Artist Tahlia Jayde first fell for Michael Leunig’s work when her dad gave her the illustrator’s  book A Bag Of Roosters.

“Soon I began making little sculptures of roosters,” says Tahlia, who lives in Margaret River.

Michael Leunig with Tahlia at the Organic Garden

She quickly became such a Leunig fan, “I didn’t want to stop there.”

She then wrote to the revered artist, “hoping he’d give me permission to keep making other Leunig characters into clay figurines.”

To her delight, Leunig himself – declared an Australian Living Treasure in 1999 – quickly replied, saying he was more than happy to let her do this.

The result: beautiful figurines of Mr Curly, and other delightful, fragile little characters.

We happened to stumble across Tahlia’s wonderful work while visiting Margaret River’s iconic Organic Garden last weekend, (where Starfish publisher Peter Rigby was joining the garden’s founders Shelley Cullen and Margot Edwards to talk about their new coffee table book Wednesday’s Garden).

As we enjoyed coffee and cake, admiring Tahlia’s works peppered throughout the garden while waiting for the talk, who should just happen to stroll past but Michael Leunig himself, in town for a presentation.

It was a big moment for Tahlia, who until that moment, had never met her idol.

The two quickly got chatting, and Leunig was visibly moved by Tahila’s works, at times dabbing his eyes with emotion as he saw the great care and effort she’d put into each enchanting piece.

“I really love what you’ve done,” he told the equally moved artist, giving her a hug.

“I’ve just had a new documentary made about me; I wish it had been filmed right here in this magical space, surrounded by her works,” he gestured around him at the garden’s botanical delights.

There’s still time to buy a copy of Wednesday’s Garden (Rocket Frog Books). But be quick, it’s selling like hot cakes!

After our visit to the garden, we headed to Cape Lodge, where Peter joined foodie Ian Parmenter and journalist Geraldine Doogue for a trip down memory lane. Destination: The 1970s!

Over a 70s inspired menu of seafood vol au vent , prawn cocktails and chateaubriand with potato gratin, we heard Peter talk Rigby cartoons, Palmie reminisce about his TV career and Geraldine talk about all things media. A thoroughly consuming night!

To see more of Tahila’s work go to Michael Leunig Cartoons in 3D on Facebook.

Thanks to Drew Bernhardt at Cape Lodge.

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