Permanent place held for printmaker

March 5, 2024 BY

Hand in hand: Restore Hand Therapy owner Jen Kaess, Member for Ballarat, Catherine King, and printmaker Amanda Western launched Restore Gallery recently. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE site of a hand therapy service in Ballarat’s health precinct has seen a permanent touch of colour with the walls and outdoor garden now housing the works of linocut artist Amanda Western.

Twenty-six of her prints are on display at Restore Hand Therapy on Errard Street with the creative residency launched in late February.

Western said the exhibition called Restore Gallery came about as a crossover between another artistic pursuit of hers.

“I was in Ballarat Lyric Theatre’s Sound of Music and through the cast and crew I was introduced to Jen Kaess, the proprietor of Restore Hand Therapy,” she said.

“I’d been coming to rehearsals with quite a sore hand and made an appointment with her, brought in my tools, and explained my craft and she put in place a routine to keep my hands in good health.

“She started looking at my work and came to my first exhibition and purchased some pieces and from there she wanted to hang even more pieces up to make the place a bit of a gallery.”

Western’s works previously displayed at places like The Old Butchers Shop Gallery and The Mallow Hotel are now on show at the site as well as six new pieces created by the printmaker specifically for the project.

Opened by local Federal MP Catherine King, the launch saw about 250 attendees with live entertainment provided by Ballarat Lyric Theatre members.

Western said the title of the exhibition ties into a central theme of her work.

“Restore Gallery is very appropriate because the main theme of my work is around conservation of the natural environment and restoration of damaged environments,” she said.

“For Jen, her clinic is about restoration of health with hands and arms. It seemed to be such a beautiful synergy.

“I’m also involved in emergency recovery and when I’m working with communities who’ve been through natural disasters, we often utilise art therapy in helping people recover from trauma and to heal.”

With the site to serve as a permanent gallery to display Western’s work, she aims to cycle through new pieces on a quarterly basis, including to extend it further into the building’s back garden.

The gallery is open during Restore Hand Therapy’s business hours or alternatively Western can be contacted to book a tour of the space via her website.