Residency location Maria Island, 2015/16
Throughout our wilderness residency we have engaged in a practical conversation, sharing experience and skills and going on expeditions to find materials. Over several visits we explored the layered history and rich natural history of Maria Island. At Hop Ground Beach we gathered Willow, Cordyline and New Zealand Flax, all introduced to the island. We collected driftwood and scored materials gathered by IMAS students surveying marine debris.
We quickly discovered that a playful approach is most likely to nurture shared creativity. Staff responded to evidence of our tinkering and invited us to workshop with summer visitors.
Our work reflects the playful to and fro of sharing of ideas while exploring materials, living in Prero’s cottage, interacting with staff and visitors and responding to the environment on Maria Island.
Gwen is a fibre and community artist with many years of experience. She first visited Maria Island as a teenager in the 1960s and has been a regular visitor since, camping, walking, cycling and swimming on the island with friends and family. Gwen has witnessed changes in the island environment and also in the management and visitation on the island. She is interested in the plants which appear to have been introduced to the island for their usefulness for fibre and basket weaving. As Gwen and Tanya share conversations and ideas, Gwen pictures the weavers who once fashioned containers for the many and varied industries on the island.
Tanya’s practice in 3D design has evolved from a background in textiles and physical theatre. Hand tooling in the natural environment made this experimental work a rewarding and exciting departure to making fine wood furniture. Tapping into the familiar intuitive creative process of devising performative work, she takes a less serious approach to 3D making. This allows her to feel free as a maker and move into a place of expression that is directed by the materials, and is reflective of the immersive experience of gathering and making in the wilds.