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Twig Project Manangatang

Several of our members travelled to Marian & Rodney Caccianiga’s farm at Manangatang on Friday 20th July to experience a “Twig.”

Preparations for the event had continued all week under the guidance of artist-in-residence, Trevor Flynn, funded through an arts grant.  A spectacular bonfire (very BIG ‘twigs’!) greeted the 60 attending, who were then told of the journey they were about to share.

Marian & Rod with torches
Marian & Rod with torches

Trevor, with Marian & Rod bearing ‘survivor-style’ torches, led the group on a winding pathway past fire lit machinery “monsters” & a giant white field bin (which would later be used as a film projection screen.) We were invited to walk barefoot & silent to absorb the feel of the environment, & the specially created sound track of mood music.


Tall ‘palings’ of mallee roots lined either side of a path to a special pyramid of fire surrounded by smaller mallee pointers in a circle of stones. Marian read a piece describing the offering of grain as thanksgiving for the harvest, after which people were invited to take a handful of barley & throw it into the fire.

The trail then led to a labyrinth of stones set in a dry dam surrounded by eroded banks. Another reading described the difference between “Labyrinth & Maze”, the first being a journey of discovery, the latter, one of many dead ends.  We were asked to journey to the centre, & reflect on the symbolism of the experience, as in self awareness of our place in nature, then walk on towards ‘re-birth’ at the one exit.

Video projection on the side of the truck

Retracing our steps, we paused to watch the projection of pictures taken during the week on the property, which included one of an albino kangaroo bounding away. One weeknight had included spotlighting, the product of which had been prepared by Marian as a rabbit stew.



As we returned to the original fire, by now about 6 metres long & 2 metres high, we were offered the stew, soup & damper plus sausage rolls, courtesy of our hosts. The night was so still, the pale smoke drifted straight upwards lit by occasional flurries of sparks. Spectacular! Everyone had dressed warmly & no complaints were heard against the night air.

Marian invited people to go into the house before leaving to see some of her wonderful collection of art, & all were amazed at the range & versatility of her subjects & mediums, & her obvious delight in creating this extensive body of work.

candle in the night


Marian & Rodney, we all thank you & Trevor most sincerely for providing us with such a special experience as an “Introduction to a TWIG.”

written by Joan Mellahn


~ Artist ~ Teacher ~ Counsellor ~

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