Sean McGilvray is no stranger to creativity, running the business Contain Yourself from a large industrial unit in Mayfield, Newcastle, NSW, his enthusiasm and energy for sustainable and affordable housing for everyone is engaging. In the crazily unsustainable world we now live in many shipping containers are expendable and no longer shipped back and forth as you might expect but discarded after one or two trips as if they were cardboard boxes. Sean's business elegantly repurposes these containers for domestic use in Australia and he is also currently crowdfunding to share his projects worldwide. So what will Sean be creating for Deeper Voice of Textiles? Contained space of course - we await technical updates!
Delving into a box of bones tattooist Ben Graham looks for vertebra as we discuss how his work will be displayed in the forthcoming Deeper Voice of Textilesexhibition. Highly skilled and obviously in demand working for tattoo studios in both Newcastle and Sydney, Ben is equally adept at wire sculpture and stone carving alongside his ink draughtsmanship. Combining found teeth and bones with recycled wires and plastics his exhibition piece will certainly demand your attention - looking forward to the resolution Ben.
It's not easy to catch up with Murray Regan! He's a busy man and sorting out everyone's plumbing and solar energy needs at Hamilton Plumbing
is a demanding job - so when we finally tracked him down in a spare
moment we were delighted to find him well on with his sculpture project
for the Deeper Voice of Textiles
project. Using discarded piping and redundant valves, tanks and solar
power glass tubing Murray is building a spiky vessel that will demand
attention and speaks of his concerns to promote environmentally friendly
technologies - almost to prove the point a tiny Skink popped out of
one of his recycled valves to say hello!
While discussing his project in hand I couldn't help noticing a
beautiful twined Moroccan carpet covering one of his collection of
vintage motorbikes. Purchased on a trip to Morocco many years ago the
carpet still looks great in it's new surroundings. Great to see
beautiful fine craftsmanship however it is used!
Above: 'Green shoots begin to sprout' Glenese Keavney. Bangalow Palm leaf sheath, cotton fabric, glass beads, linen thread
Stitched, twined, bound, coiled, looped and stapled - the diverse work of three Australian basketmakers may be seen in it's final exhibition week at Timeless Textiles in Newcastle, NSW, this week. Flora Friedmann, Meri Peach and Glenese Keavney in their second successful trio exhibition at the gallery developed the theme 'Aftermath' after a variety of personal challenges and adversities.
Meri Peach talks of her reflections on the theme and the use of baskets in wartime:
"Basketry has been
used in war, among other things, to carry ammunition, wounded
individuals and body parts, and in some societies, as the shields and
armour worn by soldiers. Basket making was also used after both World
Wars as an activity in the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. These
things were in my mind as I made some of my pieces, particularly the
silver ones that resemble sharkskin, a very tough and protective
substance that I once studied up close in my days as a marine biologist.
I have used these baskets as something to hide in and to hide behind,
while simultaneously trying to get my messages out to the world."
Materials natural and recycled come to together in a variety of forms presenting the viewer with both beautiful and intricate textures and the challenge of developing narratives that link the presented works with the thought processes and creative decisions of the makers. Reading the personal statements from each of the three makers it is touching to see the intricacies and thoughtfulness of their highly personal, creative and sometimes therapeutic journeys - however I urge you to visit the exhibition and for a moment share their optimistic vision.
In 15th century England to 'upholden' was "torepair,uphold,keepfromfallingorsinking" and the 'upholdester' was a "tradesmanwhofinishesorrepairsarticlesoffurniture". Last week at Chapman Upholstery, Islington, Newcastle, NSW, Kurt Chapman showed us that essentially the trade carries on unchanged -with a little mechanisation to make life easier, keeping furniture in good working order without 'falling or sinking'. With such deep roots and a tradition of making and repair to keep us all comfortable and well poised we all have a debt of thanks to the 'upholdesters' of the world!
Surrounded by the tools of his trade and countless springs, trims, fabrics, reels of jute webbing and beading it is a pleasure to step for a moment into another craftsmen's world. Enthusiastic about the Deeper Voice of Textiles project Kurt has plans in mind and his tools are at the ready.
You have to admire their persistence! Mick Ritter and David Styate of Round Two Timbers in Hamilton North, Newcastle, NSWwork hard to bring out the beauty of their raw material. Sourced all over the Hunter region their recycled timbers are brought back to life for use in contemporary furniture, interior decor and collaborations with architects, governmental bodies and community organisations. This makes great sense as these beautiful Australian hardwoods have years of good service in them yet and from an environmental point of view any business that reclaims and recycles native timbers rather than importing tropical hardwoods is good for everyone.
Buckets of nails and cables -not to mention sweat - attest to the effort it takes to make old timbers good - but the product speaks for itself - furniture of character and good design sits mid-process in their workshop. Visiting with Anne Kempton of Timeless Textiles we got down to detail working out possible structures to make weaving with their offcuts possible for the Deeper Voice of Textiles project. Call me when you get the steam-bender out guys!
Our adventures continue as we visit all the eager participants of Deeper Voice of Textiles in their native habitats - today we had to sit, drink coffee and chat - it's a tough job but someone has to do it!
Meeting up with Chris Johnston of Suspension Espresso in Islington, Newcastle NSW, was a pleasure as he talked of his passion for the bean! From the thickness of the Italian ceramic cups to the weave of the hessian bean sacks - Chris has an intimate knowledge of his craft and he spoke of how every coffee passed to the customer is a work of art in itself. Later this week we'll be popping back to see how his makings evolve and perhaps savour another cuppa.....