Monday, 20 August 2018

Local Colour : Experiments in Nature

As soon as my plane touched the Canberra tarmac I was back into the whirlwind of getting work finished for the 'Local Colour: Experiments in Nature' exhibition at UNSW Galleries in Paddington, which was curated by Liz Williamson. My fractured wrist and time away was not conducive to lots of intense stitching, so it was head down and needle to the fore to get the final pieces in place before delivering to the gallery.

Liz Williamson opens Local Colour at UNSW Galleries
Photography: Silversalt Photography

'Local Colour' opened on 27th July and both Dr Julie Montgarret and I gave artist presentations to a large crowd beforehand.  I spoke about my arts practice and the interaction of nature with my work, and Julie Montgarret spoke about the work of Elsje van Keppel, which was also included in the exhibition. It was such an honour to be included in this curated show, to be with some amazing textile artists such as Elsje, Rowland Ricketts, Holly Story, Hildur Bjarnadottir, Dorothy Caldwell and India Flint to name a few.

My work ' Aranda to Frost Hollow' triptych, 240cm x 150cm
Photography: Silversalt Photography

My triptych, 'Aranda to Frost Hollow'  was a pieced work that utilised plant-dyed fabrics that had from the suburb of Aranda in Canberra.  My favourite bushwalk when I lived near the Aranda Bushland was to start at the very top of the ridge and walk all the way down through the Frost Hollow snow gums and back up the very steep hill past the powerlines.  For almost 17 years I did this walk about once a fortnight, noting the species of trees and shrubs, grasses, terrain and avoiding collisions with kangaroos! It was a walk I often took visitors on when they came to stay. After my cloths had been pieced, I then mordant-printed the map of the area where I walked on top.  The middle textile ('Frost Hollow')  is composed of hundreds of tiny naturally dyed scraps all hand-sewn to the base fabric to metaphorically continue the journey between the two hills.

My work, next to the work of Gabrielle Mordy (centre)
and Rebecca Mayo (far right)
Photography: Silversalt Photography

There were some gorgeous baskets produced by two groups of indigenous basket makers, curated by Dr Louise Hamby, and these black ones from Mullingimby were so unusual but so beautifully displayed hanging in space.

Photography: Silversalt Photography

The ethereal work of Rowland Ricketts showing his complete mastery
of indigo dyeing onto felt
Photography: Silversalt Photography

Work of Hildur Bjarnadottir (large wallhanging) and
the sculptural work by Lucy Simpson in the fore.
Photography: Silversalt Photography

The day after the opening saw many of the artists give floor talks about their work in the gallery and this was so well attended by the public.  It gave great insights into the works and why and how they had been created. One of my very favorite pieces is the work of Judith Kentish, which also happened to be hanging next to my work ! The simplicity and honesty that that emanated from these small weavings illustrated Judith's mindfulness and practise of being right in the state of making by weaving her plant dyed yarns from Cobb Creek on a card loom. Poetic.

Judith Kentish's weavings reflecting the Cobb Creek environment.
Unfortunately, there is no catalogue (yet) but if we keep nagging perhaps one will become available! If you can't get to the exhibition then the catalogue is a fantastic way to see the very best in contemporary plant-dyed textiles.

'Local Colour' is being exhibited until 15 September, 2019.
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