Harbourview and then Between Tides

 

In busy times it is hard to keep up with both making and presenting/explaining one’s art!

The mangroves made their way along the motorway, on a trailer, to the Te Atatu Peninsula and then down over the tussocky grass to a mown clearing where they posed in a silent dance near their smaller real-life cousins.

Their stay there ended, they now greet me from our neighbour’s front garden every time I leave the house, surprisingly camouflaged under two tall trees.

 

Then we had Between Tides – a huge event in that it was billed as (Probably the Final) Between Tides. This annual community art event has become increasingly popular, and drawn a wide range of exhibitors including a number of performers. Perhaps in fact, we hope, there may be some among them who choose to carry on with BT, but for the Jersey group it is time to step back now. We are no longer all in Auckland or all available. It has been a wonderful event to stimulate more experimental ideas since they only had to be on the beach for about five hours, as well as resolved works having their moment in the sun (wind and rain).

The day – for the first time in fourteen years – was really wet! We had had some anxiety about maybe having to pack up earlier than 2pm because of the time and height of the tide, but in fact steady rain set in just before 1 so by 1.30 everyone had de-camped. Hardy visitors and artists had up to that point managed with umbrellas the occasional heavy shower and ongoing drizzle, but the rain became a real soaker. It was in a way an exhilarating, if abrupt ending.

My main work, ‘The catch with plastic’, is on the left. A theme others also had in mind (see Vonney Ball’s amazing wire fish caught on three rods). In a flurry of enthusiasm I decided, after years of some visitors querulously appealing for some guide as to whose work they might be looking at (we have a policy of no labels, mostly to encourage interaction with the artists who are generally around!) to make a map. And four of my last year’s swimmers (who were hanging from the pohutakawa, as they had the year before hung over a plaza at Victoria Park Market) had obviously been for a dip and found it very chilly as they sat looking blue and wet on the rocks. (Paper mache over a wire armature is quite possible to re-pose – just needed a bit of patching, which turned into their blue skins).

Juliette Laird net

(Thanks to Cate Dine for the photo)

Many thanks to all those who contributed in many ways to Between Tides and in particular to those who provided the images – a selection of which are below.

 

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The giant mangroves are coming

The mangroves which I first made a year ago were the seed from which have grown a pair of giant mangroves, two metres high on their arching legs, for the Harbourview Sculpture Trail which will open on March 5th.
This project has been an adventure in new material and skills. Many thanks to Jeff Thomson, sculptor extraordinaire in metal, for his help in assembling the steel frames of these creatures.

 


At home I built up a layered surface – first wire netting, to give the skeleton some “body”, and then a skin of plastics melted together. Stitching, ironing and the hot air gun were all applied to a range of plastics. Some melted almost way, shrinking in the heat, and others intensified in colour and stayed bright and whole.
Plastics fill our landfills and drift along the shoreline catching in mangroves and other intertidal plants. We need to address the issue of plastic waste – recycle what can be recycled (and there is a lot more that can be recycled now including soft plastics) and use other plastics sensibly! I am grateful to Vaughan at Polyprint Packaging who took the time to show me the process of making polythene bags, and told me about some of the recycling alternatives, as well as giving me a range of colourful off-cuts and samples which were most useful.

Summer projects

The summer has been a busy time for making and planning projects, as well as the usual summer activities, so the blogposts have been neglected.
Since returning from Gdansk late November I have continued working on knitted leaves and branches.

New leaves

New leaves

A very different project was the re-presentation of a plain old plywood and steel pipe school chair for The Chair Project (part of Artists Open Studios Whanganui 2014). This event will be held on two weekends – 22-23 March and 29-30 March, and feature 100 artists from all over the country, displaying and selling art in 66 open studios. This paper mache enhancement evolved into a crabby chair!

Evolving chair creature

Evolving chair creature

"Unknown Crustacean Discovered in Hobbyist’s Basement"

“Unknown Crustacean Discovered in Hobbyist’s Basement”

Returning to the knitting I assembled a new branch. This was to be part of a group of knitted branches to be installed on stakes, like young saplings, at Harbourview Sculpture Trail in March. The group would form a small orchard, harking back to the heritage of European settlers in West Auckland who established orchards, market gardens and vinyards to provide for Auckland’s growing population.

Making a new branch - detail

Making a new branch – detail

Once completed the branches were tried out with various means of support including a concrete umbrella base which I decided would work well and – without its adjustable screw – lose that strong association (although given the way the early settlers chopped native trees down, the fruit trees they planted were the only form of shade, apart from sun umbrellas which they often had by their houses – symbols of a new lifestyle).

Tree on deck

Tree on deck


As the branches are made of yarn and non-stainless steel they need to be inside in the long term, although they are robust enough to stand several weeks outside quite happily, so I also wanted to show how easily they can be displayed indoors.
On the wall

On the wall

With the “saplings” installed now at Harbourview Sculpture Trail on Te Atatu Peninsula, they await the opening – protected meanwhile from sun and rain.

Bagged

Bagged