Skip to content

Improve your Gippslandia browsing experience by using Chrome or Safari.

A quarterly newspaper for
Gippsland and beyond.

Shop GippslandBecome a member

A quarterly newspaper for Gippsland and beyond.

ArticleLiving Well

People. Place. Loch.

Shelley Banders chats to artist Lucy Hersey about her practice, moving to Loch and how going regional has been a good decision for the family.

May 18, 2021


Words: Shelley Banders

It’s of no surprise that this small town on the western periphery of Gippsland has captured the attention of curators, collectors and creators. After a morning spent with artist Lucy Hersey in her new home and studio, I completely understood the allure of Loch.

Blink and you will miss the exit off the South Gippsland Highway.

The historic Loch Village can be considered the starting point of the rolling Strzelecki Ranges that define the region.

Loch is roughly the same distance from Melbourne as Daylesford is, only in the other direction, and has been likened to a bite-sized version of the equidistant town. Perhaps the nineteenth-century architecture, coffee dispensaries and specialty stores lining the main street fulfill those country town expectations that draw out daytrippers.

Lucy and her partner Nathan would often stop at Loch as a halfway point from their previous home on the Mornington Peninsula to their farm in Woorarra West, where they breed Highland cattle.

“We always looked forward to stopping for a cuppa, scone and a poke around the op shop, and we realised it would be a great place to invest.”

“We always looked forward to stopping for a cuppa, scone and a poke around the op shop, and we realised it would be a great place to invest,” explains Lucy.

The pair relocated a 100-year-old Victorian weatherboard home, dubbed ‘The Windsor’, from inner Melbourne to a parcel in Loch with a view to lease the dwelling. However, the house and village worked their charm and when their son Hugo came into the world they “quickly realised that Loch was not going to be our investment — it would be our family home and community”.

Subscribe to Gippslandia

Lucy works primarily with local earth pigments that she collects and processes in her studio. Loch’s position allows easy access to pigment sources along the Bass Coast and Western Port Bay beaches. Lucy describes her art as an extension of daily life, “Beach combing leads to collecting pigmented rocks and clay, shells and driftwood, which all come back to the studio… a local op shop yields a vase or two for a still life”.

The outcome of Lucy’s practice is earthy, layered and harmonious works, with a familiarity that comes from utilising mostly natural and found objects.

Lucy explains, “I collect earth paint as rocks or clays and process [them] in my mortar and pestle and mix into a paste, which I paint with. This is my preferred medium. My inspiration is often native plant and bird life, and I love painting from still life arrangements in my studio”.

“I collect earth paint as rocks or clays and process [them] in my mortar and pestle and mix into a paste, which I paint with.”

The studio itself is a new edition and will enable Lucy to expand her practice.

“It’s my dream come true.”

Nestled in the garden, the tranquility of the village is felt within this quiet space. “The garden is informing my work a great deal lately,” shares Lucy. There’s also a veggie patch and a birdhouse to tend to when inspiration wanes. Lucy agrees there is “nothing better than stretching your legs, pulling some weeds and chucking them to the chickens and ducks to ease painter’s block”.

Other than contributing to the language of Lucy’s work, which is steadily gaining a following, plans for the studio include hosting workshops and classes in the garden. “I have visions of friends gathered around a steaming dye pot in the courtyard and painting amongst the veggies with the ducks waddling around… Hold that thought!”

Doing life in a small town allows one to truly redefine daily existence. I think of author Annie Dillard’s words, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives… What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing”. As for Lucy and Nathan, they yearned for a slower pace, a focus on the environment, less time spent commuting and more time engaging with, and giving back to, the local community. Small towns such as Loch allow for space, quiet and privacy while still fostering a neighbourly connection.

“Going regional is a good financial decision — but mainly it’s a good decision for our hearts and family.”

“Going regional is a good financial decision — but mainly it’s a good decision for our hearts and family.”

-
Follow Lucy and family via @lucehersey, @thewindsorloch and www.lucyhersey.com.

All images by Karli Duckett @discovering_gippsland

Lucy’s local Loch hit list includes:

@oliveatloch
@carringtons_of_loch

@wormwood_loch

@artspaceatloch

@thegrovegippsland

-
Gippslandia - Issue No. 18

Find, Subscribe, Buy, Download

Did you enjoy this article? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram.

More in

    South Gippsland ShireGippsland

Share this article

FacebookTwitterEmail
FacebookTwitterEmail

Read this next

ArticleLiving Well

People. Place. Inverloch.

The phrase ‘family business’ is literal for the Toomey family as they serve holidaymakers and... Read more


More in Living Well

ArticleLiving Well

An egg-free pav.

Crispy shell, gooey centre, thick whipped cream and fresh summer fruit, a homemade pavlova is truly... Read more

Support Gippslandia: Become a member

Support from our readers is what keeps the lights on and the printing presses running.


Get Gippslandia in your inbox

Get fresh updates from your favourite periodical.... periodically.

Browse topics

Food & Drink

Explore regions

East Gippsland Shire

Partners

Gippslandia is made possible thanks to our supporting partners. They are businesses that believe in the value of sharing optimistic tales from our great region. We encourage you to support them in return, as without them, Gippslandia wouldn’t exist.

About Gippslandia

Gippslandia is a community, non-profit publication. We curate an ever-optimistic take on regional, national and global issues, in a local context. Leaving you feeling like a Gippslandia local, no matter where you’re from. Read more

© 2020 Gippslandia, All rights reserved