Maleny Arts and Crafts reach 40

Raku firing – 1990s

Raku firing – 1990s

by MACG member Judy Tilley

It began in a small way in 1977. Elizabeth McDonald and a few others were interested in handcrafts and painting, so over a cup of tea at Elizabeth’s house they decided to start a group to encourage others with similar interests.

The first formal meeting was held on April 28, 1977 where a constitution was drafted so that they officially became the Arts and Crafts Group. Elizabeth was the first president and fees were set at $2 per year.

By the end of 1977 there were 36 members – spinners, artists, weavers and potters – too many to continue meeting at Barfold Studio (Elizabeth’s home), so new accommodation had to be found elsewhere.

A move was made to the Showgrounds underneath the Pavilion where the floor was unsealed and there was one power point! Groups were offered in painting, spinning, weaving, leatherwork and wood carving.

Maleny must have taken the new Arts and Crafts Group to it’s heart – by the end of 1978 there were 119 members! The first fair (called an exhibition) was held at the beginning of November 1978 in the RSL Hall.

The workshop moved on in 1979 to the Caboolture Dairy Co-op Building (the old Butter Factory) in Coral Street. MACG occupied these premises for the next four years.

The second and third exhibitions (fairs) were held there. MACG’s commercial side with the Butter Factory open for sales on Thursdays from 10am – 2pm.

Because the open days proved very popular it was decided to open a gallery in Maple Street. In 1980 LJ Hooker offered one room of their office at 32 Maple Street.

In 1981 the Group started a building fund to have their own workshop premises. They also moved to their current gallery address at 36 Maple Street, using the rear of the premises as a workshop with embroidery, spinning and weaving groups hiring the CWA rooms for three Friday mornings per month.

In May 1985 the group began to pay rent for the use of the gallery – having been allowed by the Katsaris family to use it rent free for five years. Their generosity helped MACG to raise the finance it needed to build the workshop and develop a permanent home.

The group needed to raise $30,000 to gain a dollar-for-dollar subsidy from the government. Land was secured at the Showgrounds with a 20-year lease. Building commenced in October 1985 and completed in December of that year.

The workshop has been extended twice since then. And this year the 280 members with 13 groups in MACG are celebrating its 40th birthday.

On Friday April 28 to May 1 MACG will be holding their May Fair in the Maleny Community Centre in Maple Street from 9am to 4pm Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and 9am to 3pm Monday. For enquiries phone 5493 0811.