Australian fieldnotes: meeting fibrespace

Platform Gallery is based in a beautiful 100-year old building at Pichi Richi railway station in Port Augusta. An old steam train runs past the gallery every Saturday and Sunday. The gallery space is full of light. Whimsical artworks of local makers are elegantly placed all around the halls. This was the setting for our first workshop day with Fibrespace Inc, a collective of textile (and not only) artists living and working in South Australia’s outback.

Our group was amazed and humbled by the skill set and experience of the collective, not to mention their enthusiasm, energy and willingness to share their stories. And what wonderful storytellers they are! We have been looking forward to meeting Fibrespace artists for quite some months now, ever since we received their virtual ‘Conversations with Lapland’ and got to know about the kind of work they do.
Today we got a better insight into the collective’s brainstorming process and their methods of work. Further on, we set up working stations for anyone who wanted to participate. Satu continued the ‘Life Mandala’ process that had started in the workshop in Fowler’s Bay. Tarja goes on working on her individual piece based on the found objects. Birgitta Sassi, our expert on Lappish crafts, has been weaving participants’ messages from both workshops into a future exhibition piece. I also set up a station of my own, following my process of storytelling interventions. I hope to collect a wide range of stories and artifacts and to tell more about the process later in the blog.

Melanie has been working hard on research data collection. We look forward to making a collaborative felted artwork and other valuable sharing processes tomorrow.
The two Australian workshops have been very different from each other providing us with vast research data. It is interesting to notice, however, the similarities female artists ‘living on the edges of the world’ share in their work, life and shifting identities regardless of their geographical location.

Text and photography by Daria Akimenko

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