Blue Mountains News
Chasing Rainbows with Expert Opal Polisher
Each visitor receives three opals to polish under the guidance of opal polishing expert Sonja van As, as well as a small display case in which to take them home.
Opals are the Leura artist’s latest obsession.
More specifically, the roulette game of polishing them to discover hidden treasure and release the iridescent fire – and value, within a gem of rare bank balance-boosting proportions.
"I think I've found my nirvana – this is all my loves in one," she says. "It’s the damn colour. I just need to capture iridescence, that three dimensional depth. I don't know why – I'm in love with rainbows maybe."
Opal polishing is like "chasing the rainbow": "It's like gambling, very exciting."
Van As’ artistic journey began "the day I was born" in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1962.
"I think every Dutch person has a famous artist in them somewhere in the past," she says.
Her grandparents were artists, her brother, father and grandfather were photo lithographers.
"I just always loved to draw and create. Everybody else would be outside playing and I'd be drawing my hands or feet in every possible way."
After earlier dropping out of art class when her children were babies, van As achieved a TAFE fine arts diploma in the 1990s and was introduced to the whole gamut of mediums.
In 1999, she was one of 15 sculptors involved in the Blue Mountains Council Wentworth Falls Sculpture Project using local sandstone to create seed pods of local native plants.
She has been involved in many exhibitions and community events, and in 2013 won the Artifact, Art Based on Waste competition locally, going on to claim the NSW title in the Dubbo Art To Waste competition in the "open functional" category with a necklace made with resistors with resined butterfly wings as pendants.
During the years, she has dabbled in pen and ink works, focused on resin layering and polymer clay, felting and stained glass, and mastered printmaking.
Silver jewellery is a latest fad – along with metal stamping, soldering, 3D resin painting and stone polishing.
However, her art is always inspired by beauty and nature, like her bark pieces, silver jewellery and the butterfly wings she sets in resin.
"I think nature is amazing and I want to set it off as well as I can because nature is better than anything we can make. I try to capture the beauty of nature but I also try to imitate it."
Opal polishing with Sonja van As is available at her Leura studio at 9am and 1pm daily. Limited to four people per session, children aged under 15 must be supervised by an adult (not suitable for those under 8). Sessions last up to three hours.
No prior experience necessary. Participants should wear short sleeves and tie long hair back.
Cost: $190 per person. Bookings essential: phone Sonja van As on 0448 725 830 or email.
Kids Flix are back by popular demand!
Art of Lunch events celebrate exhibition, performance and creative cuisine....
Immerse the kids in nature these school holidays with Take Flight and...
Register now to learn how to maintain a worm farm and backyard compost
Bushcare is a great way to meet people, make new friends, and have fun...
Lindsay's Cafe The perfect stop to/from Sydney to the Mountains. Weekends from 9am. Weekdays from 10 @ Norman Lindsay Gallery
Sydney Private Day Tours The best value blue mountains private tour from sydney
Trumans Chartered Accountants Property Development and Tax ... and more!
Cooinda Cottages Perfect family holiday close to home.Fully equipped kitchen, large BBQ areas, tennis court, overlooking golf course.
Melaleuca Mountain Retreat Views that will leave you breathless, a place to relax. Melaleuca Mountain Retreat offers the perfect getaway !!