Everything about our society is connected to land.
My latest series of textile artwork explores and interrogates this connection.
My research into aboriginal peoples (North American, Maori and Australian) indicates that one special element ties these three populations together: a deep and abiding traditional connection to the land – both physical and spiritual.
These many different nations and groups both respected and loved her (the land), and see her as their original mother. The land is a living entity with specific pasts, presents and futures; as well as with consciousness and will towards life.
Because of its richness, the land is simultaneously home, peace, and nourishment for the body, mind and spirit. Land is central to these groups’ identities. As a result, they have great respect for, and take on custodial roles for, the land.
For 60,000 years aborigines relied upon the land for food, shelter, and medicine without depleting it. The relationship was a symbiotic one. Aboriginal spirituality is embedded in the earth and all it sustains: ‘caring for country’ is the indigenous way of life.
Aboriginals ensured that their activity helped regulate the health of the land. When collecting food, for example, they maintained sustainability by leaving a few eggs when harvesting from nests, leaving seeds for regeneration, and lighting grass fires to regenerate areas of bushland. In these ways, they ensured the sources were always being renewed.
To me, this signifies working with, not against, nature.
During the creation of the pieces in the Connected to Land series, I have eco-printed organic cotton, silk, merino and alpaca fibre with eucalyptus leaves to transfer and preserve nature in a textile. These handmade fabrics carry the glorious scent of the Australian Bush.
I have also collaborated with Australian Indigenous artist, Deborah Bonar, and a renowned local Australian printmaker, Jude Taylor, who has a lifetime of working on Australian wild flora.
The pieces feature my own biomorphic drawings, paintings and sculptures. The colour palette is sunset (burnt orange, coral, black, cream, ochre, and umber).
They feature delicate embroidery with real pearls, precious gems, hand painted glass vintage beads, and the application of found-on-the-land scrap metals for eco-printing. My objective was to transfer the memory of the land’s past where these metal pieces were used and abandoned.
The Connected to Land message is delivered via this earth-inspired collection of fragile, delicate, yet beautiful garments.
View the collection in the Green Embassy online store.