A little something I wrote after my fourth visit to Minamisanruki in February 2018
A regular end of year ritual of mine is to flick through my diary and remind myself what it is I did for the year, before writing the new dates and appointments into the next diary.
Yes am still using a physical paper diary. I see the benefit of the digital diary but I am attached to the physical page turning, the hand scrolled entries and maybe even the regular panic about having lost it for a few days!
This is what the list looked like…
(The entry with the circle was a long weekend we took to NZ to see my folks in February)
What I did in 2017…
I continued my causal/part time work at the City of Whittlesea as an Arts Project Coordinator. This year we invited the schools to create art work for the Community Festival around the idea of Weaving Community. The response was fantastic…
After Community Festival we rolled into Knowing You Knowing Me, a community dance project partnered between Ausdance Victoria and The City Of Whittlesea, funded by Creative Victoria.
This is an 18-month project where we are connecting community in the growth suburbs within the City of Whittlesea, through dance workshops and community events. It’s slowly gaining momentum and is already having exciting results. This will continue into 2018 and finish with the Inaugural Annual Dance Affair coming to town…very exciting. My role is project manger/coordinator.
I continued my relationship with Polyglot Theatre this year: starting with being called in to replace an injured performer at the art centre in Tangle in January, and ending with two creative developments. In Our Hands is a collaboration between the Tjpani Desert Weavers, Form (WA), and Polyglot Theatre. I was invited into the second stage of a three-stage development, traveling to the weavers’ home in Warakuna where we spent two weeks with them, camping , weaving, drinking tea, sharing culture. This was the most incredible experience that I can’t to justice to in this quick summary. Then in November, we all went to Perth and completed the development with a showing in the Goods Shed Gallery. What we have created together is an interactive play space built around and with the weavers…. hopefully in 2018 we will be able to reveal the work!
The other development is a part of the generators project that Artistic Director Sue Giles has launched, where Polyglot supports, nurtures, helps to develop work by its core artists. Mischa Long had imagined a magical work called Light Pickers, a light and sound installation for under-5s. It’s very beautiful and once again an honour to be a part of the development…
And finally with Polyglot, I returned to Warringa Park Primary to create with the students, alongside Mischa Long and Ash Hughes, a tunnel and installation of vines and cocoons. Four weeks of crazy fun! We went back in December to install the work outside for their end of year concert and the fabulous Steph Ohara added a soundscape, also created with the students.
As well as these regular employments…
I was commissioned to created an endangered species lantern for the Werribee Open Range Zoo’s Wild Nights in Winter… this year the Orange-Bellied Parrot.
I hung nests in the Windows of Lupino Bar and Restaurant for the Craft Cubed Window Walk, and in the Civic Building at Knox City Council for their Immerse Festival.
I spent April in a shipping container in Footscray as apart of the Artbox residency, developing the Stories of Clay and Rope and inviting community to drop in and make their own nests.
And I returned to Lismore in June to mange the Lismore Lantern Parade, which this year felt all the more important after the massive flooding events in March which saw three metres of water pour into the CBD. Watch it here!
Throughout 2017 I continued my clay journey, developing glazes with Neville French at SoCa…That has been very exciting. I love the work that I have been making.
I started with magnesium glazes and developing a colour palette, shifted to shino glazes then we finished the year with celadon glazes, which I love.
I finished the year taking my ceramics to a few Christmas markets, which was a great experience and very successful. All of which is very inspiring for continuing into the new year….
I was asked to Work with Mel Smith as a visual designer on her solo show Spas Motive, with the provocation of working with her to include her artwork into the dance work she is making. This will have a development showing in February and it’s my first task for the new year…
Oh and I turned 50!
INTO THE LIGHT 2016
Threads that Connect
INTO THE LIGHT is a community process and event developed using art to explore ongoing recovery issues in the region, break down isolation and build connections. It began in 2011 in response to community needs following the 2009 Black Saturday Bush fires. Locals asked that the project be repeated, to continue a collective reflection, realising that community recovery is an ongoing and evolving process that takes time to unfold.
So for the past 4 years we have been engaging in a collective collaborative art project in the Whittlesea Township and surrounding areas, as part of a community recovery process.
Each September, members of bushfire affected communities from across the Kinglake Ranges parade together as a personal, public and collective ritual to welcome spring, reflect on the effect of enforced change in our lives, and look to their future, together.
Guided by a community committee of local people and artists, the theme changes each year to reflect communities’ unfolding issues rather than council boundaries or projected plans.
Working across municipal borders the process has involved workshops delivered in twelve schools throughout the Whittlesea, Nillumbik, Mitchel and Murrindindi shires and community workshops engaging individuals and groups of all ages and abilities.
The clay nests installed as imagined…
At the Yarra Sculpture Gallery end of year exhibition…Bonanza…
During the installation of this work I had been determined to place the clay nests on the wall, as I had originally imagined them. But it just didn’t work.(I really did keep trying to make it work!!)
I finally allowed myself to listen to both the work, and my friends, whose advice I had asked for and placed all of the nests on the floor.
In the action of doing this, Paul Blackman and I discussed how lovely it was to hold them.
The clay nests have a warmth about them.
From this we decided to invite the audience to
Pick up a ceramic nest
And hold it in your hands
Take a moment to feel its weight
Its shape, its purpose
Then place it back in the space
Wherever you like…
I am very excited about this discovery. I love that the viewer is invited to engage with the work. That they can place themselves in it and experience it. I love that the gallery space and the work loses its preciousness; nests may get broken. (One did, but that one fell off the wall in the set up!!) Mostly I love that the work could be experienced sensually and kinaesthetically. It became about having an experience rather than about a concept.
Maybe its my dance and theatre background influencing my work, a desire to break down the fourth wall…maybe its my community arts practice and a desire to connect with people, maybe it was easier to let the audience design the space…it was certainly interesting and delightful to witness the flow of the nests through the space.
A review and images from my installation at Rubicon ARI, Queensbury St, Melbourne August 2016
“Very cool to drop in on Stefanie Robinsons installation at Rubicon ARI today……we walk into a white space, walls , floor and ceiling . Hanging from the roof detritus ropes, sun worn ,ocean swept , sometimes unravelled and frayed . At intermittent points the ropes flair out into beautifully woven nests before being drawn back to follow gravity and continue to the floor where some coil , frayed ends tickle the floor, a minute nest, the essence of intimacy and well being , nestles in the fraying…Where rope meets floor a heaviness of clay nests ground it all and their weight and earthiness are such a wonderful counterpoint to the lightness of the suspended elements of the work. Roughly modelled and fired their earth colour combined with the subtle hues of ropes, hemp and the weaving create this exquisite and reflective environment….I just sat down and dreamed away. you can touch !….Texture ! I moved through and just a gentle bump to set it all in slight motion and the weight of the earth elements holding us firm. Anyway I think it’s really bloody groovy and quite literally hangs together really well…twenty stars ! 309 Queensberry street, We’d to Sat…12 to 5 PM, until 31 St August…oh and it’s a side entrance around the corner.”
I am currently working towards an installation in August at Rubicon Gallery.
I have a vision for a wall of clay nests
I hung up the few that I had in my Studio last week
I think its going to work!
Now to make the next 50 – 70 …
I sent a lovely day yesterday in Williamstown as apart of the final Scenes on the Yarra guided performance/installation celebrating the Yarra River, created by Jeminah Reidy.
I installed a collection of nests in trees along Nelson Parade and highlighted them with a sound scape created by Dean Lombard. The soundscape include a song that he had written in response to one of the nests I had made from rope found washed up on the newport breakwater.
The long tails of the nests reached down to the footpath. As I sat and waited for the performance to pass through I got to watch the general public interact with the installation. It was so delightful. People on bikes negotiating the tails, walkers caught by sounds , stopping and looking, curious minds trying to workout where the sound came from….pulling the tails of the nests or waving their hands around thinking they were activated by their presence (unfortunately not just sparse sounds randomly emerging)
Only two people found the need to tell me it was dangerous…everyone else enjoyed it, so many smiles,so much curiosity. It really was such a joy to experience others experiencing it.
Its hard to capture the the experience with the camera ….
the professional photos of the installation installed in the Dirty Dozen Windows for the Christmas Exhibition “Urban Forest”.
It was very exciting to be included in this exhibition, I have eyed up these display cases for a long time….
Lighting by Bronwyn Pringle
Thanks to Alf Caruna for the Photos…. alfcaruana.com.au