Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sue Ryan and the Ghost Net

 Moa Island puppet show. Artists with shark puppet, 2010. courtesy Karen Hethey, Ilka White and Dujion Newie GhostNets Australia.

Sue Ryans page on right way
Sue Ryans photos on right way

Networks meetings

Netwurk News  27 May 2011
As you will see from the blog some serious Netwurking was going on here in Canberra last weekend with the Bilum workshop. We also had a chance to catch up with each other briefly about the follow up exhibition Nets 2011 scheduled for Strathnairn 26 August.- 11September.* This exhibition may provide an opportunity for the pieces in the 2010 Exhibition to be shown again as well as other pieces not included in that exhibition and new works made in the interim.
We also discussed meeting again during the coming months and have made bookings for the workshop rooms at Strathnairn on the following Saturdays: 18 June, 16 July and 13 August.
On these days we will be scheduling times for Exhibition discussion/planning as well as having time for doing workshops or some such. At this stage The June meeting has the following schedule:
Saturday 18 June
10.00am-12noon​Exhibition discussion/planning. All interested in being part of the Nets 2011are encouraged to come if you can.
12.00-1.00pm​Lunch bring your own - tea and coffee provided
1.00pm-4pm​[Still to be confirmed] Bilum workshop with Balba and Nelson to learn the next steps in making our bilums using the ‘mouses’ that Nelson is ordering for some of us. Unfortunately Balba cannot make it on 18th so the afternoon could be for knitting discussions so bring your wool and needles!
Saturday 16 July
Workshop details and meeting time to be decided at the June 18 meeting
Saturday 13 August
Workshop details and meeting time to be decided at the June 18 meeting
*Nets 2011 Exhibition – other important dates
Aug 23/24/25 will be available for setting up with the opening on Aug 27 probably. The exhibition will need to come down on September 11. Both Nancy and Lynne will be OS on Sept 11 and not able to be part of the dismantling.
We will be keeping in touch through emails as well as via the blog.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More Ghost Nets Information

Carpentaria Ghost Nets Project, NT read more 

At the dump site for ghost nets Photographer: Jane Dermer

What is a Ghost Net?

Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been abandoned at sea, lost accidentally or deliberately discarded, (ALDFG). They travel the oceans of the world with the currents and tides continually fishing as they progress through the waters. As they are unattended and roaming, they fish indiscriminately, not only catching threatened species but undersized and protected fish as well. 
Ghost Nets Australia  website

A Ghost Net Story

In the Gulf of Carpentaria Indigenous makers collect ghost nets from the ocean to weave into baskets and mats telling stories of their culture and community and performing an important ecological task; clearing the sea of harmful abandoned nets.

Sue Ryan 

A Ghost Net Story Read More

 Philomena Yeatman from Yarrabah Ideas Festival Photographer Sue Ryan

Mavis Ngallametta basket Aurukun courtesy Aurukun Art Centre

Monday, May 23, 2011

Billum workshop held at Strathnairn Arts 21 May 2011

Words from Wendy Dodd:
 It was lots of fun although no-one made much progress towards making their own billum.  The stitch is quite complicated when you are learning it and we had to start by learning how to twist together on our thighs two lengths of wool to make it strong enough for a bag.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Networks Australia 2010-2011

Mog Bremner
Catherine Dabron
Wendy Dodd
Gabriella Hegyes
Liz Jeneid
Lynne Johnson
Valerie Kirk
Jenny Manning
Helen Martin
Beverly Moxon
Maryann Mussared
Marli Popple
Ola Robertson
Bev Thomas
Nancy Tingey
Monique van Nieuwland
Katherine White

Mog Bremner

Mog Bremner
I came to art later in life after a career as a doctor and psychotherapist, which informs my interest in our sense of self – that inner feeling of ‘I’ and ‘me’ which has been called the sense of ‘going-on-being’.

I trained in both Textiles and Printmedia and drawing. Paper and cloth can be composed of the same fibres – cotton, linen and silk – but appear to be very different materials. I like to use this apparent dichotomy to highlight what I see as the false duality of mind and physical brain, and I often mix both textile and paper imagery and techniques in my work.

Plasticity 2010
Medium: Ink on paper
Size:  Overall dimensions variable
25 drawings, each one 18cm x 24cm

Artist’s Statement:
I am interested in the nature of self, particularly the extraordinary transformation from the objective physical world of neurones and synapses to our subjective experience of thought and feeling, perception and memory. 

The brain is a dynamic mobile network, and self and consciousness arise from the ceaseless interactions of billions of neurones. Here I use observational drawings of bird netting to suggest this surprising emergence of our sense of self.

The title ‘Plasticity’ refers to the ability of the brain to rewire itself: the individual component of this drawing can be put together in many different ways, with a different outcome each time.

Photographer Stuart Hay

Catherine Dabron

Catherine Dabron has had a life long love of fabric, art and stitchery. After leaving school in the '70s, she studied Dress Design at East Sydney Technical College receiving an award for 'Student of the Year' in her final year. 

Catherine then spent many years working as a Designer/illustrator before completing a Degree in Anthropology and Art. She now conducts workshops and teaches at ANU for the Visual Art Access program.
Her work is inspired by culture and identity.

‘Inveiged by Three’ 2010
Medium: Muslin and embroidery thread
Size: Height: 105cm x Width: 250cm x Depth: 3mm

Artist statement:
My work is a response to the tragic events and the continuous debate which relate to the many problems faced by asylum seeker.

I am trying to communicate the plight of the refugee by likening their situation to that of being lured into and entangled in a “net” of nefarious behavior and political and bureaucratic policy in both their own country and the country to which they escape.

I am using the mediums of both of drawing and textiles on white muslin while drawing on inspiration from work by child detainees. I chose muslin for its netlike quality I am using greyish thread to covey the feeling of waves, steal, pulling and entwining. The use of fishermen’s pants alludes to traditional culture, sea and boats. Also, many of the so called 'smugglers' bringing asylum seekers to Australia are impoverished fisher folk, who don't even own the boats they ferry asylum seekers aboard.

Photographer Leise Knowles

Wendy Dodd

Wendy Dodd is a graduate of Australian National University Art School and worked for 22 years as a textile conservator at the Australian War Memorial. Although a weaver much of her work has not been woven but instead has been an exploration of layers of threads,- the shadows and illusions they create.

‘2010 Net Series’
Medium: Hand netting and knitting
Size: Each 42 x 42 cm

The NETS project has been an interesting journey for me. I learnt to net 35 years ago when I wanted to make a storage net to use while traveling in our panel van. For this project I have made a series of
layered square nets which I see as drawings. The qualities of the yarn dictate the nature of the lines of the drawings. The nets create shadows and delicate lines and by layering depth is created. Nets can be used in positive and negative ways. But to me there is an essential beauty in the structure and form of these nets. The actions in making a net are quite repetitive and there is something comfortable and meditative in the process.
I have always been fit and active but now find that my older body has restrictions. The final piece in my series is a comment on my preoccupation with ageing. It is a hand knitted net made using my hair (grey) spun with black silk.

Net Drawing 4 – Hand knitted, my hair spun with black silk, mounted on white Perspex

 Net Drawing 1 – Hand netted, linen thread, 3 colours mounted on white Perspex
Photographer  Wendy Dodd

 Net Drawing 2 – Hand netted, natural linen thread, 3 layers mounted on black Perspex
Net Drawing 3 – Hand netted, black linen thread, 4 layers mounted on white Perspex 

Photographer Leise Knowles

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gabriella Hegyes

Gabriella Hegyes migrated from Hungary over 30 years ago. She studied fine arts at Wollongong, the National Art School, University of Western Sydney and Monash University. Gabriella has participated in numerous solo and selected group exhibitions around Australia and in Japan. She has curated several exhibitions and developed and coordinated a number of public art projects in NSW.

Trained in sculpture, photography and printmaking she moved to installation based work where all these skills could be employed. She combines conventional forms of sculpture, photography, printmaking and traditional crafts with computer manipulated images to create installations.

Her work is inspired by memory/place/identity

‘Wave…’ 2010
Medium: Fuse wire, embroidery thread, monofilament
Size: Overall size variable
Height: 225cm x Width: 192cm x Depth: 115cm
Artist statement:
As continued political debate and unfavorable public opinion surrounding asylum seekers rages through our media these human beings are reduced to nameless faces and only recorded as waves of boat arrivals that ‘threaten’ the core of Australian society.

The installation attempts to draw attention to the plight of the asylum seekers and to pay tribute to their individual brave actions in undertaking such a perilous journey to freedom and their tenacity to survive. The crochet technique references the make do nature of these vessels which are suspended precariously between the mercy of nature and human compassion.

Background to the work:
Being a Hungarian refugee in Italy and later as a legal migrant to Australia I feel great compassion for the asylum seekers trying to reach our shores.

Like they, I also crossed the sea not by boat but by swimming across due to the shortness of distance between Yugoslavia and Italy as an ‘illegal’ or ‘queue jumper’ to reach a better place. I was welcomed by the Italian community and spent almost two years in a refugee camp south of Rome where I was treated humanly.

My arrival to Australia in 1977 coincided with some of the first wave of asylum seekers reaching Darwin who were later transported south to Perth. I’ve spent several months with some of the 600 Vietnamese boat people in the hostel in Perth witnessing their stress and the all too familiar feel of uncertainty.
Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

Liz Jeneid

Liz Jeneid initially trained as a weaver in the USA returning to Australia in 1977 when she set up a weaving workshop in Sydney She trained apprentice weavers and ran the workshop for 5 years. She supported the workshop and herself through sales and by part time teaching and working as a community artist. She later moved to Wollongong where she taught at the University of Wollongong for 20years in the Faculty of Creative Arts.

Travel has been an important part of her life and a lot of her work has come from observing and documenting place which she uses in her prints, artist books and installations. Her works are in a number of collections both in Australia and overseas.

‘Diet Spoons’
Medium: wire, linen thread, drift wood, metal hooks
Size: size variable – 4 spoons of different sizes
Height: 35cm x 35 cm

Background to the work:
The spoons seemed to me to be an excellent way of solving the problem of eating too much - like most women I always wanted to be more sylph like.

Artist statement about the work:
The spoons remind us of the lack of food that many people today experience, not enough food to nourish them in periods of famine caused by war, drought and floods, in stark contrast with those of us who live in countries that are not experiencing war or famine, and where consumption of good food is taken for granted.

 Photographer Leise Knowles
Liz Jeneid

Lynne Johnson


Lynne Johnson has been knitting for as long as she can remember with the love of yarns, colour, texture and the actual knitting process being central to all her work. She is passionate about keeping knitting traditions alive and thriving, while also experimenting and creating new stitches and techniques. She has been teaching at TAFTA Forums and knitting workshops throughout Australia and NZ in recent years.

#1 ‘Edwardian Collar’ 2009
#2 ‘Triangular Shoulder Piece’ 2009
Medium: Crepe Paper
#1 100cm in diameter at the base 30 cm diameter at the top and is 30 cm deep.
#2 100cm across the top, 50cms deep

Photographer Leise Knowles

Artist statement:
My ‘netwurking’ keeps coming back to family networks and paper and text and black and white.
What to do with all the pieces of paper I’ve inherited and all the secrets and stories the text on
the paper hints at so loudly. The dramas of births and deaths and marriages suggested – the formal certificates revealing lots and hiding lots more. I’m using paper to explore and explain what I know about some of the women I’ve ‘caught’ in these family nets. So far it’s crepe paper and it’s knitting…………..

 Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

#1 ‘Edwardian Collar’ 2009
  Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

  Photographer Gabriella Hegyes
#2 ‘Triangular Shoulder Piece’ 2009
Photographer Leise Knowles

Background to the work:
In 1909 my grandfather’s half sister, Amy Maud Bock, created many headlines in the press and much consternation in the family when, in the most outrageous of her many crimes of misrepresentation and fraud, she masqueraded as a man and married a young woman, Nessie Ottaway, in a small coastal community in the south of New Zealand. The Bock family reacted by cutting Amy out of the family and hiding the story from us for 60 odd years. The Ottaways reacted by trying to carry on as normal after the masquerade was quickly uncovered and Amy went to gaol. 

For a long time we knew little of Amy and even less of Nessie but in 2009 to mark the 100th anniversary of the short lived marriage a photographer colleague Fiona Clark and I responded by researching as much as we could and creating works that emerged from the story.

We had a newspaper artist’s black and white image of Nessie in a demure lacy Edwardian blouse and skirt. This idea led to the #1 neckpiece. Nessie married a widower with several children but he died of war related injuries soon after. She married a second man later but he also died relatively soon after. Amy had a relatively short marriage to a ferryman in the Taranaki district of Mokau after she left gaol. We never learned much more of either woman in their later years but it seems their lives were harsh and perhaps lonely.

The #2 piece reflects the need for comfort and warmth in all phases of our lives, particularly later ones. After Amy left gaol she lived in the Mokau area and seems to have been able to stay out of trouble and become a useful and revered member of the community for many years. There are older members of the mostly Maori community there who remember her fondly for the songs and dances she taught them and the costumes she made for their concerts. “She was a Whizz with crepe paper” one told Fiona. This statement stuck with me and crepe paper became the medium for these works.

#1 ‘Edwardian Collar’ 2009 Work in Progress
 Photographer Lynne Johnson
Examples of Lynne's work can be seen at
 women of fibre

Valerie Kirk

Valerie Kirk studied art and design at Edinburgh College of Art and was captivated by the creative process/infinite possibilities of the tapestry medium. In 1979 she came to Australia to become a weaver at the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, and then worked in all states of Australia before moving to Canberra in 1991 to be the Head of Textiles at the Australian National University, School of Art. Her work from this time focused on what it meant to be a Scottish/Australian in this context.

She is considered to be an important international figure in the world of contemporary tapestry. As an artist, writer, teacher and public figure she has made a significant contribution, forging valuable and tangible links with the Scottish tradition and global field. While actively maintaining her practice as an artist, Valerie’s remarkable capacity for achievement has seen her inspire and lead community tapestry projects, research and write a major thesis on tapestry, direct significant textile projects and create major works. She has held several solo exhibitions and presented her work in USA, Europe, Australia, NZ and SE Asia.

Between 2004-2005 she was commissioned to design and weave three major tapestries to celebrate Nobel Prizes in Science associated with the Australian National University. A further tapestry was commissioned and woven in 2006 featuring the work on small pox and myxomatosis of Professor Frank Fenner. The tapestries are installed and on public display at University House, ANU.

Her most outstanding achievement to date is winning the “To Furnish a Future” carpet design competition in 2006. The selected “Crimson Carpet” design draws on the natural patination of stone around Government House, Sydney, combining with a palette of crimson from the tonal range in the Waratah flower. The second stage of the project involved working closely with the consulting design team, the Australian company, “Whitecliffe Imports” and the manufacturers, “Siam Carpets” in Thailand. The hand tufted carpet measures 8m x 20m and was produced in one piece to fit the rooms. The design is significantly different from the normal range of carpet design and at the Energy Australia National Trust Heritage Awards 2008 held on Monday 7 APRIL 2008, the refurbishment of the State Rooms at Government House won one of the major awards - Conservation, Built Heritage for a Project under $1 million. Awards such as the Australia Council New Work grant and Muse Arts Woman of the Year mark substantial success and her artwork is documented in the Telos Portfolio Collection publication.

‘Pangasianodon Gigas’ 2010
Medium: Woven Tapestry
Size: Height: 120cm x Width: 50cm x Depth: 2cm

Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

Artist statement:
The final work is an abstraction of fish and nets – an image made with a hand drawn quality suggesting the personal observation that goes with looking and responding with ink on paper. The tapestry technique mimics the original marks to a certain degree but is also very obviously a woven form with its stepped edges and shapes, blending of tones through hachure and broad set of warp and weft.

Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

Background to the work:
The giant Mekong Catfish is under threat of extinction due to over-fishing and loss of habitat. It is beleived that the fish used to reach sizes over 3 metres, but the largest recorded catch to date is 2.7 metres – a monster fish caught in Thailand in 2005. As its fame and the mythology surrounding it increases, so does the number of game fishermen keen to land a record catch or earn a sizeable amount of money in the exotic food marketplace.

However, the water flow of the river is increasingly more controlled by China, changing the natural habitat of the river. It seems that survival of the great catfish is being left to chance and the fish’s ability to avoid nets, lines and traps in the murky green waters of the Mekong.

My exhibition piece is a giant, woven Pangasianodon Gigas – made as a shaped tapestry which will hang the way a fisherman would hold up his catch to display or be photographed as his trophy. The drawing was made from photographs of very large fish I observed in Laos and the detail on the body of the fish is deliberately ambiguous cales/nets. The piece is woven on cotton seine twine (which was originally made as a string for fish netting) with mixed weft yarns.
 Valerie Kirk cutting tapestry from the loom

Photographer John Jeffery 

Jenny Manning

I have, since my studies in the 1980s, been obsessed with wrapping, knotting, tangling and constructing with rope, wool and other fibres. I created and made drawings of three dimensional wrapped and knotted structures during my sculpture degree and these forms have been referred to in my practice ever since.

Recently I have been exploring the parallels between human and animal veins, arteries and organs with those found in the plant and insect kingdoms. These networks for transmitting life fluids seem to be repeated in the microscopic world as well as in the structure of river deltas and erosion gullies. Electron microscopic images of fungi have stimulated a series of large black and white pen and ink drawings where the intricacy and beauty of the filamentous growth patterns belies their toxic effects on humans and animals.

In another body of work I have explored still life compositions creating images of overlapping natural forms and more recently the importance of design and mathematical proportion within the still life tradition. I continue to create brightly coloured knitted mohair rugs where the small square modules are combined to create intricate and complex traditional patchwork patterns.

‘Torus’ 2010
Medium: pen and ink on card
Size: H: 90cm x W:140cm

The Torus - a revolving circle around an axial void is defined here by a network of capillaries
and veins which carry energy to all living cells, thereby combining mathematical geometry with the patterns of natural growth.

Helen Martin

 Photographer Stuart Hay

Helen Martin is a graduate of the ANU School of Art. Her work has been exhibited widely
in Australia and also in Austria, Germany and China.
While her art school training was in ceramics, she is also a skilled textile maker, specialising in knitting and crochet. These skills have now fused and a new method of making created.

Helen’s work is inspired by memory. With a focus on objects that act as memory triggers, she makes containers, or safe repositories, for precious memories.

‘Sift’ 2010
Medium: Ceramic: glazed knitting
Size: Overall size variable, each approx. 18 x 18 x 6cm

Artist statement:
My net bowls are filters that can capture and preserve precious snippets of memory – not lots of detail, but more a warm feeling that links our past and present.

Background to the work:
Memory is personal and unique to each of us. It is our own interpretation and recollection, a sensation so fleeting that sometimes we cannot find words to name it - a vague feeling, a trace of something we know but cannot touch, hidden under semi-transparent layers, distorted.

Photographer Leise Knowles

Beverly Moxon

Beverly Moxon spent her childhood playing in the woods and creeks surrounding her home in North Carolina. As a mature age student she studied visual arts, specialising in Textiles at the Australian National University. Beverly is currently completing a Master of Visual Arts through the Charles Sturt University at Wagga Wagga.

She has participated in group exhibitions and recently had her first solo exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery. Although trained in textiles, Beverly has moved further into sculptural installations, often using basketry techniques and working with natural fibres. 

Her work is influenced by environmental concerns and nostalgic memory.

‘Root Series 2’ 2010
Medium: Roots, natural fibres, pods, waxed threads
Size: Overall size variable

Artist statement:
Roots collected from my garden are recent mementos of a new and unfamiliar landscape. Wrapped and bound with waxed threads and grasses, the roots suggest the importance of healing and caring for the environment. On a personal level the work reflects on the significance of establishing roots in a new location as well as acknowledging the landscapes of my past. 

Putting down roots in a new place is often difficult and fears of rejection can inhibit one’s attempt to resettle. Dislocation experienced in a foreign landscape is represented in the twined and knotted roots, incongruous in a gallery setting. We see the unseen, an underground network of roots where each fibre is connected in perfect symmetry to the central root. At the same time as the plant’s roots form a network in order to survive, our social networks within the community are important to our sense of self.

Photographer Beverly Moxon

Maryann Mussared

Maryann Mussared is a professional practicing artist with a multi-disciplinary practice. She studied visual arts at the Canberra School of Art, ANU 1993 – 1995 before graduating from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in 1997. She has participated in numerous selected exhibitions nationally and internationally. Maryann is also a freelance curator and has a background in community cultural development and voluntary work in the arts sector. She was one of the driving forces in lobbying for the new Belconnen Arts Centre.

Maryann trained in textiles, printmaking, and applied arts. Her work incorporates paper and found objects and has recently included ceramic objects. She is constantly stimulated and inspired and equally terrified by the fast past of modern life and the torrent of information that threatens to overwhelm us each day.

‘Memory Construction’ 2010
Medium: 28 gauge wire, crochet technique
Size: Overall size variable, height: 35 cm x 40 cm x 30 cm

Photographer Maryann Mussared

Background to the work:
I have been a recreational crochet enthusiast for over 40 years. I started by teaching myself a few basic stitches from a book and then creating a shawl to keep myself warm one very cold winter when I was living in England. 

Since then I have used crochet to create forms and in particular vessel shapes that are then immersed in gesso or plaster and re-created as a 3D form. 

Creating the ‘Memory Construction’ series of over 40 metal wire spheres for this small installation was part of a challenge I set myself last year that also saw me exploring clay pinch pots that became spheres as well.

The sphere-shaped objects are inspired by net-like constructions in nature, both random and ordered: tumbleweeds, molecules, and also inspired by spiders webs. Although they look as if they are created in a random manner, the eccentric crochet stitch used allows tension and length of stitch to be varied to create a sculptural shape. If I unravel them, I wonder if the memory of the original construction will be retained?

Photographer Gabriella Hegyes