Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weekend inspiration no. 1

While away for the weekend we took the kids to the Australian National Museum in Canberra. The girls loved trying the interactive exhibits and also playing on the wave sculpture outside. They couldn't believe their luck that they were allowed to run up it, and tried to get as far up as they could!

But what I loved was stumbling upon the temporary exhibition Tayenebe - Tasmanian Aboriginal women's fibre work, travelling Australia from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Eva Richardson, Water Carrier, 2005, bull kelp , tea tree, river reed Photographer Simon Cuthbert

Tayenebe is a project involving Tasmanian Aboriginal women who journeyed together across the island to research and revive this ancient craft. The exhibition is the resulting work of the women and also some historical pieces.

L to R Unknown maker date 1800s Colleen Mundy Basket 2008 white flag iris Photographer Simon Cuthbert

These baskets made in natural materials were lovely in a raw, earthy way. Some were very simple designs and others incorporated other natural materials (I'm guessing found) including feathers, seaweed and shells. Some I found the most interesting were made using bent pieces of that really thick, almost leather-like kelp that you find on the beach. When it dries it goes rigid but of course is organic and I guess comes to life again when it gets wet.

Eva Richardson, Water Carrier, 2005, bull kelp , tea tree, river reed Photographer Simon Cuthbert

Bull kelp in its natural state Photographer George Serras
If, like me, you are inspired by this beautiful craft, have a look at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery website and click on "tayenebe education resource". This illustrates some basic techniques. Also, Craft Australia has a review of the exhibition.

A basket is woven into shape White flag iris Photographer Lucia Rossi

I've always loved playing around with willow and sticks and making them into little shapes, wall hangings etc, and looking around my house I have several versions of woven baskets. But it suddenly surprised me that I'd never considered trying basket weaving before. And seeing the exhibition I was so inspired that I came away desperate to learn about it.

If anyone has tried basket weaving please let me know about your experience.

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