Sunday 24 October 2021

Janet Fuller - King Island Artist

 I'm not going to go into a lot of detail here, as I hope to submit an article on this amazing lady for TEXTILE Fibre Forum, but today I was honoured to have a home/studio/farm tour with the powerhouse of creativity that is Janet. So here I'll just focus on the fun and the farm animals for now. 

I was absolutely thrilled on my birthday to receive an artist proof of the long admired print of Nubar the magnificent chook. It was a truly special gift. 

Here I am molesting the 'dog' cat that followed us everywhere on our visit.

Every studio needs a couch where friends can collide...
Another glorious chook work of art.
Now molesting Janet's 'No Drama Llama' and the giant version at the same time!

The 'Heeland Cooo'!!

Janet's Kelp Frill from yesterdays workshop. I look forward to getting to know Janet better as I write this article about her and her amazing work.

Kelp Frill Workshop on King Island.

What an amazing day with these ladies. Mostly virgin felters, they were taught a variety of techniques, from basic felting, to cobweb edges, hand rubbing, making frills, and all sorts of new ways of manipulating felt - a lot to take in on your first lesson.

Janet again was a star, with both her previous experience and natural instinct making her layout wonderful.

Some of those who had never done this before also had impressive layouts plus end results. It's always amazing seeing the differences across the ranges of experience and artistic expression. Having awakened/revived an interest in felting here, I plan to send down monthly projects/experiments for the girls to try.

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Pass River, King Island

June and Peter Kempster took the time yesterday to take me out to Pass River, somewhere I had never been before. The rock formations were stunning, I got to see live kelp up close, and I found a dried leafy sea dragon! The amazing drone photos were taken by Peter.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Algalrhythms Exhibition Photos & Artist Statement

Here are some general shots of the exhibition at King Island Cultural Centre. Unfortunately the lighting is a combination of fluorescent and natural lighting so isn't the best for photography, but this will give you some idea of the exhibition.

Kelp frill sample for workshop, samples, and TEXTILE Fibre Forum articles on display.

My source book of images and samples of techniques on display.


 Artist Statement

In December 2019, before the world as we know it changed, I spent 5 weeks wandering the shores of King Island. Without knowing what was to come, I already felt quite despondent about the apocalyptic events dominating the world news. It had been a year of Trump, #metoo, Greta Thunberg, endless gun violence, war, and terrorism, culminating in the epic fires burning in Australia.

Interestingly, what I found on the shores of King Island reflected this theme in some ways. My thoughts regarding death and decay and the fragility of life, found substance in the wealth of kelp in varying stages of colourful decay on the shores; the skeletons of birds ripped from the skies, the bones of wallabies, and the carapaces of sea life littering the island – they all had a beauty – and a stillness - to them that calmed me. On reflection some time later I realised that this was the phenomenon biophilia – an hypothesis proposed by Edward O. Wilson that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. With that connection comes the realisation that we too, are part of that endless cycle of life, and that every stage of it is beautiful in some way.

A further hypothesis called urgent biophilia (Keith Tidball 2012) posits that when disaster strikes via geophysical events, war, pandemic and the like, humans ‘seek engagement with nature to further their efforts to summon and demonstrate resilience’, and that ‘within the envelope of our skin is a biological entity which, through evolution, has been tuned for survival in natural environments’. By engaging with nature on the island and for the months afterward as I explored it through textiles, I believe I was feeling biophilia. For those that can’t reach nature, I hope that my imagery inspired by it may help them in their search for connection with it, now needed more than ever.

My primary form of record keeping during the residency was photographs, and some of these are on display with the related works as very obvious indicators of my inspiration. Others were more difficult to transcribe, as they weren’t necessarily an object of focus, but perhaps more a sense – of retained movement, of decay, of disintegration back into the earth. As the body of work grew, the distance from photograph to work grew – firstly towards altered digital prints on fabric, then to stylised lino prints on paper and fabric. This was a pleasing progression, as I wanted to move away from re-creating, to expressing my own interpretation and reaction.

My work explores the beauty of ‘tragedy’ using the many textile techniques I have used in the past decade making wearable art works – most of them biologically inspired. Dyeing is often a starting point, followed by free-motion embroidery, shibori shaping, needle and wet felting, leather moulding, and now 3D pen printing and digital sublimation printing.