6 minutes ago
Kalgan River: assorted fabric, felt & hand-stitched embroidery thread.
This textile piece was begun at a residency I did in 2014 at the Vancouver Arts Centre in Albany, Western Australia. I visited the nearby Kalgan River and its surroundings, exploring the Luke Pen Walk (named after Dr Luke Pen, a local biologist and environmental scientist who worked to raise interest and knowledge in local rivers). Despite visiting the region many times, I’d never visited the Kalgan before, and I was inspired to create a work in response to its complex beauty and layers of history. The river is a place of great significance to the local Noongar people - its name was recorded in 1831 as “Kal-gan-up”, believed to be the Noongar world for “place of many waters” and also thought to mean “place of fishes”. There are still the remains of Aboriginal fish traps in the river which are at least 7500 years old.
To create the work I initially did some ink and watercolour sketches to map out ideas, and then started to assemble the piece from fabric that I’d collected over the years. Many of these textiles are second hand or sourced from old garments, and so they already contain a history and resonance unique to the medium. The work attempts to depict in an abstract way the incredible variety of light, texture and colour that I observed both in the river itself, and the natural landscape surrounding it. It was a pleasure to return to do another residency @vancouver_arts in 2017, where I was able to exhibit the finished work!