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!
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…
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.
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 …
In November i was once again invited back to Warringa park special school. This is my 3rd project with them. I was very excited to see the development in their skills …. In using the tape and the cane and understanding both what we are making and how to make it….
This time it was a tram ….
The first day 4 classes helped me to build the frame, and the following week another 2 helped my cover it in the paper and then add the drawings. The fabulous art teachers Andrea and Ruth, had worked with their classes to create a number of different styles of drawings and collages to glues on the tram for decoration….
They looked great and I’m sure they were the highlight of the end of year arts show.
Since returning from the Bird Lab Residency is Sweden I have been deep in lantern land.
First the Lismore Lantern Parade
This year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of this fabulous event.
INTO THE LIGHT – Cycles of Change.
This was the 4th year for INTO THE LIGHT, which started in response to the 2009 Black Saturday fires. Each year we have reflected on the process of healing and with a group of local artists,designed an event in response to where the community is at now.
It is a very special event. I feel privileged to be part of it
This years video is still in process but here are the last 2 years.
And now that lantern season is over
I have time to return to my studio.
This started with a shift from studio 2.14 which has been my home for the last 2 years to Studio 2.26 across the hall. (At River Studios in West Melbourne which is run my City of Melbourne’s Creative Spaces program)
A chance to dust of the dust and re look at everything that i have gathered or done or thought about doing. I now have a wooden floor, 2 white walls and a square space rather than a rectangle.
So i sat in it today
and stared at all the projects
started, played with , begun, thought about
for me to start, return to , finish, begin , complete, start,
Is it all one creative journey ?
Or separate threads heading in opposite directions?
So I picked up some clay (my newest thread)
and blocked out the questions
and let my fingers play
In a weird contrast to the beauty of this place
I am in
is the military training base just down the road.
It has been a training base for 200 years.
The land it uses to practice on
is also apart of the wild life sanctuary…
or is that the other way round??
Gates Closed…. do not enter we are practicing.
On my 2nd day here i was sent scuttling home
after a tank crossed my path….
today i was joyfully watching the flight of a bird when
a tank fills the space in the binoculars….
the bird song
often broken by the sound of gun fire.
I am very uneasy with all of this.
I really hate war and being this close to it…
even though it is only practice…
they are still practicing for war…..
When I was coming to Harlosa i was asked if i wanted anything… I asked for rope as this is a material i have been using in Melbourne and sometimes it’s not so easy to find…
I have been a bit over whelmed by the response …rope has been delivered to my door, big thick chunky worn rope.
Its taken me a while to approach the rope, partly because other materials have taken my attention, and partially because my head has been full of what i would do with it in Melbourne… so i have been thinking that i need to wait for the response to emerge from this place that i am in now.
Firstly I worked with the white rope
and this appeared…
in response to seeing the Pendulum Tit nest…
Today i bring it inside the thick brown rope
and start to pull it apart.
It’s interesting to see the parts it is made up of.
4 thick stands and a thinner stand also made up of 3 parts that have been twisted together.
It 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 …..
I think i will have lunch before i start……..