TREASURE TREASURES: Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, the detail and intricacy in the Margaret Olley centre.
TREASURE TREASURES: Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, the detail and intricacy in the Margaret Olley centre. Nolan Verheij-Full

Olley's beautiful mess

THE marvellous Margret Olley installation a Tweed Regional Gallery is a joy and a delight to behold. If you haven't seen it, the gallery transported the rooms in the Hat Factory where she used to live and paint in Paddington Sydney, to Murwillumbah. piece by tiny piece. The rooms have been recreated right down to very last intricate detail. Must have been quite the logistical nightmare.

The rooms are overflowing, crowded and beautiful. Every surface is covered in stuff, beautiful stuff - lots and lots and lots of it. Dried flowers, desiccated fruit, bottles, jars, vases, statues, half squeezed tubes of pain and books....

This is a scene that would make Marie Kondo (the decluttering and careful folding guru) devotees blanch and possibly swoon. There is no minimalism here, rather an abundance of colour and creavtity. And although it's crowded, it is not chaotic, because everything is lovely.

There is a love of beauty in abundance that is extremely pleasing to the eye. Although you might wonder how she moved around the rooms, as there is not much space at all, and it's hard to see how dinner parties were catered for from the tiny, crowded kitchen. But no matter. This was her beautiful living studio and home.

My companions said that looking at it made her feel better about her collection of beautiful fabrics which is inspired by her love of textures and textiles. But think about, the push toward decluttering and minimalism has sprung up in response to the huge amount of stuff in the world that threatens to overwhelm us. My daughter bought a pair of shoes for $2. Unsurprisingly, they fell apart quite quickly. But not all stuff is bad. Some stuff is really, really good and should be admired and respected. It is a case of less equals more. If something is broken, fix it, don't chuck it out, despite what Ms Kondo says. Treasure your treasures!

People love to boast about their decluttering prowess and how many bags of stuff they took to the op shops. But the op shops are feeling the impact of the communal chuck out. They are overwhelmed by tonnes of clothing and stuff being left there. Australians send 6000kg to landfill, every 10 minutes. That's a very scary statistic. Are we to be buried under mountains of barely worn clothes and no longer loved junk? Choose your treasures well.

The Margaret Olley Centre and recreation of the Hat Factory are a physical manifestation of inner creativity, which is messy and abundant. Inspiration comes from the divine swamp of a creative mind. It is here that vision and imagination dwell. Marie Kondo followers best stay away. They might get palpitations and the sight of these gorgeous, richly crowded rooms.