Inspired by my Bucket List!

Journey to Kilimanjaro

Journey to Kilimanjaro

These days we all seen to have them, a list for this and a list for that. We even have ‘bucket lists’!

Well, I am no exception and one things on my bucket list was something I knew I had to do before the glaciers melted and I was too old to do it….. Not to mention it is one place until then that I had yet to travel.

So, off I went with my partner and we headed to Africa….To climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Being an Australian, for some reason, Africa has always been a place I believed I would feel at home in. I longed to see wild game and large free animals and to experience cultures and new art influences again.

I was not disappointed.

Climbing Kilimanjaro was spiritually one of the most uplifting and all encompassing experience I have had to date.

Physically it started off easy, as we took the nine day route,  wanting to experience all of Kilimanjaro not just the climb… but the last 48 hours at altitude and the steep climb up and down was as gruelling as any marathon I have ever run. When I got to the top I looked like a chipmunk and was delirious with the sense of achievement. I might add, the guides, porters and my partner were an amazing source of strength.

Emotionally I was overwhelmed. To finally be ticking this big thing off my list, to be there and breathe African air and walk on African soil was like I had been there before as was coming home.

The Roof of Africa

The whole Kilimanjaro experience was something that will stay with me forever.

Inspiration comes from everywhere, and during our time in Africa we stayed in some of the most amazing places.

 The most amazing was in Kloof in South Africa, the Zulu Palace and all I can say is WOW and I want to go back.

The colour and design elements were so bright and tribal they excited my symmetric inner control freak. The outside of the premises were something else and  the décor inside was just a feast for my eyes.

Zulu Palace Kloof

Outside of the Zulu Palace

    The tapestries, furniture and artefacts were like being in a Zulu museum.

Kulu Palace beaded artwork 2014

   Some of the beaded artefacts was amazing!

Naturally travelling in Africa your senses are alive with inspiration. Colour, life itself, wide open spaces, the people and culture and of course the game and wildlife.

African Inspiration

Upon my return, I was bursting to get into the studio. There is a hue to Africa that is like a watercolour, a wash over everything giving a magical, surreal yet very real presence.

These are some of the pieces I created after my trip. I have displayed as a collage of the works in progress.

The first was a large bowl, I called ‘African Stone’, not to brag, but I was very pleased as  it sold within a week of making it.

Afrian Stone

The second was a wall clock commission and a set of coasters. The clients were very happy with it as was I, and went out the door so quickly I did not get a final photo of the finished clock or coasters….. This was inspired by the Zulu Palace.

Kloof inspired

My African inspiration still continues…..

Not necessarily the formula for success….or is it??

Living in the Canvas


Here goes, a little more about me. I was born in Sydney Australia in the 60’s. As a young woman I worked for stockbrokers in Sydney and Perth during the boom time and the Americas Cup win in Fremantle, enjoyed the vibe and energy but knew an office life was not for me. I decided I needed to   travel the world and experience life outside of the gold boom!.  At the age of 23, before the time of mobile phones and the internet, I braved the world and travelled as a single woman from Kathmandu in Nepal to London, overland on the back of a Bedford truck, camping!  The trip took six long months and the experiences and people I met shaped me to the person I am today.

This is when I first remember falling in love with art from a holistic point of view. The world was a canvas and I was living in the artwork. I spent a total of three years away travelling including the continents of South America for six months, also from the back of a Bedford truck, camping, America, Asia and the Subcontinent. I saw the world from a real and grounded perspective, experienced being vulnerable and free all at the same time.

My journey took me to 54 countries, all as diverse and alive as each other. My passion for art, cultures, life and people grew and I knew I would never be happy in a desk job again. I had to be out in the world living, creating, breathing, inspiring and growing. My travel also introduced me to ‘glass’ as a form of artistic expression and I knew that I wanted to create with the alluring medium. Architecture and the seduction of glass was the initial magnet.

 Eloping in England, I returned to Australia.  I settled and lived in the hills of Perth for 23 years renovating a woodcutters cottage and having a family. A stunning tranquil existence and life blessed me with three beautiful souls to share life’s journey with. I ran a small home based Art Glass studio business for 22 years and life was good. However, as life does things happen,  we grow, change and  I found that I had to reinvented myself. I became stagnant and drifted from myself and passions.  I made changes and decided that it was time to stop ‘dreaming’ and trust in myself, it was time to fly!

In 2012 I moved to Bunbury, a coastal city in the South West of WA, two hours from my life in the Hills. A true and I hate to quote a cliché, my move was a sea change….. On the 31st March 2013 I opened LAVA Art Glass Gallery & Studio.

Inside LAVA Gallery 2013

Inside LAVA Gallery 2013 ‘Our Backyard” Exhibition

The LAVA Gallery was my dream. The dream was to have an art space that exclusively represents art created with glass. The second important aspect of LAVA is to showcase  art glass created by Western Australian artists.

This is important to me for a few reasons. Having travelled, I longed to see what local artisans created themselves and experience their influences. I was often disappointed to find pieces from artists that  were not local to the country, or worse  cheap imports trying to sell to tourists. Secondly it is important when showcasing a niche to have variety. Variety of technique, style, personality and gender. Especially with glass, and that’s another blog topic……

 Yes, I know, a double niche business operating in a small rural city. Not necessarily the formula for success….or is it??  Well, time will have to let my story unfold, but so far things are going well.

What gives LAVA the edge is that as one of the artists  in the  gallery, visitors can experience the whole story behind every art piece.

The studio is a working studio where I create and make my artwork openly for the public to see, also teaching my art glass skills. I just LOVE talking about what I do……….most days I do more talking than creating, but that’s all part of the journey too.

Knowing every artist personally I can explain the techniques involved in the  creating process. This leave visitors empowered, having learnt something about art glass techniques as they enjoy the beauty, colour and energy of the glass.

My journey to this point has been a very full and active life, enriched by travel, my family, my peers and every person who I meet, and continue to meet.

That passion I hope to share with like minded people.

Congratulations! You may be the first!


May flowers, balloons and champagne be showered upon you as I take that sigh of relief all first time bloggers anticipate, someone has actually found and is reading my blog…..please excuse me while I compose myself……sigh………

I also believe Congratulations are in order as you are possibly the very first person to read this blog!

Seriously though, thank you for being curious enough to stop by and hopefully I can keep you engaged so that you read to the end of the post and maybe, just maybe stay a follower.

Firstly, let me introduce myself, my name is Brenda Ellen and I am a Glass Artist living in Australia, I am also the owner of LAVA Art Glass Gallery & Studio. All sounds very serious and professional I know but it is only polite after all to let you know who I am.

Art to me is not just the fine arts, literature, drama & dance it is daily life and the choices we make. The art of communicating and connecting, art to me is living.

What I hope to achieve with this blog is to engage conversation, discussion and sharing experiences on art related issues.

Topics not just for artist, or perhaps gallery owners and collectors, but discussion and thoughts from anyone who has any thoughts on art related matters. We all have them and some people have no time for art, no understanding of how it fits into daily life, and these thoughts are what I’d like to hear as well.

My intention is to openly talk, take the snob out of art and share how it is real and alive in our daily life.

Sure….. I’d love to discuss art periods, art history, art techniques and generally anything relating to arty stuff as well, let’s get creative with conversation!

Tell the world what you like, hate or are indifferent to. Share events, exhibitions and artworks themselves and help enrich each other’s lives.

Getting to know the behind the scenes is important and as a way of doing that I will be interviewing artists and sharing their inspirations, sharing studios, and will even take you on my holiday to Italy and France and share my art journey video from inside and outside of galleries and the art in the  life cape of some parts of Europe.

So, again thank you for stopping by and if you got this far I am  genuinely  smiling……. let me take you on a journey into my world,  share my experiences and expertise and I hope to give  what so many others have given me, A zest and passion for art and life.

Looking forward to talking to you and again!

Brenda 🙂