The Goulburn Regional Art Gallery is showing an exhibition until 14th January 2012 called ‘That’s not how you make porridge’. It features everyday objects with a twist. Although easily recognisable as a shoe, dress, furniture, rifle or even foods like jellies and fruit, a peculiar identity is revealed on closer inspection. The artists have used unusual materials including soap, salt, grasses, fishing line and electrical cord. Most of them have a deeper meaning – often a concern for the environment – but they are humourous and thought-provoking… …and most importantly there’s a crafty playroom for the kids with a papier-mache glue-on pompom elephant (perfect for letting off steam on the nightmare Christmas road trip!)
I have the three chairs above in the show and as most of you are unlikely to be spending your summer holidays in Goulburn (anyone?) I took some photos for you. Because it is a public gallery, I couldn’t take shots of any of my favourites but I can describe the most wonderful work by Niomi Sands who has sewn the outlines on paper of souvenir teaspoons, cut out the sewn line then hung them in delicate rows on the wall (you can see them on her blog if you click the link). They are quite ghostly with their regal shaped handles and remind me of a disappearing time when precious keepsakes were treasured. Also the super funky Troy Emery dislocated animals are weird and wonderful also the wall mounted feral animals of Amanda Stuart. So much to love!
Anyway, here are my chairs and I have included my description of why I made them from the exhibition program at the end.
“Basket making is the only non-machinated craft. It eschews mass production. The No. 14 bentwood cafe chair designed by Micheal Thonet embodies the principles of mass production. It was the first easily disassembled ‘flatpack’ chair and is an emblem of the transition from workshop to factory production. Fifty million were sold from 1860 to 1930. Mass production allowed the evolution of consumerism.
The timber for our floors and furniture is harvested somewhere, often irreplaceably. It was the habitat of birds; nature’s basket makers who create sculpture when they build nests. They weave with twigs, lichen, leaves, seaweed, grasses and lichen and line them with feathers, hair, wool, bones and sometimes refuse and plastics; telltale signs of our detritus.
I also consume and discard. I reclaim these chairs for the birds and animals in homage to nature.”
So, the gallery might be a good place to stretch your legs and your mind on the hellish Christmas drive, yes?
Happy holidays x