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Sunday, 26 May 2019

Forage done and dusted

Last month Tenfold Textile Collective hosted their third annual show at Neon Parlour. We had a good number of people come and visit, but for those who didn't get the chance, I thought I'd walk you through it here. The works are in the order they appeared as you wandered around.

'Encore Career' – Tara Glastonbury

From left to right: Quarter acre block (sketch); The straight and narrow; Toe the line;
Off the rails; A bet each way; Corporate life.
Upcycled business shirts, machine pieced, machine and hand quilted.

Image by Paul Hicks
Foraging, for me, happens in my local op shops, or in the bags of shirts donated to me by friends. In some ways, the quilting industry is as bad as fast fashion, with new fabric ranges released each season – here one minute, gone the next. My response to this pressure to consume is to use fabrics that others have discarded. Deemed no longer useful, I give them new life as works of art.

'Heartwood' – Claire Munnings

Rug wool, nasturtium stems, jute, madder, turmeric, onion skins, avocado pips and skins, osage heartwood, purple cabbage + black beans
Image by Paul Hicks.
An experimental weave that plays with natural dyes and their effects. I discovered the Osage Orange after my father was describing a fruit known as a ‘horse apple’ on my uncle’s farm. The fruit is avoided by humans and foraging animals, giving it distinction as an anachronistic ghost of evolution. The Native American Osage Nation traditionally used the heartwood of the Osage tree for dying and also bow making. Sadly from 1921 to 1925 around 60 Osage Native Americans, whose land was producing valuable oil that earned lucrative annual royalties, were killed by people intent on taking over their great wealth. More recently I discovered an Osage tree in a park in Preston. I foraged a branch, then whittled from it the heartwood to use as a dye. This process gave me a respect for the Osage and their traditional uses of this wood, this slow way of creating, a largely forgotten art. While engaging in this process, I'm reminded of the lives deemed unimportant in the face of colonial and capitalist greed.

Our very popular dye room (image by Paul Hicks).

'For her age, nullipara' – Jem Olsen

Three miniature quilts created from disposable medical garment and medication packaging waste.
Image by Paul Hicks.
Questioning the amount of single-use waste being generated within the medical field, I have used disposable medical garment and medication packaging waste to create a series of miniature quilted blankets, items imbued with notions of warmth, family, memory and the handmade. The arrangement of these pieces are based on the quilt designs "Opposites Attract" by Ankas Treasures, "Darby Road" by Sassafras Lane and "Grandmother's Flower Garden" (source unknown).

'From Above' – Morgana Robb

Winter Mandy; Pink Palace; Pushkar Baths; Aperetivo Hour; Flurry; Sandy Beach.

Image by Paul Hicks.
These paintings are foraged compositions made from widely gathered visual memories, photographs, and places. A flaking wall in Jaipur, an orange on my blue studio floor or a blurry texture in a magazine. These backgrounds or quiet compositions are noticed, remembered and brought to the fore in a new form. The materials too come from many sources, re-claimed newspapers, information on parking fines, last year's wrapping paper. Thousands of words, all that bad news pulped up and re-purposed into a new language of colour.

'Liminal' – Rose Kulak

Botanical hot printing on wool and silk cloths. Handmade plant fibre papers. Hand stitched. Mount board.
Just a sample of Rose's pieces in the show (images by Paul Hicks).
Plant materials foraged from beside railway lines, former municipal dump, and garden waste as seasons transition.

'Junc chandelier' – Louise Hicks

Salvaged lampshade, juncus reeds, raffia.
Image by Paul Hicks.
 Societal markers of decadence and luxury commonly boil down to junk.

'The Gold Within' – Sarah Williams

Sour sob and onion skin dyed weavings, on cotton and wool with other salvaged fibres.
Detail image by me.
Foraging and extracting gold from unexpected natural sources. Making those golden threads into little woven treasures. Finding optimism in the discarded and joy in the unnoticed.
Image by Sarah Williams.

'Nah worries' – Ana Petidis

Detritus consisting of cigarette butts, packaging, e-waste, ear-plug and synthetic rope wrapped in yarn waste.
Image by Paul Hicks.
I am not worried about smoking.
I am worried about our changing climate and the devastating effects human consumption, waste and disposal is having on land, air, water and animals.
As I decorate the detritus foraged from an urban street, I worry and imagine:
  • What if the sustained campaigning by citizens and some governments, despite the far-reaching wealth of giant corporations and mining, led to the same widespread awareness, behaviour change, funding and countless resources that anti-smoking and tobacco control has achieved in public health. 
  • What if food waste disposal became a government-taxed activity?  
  • What if packaging of textile goods presented graphic warnings of resource waste and devastation? 
  • What if plain, recyclable packaging replaced every selection of food on grocery shelves? 
  • What if bans occurred on advertising black Friday, boxing day, stocktake, Easter, Christmas, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…every bloody sale?
Your consumption is a public health concern. 

'Once Before' – Korina Leoncio

Naturally dyed abaca paper, silk tape and linen using Corymbia Maculata (spotted gum) dyebath, photographs taken by artist.
Image by Paul Hicks.
Hand knitted lockets encasing snippets of a fading past.

'Entangled' – Lisa Mori

Kite surfing sails and woven plastic bags.
Image by Paul Hicks.
Entangled examines the effect that our epoch the Anthropocene has on the ocean and marine habitat. Eight million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans each year, pushing marine life and seas to the verge of collapse. In this work I have woven used kite surfing sails and plastic bags. While I was unpicking, cutting and weaving the sails I wondered how do we right this imbalance without losing the things we love and love doing?

We've just had our first meeting to kick off ideas for our next shows. So we'll be seeing you to do it all again next year!

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