15. 12. 2015
From 1st JULY I have been working in The Street Studio shop opposite the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery. The studio is open Tuesday and Friday 12-2pm for the public, who comment on the beauty and woody scent of the locally collected natural materials stacked everywhere. There are such things as maroon basket willow collected by boat from the river banks, phragmites rush heads from Sunnyside, golden rocks and red dirt from Greenbanks, a feathery moon coloured roadside weed from the Karoonda road. Lots of people stop to explore the window display of eucalyptus resin – painted paper, reed rope, flying birds and elegant eucalyptus viminalis branches.
Marty McNichol, Jesse Budell and Matt, the gallery techy, have been collaborating on a video loop with eco- soundtrack which will be projected onto a tree- wraps screen (embossed paper tied around eucalyptus trees and left to weather and become resin stained for two weeks). Jesse Budell recorded several hours of extraordinary riparian zone sounds at Paiwalla Swamp. The gallery exhibition plan has been drawn up and volunteers are coming into the shop this week, to put all kinds of coloured leaves and barks through a chaff cutter. A three metre long calico river navigation chart is being mounted inside an interactive scroll box. Willow forms are being completed and join the stacks of random weave “weir” screens.
The pressure is on – 8 more making days to go, before we move across the road to set up this detailed and complex wall to wall installation over 3 days in the gallery. Wonder if we will get much sleep that week!! I can’t get out of my mind the stories from around 1930, of being able to walk across the river on stepping stones, or dipping a billy into crystal clear water to make tea. If resilience partly means the ability to bounce back, I wonder what it would take (in terms of changed headsets, courageous choices and holistic awareness) to see every pebble on the bottom again.
Eucalyptus-resin painted paper
Willow harvested by boat
Early morning mist on the river