Meet Kahrina Dorczak – co-ordinator of the Kids’ Craft Corner at the Foreshore Market. Kahrina has a passion for working with youth of all ages and an admiration for their creativity and imagination.
What has been your life journey so far?
It’s simple. I am a country girl at heart. Cootamundra is home sweet home. So many people ask me, “Where’s that?”
“You know … near Stockinbingal, Wallendbeen, Wombat, Illabo.”
It’s a little country town full of charm and many colourful characters. I worked in Europe soaking up culture and the arts and returned inspired to study the world of arts and design at Wollongong University.
I have always worked with youth and wanted to travel around our homeland, so I furthered my studies in our superb Sydney, that offered lots, but I knew in my heart I had to be closer to the land, so I applied for work in Alice Springs. That was a magical experience that has influenced the work I do now.
I love my days here in this paradise – I spend them working as part of the dynamic team of educators at St Columba Anglican School. I have fallen in love with this area – it is magical and inspires my every day. I swim and try to fit in some huffy puffy every morning. An early morning chat with the Ice Bergs at Flynns gets your morning started for sure!
What are some of your career highlights?
I have coordinated and participated in solo and group exhibitions, been recognised with awards for my art of various mediums and had people purchase my energy. As I evolve, I am finding that I love the spontaneity of working outdoors with collaborative art projects. As an artist and educator, I know my life has been highlighted working with youth in different cultures through my travels and living in other countries.
I have been fortunate to gain inside knowledge, especially of Indigenous-Utopian Art (North East of Alice Springs), as I worked with the team at Mbantua Art Gallery and Cultural Centre in Alice Springs. We represented contemporary artists such as: Emily Kngwarreye, Lindsey Bird, The Petyarre Sisters, Angela Ngale and their kids. The Centre had a real presence, as we educated interested tourists, families and locals who all had a genuine interest and willingness to learn.
The Kids’ Art Corner is a favourite at the markets. What sorts of things do you help the youngsters create?
I believe it is popular because there is a constant flow of vibrant energy that we create together. I invest my time prior to our time creating seeking materials that are as unconventional as possible. I incorporate my continued studies of Anthroposophy and colour therapy into everything.
My creative practice is based on the work of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who encourages the growth of the imagination of each individual through the spiritual connection of body, spirit and soul. There is never a dull moment with the little people! We have had fairies, Captain Feathers, flora and fauna, wearables, masks of all characters, kites, abstract art . . . you name it, they can create it, and I have not had anyone ask me to take them to the toilet – so I guess we are all enjoying ourselves! Due to popularity, I am running workshops for kids at The Amber Healing Farm next to North Brother Mountain. Kids can relax and make art, learn to cook and eat organic handmade food and play with the farm animals. If parents or families are interested, they can talk to me at the markets or contact me at anytime.
Do you have new projects, themes and ideas for the kids each month? What have been some of the kids’ favourites so far?
I work with youth of all ages during the week – this is my passion. I watch and admire their creativity and imagination. From my observations and connection to my studies, I try to offer something diverse for the kids who join us at the markets. I aim to make each month exotic, as you never know what gender, cultural background or age will ‘roll in’. For the younger munchkins, they love to just go wild and if they can wear it, then they generally depart like peas in pods. The older kidlets are happy to leave their art for me to display. Passers by have admired their work and asked to purchase it, so it’s a buzz for the kids – I find they get inspiration from what we do together and then travel into their own world and play elsewhere, which is my aim.
What do you enjoy most about being involved with kids and helping them show their artistic abilities?
I lived and worked with various indigenous kids in the centre and found their approach to making art very different to the kids here. It has been so interesting watching how kids here on the East Coast like to be ‘encouraged’ and ‘advised’ with their artmaking. I love being part of their lives and adore watching their individual expressions twist and turn. Art with youth is like a roller coaster ride – once you get them started, I find they don’t want to stop!
I believe exposing kids to this magical environment and giving them the opportunity to relax into their art is a meditation. At the markets, Necia has allowed me to create a spot where we can all relax, listen to yummy music and create. It is about good health and a sense of loving life together – it doesn’t get much better than that.
Do you have a specialty when it comes to art? What are some of your favourite things to create?
I believe create with anything you can. Watercolour has always been a favourite. It’s like when I have fruit salad – I love it all, but the strawberries hit the belly first. Same for watercolour – it comes first. I encourage you to play with it. It can be wild and free – uncontrollable, soft and / or as bright as the sun. Since moving from the centre, I have traded horse for surfboard, so the ocean has made the connection to watercolour stronger. I get out of the water and just want to be with it. Currently, I am working with recycled timber – specifically Banksia Integrifolia.
A good friend showed me how to use various timbers out in the Alice, and recently I met a craftsman up in Bellingen who rescued a plantation following natural disasters, and he has inspired me to use my favourite tree in my art. I work on circles – again a connection to Anthroposophy and use watercolours and natural paints that friends sell here in Port Macquarie. I am conscious about health in art and love that today, more than ever, some suppliers are making natural mediums. You should see the pigments – wow! Colour your world!
What gives you inspiration or new ideas in your every day life?
The sun, moon, bees, everything earth and travel is vital for a colourful life. I feel I have been blessed to meet so many inspirational characters on my journey so far, especially my time living with indigenous Australia. It has guided me ever so much. Their connection to Nungeenatya (Mother Earth) and their simplicity in the way they live can be inspiration for us all. Here in Port Macquarie, I have met and been inspired by some very spirited characters. This land is spiritually plentiful and everywhere I move, look and feel, there are new ideas.
The kids are really unique – never a dull moment. There is no need for the TV to be on! I love to gain knowledge and then put my learning into artworks. I am fascinated by the workings of bees. I have been researching them through biodynamic farming practices and am currently working on a series of artworks that will hopefully inspire people to sustain, protect and breed them. The little workers who are our life force, need our support and care. No bees – no us!
Tell us about your involvement with the Artist Market. How long you have been attending, and why do you enjoy it?
I love good food! My belly led me into the market with the biggest hunger pains, as I’d been out swimming all morning. It didn’t take long to spot Jean Davy’s food, which kept me returning and soon after reconnecting with her, she hooked me up with Necia and we put The Kids Art Corner concept together. Although it is kids’ art, it is very different to the education I am involved with during the week. I get such a buzz knowing that we are all going to create together, catch up on the happenings in the kids’ world and even have a dance if we are lucky to have live music.
Necia planted a very healthy seed for us all – we should continue to bind together as a community and keep the spirit flowing. I encourage all kids and families to join us 8-12 every market day – just look for the colourful Birapi puppets!
Contact Kahrina: 0420 526 291 or firstname.lastname@example.org