A little something I wrote after my fourth visit to Minamisanruki in February 2018
New from the Garden Cups now available here
(Its the 3rd one…. :/)
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!
For the month of April I was in residence at the City of Maribyrnong Artsbox.
Where I continued my exploration of clay and rope, discovering new ways they can interrelate. I invited visitors to make a pinch pot from clay and to share their clay stories. These pots and stories were woven into an installation that emerged over the four weeks of the residency.
I had a steady stream of people popping in.
Everyone was keen to get their hands dirty
Most had a story or previous experience of clay. From traditional vessels and practices in Vietnam and Nepal,a fathers who was potter and have left a stash of clay for his daughter to use…. to schools experiences, art therapy experiences and just playing in the mud experiences…
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.”
Today is the 1st of August… I have 17 days until …NestStories in rope and clay“Today I bring inside the heavy brown rope and start to pull it apartIt is thick with dirt, dust and oil. It holds a story of work.It is rugged and strong, like an old farmer who has spent his life in the fields…”These nests have been woven from rope and formed in clay.Fragile containers for hope:an invocation forshelter, security and safetyfor all.This work is my response to her experiences as a community artist, bearing witness to stories of trauma that flow from or lead to the loss of a home, a safe space, a community.“If only rebuilding a home, a community, a future was as simple as twisting some found rope and reclaimed copper…”Hope is a fragile thing, so easily lost sight of in the barrage of media and world events. But it is “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” (Emily Dickinson)Opening Wednesday 17th August 6 – 9pmRuns 17th August – 3rd SeptemberHours Wed – Sat 12 – 5pmatRubicon ARILevel 1/ 309Queensberry StreetNorth MelbourneVIC 3051 AustraliaPlease come and join me at the opening on Wednesday 17th August 6 – 9 pmThis work was developed in a Creative Spaces managed studio.Creative Spaces is a program of Arts Melbourne at the City of Melbourne
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 …