Sculpture in the Vineyards

“Trust me,” I said. “When have I ever given you a bum steer with accommodation?”

“Well there was the night we landed in Damascus at two in the morning … No sheets, no blankets, no lock on the door.”

I conceded that one. It was a shocker. In fairness though, it was the wrong hotel. We found the right one the next day, but not after a lot of nervous giggling and very little sleep. Would that we could wind back time.


But this was different.

Yes, it wasn’t your typical motel. In actual fact The Vine Valley Inn is an old hotel, right in the main street of Cessnock but it has been converted with love and an artistic eye and a funkiness that I couldn’t resist.

“It’s on top of a bloody pet shop,”

“Trust me,” I said.

vine valley inn

And the moment we walked in he was hooked too, chatting away to Simon the owner and enjoying the crazy mix of art and kitsch.

vine valley inn simon and steve

vine valley inn cassock

In the space of a week we’d gone from 35 degrees in Delhi, to six inches of snow in Duckmaloi (in mid October!), to the main street of Cessnock to deliver a sculpture to Sculpture in the Vineyards, an annual sculpture competition and exhibition held at four different vineyards in the beautiful Wollombi Valley about two hours north of Sydney.

Sculpture in the Vineyards 2014

Our friend (and artist) Harrie Fasher, has been encouraging Steve to start putting his work out there so he was very chuffed to be accepted into this year’s exhibition. His piece is on display at the Stonehurst Cellar Door. Thanks Haz x


And I was very chuffed to be able to tag along with camera in hand, especially when I laid eyes on the Stonehurst cellar doors!

Stonehurst Cellar Door

Suddenly India didn’t feel so far away …

Stonehurst Cellar Door

Stonehurst Cellar Door

It’s a really big deal making the leap towards making art, putting yourself out there, opening your work up to criticism.

This week he launched a website: and a Facebook page – with a little help of course 😉

Steve and The Australia Policy

The Australia Policy

And today is his birthday. Happy to you my clever boy. mwah x

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    1. Helen
      Posted 20 October 2014 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Beautiful doors indeed, Marg, and that hotel is a pleasant surprise. I love the sculptures Steve makes, so pleased he is pursuing his talent.

      • Marg
        Posted 20 October 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Cessnock was a pleasant surprise Helen! At Simon’s recommendation we had dinner at The Royal Oak Hotel which wasn’t cheap but it was superb. A great crew of young people obviously working really well together. Many, many serious awards. It’d be a really lovely weekend from Sydney doing the drive up through Wollombi and on to the Hunter. Just watch out for the motorbikes. It’s obviously a favourite route. And like you, I’m stoked Steve is pursuing this too. Especially when you come back from Asia and realise how much mass produced stuff there is in the world. The world needs more artists! 🙂

    2. Posted 20 October 2014 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      So lovely to have Steve a part of Sculpture and it was certainly a pleasure to meet you both!
      We have all enjoyed reading your story this morning – plenty of giggles!
      Much love, Phillipa x

      • Marg
        Posted 20 October 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Lovely to hear Philippa. Thanks for letting us know. You live in a seriously beautiful part of the world. I grew up near Terrigal and I have very dim memories of Mum and Dad dragging me along on Sunday drives out that way but it’s very different thesedays! 🙂 The space you’ve personally created at Stonehurst is very special. Maybe next time we’ll get to try the wines – 10 am was a bit early, even for us! 🙂

    3. Posted 20 October 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Well it is about time his work gets the recognition it deserves. And that hotel!!! So so great and funky vintage is so my style. The doors…ridiculously lovely. And yes, now you must go back and drink wine. So you can take more pictures. So wish that Libran Hogan a happy birthday and tell him strange American women are wishing him happiness and success.

      • Marg
        Posted 20 October 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

        It will make his day knowing that a strange American woman with a love of funky vintage is sending him happiness and success from across the Pacific Shalagh. Truly. You’re a classic xx

    4. Posted 20 October 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Love the new page(Go Stevie!)
      Love the door
      and especially love the photo of you in the mirror from the door!


      • Marg
        Posted 20 October 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Lib. Sounds like you’ve had an absolute blast in NY. Is there anything you haven’t seen? 😉 Not too long now till we get to hear all the stories first hand. Enjoy these last weeks. And love to the NY branch of the fam xxx

    5. Harrie
      Posted 21 October 2014 at 3:48 am | Permalink

      yeah hogie X!

    6. Harrie
      Posted 21 October 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink

      yeah team hogie X!

      • Marg
        Posted 21 October 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        And support staff X!

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