Thursday, August 5, 2010

A good day out

I went to have my blood test this morning, then Juliet and I set off to the Holmes aCourt gallery in East Perth to look at the Stringmakers exhibition with indigenous artists from Warburton in the North West and three others from Perth: Nalda Searles, Holly Story and Bronwyn Goss.

We had omitted to check the address, but eventually found it - largely due to my hazy memories of a previous visit. Then there was the problem of access. The official entrance is down a flight of steps to the boardwalk which I was reluctant to negotiate (no handrail), so we entered the building at street level and found a lift that went to the lower level, but opened into a small hallway with several closed doors. We investigated one (labelled Restaurant Toilets) and found a narrow corridor which led to the restaurant which is next door to the gallery. Boldly we marched in and a helpful young waitress told us where to go next. Unfortunately we were there an hour before opening time.

We decided to fill in the hour with a visit to another gallery (the Old Bakery on 8th) in a neighbouring suburb, and enjoyed ourselves looking at the exhibition there, browsing through the gift shop which has some wonderful objects, including some spectacular knitted and felted scarves, and having a coffee at the attached cafe. Then back to East Perth.

After we negotiated our way through the toilets again we finally got to see the exhibition. It was well worth our effort. Most of the exhibition is huge felted pieces, called "blankets", but not intended for use on beds or as rugs.

There is a most moving paper scroll about 25 feet long which was a collaborative effort by all the artists. Nalda had written about how the paper piece had come about and then screen printed the words on to long silk scarves dyed with native vegetation. They were exquisite, but definitely out of my price range!

Nalda also had a blanket dyed with natural dyes on which she had couched tufts of human hair, then embroidered the words "mangko warntu" on one side and their translation "hair blanket" on the other. It was hung so you could see both sides.

I liked it, and the installations by Bronwyn Goss, but I LOVED Holly Story's pieces. There was a set of four tiny framed scrolls, dyed with plant dyes and imprinted with various leaves from the Warburton region - fabulous. However my favourite was a diptych where she had imprinted tree branches on to woollen blankets, one branch from Warburton and the other from the South West where she lives. This technique is one she was taught by India Flint and she gives credit for it to her. The dyed pieces were then emboidered with red and white silk threads in a design derived from Indian symbolism. Absolutely stunning.
I also loved the string hanging. A piece of string travelled backwards and forwards from Perth to Warburton several times, with every artist adding in bits. The finished length was looped to hang on a wall. You can read more about the process of putting the exhibition together on the Stringmakers blog site.

I had a lovely day. Thank you to my chauffeur Juliet and to the artists whose work I so enjoyed.
Also thank you to the photographer whose images from the catalogue I have used. I cannot find a name to credit.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Hi! Joan,

Many thanks for the beautiful and diverse images,also the link to the Stringmakers blog. I am full of envy for your lovely day out.