Our Pappinbarra home is a sanctuary. It’s exciting to get a dose of the city sometimes, but coming home to the forest is always a relief. In many ways it’s timeless, and in others it’s changing all the time: the more you look, the more you notice. You could learn all your life from the forest and its inhabitants, the weather and the land, and barely have scratched the surface. 

I design and create for urban theatre companies, museums and the like. Moving to a bush property in the Hastings in 2004, I started to feel disconnected from that world, and was looking for ways to make work and my home and community make sense together. I’ve always been interested in the potential in salvaged materials, and have wanted to push those possibilities in the professional world: there’s a mountain of resources that go to waste in the name of art and entertainment! I also saw huge potential in the practical craft skills of people around me. 

  • Frugal Forest Flowers
  • That led to a community project called the Salvage Spider: with advice from naturalists, a group of Pappinbarra folk built a realistic Orb Spider from old stuffed toys and industrial offcuts, and it went up in the foyer of the Glasshouse. From there, the Frugal Forest Project was born, which soon spread to include participants all over the Mid North Coast. It’s an immersive forest installation made entirely from stuff that was headed to landfill: even the soundscape is made from junk! 

  • Bryony And Chay In The Forest
  • Frugal Arts Inc was formed by some of the passionate drivers of that project and, under the guidance of Chay Khamsone, will be doing great things with creative and practical reuse in the future. After touring NSW, the Frugal Forest will be coming home to roost at the Sea Acres Rainforest Centre, and we’re very excited about that. It’s a huge opportunity to educate and inspire locals and visitors alike. 

The Hastings is a wonderful place to live and create. I feel like I get the best of both worlds: I have a stimulating career, but also healthy happy children and a mountain view to come home to.  My family draws endless joy from the privilege of living on this land. 

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