Tuesday, 30 January 2007


A rich harvest of thoughts, as usual Nalda. It's curious that soaking is a northern thing. It would be interesting to consider the 'soaking' crafts. Felting would be one of the main forms, wouldn't it.

I get the sense that one of the features of outdoor is the openness of influence. It is open to nature and people passing by, as well as the accidents of what trees might deposit and insects weave.

Interesting what you say about 'colonial nature'. This reminds me of Lorraine Connoley-Northey's work, which uses farm detritus rather than traditional fibre. This seems important because it connects you with the history of your people.

Five weeks seems a long time to be alone in the bush (though not perhaps compared to some of Daisy Bates' sojourns). Your description of making the stone basket is quite powerful. It sounds so cumbersome compared to your later work. But I guess it was grounding you.

The story of the Chinaman continues the theme of settler history, though here you managed to relate it to natural materials, not just colonial nature.

You say that when working with Aboriginal women that you start many objects but are then finished by others. I'm curious to know what happens. Do you get bored by it and put it aside, or do others express an interest in what you are making?

Yes language seems very important. One English word that has always intrigued me is 'thrum'. As far as I can tell, it means alternatively:

  • a company of people

  • a bundle of arrows

  • magnificence

  • the ends of warp threads left unwoven on the loom

  • a short piece of waste yarn, sometimes used for mops

  • odds, ends, scraps

  • a tuft of structures in a plant

  • a tuft, bundle, or fringe of any threadlike structures, as hairs on a leaf, fibres of a root, etc

  • a bundle of minute blood-vessels, a plexus.

  • brewing

  • someone meanly dressed

  • purring of a cat

  • the tones produced by 'thrumming' a guitar

This combination leads you to consider their possible logical connections. Do you encounter a 'thrum' in your work? Does it remind you of something else, like a loose mob of people or something in nature? The musical connection is particularly intriguing, like a synaesthetic relationship between the visual and auditory.

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