Using materials from our surroundings to make art and objects was imparted on me at a young age. I was born in the city, and moved to Arnhem land in the Northern Territory as a child. This was a traditional island, weaving, carving, bark painting, dyeing fibre, gathering, hunting in season and preparing in the traditional ways was part of everyday life.
We were there for a few years, this planted the seed and my mother is a maker, spinning, weaving and stitching in the background. So my younger years were spent in this way. As a young adult my path became muddled, I got lost, and caught in the transition, the implication that I needed ‘a career’. So my making became a hobby and my work became a career.
In my 30’s I left my career disillusioned and wanting something that nurtured my creative energy. I began a fine art degree and suddenly it all made sense again, I learnt about the narrative of contemporary art and craft and how stories can be recorded. Then my long awaited time to conceive and be a mother interrupted the journey.
This has brought a whole new dimension to my learning and redefining creativity. Constantly having children at my side has meant that I needed to find new ways to include making in my world. When I sit in a park watching them play I pull fibre out to the garden to weave small baskets, or I gather leaves for dyeing, or stitch small pictures.
So the journey that began has been allowed to continue, and grow, ‘Materials of Place’ is a celebration of this process. Concepts from childhood, are now finding a voice. I have found a way to use the materials of my surroundings and through sustainable process make contemporary recordings. The collection that I have produced as part of my artist in residence at the Cooroora Institute uses eco dyeing a process developed by ‘India Flint’ that takes the leaves and plants and through a heating process transfers the natural chemical imprint onto fabric or paper.
The resulting exhibition also includes a series from Lightning Ridge, it is in stark contrast to the hinterland work. It gives the narrative an interesting two sided conversation, about how we can use exactly what is in front of us to create the dialogue of place.
There are so many levels that I find interesting with this work. The history of the land, looking at the patterns of the seasons and how this is affecting the growth of the plants. What is in abundance and what is scarce. Nature never stops, and I find it humbling to try and use whatever is growing, and not pass judgement, to just openly digest the surroundings and create a record that is true and not manipulated. This is the beauty and truth of this collection.
Another dimension to this residency was the 2 day workshop I ran, this was a very inspiring way to bring together my learning from the last few years, and help others find process’s that will hopefully take them on their own paths. Connecting with people through creating and sharing both practice, food and place is a truly unique way to move through life. I feel very lucky to be finding my voice, and to have people around me that encourage me, to learn and grow in my creative practice.
We were also lucky to have Sophie Munns from Homage to the Seed drop by in our final hours, a truly wonderful way to finish. (More about her later…. or follow the link)
A great big thank you to The Cooroora Institute, Greenacre Organics and to the participants from the weekend workshop for taking the time out of their busy lives to spend with us learning and playing.