The four weeks at Harbourview Sculpture Trail were quite an outing for my branches compared to the brief exposure to the elements in Poland – that is about their limit in the New Zealand sun! And one or two of my home-dyed leaves have “turned” because of the rain! It was exciting to push the possibilities of exhibiting knitted work outdoors. The knowledge that they will not last long outside added some tension (for me at least!) to the interest created by placing something so much of inside out in the weather.
I have continued knitting but do not yet have a set idea for what these leaves will be a part of. I am however looking forward to taking the Polish branches to Wellington over Labour Weekend to be a part of the Celebrating Everything Polish festival at the Museum of City and Sea which will precede events marking the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Pahiatua children in Wellington on November 1st, 1944.
And it was great to be presenting the experience of Narracje 5 to fellow artists and others at AUT on April 9th.
It has been a very busy four months – or longer. In the middle of Harbourview I was busy making a semi-performance piece from plaster for the JERSEY community art event at Westmere Beach, ‘Between Tides’ (https://www.facebook.com/juliette.laird/media_set?set=a.620847814652500.100001818601939&type=3).
I poured large sheets of plaster, painted them to look like sky and on the day threw them up and over a beach chair – The sky is falling (https://www.facebook.com/juliette.laird/media_set?set=a.620836294653652.1073741829.100001818601939&type=3)
I have lately found myself diverted into a light exploration of the human figure. Starting with an idea I was thinking to use at school I found that wire and paper quickly evolved into a crowd of small lithe people. I am not sure if they are having fun or like lemmings heading to the edge of the cliff but the making process is productive.
Playing around with ideas without being tied to the need to make work to exhibit is very important. As I loosen up I think this has helped refine my thoughts about my branches and also the the knitted sapling, Enticement, which may go on exhibition at CIRCLE Gallery in Newmarket either next week or in 3 weeks’ time with other members of the DUST artists’ collective (http://dustartcollective.net). Talking about the work helps too – as I was describing my thoughts and understanding of the consequence for migrants of uprooting from one home (family, country and culture) I realised that the way that the tree’s branches sprout from the stake to which they are tied, and the prosthetic support of the umbrella stand keeping it upright, are just like the makeshift, transitional forms of support that immigrants are forced to adopt. And also the attempt to make the structure look as though it is real, putting on a good face, which is sad but so brave – and just as essential as the gardener’s firm bindings around the grafted branch on the rootstock.