Ali Matteini

a life creative

saturday morning art classes with ken raffe

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i haven’t been in italy long enough to feel homesick – perhaps i will skip that sentiment entirely – but there are some things i do miss from australia: my parents, of course, and a handful of ever-faithful friends. in particular i sorely miss a regular creative outlet with other creative folk – be it a regular writing group [i have at last allowed myself to cool the notion of being the italian representative for a antipodean writers group…although closer to home in castel del piano another is currently in the burning-hot-idea-phase], or an art class where i can drop everything here in the office and pick up from the week before and make and talk and drink tea and learn without distraction of work, computer or study.


the artist in action. he might kill me for this photo but i do not own one of him alone in which he stays still or looks at the camera or isn’t saying, ‘no! don’t take that – bah!’

my weekly art class in australia was perfect. it was – and still is – run by the very fabulous, rambunctious and extremely talented ken raffe and his warm and vivacious partner dixie.


i’ve mentioned ken and his class in previous posts; i’ve known him since 1994 when i was 18. he taught me the finer points of drawing and sculpture before i at last nestled into the realm of molten metals and jewellery-making in his studio in 2006.

on an ic recorder in australia – which did make a trip to italy but went back to aus [another story] – i have a three-hour-long recorded interview with ken that i have [hopefully] conned my mother into transcribing for me so i can share it here.

i love an interview that segues the way ken’s did. his life has been rich and amazing to say the least, from poverty and evacuation/temporary adoption aged 9 in london in 1939, entry into a prestigious art academy at the age of 16, and his work as a photographer in sydney in his 20s and 30s, and much, much more. of course there are parts that, for various reasons, i won’t be able to post.

the recording went for three hours and the day was hot, the month was december and a year in which the cicadas had hatched. their cacophony competed with ken’s words – on the recorder itself it sounds terrible…and then the batteries ran out. i jotted the rest for another half an hour and later that evening he rang me twice to relay a few more things he had forgotten to tell me during the interview. these are the little details i remember.

as for the saturday morning class, it was a hoot – a core group of creative men and women who came together to form, paint, draw, play, make, sculpt and laugh.
three hours of art makes a person hungry and towards lunchtime, the subject invariably turned toward food and wine. recipes and restaurant recommendations were shared, as were the amazing tales of one of ken’s many other lives as a restaurateur in sydney.

here are some images from my last few days in the class.

i miss you all!


dixie’s watercolour vibrance


karen and the beginnings of her painting in acrylic. it was therapeutic watching her apply and blend the colours.


evie, ken and barb – barb’s lino prints. silver ink over purple. glorious.


all the class together one last time before i left for italy in august 2012

6 comments on “saturday morning art classes with ken raffe

  1. Gaylene Parker
    February 1, 2013

    I can’t wait for Saturday Class to start for 2013!!! will miss you there but you will always be there in spirit & our hearts. Gaylene

  2. Pingback: Springtime and Sculpture – Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri | the shiny adventures of kittykatmandoo

  3. marshfield
    October 25, 2014

    Are you the K.Raffe that was a scholar at Spring Grove Central School

    • Kittykatmandoo
      November 7, 2014

      I will have to ask Ken if he was at that school – I’ll keep you posted!

  4. Pingback: mARTEdì: Old Sketches & New Experiments in the Studio | the shiny adventures of kittykatmandoo

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This entry was posted on February 1, 2013 by in Art, creativity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .

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