About the series: CONNECTED TO LAND

September 15, 2014 11:11 am

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.

Jewellery as Art in the Eco-Fashion World

September 9, 2014 11:45 am

My designs are understood in the fashion community as ‘wearable art.’

And lately I’ve been venturing into jewellery making – another kind of wearable art.

Not everyone recognises jewellery making as an artform. Jewellery has become tied to its monetary value and is usually recognised simply as a commodity, with diamonds generally considered the highest expression of jewellery.

But jewellery is an artform. It is practiced in the same way as sculpture – with attention to the moulded and structural forms, the use of symbolism, and exploration of multi-dimensional materials. And without a design sensibility, a piece of jewellery will lack beauty, resonance or meaning. Great artists of the 15th and 16th centuries all trained in the design and production of fine jewellery!

My foray into jewellery making was inspired by a roll of copper wire and the precious stones I had procured for use in my garment designs. The malleability of the copper wire was immediately of interest to me – I could knit with it! Here is one of my recently produced pieces – a knitted copper wire and agate choker necklace.

Green Embassy Jewellery Knitted Copper wire, Agate Stones

Knitted Copper wire, Agate Stones

There is a wealth of contemporary and ancient body ornaments in museums and galleries around the world. Some of the elements most appreciated by collectors and museums are intricate beadwork and extensive use of mixed media. This appreciation has gradually expanded to include the use of found objects and a variety of flexible media. I’ve been upcycling vintage jewellery found in thrift shops and antique stores – these can make a wonderful base or foundation for the development of a truly unique piece of jewellery.

Green Embassy Jewellery Upcycled vintage beads with Eco-Print on Merino hand made organic fabric with Eucalyptus leaves , metal chain

Upcycled vintage beads with Eco-Print on Merino hand made organic fabric with Eucalyptus leaves , metal chain

 

Green embassy jewellery Natural Silk Organza, Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Hand made Organic Certified Merino fabric sculpture, agetate Stonem, Fresh Water Pearl, knitted Copper wire

Natural Silk Organza, Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Hand made Organic Certified Merino fabric sculpture, agetate Stonem, Fresh Water Pearl, knitted Copper wire

Green Embassy Jewellery Agate Stones, Copper Wire, Organic hand made Alpaca textile sculpture, copperwire, upcycled vintage glass beads

Agate Stones, Copper Wire, Organic hand made Alpaca textile sculpture, copperwire, upcycled vintage glass beads

I have also been recycling pieces of my organic and eco-printed fabrics to create miniature landscapes of soft and hard forms, and all allowing me live out the Green Embassy Zero Waste Policy.

Green Embassy Jewellery Organic Certified hand made Merino and alpaca fabric sculptures, knitted copper wire, various vintage beads

Organic Certified hand made Merino and alpaca fabric sculptures, knitted copper wire, various vintage beads

Green Embassy Jewellery Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed by hand with Eucalyptus leaves on Metal Chain, knitted Copper wire with variety of Gem Stones (Jade, Agate, Aventurine, Red Jasper, Sardonyx)

Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed by hand with Eucalyptus leaves on Metal Chain, knitted Copper wire with variety of Gem Stones (Jade, Agate, Aventurine, Red Jasper, Sardonyx)

Green Embassy jewellery Knitted copper wire, GOTS Certified Organic Cotton fabric, Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Agate Stones

Knitted copper wire, GOTS Certified Organic Cotton fabric, Natural Silk Organza Eco-Printed with Eucalyptus leaves, Agate Stones

Jewellery is used by women and more recently also men as an expression of individual personality. People can become very connected to a piece of jewellery and it almost becomes part of their identity. This is why unique, one-of-a-kind pieces are important to their wearers.

Green Embassy Jewellery Silk Georgette hand printed with Eucalyptus leaves, copper wire, Agate Stone

Silk Georgette hand printed with Eucalyptus leaves, copper wire, Agate Stone

 

Simon Sakhai, the director of the Shizaru gallery (a contemporary art gallery in Mayfair, London), said:

“We see jewellery as an important part of the artistic dialogue and it should be included in the great intellectual discourse of art.”*

Simon, I agree.  With new necklaces and headpieces to complement my eco-fashion designs, this month, the world will see a new side of Green Embassy on the runways of Vancouver and Paris!

 

*UK Financial Times, Nov 11, 2011.