My Stobie Career by June Miller
Although I haven’t always liked every manifestation of it, I have always liked the idea of street art. It’s a unique way of brightening an area, a wall, an ugly pole, etc., and it’s a great opportunity to put a smile on the faces of passersby who can all share it; having said that, I had never thought of being part of any art movement. I have no natural artistic talent whatsoever – the only reason I did one disastrous year of art at High School is because they wouldn’t let girls into the woodwork class! So when the Kilkenny stobie pole group started I was happy to help, but thought that my sole contribution would be undercoating.
Once the undercoating was done, we all started to think of what we wanted for our own poles, and I could not think of anything I could do, but suddenly got the urge to do something. Then I thought, “hey, if it’s history we’re after, what about showing where all the people came from who have lived, and are living, in this area”. So I thought of flags of the countries of origin of the residents, and you don’t need drawing ability to do a flag. So I did my first pole, with flags from such diverse countries as Australia, UK, Italy, Greece, Ethiopia, India, Chile, Ukraine, and a few others, as well as the Aboriginal flag.
Heartened by finishing that, I decided that with so many old houses in the area, Iron Lace would be a good theme. And then I realised I could do a Mondrian-inspired pole, since that was only squares and lines, so by this time I was off and running. I am now in the process of doing one with the State emblems (floral, faunal, marine, avian & gemstone emblems). It will not be a great work of art, but as long as people can work out what the emblems are, I will be happy.
I have a lot more ideas, but we will have to see how many poles need doing, and there are many people out there with way more talent than I have to decorate them. I am really amazed, however, at how much more I have got out of this experience than I originally anticipated, and it is a real pleasure to see the difference it makes to the street to see all the colourful poles everywhere. Another big bonus is the number of lovely members of the community whom I would not normally have had the opportunity of meeting.