Thursday, November 19, 2009

Laydeeeees and Gentlemen! The Port Fairy Hospital Fundraiser

Our family friend and artist Jenny McCarthy runs a fundraiser every 2 years for the Port Fairy Hospital. In case you think that Port Fairy is merely the home of the Folkie (or Port Fairy Folk Festival to the uninitiated), let me enlighten you. Port Fairy is actually excellent all year round. Not only does it have beaches, lovely places to eat (some of them get hats), shops where you can happily spend much more than you meant to, it also has (wait for it) a community.

And Jenny is up there in it. The idea of the fundraiser is for friends, family and willing aquaintances to produce a painting to auction, and this year a teapot to go with it:

Some of the people who provided art are actually proper-like artists. Some of them are not. I'm certainly not. Not only did I have to buy some paint to make my canvas, I had to buy a brush too. Still, this was my effort (called "Artistree", painted on curtain fabric):

I was, however, especially proud of my teapot (I called it "Treepot"):

Took me back to my high school days of gluing stuff together with superglue (mostly my fingers).

The canvases and accompanying teapots are auctioned in ye olde Dutch style (ie. there's a bit of paper and a pencil hanging from each painting, and you write down your bid, then someone might outbid you, so you have to come back in between glasses of fizzpop to check you haven't been outbid, and if you have, you bid again with your pencil. It's like eBay, but with more walking).

I left the boy at home with his dad and enough milk in the fridge to sustain twins for a week, and we wimmin toddled off to Port Fairy. Here are the Punch girls with our art (my mum Jude, me, and my aunt Margy):

We arrived pretty early at the hall, but people swished in fast. Everyone had dressed up, and swilled about looking at the paintings on offer:

Jenny, in her awesome lilac ball gown, announced that there would be lucky door prizes:

I was especially hoping to get my hands on the National Bank bag, but had no joy. There's a lucky person out there. You know who you are.

We all kept running back to our paintings to see if we'd had any bids (especially exciting when someone you DIDN'T KNOW bid on your painting!). But at some point, this teapot arrived on the scene:

It's a squid, obviously. It's just a very *ahem* well-endowed squid.

After the crowd was well lubricated (and it WAS a crowd, by this point, there was the occasional CRASH as someone's painting was elbowed off an easel and onto the floor), the auction began. Several works by the proper-like artists were to be auctioned off in the round by Mr 'sales' Simon Bones, an auctioneer at the local sale yards. This ain't your mother's Sotherbys.

It's much more exciting. Actually, it was REALLY exciting. The crowd got noisier with every auction, and despite the $5 in my pocket I nearly bid on something after the $900 mark. Can you bottle that sort of atmosphere? Perhaps not. But if you can make it through 4 minutes of the following video, you'll see what I mean:

The kids sat on the floor (and nicked the occasional glass of wine), the crowd gathered round and round and between auctions we ran back to our favourite paintings to see if we'd been outbid.

Those of us who had provided paintings ran back to our own work to see if we'd been bid any higher.

One of the most delightful things about the evening was seeing the love that the Port Fairy community has for Jenny. I eavesdrop a LOT, and if the Port Fairy Hospital got a dollar for every lovely thing that was said about her that night, well, they wouldn't have need of a fundraiser at all. It's not hard to understand: she's ace.

But obviously, you're wondering about how much the Punch Family Art raised for the hospital. Here are our bidding cards for your perusal:

My aunt Margy won out with $175, my mum Jude came in next with $120 (and of course we have no acquaintance with Ashley, though he's got a fine eye for an artwork), and yours truly brought up the rear with $52.

And it wasn't even my mum who bought my painting.

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