NatureArt Lab

Studio Event: BOOK CLUB GROUP - 31 January 2022 - Limited bookings available!

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Join us for our second NatureArt Lab book club event - focusing on the fabulous book 'The Birdman's Wife' by Melissa Ashley.

Our Bookclub Event:

Do you read to be transported into other places? Would you like to deepen your knowledge of nature beyond what we can see around us? In this book group, we will explore books and writing that ignite our curiosity about the natural world, develop our understanding of issues in conservation and enjoy writing that celebrates and enhances our appreciation of the world around us.

We are a welcoming group who will meet each six weeks to discuss a selected work and the broader questions it raises about conservation and the actions we can take locally to address issues.

Date:     31 January 2022

Time:     Monday evening from 6pm - 8.30pm

Venue:    NatureArt Lab Studio, M16 Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith, ACT

Price:     NatureArt Lab Members $10, Non-members $20.  (Price includes wine                          and nibbles)

Membership Discount Note: NatureArt Lab members can contact for a membership code for use with this event

The Birdman's Wife by Melissa Ashley

Our second book is a finely crafted historical reimagining that will appeal to bird watchers and anyone drawn to natural history illustration.  The Birdman's Wife is a lively account of Elizabeth Gould, wife of the artist and naturalist, John Gould, told through the eyes of this remarkable woman. Ashley's sensitive retelling imagines how Elizabeth grappled with the constraints of nineteenth century expectations, social roles for women and feminine conduct, restoring her and her art to centre stage. 

She fashions a story of a courageous and talented artist who pursued her passion for natural history and illustration at a time when the drive to discover new species was sweeping the world. The Birdman's Wife will make ideal summer reading - while we're also observing the birds all around us!

Publisher's description:
Artist Elizabeth Gould spent her life capturing the sublime beauty of birds the world had never seen before.  But her legacy was eclipsed by the fame of her husband, John Gould. The Birdman's Wife at last gives voice to a passionate and adventurous spirit who was so much more than the woman behind the man.

Elizabeth was a woman ahead of her time, juggling the demands of her artistic life with her roles as wife, lover, helpmate, and mother to an ever-growing brood of children. In a golden age of discovery, her artistry breathed wondrous life into hundreds of exotic new species, including Charles Darwin's famous Galapagos finches.

In The Birdman's Wife, the naive young girl who falls in love with a demanding and ambitious genius comes into her own as a woman, an artist and a bold adventurer who defies convention by embarking on a trailblazing expedition to collect and illustrate Australia's 'curious' birdlife. In this indelible portrait, an extraordinary woman overshadowed by history steps back into the light where she belongs.

Further reading:

An interview with Melissa Ashley, The Historical Novel Society Australia:

About our facilitator: 

Julie Hotchin is a historian who loves walking in the bush and other wild places. She is fascinated with birds and is just starting to hone her skills in photography. Julie is an avid reader who in recent years has developed a great interest in nature writing and literature that engages our senses and prompts us to connect with the world around us through the power of language. Julie is a member of the Friends of Black Mountain and is involved in a project to record the oral histories of several people who have been involved in conservation, community education and scientific study of the remarkable biodiversity of Black Mountain since it was declared a nature reserve in 1970. She loves conversations about the wonders of the natural world and looks forward to exploring writing about nature and issues in conservation more deeply with others through this book group.

Julie Hotchin - our facilitator




COVID 19 Procedures - please note that limited tickets are available at this stage to ensure that we comply with current ACT Government regulations for management of COVID 19 and any person attending must comply with all instructions. Specific COVID measures that are required for the conduct of this meeting will be advised separately via email closer to the event.