I was Craft ACT artist-in-residence in Namadgi National Park and the Australian National Botanical Gardens in 2014. The aim of the residency was to explore the environmental protection of alpine bogs and fens. See the exhibition review here.
Working on the conservation of bogs and fens project was a creative and intellectual challenge in understanding how these natural systems work and the important role they play in the overall environment. Working in the space between art, science and conservation was particularly rewarding, and all the partners (Craft ACT, Australian National Botanical Gardens and ACT Parks and Recreation) were generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise.
At Gudgenby Ready-Cut Cottage I focused my field research on the collection of plant materials from the bogs and fens to use for plant dyes. With permission I collected plants from the bogs and fens to create a Dye Diary. I also tested the dye colours on paper. A plant’s rootedness means the colours it produces indicates aspects of the environment in which it grows. At the Australian National Botanic Gardens I was moved by the work that is done by staff and volunteers to conserve seeds from these vulnerable communities in the seedbank. I started to experiment with small basket forms as seed containers.
In 2015 an exhibition was held at Craft ACT. I displayed 3 works. The first was the Dye Diary. The second was Seed Baskets. I used the threads coloured by plants from the bogs and fens and silver wire to make a collection of symbolic vessels to hold the precious seeds. Like the bogs and fens these baskets possess a tension between fragility and resilience. In my second work, The Ecological Thought I have crocheted a large piece from 4,500 metres of paper yarn to represent the entangling mesh which connects all living things.