BIG THANKS, BIG LOVE

THANK YOU to everyone who came to the Exhibition Opening of ‘A Wild Abandon: Awaken The Bear’ and for the messages of support from so many of you. It meant the absolute world to me. More than you could know.

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Creative work rarely exists in isolation. I want to say thanks to a few amazing people who helped make this happen (this is bigger than an Oscar speech - so strap in!).

Big thanks and big love to: 

Rosemarie Milsom for your beautiful words to open the exhibition. I could not have asked for a better person or speech to begin.

Our gorgeous musicians - the stunning Kylie Jane and Ukulele Queen Olivia Green. Thanks for sharing your art and talent with us. To my lil' cousin thanks so much for my beautiful song too - it was so special to share our ‘debuts’ together.

My creative community - Spencer HornbyRicky CavarraRenae Saxby and the Lennon to my McCartney, Lauren Monaghan. Whether it was talking me through the emotional troughs of creative process from 12,000kms away to giving opinion and tips on how to edit, your generosity in sharing your knowledge and time is something I will always treasure. You guys are the best!

Spencer Hornby and his Dad deserve special mention here. Coaching me through a few hours of editing then printing up four of the images you see on the walls. You are incredible Spencer and a true gem.

Morgan and Shannon from Shannon Hartigan Images - thanks so much for bringing so many of my images to life and your many hours of work and dedication and treating them like your own! 

My friends at the The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort who housed me for five months so I could get so many of these amazing images and shared this incredible part of the world with me.

Possibly the nicest sponsors ever, Kathmandu with special thanks to Summit Club and Community Coordinator Lindsay Tallott for your ongoing support and providing me with all the gear for the adventure. You really have helped make my dreams happen.

The Edwards and all the staff for hosting and having me as an unofficial artist-in-residence / piece of furniture. Special thanks to Alan - who has gone way, WAY, WAY above and beyond. I don’t think there is anything this guy can’t do. 

And of course, my beautiful family - who always have my back and support me, no matter what I am doing. I am incredibly blessed to have all of you - Can't do what I do without you. 

I'm donating a portion of my work and all donation entries, and so far we’ve raised a total of $300, with more to come. This will be split between Pacific Wild's  #SAVEBCBEARS campaign and the Northern Lights Wildlife Society when the exhibition finishes. I encourage everyone to check out what is happening on their pages too, with Bear 148 (BC's equivalent to Cecil the Lion) killed this week by a hunter. 

Prints are available for order or purchase at www.studiocarragher.com/prints or you can also always call me on 0410 528 314 if you wish to look at other sizes or have any questions. 

The exhibition will be on until October 16 - so if you missed the night and want to check it out - wander on down and feel free to send me a message if you want a personal exhibition guide!

Kate xx

Exhibition Opening - 29 September - A Wild Abandon

Very excited to announce that the first exhibition in my A Wild Abandon series will be launching in Newcastle at the end of this month.
 

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A hybrid of adventure talks, photographs, pencil illustrations, watercolours and journal entries, the exhibition reflects on our last frontiers, pristine environments and the lessons for home.

It's inspired by my journey into the Chilcotin and the National Parks of the US and Canada last year. I'll also be sharing tales from the road, like accidentally cuddling a bat and kayaking with Grizzlies. 

The Newcastle Writers Festival Director Rosemarie Milsom will open the exhibition from 7pm and there will also be music + tunes from 8pm with the amazing Kylie Jane playing. 

It's a little bit of a family affair too, with Ukulele Queen Olivia Green (aka my cousin) also debuting her tunes in a small-set and my sister Abbie Carragher sharing a few pieces from the same journey - where she joined me for four weeks.

Entry is donation and a percentage of prints will go to wildlife organisations connected with the place or animal depicted. Big thanks to Kathmandu and The Edwards. They have been beyond amazing, as always, in supporting me with this. 

Art, adventure, nature, music and beer - what more could you need? More info on Facebook

FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER I The Edwards I 148 Parry Street, #Newcastle

THE 'A WILD ABANDON' SERIES

With 10 per cent of the Earth’s wilderness lost in the last two decades, the A Wild Abandon series is a lifetime body of work dedicated to exploring remote, pristine, unique and/or vulnerable environments, as well as the link between people and place, adventure and art, solitude and instinct. Awaken the Bear is the first exhibition in the series.

Basically, I want to combine my lifetime of adventures into a purpose - exploring the world, exploring my skills and passions, learning from each place, grow as a person and, at the same time, make a difference where I can (if and when I am needed). 

Teztan Biny - FISH LAKE

While I was a 'newbie' in the area and I feel like I only skimmed the surface in understanding the land, culture and political history, I am left with no doubt that the reason the Tsilhqot'in area has remained so pristine has been the fierce protection the Tsilhqot'in people have given their land. 

The Tsilhqot'in have fought for decades to protect their land. In 2014, it appeared that they had finally achieved victory. They are the first and only group in Canadian history to be granted a declaration of First Nations title. 

Despite the objections of the Tsilhqot’in Nation and two federal rejections due to the great environmental risk, Taseko Mines continues to try and advance its “new” mine proposal on Fish Lake.

Fish Lake is in the headwaters of the Chilcotin River a major tributary of the Fraser River. The lake is home to 85,000 rainbow trout, and provides clean water for drinking, irrigation, and millions of salmon. Salmon are one of the keystone species of the region, supporting both the ecosystem and economy. 

The company is now proposing to begin extensive road building, drilling, test pits, and seismic line testing, and build a 50-man camp, to advance and prepare for the construction of the rejected mine.

In response, Tsilhqot’in leaders held a water ceremony at Teztan Biny, where an eagle feather was blessed before traveling downstream along the Fraser River, and all the way to the BC Parliament in Victoria. 

A lovely short film carrying an important message can be found here 

Chief Ida Mary Peter, Tsal'alh, St'at'ic Nation. Still from 'Feather from Fish Lake'. Please check out the link in the attached article. 

Chief Ida Mary Peter, Tsal'alh, St'at'ic Nation. Still from 'Feather from Fish Lake'. Please check out the link in the attached article. 

The only ones

It's here. Staring at the mountains, down the lake and valleys, that a moment of realisation comes that we could be the only people standing there for millions of acres. 

There are not many places - with the exception of the ocean or desert where you can think, as far as I can see, as far as I can contemplate, we are the only person here. 

That significance, of the insignificance we play in this landscape, is not lost. 

Freedom Road

From green woods to ice blue glaciers, jagged rocky mountains and alpine lakes and meadows, flying from Vancouver to Williams Lake was one of the most spectacular flights I've ever taken. Where we were landing was set to be my "town" for the next four months, despite it being three hours away from my residence.

The Stampede Capital of British Columbia, Williams Lake is in central interior of BC in the Cariboo region.

While sitting in the airport waiting for my ride, I received a message to look out for two 'unruly guys'. About 10 minutes later they arrived and I jumped in a massive red pick-up truck brimming with eskies full of 10 days of food for eight people. When I say jump....I mean jump! 

For some reason, I had not pictured Cowboy Country for where I was heading. In town, the standard uniform is stetsons and boots. On the walls of the Save On Shopping Centre were paintings of cowboys riding and outfitters. The centre of town is the Stampede Grounds. Truly the Wild, Wild West of Canada. 

After we loaded up on some last minute goodies and I bought half the beauty department, unsure of how much access I would have in the coming months, we hit Highway 20, otherwise known as Freedom Road, a 452 kilometre highway stretching from Williams Lake to Bella Coola.

I would be turning off halfway along this stretch. Until 1953, Highway 20 ended at Anahim Lake, 137 km from Bella Coola. Officials considered the terrain too difficult and refused to extend it, leaving Bella Coola inaccessible by road. Locals didn't like that, and in true Chilcotin pioneering spirit decided they would go ahead and build it anyway. Working from opposite ends with two bulldozers dangling precariously on 1,000 foot cliffs, and supplies bought on credit, locals completed the road. 

Our three-hour drive took us along the Fraser Canyon walls, crossing the mighty Fraser River, we drive past a number of small First Nations towns and through the Chilcotin plateaus and grasslands and fields of burnt-out woods.

I figure there must have been a fire there within the last few months, based on how the aftermath of a bushfire looks back home. Until I was told the fire came through 13 years ago. It looked like it happened last week. In the Cariboo and Chilcotin, trees and plant life only get a small period of growth as the winters are so brutal, so recovery time is rather shortened. A new appreciation dawned on me on how much a fire could devastate a landscape for decades here in Canada. 

On the home stretch to Chilko 

On the home stretch to Chilko 

Alpine meadows are besides us, the Chilko River edges in and out, and we keep heading towards the foot of the mountains. 

As Phil, the owner of The Chilko Experience puts it, 'Driving to Chilko is like driving three and a half sides of a square".

Just before hitting Tatla Lake, where our doctor's surgery and general store is, we turn off Freedom Road and take a left hand turn heading south and drive 80km on a gravel roadfor another 1.5 hour with more backwards, downhill and left-hand turns to the Chilko Valley, next to lakes, mountains capes and above marshlands, we hit the gates of The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort. 

 

'Go Kate. Write the World'

MEETING AUSTRALIA'S MODERN DARWIN

The Newcastle Writer's Festival never fails in igniting my passion for words and ideas. Last year proved to be no exception, when I was lucky enough to listen to a talk by Australia's modern Darwin, Tim Flannery. 

Flannery is a man of many talents - his diverse career spanning across exploration, research, science, english and campaigning. I was most struck by two things he discussed on stage. The first was hope. Hope for the planet and for addressing climate change. However, he stressed that we must act now. 

The second was his belief that we need a new political system. Our system of governance is failing Australia and the environment. Tim proposed the concept of a political system that selects people at random and removes the reliance on career politicians that come from the same moulds, vested interests and a four-year cycle. His travels for the Climate Commission confirming to him that we have more good people in Australia on average than those that sit in Parliament. That maybe a system of governance that is not dissimilar to tribal councils would be a potential solution. While his thoughts were confronting, and I initially dismissed it, they have got me thinking... 

I was initially interested in his work because it embodies the life I wish to lead - an explorer, traversing science and the arts. When I met him after the talk, with a copy of his The Explorer’s Notebook - a collection of stories from his early days in Australia and Papua New Guinea - in my hand, I told him I was going to live in remote British Columbia, Canada, and that I too, wanted to work on the borders of the arts and the sciences. After a quick chat, I asked him if he had any advice for me. 

Answering with his pen, he scribbled ‘To Kate, Write the World’. His writing was a little messy - like a doctor - and so at first, I read it as, ‘Go Kate, Write the World’.

He then said ‘Write the World. Everything you are seeing in front of you. Explore it. Write Your World.’ Nodding my head like I understood, we smiled at each other. I took it to mean this. 

Writing the World is writing about the world - as we see it, as I see it. It’s documenting what is happening around me and what is happening in front of me, on shores far away. As well as the shores closer to home. Writing the world is about placing a human experience on something so much bigger than that - our beautiful, simple and complex planet. It's also writing for the world. Words have the power to create the world, to entice and create change, entrance and enhance. 

In those observations of the now, of writing what is happening before our eyes, we also write the future. 

Blondie

Bears everywhere! Spotted 12 bears on the first river run today and then another 18 on the second. Including a few sets of triplets and this blonde beauty (it was so light, it looked a lot like a polar bear at some angles). An experience I will always treasure. Amazing! 

Can't wait to start drawing these guys!

Imagine //

A secret location, one to two hours by boat, with a short hike over some hills, over some mossy rocks and through the woods. To arrive here. A tiny, log cabin sitting on a private lake with views of ice-capped mountains and valleys. Glaciers rumble, groaning and creaking above and a waterfall pounds down the opposite mountain between rainbow rocks. Mountains tower overhead and dance and twist and turn in the different lights. Across the pond, a moose wanders past. 

Muir Lake

Inside the cabin is a note from the owners inviting nature lovers who stumble across it to stay a night, to treat it with respect and enjoy the magic of these surroundings. There is a guest book to sign. Handwritten notes of thanks, adventures recorded, sketches and inspired poems from visitors dating back to the 80s. It records the family who began it all back in the 60s. When I sign my name and leave a drawing of the mountains, it feels like I am joining a club, a guardian of a secret paradise. 

To share something so beautiful without expectation of something in return, is a rare act of selfless generosity. The beauty of this place is evident, but it is also the beauty of the humans who made it. A place built on kindness. A place to restore.

A night I will never forget x

Feathered Friends

Making friends with this Western Flycatcher today (I think it's a Flycatcher, maybe a Pacific-slope or a Cordillian? Feel free to correct me bird lovers!).

There is a saying that 'a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush'. To not seek out what you don't know or have. The irony is, if I had stuck with what I knew - this little moment would never have happened. Look at that face!! So adorable.

 

MOO-ving to the Beat

The Chilcotin is home to free-range cattle. So our four-legged friends have right of way on the Freedom Highway.

Stormy Days

Storms approaching across fields just outside of Tatla Lake on our journey back from the grocery store (a six-hour return trip that goes quickly when you have a good Hot Mix and pretty landscapes like this to look at)

Green Tea Grizzly

Painted this little roly-poly grizzly last night using green tea with my new Wink Pen, a refillable glass fountain pen that allows you to use any liquid with staining properties. Having fun thinking of all the possibilities and different dyes and liquids I can now play with - thinking tea, wine, wildflowers, or the wild berries that are bursting all over the Chilcotin right now as my next exploration.

Got any ideas??

Green Tea Grizzly

Peek-A-Bear

Bear Birthday Cards

Bear Cards

Bear Birthday Cards

Swim Anyone?

Anyone feel like a swim?! Grizzly waiting to join you. 

Lady Night

"It burned in blue, and wave by wave the sky darkened through the melting dusk. Waiting eagerly for the silver stars of lady night.'

Working on some watercolour techniques. I am really happy with the result of this one.  wrote the words above and then this came through. The stars here are as amazing as Niue. I feel the beginning of a series. 

Lady Night

Moons and Mooses

According to the local grapevine, moose sightings have been rather rare of late in the Chilcotin. On the last full moon and the summer solstice, I was lucky enough to have my first sighting. A Mum and calf down by the pond's edge, spotted while we were eating breakfast. By the time we edged down closer they had disappeared back into the trees. An amazing moment! Here's my first little sketch of these beauties as an ode to that moment