Day Ten

Today’s blog is brought to you by the construction work taking place at Hazelhurst. Right. Outside. My. Window.  Construction workers are using what sounds like leaf-blowers to blow away the concrete dust they’re creating by jackhammering all morning. These workers are sadists apparently.

Things aren’t much quieter inside of Hazelhurst either. It’s exhibition change-over day so things are quite frantic. I think I saw Carrie three times. Once for her to say hello and tell me to book a jumping castle, once for me to ask if I could get involved in the change-over at all (don’t get excited, I didn’t get to), and once to ask her a question.

Everyone in the gallery is quite frazzled. People keep walking past me with sheets of board sandwiching what looked like used bubble gum (this turned out to be some of Rosie Deacon’s art work. Oops).  So, completely unnoticed in the frantic building, I get on with trying to book a jumping castle for this children’s festival Hazelhurst are holding a few weeks.

It’s here that I’m going to warn you that this blog is almost entirely about the angst involved in hiring a jumping castle (quite possibly the only time a jumping castle has ever caused angst).

I hate this jumping castle and everything it stands for

To be honest I am not ready for this level of responsibility. My first thought was, quite literally “do not f**k this up Nicola, this jumping castle hire costs more than a month’s rent”.  The anxiety was not helped by the fact that I had to make a whole bunch of decisions about the hire, without much input from Carrie (who was understandably busy). In the end I just sort of guessed my way through the booking process, using my best judgement where I didn’t have a definite answer. Coincidentally this is pretty the same approach I use in exams.

So exams were useful for something…

Having processed the booking, I then got told a wedding party is having their photos taken in the Hazelhurst grounds the next morning. So I email back the hire company asking them if the castle will be gone by that time.

“Only if you can provide someone to help lift the castle. It needs to people to lift and that can be difficult to find an extra man on a Saturday night.”

I spend the next  30 minutes trying to find Carrie to ask her if we’ll be able to provide someone to help out. Somehow she has slipped back to her desk while I was searching the gallery for her.

In the end I did manage to get the hire sorted.  It took me three hours but it got done. Either I’m very shit at hiring jumping castles or this experience goes to show how organising something seemingly simple can be far more complex when you’re organising it for a large group.


My afternoon was spent desperately trying to stay off Facebook. I had a few tasks I could go on with, but they weren’t urgent. In fact when I did try to go on with making a list of Vital Signs artworks, I ended up somehow changing the default language in Microsoft Word to French. This undoubtedly happened because I bragged about being great at Word in my last blog. That will show me.

I went and had a look at the exhibition change over. Everyone was so busy I could just walk around and no one even noticed. I’ve noticed how there’s an install team that the gallery has that only come in when an exhibition needs to be changed over. I wonder what they do when they’re not here – do they just spend all their time installing exhibitions around Sydney? Is there like some kind of pro exhibition-install circuit they’re all on?

While no one really needed me to do anything I went and made friends with the barista at the Hazelhurst’s café. She’s studying Maths at UOW next session which I thought was pretty cool. The rest of the day I spent bullying myself into doing semi-productive stuff in the lead up to the Vital Signs exhibition, still two months away. But considering I started writing this blog (and doing other assignments) I perhaps wasn’t so successful!


Day Nine

Today I found out only the computer in my cubicle has Photoshop, and therefore if someone needs to use it I get shifted. I enjoyed my new position however. In my back-of-the-room cubicle I got the best view of the security camera monitor. Now I can watch random people walking around the gallery when bored.

I’ve now caught on to how email is the primary means of communication throughout the Hazelhurst office. Why walk three metres when you can spend five minutes typing it for an email? I love how technology is great at bringing people together.

My first task for today (emailed to me) was phoning more suppliers. I’m starting to get the feeling that other people dislike making telephone calls as much as I do. But other people are not interns, and so the phoning jobs get left to me.

Not that I’m complaining. I mean was phoning people about jumping castle hire – I’m sure this was probably some sort of dream of mine as a child. Plus all this practice making phone calls means I no longer sound like gibbering llama when speaking over the phone. Bonus.

After sourcing the best darn jumping castle ever, Carrie got me designing artwork wall labels for an upcoming exhibition at the Moran Gallery, a gallery that collaborates with Hazelhurst regularly. Actually, ‘designing’ is probably too strong a word for what I was doing. More like assembling. I was assembling wall labels for the Moran Gallery. It didn’t take long, and now I know the specs for a wall label.

Something I definitely did not already pickup from high school/university/life

Since I was such a good label assembler I also got to fix up the room-sheet for the same Moran Gallery exhibition. Both these tasks made me think about how my most useful workplace skill – if my experience at Hazelhurst is anything to go by – is the ability to use Microsoft Word. It’s boring but true; I would be in deep shit if I did not know how that program worked. Interning at Hazelhurst is pretty great for getting to do tasks like this though, where I get to find out about lots of different art and artists in the Sydney region.

Returning from lunch to find myself locked out of the office (are they trying to tell me something?), I carried on with a bit of a re-design of the Vital Signs e-invite. While Carrie liked the original design I showed her, she thought it could be improved by including images of the more colourful artworks being exhibited. An idea I also liked in theory, but made difficult by the fact that 80% of the artists exhibiting have neutral-toned works and/or sent in -1000 dpi images.

How low dpi images look  v. how they look online


I struggled on however, and came up with several new designs that *hopefully* no one would notice the crappy image quality in some of the images.


Day Eight


This morning I arrived to notice this guy starting at my from the conference room across from my cubicle. I don’t know where he came from but I can’t shake the feeling that he was placed where he is, directly looking at me, as some sort of experimental method to make sure interns don’t slack off.

Today I was again sourcing supplies for exhibiting artists. This time I was looking for coloured carpet tiles for a Rosie Deacon installation. Unlike last week, this artist sounded familiar (I am terrible at paying attention to local artists) and was pleasantly surprised to find out she was responsible for this work:

Real name Fun Foam Fantastical-Fabulous Fun. Better name: Technikoala

So for Rosie Deacon I had to find coloured carpet tiles, ideally cheap second-hand ones. Something I’ve really liked about Hazehurst has been the weird tips and places I’ve learnt about coincidentally by just being in the office.  A few weeks ago I learnt about how to make rice starch adhesive as an alternative to wheat paste for paste-up works. This week I learnt about Reverse Garbage.  I’d never heard of this place before but it is awesome. Intended as a place to re-sell unwanted, second-hand or factory extras, this place is filled with all kinds of neat furniture, industrial equipment, rolls of fabric, props, art materials, building material and a bunch of other miscellaneous goodies.

It was not however filled with coloured carpet tiles.

Neither was the second place I tried, a used-carpet stockist. In fact the advice I was given here was that it was unlikely I would find any second-hand carpet tiles in anything but beige.

Beige was not an option.

So out of curiosity I decided to just look up a conventional carpet retailer to gauge the availability and price of coloured tiles. As it happened I found a place in Marrickville that was basically a building-sized packet of skittles, but for carpet.

Taste the rainbow

They were of course, about four times more expensive than second-hand tiles, but Carrie seemed to think they were within budget so all good. Another problem solved by Nicola Dowse.

The rest of the day was spent finishing of the five or so projects I had on the go. A few artist statements to edit, the website blurb, a media release etc. etc. I was left basically to get on with work, which I am 100% on board with, especially since now that I’d been interning for a while, I had more of an idea as to what to be doing. I’ve come to realise that in a gallery environment, if what you’re working on isn’t for the most imminent exhibition, then you’re work isn’t going to be a top priority. Makes sense really. Why do an assignment due in two weeks when you’ve got another assignment due tomorrow?