or carve our stories, with a focus on recovery, resilience and hope.


Two years on we are all at different stages of recovery. Everyone in our community was impacted in one way or another, and we would like to creatively document those experiences.

Workshops are held in a safe and supportive environment at Emma Jennings Gallery in Olinda, with an option to participate at home. We have prepared enough wood for everyone of all ages and abilities to participate. The finished work will be published in a catalogue and exhibited alongside a series of portraits of impacted residents and volunteers by Emma Jennings at Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in June 2024


All welcome, all materials supplied, no experience necessary.


This is a FREE community project, proudly supported by the Regional Community Recovery Committees Project with funding from Yarra Ranges Council and Emergency Recovery Victoria.

We respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners, the Wurundjeri people of the Kubin Nation as the custodians of the beautiful land, forests and animals where this work will take place, and pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. We are excited to be able to share traditional Cultural traditions in this project, and do so with the utmost respect and gratitude.

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Workshops are held at Emma Jennings Gallery and Studio Olinda Village

Shop 3/540 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road (enter from Olinda-Monbulk Road)


(more to come throughout the year)

Painting, drawing, writing with Emma Jennings
Monday June 19, 4pm-5.30pm kids 5-12 (and their families)

Wednesday 21 June, 10am-12pm (morning tea provided)

Haiku with Lia Hills 

Friday evening 9 June, 6-8 pm (soup provided at 5.30)


Printmaking, mark making and collage with Jo Horswill

Saturday morning 10 June, 9-11am  (morning tea provided)

and Wednesday 14 June, 10am-12pm (morning tea provided)


Painting, drawing, writing with Youth Leader Ren Cuttriss and Emma Jennings (for youth age 13-18)

Friday evening 16 June, 6-8pm (soup provided at 5.30)

Making ochre with John Patten and Emma Jennings

Saturday morning 17 June, 9-11am 

(morning tea provided)

At Emma Jennings Gallery and Studio Olinda Village

Shop 3/540 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road (enter from Olinda-Monbulk Road)

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Painting, drawing, & writing with Emma Jennings

Local artist Emma Jennings will support residents and community volunteers in a series of trauma informed workshops using a variety of painting and drawing techniques. We will make paint using soil collected from the root balls, and discover interesting ways to make patterns, shapes or words to creatively tell stories about the storm. 


Emma Jennings is the owner of Emma Jennings Gallery in Olinda. She has lived and worked in the Dandenong Ranges for 20 years, and has been working on a series of paintings in response to the June 2021 Storms. Emma worked with local charities to organise emergency supplies for the Olinda Relief Centre and has worked closely with other community groups and the Yarra Ranges Council's Recovery Team. Emma’s work investigates our relationship with the natural world, resilient communities, and Climate Change. She lives and works on Wurundjeri Country.

Haiku with Lia Hills

Local writer Lia Hills will lead a poetry workshop where we will explore our experiences in the wake of the storm via the practice of writing haiku. Participants will have the opportunity during the workshop to write their poem on salvaged wood. All welcome! No previous poetry writing experience needed.


Lia Hills is an award-winning author, whose work has been published, translated and performed around the world. Lia’s latest novel, The Crying Place, was named Book of the Month by Australian Independent Booksellers and longlisted for the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award. She lives and writes in the Dandenong Ranges on Wurundjeri Country.

Catalogue photography and workshop progress by Cathy Ronalds 

Local photographer Cathy Ronalds will photograph our progress during the workshops (with participant's permission) and the final artworks. These will be published in the project catalogue.


Cathy Ronalds is an award winning portrait and landscape photographer, based in Olinda. The bush close to home is her daily muse and appears frequently in her work. Her series 'There Used To Be A Canopy Here' was shown at Burrinja in 2021, commemorating the storm. Her work explores themes of womanhood and our connection to the environment.

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Printmaking, mark making and collage with Jo Horswill

Local artist Jo Horswill will lead a series of creative workshops using a variety of interesting techniques. With handmade watercolour paints using soil collected from root balls, we will discover interesting ways to draw, paint or collage images, words or marks to creatively tell stories about the storm. 


Jo Horswill is a nature-inspired natural dyer, printmaker and educator. She operates Paper Cloth Studio, a studio nestled in Sassafras, a small village on the upper ridges of the Dandenong Ranges. Her studio is surrounded by majestic forests of eucalyptus trees, a constant source of inspiration for her work. After the storm she led the Soup Angels, a team of local volunteers supplying delicious home cooked soup to the emergency relief centres in Kalorama and Olinda.

Ochre with John Patten


John Patten will share a culturally rich art and learning experience, based on his knowledge of traditional art making practices, using materials inclusive of earth pigments (ochres) collected from the upturned root balls, treatment for changing their characteristics, art surface preparation, and cultural sensitivities inherent within these practices.


John Patten is a Yorta Yorta and Bundjalung artist. He primarily works as a cultural educator and historian at Museums Victoria, leading employment initiatives, devised and implemented the First Peoples’ Employment Strategy, and  First Peoples’ Cultural Competency Program. He was previously the Manager of Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.

Painting, drawing, & writing with youth leader Ren Cuttriss

Local radio presenter and youth leader Ren Cuttriss will lead workshops to support impacted youths in our community.


Ren is a volunteer with Dandenong Ranges Emergency Services who provided emergency supplies, support and a generator lending program to the Olinda Relief Centre after the storm.

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Catalogue design by Mark Westaway

Local designer Mark Westaway will collate the artwork photos and stories in a final project book, alongside the portrait project and paintings by Emma Jennings.


Mark Westaway has been living and working in the hills since 1985. As a freelance designer, artist, font designer and printmaker Mark has supported local businesses and community organisations, drawing on our unique environment. for inspiration. He was a founding board member of Burrinja and has participated in the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios program for 18 years.

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