What I do as a creative expression and what I do to earn money – are different…
Some artists may earn enough from selling their artworks, but I do not…
Although I am creative and glass making most of the time – there is a difference between my personal practice and my commission based practice. Certainly my personal artworks inform my commission work, and the research I do for commissions informs my personal practice, but essentially they are different and serve different purposes.
My earliest memory of glass making was when I was 5 years old – copper enameling – outside my bedroom window with a small tripod, metal mesh, small pieces of sheet copper, glass power and fire… I remember the fire…
At Sydney College of the Arts I discovered kiln formed glass and combined this with mixed media and found objects to express ideas, emotional states of being and expression. Traveling in Europe after College, I saw glass blowing for the first time in France – it was at that moment I decided I was an artist who works with glass and I needed to learn more about this amazingly fluid, hot, dangerous and seductive material…
The journals I kept during my travels were filled with ideas, thoughts, feelings and observations. The earlier solo exhibitions held in the mid 1990s investigated ideas of the exotic, ‘kept safe’ and contained, hinted at notions of the beautiful entrapment. Hot sculptured figurative forms and brightly coloured organic asymmetrical vessels resembling carnivorous plants, illustrated my diverse technical skill, while addressing similar themes.
In the late 1990s I began to look away from notions of the exotic, that which was seen and experienced during my travels, to an introspection inwards, closer to home, at family and heritage. Back in Australia after my many years of travel I began to feel weighted down, collecting stuff and carrying it, now I could store it at home.
Previously home was where my suitcase was. Now I lived in a house with stuff, collections of stuff, materials, artworks, useless and useful things… “how did I get here?” and how as a woman, could I be a glass blower who had traveled the world?
This was the beginning of the research based thesis done at the University of South Australia in the late 1990s. For my search about how was it I was in South Australia, making glass, I investigated the history and development of studio glass making in South Australia – how it emerged and who shaped and influenced the development in this particular part of Australia.
Doing something quite unique and different from my mother or grandmother could have done, was of interested to me. My grandmother had recently died which gave reason to think about here life, what it was to be a women living and working in the country and how expectations and opportunities have changed for women over the years…
My work had started to focus more on the emotional connects between people. This followed onto thinking about how it is that we communicate. My grandmother wrote long letters on tiny pages, writing upside down and between the lines to fit in more and more text onto one single piece of paper. how the mode and frequency of communication has increased quickly with technology – in my lifetime – with sms whispers, frequent emails, keyboard based chat rooms, you tube moving pictures and socially connecting sites…
And in the late 1990s I brought a house and for the first time I had a home… an object made of bricks and mortar. Bricks then emerged in my art works… real bricks taken from a wall I removed from inside the house. Now – weighed down and somehow stuck, I decided to move again, travel to Asia to where I wanted to live and work. I knew about my country of heritage as I had traveled there in my 20’s. I wanted to “meet the neighbors” within the region I lived.
It was here that I saw home as not a place but a group of people – family.
Houses and buildings were only temporal and fleeting vessels that offer shelter from the tropical rains. Living in Singapore I work with people from many different countries with different cultures and customs. This led me to think about the differences in my culture to the cultures that surrounded me here. Here I was different, I was the other… I could see more clearly how it is that I remember my culture and I realized my displacement far from the UK to Australia… and then from Australia (predominately English) to Asia…
The thread then emerged – memory and nostalgia…
This related to my grandmother, also to culture, to the idea of shifting, migrating, escaping – traveling to different places… and immersed in the exotic, a sense of ones own culture is brought from far away.
The contemporary ease of travel is new, something my grand parents did not have. Now, after traveling and living in different parts of the world , I think differently now about my birth place, the country, the planet – our world. I have a different perspective of place, of home, of being on a planet rather then being from or in a country. There is a sense of history and culture that remains with me uniquely (from Australia, from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales). It seems only a few hundred years ago the British were being brave crusades pushing always East across the land, as the Monkey God and his followers were always moving Westward. Finally – technology has allowed a meeting of people from the West and from the East.
Technology and modern day transport have changed the world. When we all lived ‘divided by landscape’, differences in customs, beliefs and lifestyles were distinct. With technology, travel and the internet, it seems there is a convergence where we can find similarities as we all listen and see – allowing a new singular predominant culture to emerge that is a mixture of all the differences of before.
|2009||Scent Away, FOST Gallery, Singapore|
|2008||things said, things left unsaid… FOST Gallery, Singapore|
|2007||fragile homes… Artyfakt Gallery, Singapore|
|2005||Obedience… Artyfakt Gallery, Singapore
Memento: objects of connectivity, Prospect Gallery, SA
|2004||Displaced, objects of nostalgia and other souvenirs Alliance Francaise Gallery, Singapore|
|2003||chenille2, Zu Gallery, Adelaide, SA
Thesis Exhibition, a display of thesis research findings, J111 Gallery, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA
|1999||luggage: collected and carried,
Object Galleries, Sydney, NSW
|1996||Collections and Collectables, Urban Cow Gallery, Adelaide, SA|
|1995||Inflorescence, Jam Factory Craft and Design Centre Gallery, Adelaide, SA, Australia|