Weaving Waters 2023 - Stitching Stories
Torres Strait Islander crafts: Weaving from nature or recycled materials
Womens weaving circle workshop on techniques of the Torres Strait by Krista Ellis
Krista Ellis with Tracey Benson, Kristine Diekman, Charlotte Ellis, Sue Finley, Nicole Gulwell, Tamsin Kerr, Joan Kelly, Trudy Lane, Bronwyn Patrickson, Vicki Smith, Harete Tito, Jean Yern, Tracey Willms Dean.
Krista Ellis from the Pumicestone Indigenous Education & Employment Council (PIEEC) showcased Torres Strait weaving techniques. Indigenous weaving practices, whether Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, are inherently connected to the local environment, utilizing materials found in the region. In the Torres Strait, coconut leaves and pandanus are commonly used. However, for this workshop, Krista provided raffia sourced internationally, while we gathered additional natural materials like long grasses, seaweed, plant fibers, bark, hair, fur, and feathers, ensuring minimal impact on the environment. Traditionally, weaving is predominantly carried out by women, creating items such as baskets, blankets, and wearables, while men engage in weaving to make fishing nets, personal dillybags, and ceremonial objects. During this activity, only women participated in a separate area. Weaving serves as a vital means of connecting to culture and the land, aligning with the core principles of this sciart residency.
Torres Strait Islander Natural Weaving Techniques demonstrated by Krista Ellis as part of WeavingWaters @Yarun SciArt Water Residency on Bribie Island, Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi Country of the Joondoburri Nov/Dec 2023. Photos by Sarah Jane Pell - used with permission.
Stitching Stories: conductive electronics and weaving craft practices
Workshop on interactive conductive sonic artworks by Kristine Diekman
Kristine Diekman with Tracey Benson, Pasha Clothier, Martin Drury, Sue Finley, Tamsin Kerr, Joan Kelly, Trudy Lane, Kim Newell, Bronwyn Patrickson, Sarah Jane Pell, Te Ruitini Sheridon, Vicki Smith, Harete Tito, Bec Thompson, Tracey Willms Dean.
Kristine Diekman orchestrated a responsive and collaborative workshop, melding traditional craft practices such as natural basket weaving with interactive technology to craft a collective narrative of water on Yuran. By skillfully stitching natural materials and fabrics with conductive thread and other elements, once connected to a circuit, the sound data and powersource, participants transformed their creations into haptic sonic artworks. This creative process included preparing narrated stories, poetic voices, music and the sounds of water that define the essence of the island. During the workshop, and over the course of a week, participants contributed ancestral materials and weaving techniques, shared stories and impressions from our explorations, memories, and interactions with conductive materials incorporated into their projects. The culmination of our efforts resulted in a presentation of multi-sensory artworks arranged around a table. We were invited to see, listen, feel - beyond spectatorship - embodied haptics and improvised interactions with the material sonic objects. The result was very intimate. By presenting works, and then offering them to fellow participants to play as instruments, creating an impromptu symphony that harmonized the rhythms and reverberations of our inner aquatic and intercultural experiences.
Interactivity with embroidered sonic artworks by participants facilitated by Kristine Diekman as part of WeavingWaters @Yarun SciArt Water Residency on Bribie Island, Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi Country of the Joondoburri Nov/Dec 2023.
Eco-Printing: exploring traditional and collective printmaking
Workshop for participants to demo on Open Day by Tracey Willms Dean
Tracey Willms Dean with Tracey Benson, Rei Maree Cheetham, Pasha Clothier, Kristine Diekman, Martin Drury, Sue Finley, Tamsin Kerr, Joan Kelly, Trudy Lane, Kim Newell, Bronwyn Patrickson, Sarah Jane Pell, Sandy Sur, Te Ruitini Sheridon, Vicki Smith, Harete Tito, Bec Thompson.
Tracey offered the opportunity to participate in eco-printing, which involves using traditional dye plants in both familiar and innovative ways, with various fiber type (protein, cellulose, or synthetic) synergies. We are taught a relief print technique where one carves into a sheet of lino, applies ink to the uncut areas, and then prints onto a flat surface, typically paper or fabric. Softcut, known for its easy cutting and smooth glossy surface, is our preferred lino material. Softcut works beautifully for hand printing due to its smooth surface, allowing control of the texture by adjusting pressure. But it is not without risk. Tracey instructs us when carving, it's essential to maintain even pressure across both hands, using the index finger of our non-cutting hand to guide the blade away from us. Safety first! For fine lines and intricate details, we start by outlining shapes before clearing away excess lino. While Pfeil tools easily clear negative space, wavy lines can sometimes result in rough edges. My own softcut lino relief looks unsuitable for inking, so I added conductive materials in the geometrical etched groves (see above) to create a circuit board artefact. Instead, I found a locally sourced marine invertebrate for my own eco-relief. I printed a series along a ribbon of muslin, and an A/P on natural paper. Kim 3D printed a miniature block press for Tracey, however I rolled on the ink then used the coral/barnacles like a stamp. Our prints were gifted back to the artist to donate to Treecreate. I wonder if it is now an ecological biohazard? Will microscopic marine organisms live on now transplanted to the natural fibres in this humidity? Our collective series works on fabric are hand-woven by Tracey into a tapestry of our ocean impressions, now hanging together as what looks to be elegant Bribie Island-inspired couture.
Eco-printed artworks by participants facilitated by Tracey Willms Dean as part of WeavingWaters @Yarun SciArt Water Residency on Bribie Island, Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi Country of the Joondoburri Nov/Dec 2023.
Digital interactivity: enabling improvised play and performance
Night Owl evening studio ritual, conversation and experimentation by Sarah Jane Pell
Sarah Jane Pell with Pasha Clothier, Kristine Diekman, Joan Kelly, Kim Newell, Te Ruitini Sheridon, Sandy Sur, Vicki Smith, Jean Yern, Tracey Willms Dean.
Sarah Jane Pell facilitated evening studio to delve into a realm of imagination and creativity and exchange personal musings and curiosities in free-flowing way.
Night 1 Owls: In the first activity, we ventured into the realm of reflected cinematic views using endoscopes and silver-coated cardboard hats, revealing the mesmerizing potential of kaleidoscopic and telescopic
perspectives on performers' eyes, ears, skin, and gestures as they shared their unique stories. Then we experimented with using the endoscope for a close-up finger-cam view of weaving and lino-cutting techniques.
Night 2 Owls: The second evening witnessed the birth of 'intergalactic gloves' – silver gloves equipped with conductive materials, enabling touch-sensor and gesture-controlled musical abilities. This development paved the way for an immersive exploration of the sonic realm.
Night 3 Owls: On the third evening, these innovative gloves were paired with conductive rubber to create a musical canvas, allowing sensor and gesture interactions to evolve into spellbinding celestial orchestral compositions.
Night 4 Owls: By the fourth evening, the introduction of costumes and masks added a new dimension to the experience.
Night 5 Owls: By the fifth day, we embarked on a captivating interaction between two individuals, where gloves took on the role of the body, and skin became a conductor for proximity-based orchestration through gesture and touch.