The current exhibition at Morley Gallery, Made 2019, features work by textiles and jewellery students at Morley College. The theme is based on cultural patterns and form inspired by Oceania.
Thanks to the basketry course I did last term with Stella Harding I was able to submit an entry to the exhibition. My piece, “Vision of Jawun”, was inspired by the bicornual baskets known as jawun made by the rainforest people in northeast Queensland in Australia.
Jawun were used to collect and carry food and also as sieves to leach out toxic substances. Typically made from lawyer cane, the baskets were sometimes painted when used for trading or as gifts.
My interpretation of a jawun is a random weave piece made with paper yarn; the lower part was dyed with eucalyptus, a plant indigenous to Australia.
The private view last Wednesday was absolutely heaving with people by the time I arrived, and it took me a while to locate my piece. To my surprise, rather than being on a plinth it was hung on a nail at around hip height. Because the gallery was so crowded I could see that the vessel was in danger of being damaged – within just a couple of minutes of my arrival one visitor had stepped back against it, while another one hit it with her bag as she squeezed past. 😦
I’m afraid at this stage I got a bit prima donna-ish and removed the piece from the wall. When I gave it to the gallery manager and explained why, she was very nice and understanding about it. And when I went back to the gallery today to look at the exhibition with more breathing space, it had been placed on a plinth, thank goodness.
There were a couple of pieces from other basketry students.
This random weave piece by Barbara Billings was a comment on pollution in the oceans and how rubbish floats on top of the mess hiding below the surface.
“A Green Bag of Rubbish” by Alyson Burberry was made with found objects, shower sponges and rope, and was also based on Aboriginal hunting bags.
Deserved winner of the Sarah Campbell Prize was Cherry Taylor for her found objects wrapped with raffia dyed with procion dyes and inks.
I liked Sarah McEvoy’s knitted figure embellished with seeds and crystal, inspired by dolls that Japanese farmers hang outside windows to bring good weather or prevent rain.
The Japanese influence was strong overall. This kimono-style jacket by Sarah Wilson was made using shibori, sashiko and boro techniques from material sourced in second-hand shops.
Hung to resemble a traditional kimono, Line Le Fevre’s four hand-dyed panels were printed with discharge and dye paste.
Bukki Adeyemo’s “Up in Arms” used recycled materials stained with rust to represent the potential impact of rising sea levels on many of the Pacific Islands due to climate change.
Sarah Sikorski’s screen printed cotton was inspired by tapa bark cloth from Tonga, which portrays historic or cultural events – in this case the overuse and irresponsible disposal of plastic objects.
Finally – look away now if you are easily offended. 😉 Karen Byrne’s piece was a response to the dilukai sculptures of young women with splayed legs carved over the doorways of chiefs’ houses in Micronesia.
Made 2019 runs at Morley Gallery until 26 March.