The age old skill of weaving has obsessed me ever since I started weaving for Knitty Gritty & Loopy in 2009. Predominantly working with plastic, the re-birthing of objects was for a showcase at the Sydney Opera House for the International Day of Climate Change Action.
That year, I met Mavis Ganambarr (Elcho Island) and was blessed with the opportunity of learning coiling from her, a far cry from my initial skills that I picked up on YouTube. Watching her make her presentation about material collecting processes with her back facing the audience the whole time, Mavis was determined to share but very shy and only came alive around children during her live demonstration session. I learnt later on that her passion was sharing with the younger generation, passing on the skills she had inherited from the elders before her.
As part of Women with Clever Hands, opened tonight at Object Gallery, I attended a public lecture by the curator Dr Louise Hamby. She discussed the process of developing the show, and spoke a little more about the forms of the woven objects exhibited as well as aspects of identity and cultural development within the Gapuwiyak community. It was inspiring to hear that the best part of exhibiting was always the post exhibition sharing in the Gapuwiyak Culture & Arts Center which gave the Artists and the community a sense of pride and a reason to keep this practice alive.
I met Penny, who expanded my knowledge just a little more, showing me how to do a traditional weave (pictured below), which she uses for doll making and basketry. Did you know the lime green pandanus is coloured with ash? I am very excited about the next hands-on session with her on Saturday morning, and hoping to take better pictures as her clever hands move at the speed of light. Looking forward to have better imagery to inspire and be inspired with.
Demonstration after the public lecture by curator Dr Louise Hamby at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.
A collection of amazing fibre work, collected over 15 years, from the women of Gapuwiyak, will be exhibited at Object Gallery 30 March - 9 June 2012. These objects make use of materials specific to the origin of it’s maker, and tell a culturally rich story about the process of making and educating through the object’s form and function.